Don't let solar grind to a halt

Leslie Carlson

Back in 2007, I got really excited when Multnomah County announced a groundbreaking solar energy installation. That deal, which is currently about one-quarter finished, will eventually generate 1,000,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy (for no added cost to taxpayers) because of the Business Energy Tax Credit, otherwise known as BETC.

Unfortunately, the Multnomah County solar project--so big it will double the amount of energy generated by solar power in Oregon once completed--is on shaky ground as I type. It is in imminent danger of being canceled because of House Bill 2472, which would cut the amount of the BETC available for renewable energy projects. Basically, the reduction in HB 2472 will be enough to remove the financial incentives for solar energy in Oregon, at a time when more renewable energy is desperately needed both to loosen our dependence on oil and to begin to reduce carbon emissions.

I'm not one to spend a lot of time arguing for tax credits, but given the billions of dollars that have gone into subsidizing Big Oil over the years (between $15 and $35 billion every single year, by some estimates) and the nearly uncountable dollars that continue to pour into preserving our oil interests in the Middle East, somehow it seems imperative that we spend a little money through BETC to promote energy that doesn't require soldiers or catastrophic climate change.

And if you support green jobs, solar installations, in particular, create a lot of jobs for installers and technicians. Given the Obama Administration's interest in tackling energy (and the ARRA money going into energy efficiency and renewable energy), Oregon should be doing all it can to make those job end up here.

The BETC may need fixing, but it certainly doesn't need reductions in credits that will kill solar energy in Oregon. I know the state budget outlook is awful--I'm the mother of three whose kids attend public school, so I see some of those cuts in what's happening in my kids' classrooms. I'm upset about the results of budget cutbacks on the health and welfare of middle-class families and the needy alike. It just seems like taking away part of the incentive we need to create a low-carbon economy will end up biting us later.

Oregon's worked hard to establish itself as a leader in sustainable practices and as a hub of renewable energy. Let's not let that progress grind to a halt just when we need it most.

Comments

  • SCB (unverified)
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    I'm reminded of square pegs and round holes.

    I support solar energy, and I pay taxes. Those are actually unrelated.

    Except they are. I pay my State income taxes and local property taxes for essential services provided by the City, County and State. Right now, today, there isn't enough money. It is highly likely that the tax increases being put forth in the legislature will be reversed by voters given Oregon's history. So, every dollar spent in the State is a dollar that takes away from something else.

    Every dollar spent on a tax credit (yes I think a dollar credit is a dollar not earned and hence it is spent), means a dollar less for some other area of Oregon's State system. A thousand dollar tax credit might well mean someone is denied medications for their illness. Lack of senior care very well might mean someone will die early - what if its your grandmother?

    So, here I sit in Central Oregon where solar is bound to be more practical, looking at a project in rainy and dark Multnomah County, wondering about that, and knowing that my neighbors will most likely be left hurting for lack of essential services.....

    I don't care that big oil got past subsidies, I am alive today.

    So, while I support solar power, I have to wonder whose relative will die for it?

  • Rep. Phil Barnhart (unverified)
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    The amendments being considered in the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee will completely protect solar subsidies paid from the Oregon Income Tax, the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC). The essence of those amendments is to stop subsidizing big wind projects that produce few jobs after construction and send most of their power to California to meet the California Renewable Portfolio Standard. Oregon tax payers should not subsidize California rate payers.

    Solar renewable energy device manufacturing and installation is indeed a great green industry for Oregon with the possibility of many jobs for many years to come. We have no intention of disrupting this development.

    Please note also that the second sentence in the post does not correctly reflect the cost to the taxpayers of subsidizing solar energy development. The referenced web site actually says, "Thanks to generous support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, and newly expanded tax credits, there will be little or no additional cost to Multnomah County for this project." Those tax credits reduce the Oregon General Fund from which the major funding for K-12 Schools, state supported Human Services and Public Safety, and most state support for Universities and Community Colleges comes. In fact over 90% of the State General Fund budget goes into those items. These tax credits reduce that General Fund and thus reduce the funds available for those basic services.

    The bill will protect the ongoing tax credits for solar. I completely agree with Carlson that we must preserve Oregon's progress toward becoming a leader in sustainable practices. The bill will help us along the way while reducing expensive funding on big wind projects that will be built anyway to feed the California RPS.

    Oregon has, and will continue to have, the most generous tax subsidies in the nation for renewable energy. I expect that we will continue to refine our incentives for years to come as the legislature responds to changes in technological and economic development.

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    Leslie writes "the reduction in HB 2472 will be enough to remove the financial incentives for solar energy in Oregon." Not true. There's still a financial incentive --- free fuel. All BETC does is shorten the payback period.

    Leslie writes that the project "will eventually generate 1,000,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy (for no added cost to taxpayers)." Also not true. The tax credit costs taxpayers, and because the local government doesn't pay taxes, they get less money and we pay a premium to the purchaser of the tax credit. Assuming it is a smart investment, we ought to just grant the local government entity the funds they would otherwise be getting from the purchaser of the tax credit.

    Leslie writes "I'm not one to spend a lot of time arguing for tax credits, but given the billions of dollars that have gone into subsidizing Big Oil over the years (between $15 and $35 billion every single year, by some estimates) and the nearly uncountable dollars that continue to pour into preserving our oil interests in the Middle East, somehow it seems imperative that we spend a little money through BETC to promote energy that doesn't require soldiers or catastrophic climate change." The state of Oregon and its taxpayers are not subsidizing big oil, nor are state dollars preserving oil interests in the Middle East. You are confusing state and federal arenas, and that's not kosher.

    The post ignores significant federal incentives bolstered by the ARRA - the stimulus bill -- earlier this year. Just as it is wrong that the federal government subsidized big oil and spends billions preserving Middle East oil, the federal government is the appropriate entity that needs to change its spending priorities and keep funding solar over oil, not the state.

    Leslie makes it sound like the bill eliminates the incentive. Not so. There's still an incentive. And we could turn it into a grant program instead of a costly tax credit program and better direct the funds to worthy projects. I think enriching with purchased tax credits Wal-Mart, the Goodman family, banks and others who are doing well in this economy is as obscene as the federal government's subsidies for Big Oil and truly represents misplaced priorities.

    Reforming BETC will not be the death blow to solar. That's crying wolf.

    What enviros ought to be concerned about is HB 2940 - the erosion of the Renewable Energy Standard.

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    Three cheers to Rep. Phil Barnhart for the basic civics lesson. Phil writes

    Please note also that the second sentence in the post does not correctly reflect the cost to the taxpayers of subsidizing solar energy development. The referenced web site actually says, "Thanks to generous support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, and newly expanded tax credits, there will be little or no additional cost to Multnomah County for this project." Those tax credits reduce the Oregon General Fund from which the major funding for K-12 Schools, state supported Human Services and Public Safety, and most state support for Universities and Community Colleges comes. In fact over 90% of the State General Fund budget goes into those items. These tax credits reduce that General Fund and thus reduce the funds available for those basic services.

    Tax credit money is not free money.

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    The bill will protect the ongoing tax credits for solar. I completely agree with Carlson that we must preserve Oregon's progress toward becoming a leader in sustainable practices. The bill will help us along the way while reducing expensive funding on big wind projects that will be built anyway to feed the California RPS.

    Thanks for you thoughtful comments, Rep. Barnhart. My understanding from Multnomah County is that the cut from 50 percent credit to 30 percent credit will kill the rest of the Multnomah County project dead, right now, since the financing was predicated on the 50 percent credit. So there's one project that will go down tubes, at least.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    I'm not smart enough to debate the relative merits of tac credits versus grants. I leave that to Chuck and his folks. However, if a city/county solar project is not economically viable because credit is cut from 50% to 30%; perhaps it should not have been initiated in the first place.

    As stated, Multnomah County is not exactly one of the best spots in Oregon for such a huge solar investment. Tax Credit money is not free money, governments would be wise to understand this.

    Also, solar isn't free either in carbon footprint or potential environmental damage. What is the cost of producing these solar panels in terms of emissions, footprint and waste? Do they still have a 20 year life and then need to be discarded?

  • Lesile G. (unverified)
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    Solar will never replace oil, not in our lifetimes. Heavy equipment and many vehicles need oil to run - they don't run on Solar.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    1) Cut the ethanol and biodiesel subsidies to zero and put the money into real solar.

    2) Increase the subsidy for solar thermal over solar PV. Even in cloudy Multnomah County, the payback for solar thermal (hot water heating) is much faster than it is for solar electric, and a kWh saved on hot water is just as good as a kWh spent powering something else.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    1) How to buy solar hot water workshop from Solar Oregon -- http://solaroregon.org/events/how-to-buy-a-solar-hot-water-system-6-20-09-portland

    @ Leslie: 2) Heavy vehicles run GREAT on electric -- heavy freight haulers are called "trains" (look 'em up on wikipedia). Meanwhile, some of the most powerful construction equipment in the world is all-electric (used in mines).

  • Boats (unverified)
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    If the government is going to spend money on alternative energy, it should spend it on basic research or on improving nanoscale manufacturing techniques rather than kludging together feel good energy projects that have no market viability without subsidies.

    Photovoltaic technology is inefficient and the inability to store the electricity generated is a negative. When the sun is shining without cloud interference, about 1kW is hitting every square meter of the earth each hour. Current technology is only about 18% efficient, making the manufacture and installation of photovoltaic panels uneconomical and not very carbon neutral--if at all.

    The future of solar energy is likely in artificial photosynthesis. By replicating the most efficient photon to energy system known to man--green leafy plants--it is becoming increasingly possible to assemble nanocrystal lattices using cobalt oxide catalysts to photooxidize water molecules, splitting them into their hydrogen and oxygen components.

    Artificial photosynthesis effectively turns photonic energy into storable hydrogen which can then be recombined with oxygen in a fuel cell to drive a vehicle, or the hydrogen can also be burned primarily to run a turbine generator. In terms of storable energy alone, artificial photosynthesis is more promising than photovoltaic technology, requiring no giant leaps in conversion rates or battery technology. The current problem with hydrogen is that it is mostly produced from the conversion of natural gas rather than through the "cracking" of water molecules, which is a net negative energy equation using today's standard methods. Artificial photosynthesis changes the entire ball game if the process of making nanostructured artificial "leaves" becomes relatively inexpensive.

    However, nanomanufacturing techniques require cost and upscaling breakthroughs, and fuel cells need more cost effective material and manufacturing advances. It would be better to beef up Oregon's university system's engineering capabilities and get in on the ground floor of the future rather than be on the bleeding edge of installing the past. The state could even conceivably make money in partnerships for licensing any technological breakthroughs and collecting royalty payments that could recoup the initial investments.

  • Kurt Hagadakis (unverified)
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    and the nearly uncountable dollars that continue to pour into preserving our oil interests in the Middle East, s

    I agree. Account why you need two cars, and 2/3 of your trips! Account for why a 60 year old man with critical transport needs, that cooks every meal from scratch (moi) can bike everywhere, all the time, but you would be too incovenienced to follow suit. It's simple. They don't see the environment as the #1 critical thing to get done today. It comes after making sure the rugrats don't have to suffer the ignominy of the public school bus/transport, or taking FiFi for a bath at that special wash a doggery. "Liberals" want their lifestyle, their autonomy to act on stupid logic, AND a healthy environment. Oil isn't destroying the environment, you are, and you will again today. Send $20 to Greenpeace. There. I'm cool now.

    How about accouting for central air in new housing, renovations in old, often to please Portland pseudo-progressives? How about accounting for why people gravely concerned about the environment prefer to shop where it's air conditioned?

    And of course, the biggest money pit, fed by policy and keeping us an addict of cheap fossil fuel, is the major parties' absolute refusal to discuss our subsidizing population growth, via the tax code and countless government policies.

    Phase two of the greenwash has begun. Use it to get funding for pet projects. Don't EVER tell the electorate their thinking stinks. Let's get real. This approach will secure funding for pet projects, but it will not protect the environment. Do that first, as a pure motive, and if this is required, great. Working backwards from the conclusion to rationalize a particular bit, is no different that what the environmental terrorists on this blog do.

    I agree with Leslie's points. What I'm asking is, until you have shown a willingess, as a party, to address the systemic rot, why should I care about an individual, stopgap measure?

    India is full of environmentalists. Places, today, will hit 115F. They don't use AC, by and large. Until now, and like China, have to act western to feel like they're progressing. Now AC is coming in everywhere. If you took a stand, made it a very visible issue, you would affect millions and millions of Indians' behavior! Just tell me one thing that you could ever do that would help as much as million of people never adopting AC? No. You'll send $20 to help a local candidate instead, that will tweak energy policy, because the real possibilities imply change for you as well.

    Obama typifies the position. "We must do EVERYTHING we can to preserve the environment...but of course we can't kill the economy doing it". No, I'm sorry, but that is simply wrong, a denial of the facts on the ground. You must do everything to preserve the environment today, period. It is not an option to "temporarily" prioritize anything higher. If you can't have it both ways, then tough. Statements, that a priori set limits, without knowing the facts, are symptoms that the addict hasn't admitted that he is uncontrollably out of control. But that isn't electable. So you lie to get elected...then do what you said! Even pols' lies aren't to be relied on anymore!

    There's no single act that you will ever perform (except maybe dissuading Indians from using AC, or the Chinese cars), in your entire life, that is as supportive of the environment as not having that next child. How much have you reduced your carbon footprint? Double it every time you spit out another one. Frankly, I don't care what you do and what you support if you have five kids. Don't bother to recycle. It makes no difference compared to your blanks' fouling the environment with their meaningless lives.

    Solar is so obvious that any resistance is a reluctance to actually do things different. That is where the battle is, imho.

  • Jeff Cogen (unverified)
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    Thanks for the good post Leslie.

    Several commenters seem to think that solar photovoltaics don't really work in a cloudy place like Western Oregon. This is simply not true, and one of the myths Multnomah County's solar project is intended to debunk. In fact, the world's largest installed base of solar PV is in Germany, which is less sunny than Western Oregon.

    Yes, it is true that solar requires subsidies to compete, but it's important to remember that fossil fuels and nuclear power have for decades (and still today) received tens of billions of dollars in Federal subsidies... not even counting the hundreds of Billions of dollars we spend "securing" middle eastern oil sources with our military.

    There's also the matter of global warming and other massive environmental damages resulting from fossil fuel combustion that are true costs to our society, but not reflected in the price at the pump.

    Finally, solar energy is uniquely well positioned to power Oregon's economy. Because of our semiconductor industry we have a work force that is well trained for solar manufacturing, and Solarworld, Sanyo, PV Power and others are already providing more than 1,000 good paying jobs to Oregonians in solar manufacturing. There are dozens of smaller companies employing hundreds more in installation and servicing of solar projects. And the industry is still in it's infancy. The growth potential is enormous.

    Overall, when it comes to solar energy Oregon is poised to reap huge rewards from our early leadership, as long as we don't foolishly abandon our leadership position.

  • Jeff Cogen (unverified)
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    p.s.- Leslie is correct about what lowering the BETC from 50% to 30% would do to Multnomah County's solar project, and as I understand it, every other major solar project planned in Oregon: kill them. Fortunately, I'm told that Senator Burdick is planning on proposing changes to the legislation which would minimize it's impact on solar.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    i think we need to stop being so parochial about renewable energy. by "we", i mean all americans, and specifically in this conversation, we oregonians.

    i attended a climate change conference in washington dc recently that was sponsored by the sierra club. the speakers, to a person, were adamant that one of the largest obstacles to getting renewable energy up and running on a large scale in this country is the parochial attitudes of states.

    this sentence right here: "The essence of those amendments is to stop subsidizing big wind projects that produce few jobs after construction and send most of their power to California to meet the California Renewable Portfolio Standard. Oregon tax payers should not subsidize California rate payers."

    makes me crazy. oh yeah, let's not build large wind energy projects, but rather build small solar projects because we are concerned that californians might get something on our dime. way to save the environment! never mind the money that will come back to oregon ratepayers in the form of transmission wheeling charges.

    and i absolutely disagree with this obsession we have with bringing solar manufacturing as an industry into oregon. it is an unbelievably dirty, energy intensive energy. why are we so focusses on manufacturing solar panels and not wind turbines? it makes no sense to me.

    the problem with solar power in oregon is not that it is too cloudy, but that our power is too cheap, due to how much power we already get from renewable energy sources - hydro.

    i'm sorry, but i disagree with the original post. i don't think solar makes sense for oregon. it's too dirty, too energy intensive to begin with and it doesn't have as strong of a payback rate here as it does other places with higher rates.

    and by the way, if oregon had a steeper renewable energy standard, than less power generated by large wind energy projects would end up sold to california.

    this just makes me crazy. i'm all for green jobs and supporting the economy and all, but the notion that we should focus on solar because it maintains more jobs after construction and installation (read: is more expensive) compared to larger wind projects that actually produce more renewable energy is just missing the forest for the trees. maybe i'm the only one who stays awake at night worrying about global warming though...

  • Jeff Cogen (unverified)
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    Good news! I just got off the phone with Senator Ginny Burdick. She confirmed that she will be proposing a change later today to the current BETC bill that will completely protect solar in Oregon.

    Thank you Senator Burdick!!

  • Brian Collins (unverified)
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    I like renewable energy and solar is something that I would like to support, but I also feel that this state is not meeting its basic responsibilities to adequately fund K-12 schools, higher education, public safety, and human services. For now, I would like to see the priority placed on protecting those core state responsibilities in this difficult budget situation, rather than protecting the Business Energy Tax Credit from cuts.

    I guess I am somewhat skeptical about BETC because I once heard a manager from a BETC recipient organization claim that they would have done a particular project anyway even without the tax credit. I realize that is not the case for all projects, but it made me think that perhaps the oversight of this program is not as good as it should be.

  • (Show?)

    We're not going to change this overnight but I really think using tax credits as opposed to feed-in tariffs and direct investment mungs up the whole renewable energy effort. The Atlantic has an article by Joshua Green on renewables this month that I think is worth reading: this is the article

  • Jeff Cogen (unverified)
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    Feed-in tariff's are great, and have a track record in Europe of really amping up solar, so to speak. I'm all for moving in that direction. But we shouldn't undermine our current system until we have a new one in place.

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    I want to jump in here and second the point that solar works, even in Portland. We installed a solar thermal hot water system on our roof that has lowered our electric bills by about 25 percent (we have a lot of bodies to wash!) We're so impressed with the system--and the fact that it works even in winter--that we're installing PVs this summer. I'm hoping to get our electric bill cut in half.

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    I don't disagree with Jeff - I meant the part about not changing overnight.

  • solar panels (unverified)
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    Well.Solar energy is the best renewable energy solution at the moment.I think more solar panels will be installed as the price keeps dropping.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    steve, thanks for that link. that was a good read.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Here's a great link to a piece showing the huge energy consumption that's embedded in our "Green" assumptions about the future.

    http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/06/embodied-energy-of-digital-technology.html

    Turns out, the way to use less energy is to use less energy, not to purchase some whizzo device that simply uses a ton of energy to produce while apparently saving you energy at the usage point.

    The solar PV in Oregon people need to really ask whether those panels are best deployed here. If your willing to spend big buck to get solar PV, you could also spend big bucks to superinsulate your house, get triple glazed windows, LED lights and daylighting (sola-tubes), and even a ground-source heat pump (to go with your solar thermal hot water heater).

    Solar PV pays off if installed in remote, high solar insolation settings, on trackers, and is professionally maintained for optimal performance. Solar PV in Portland is pretty much status-seeking. The payback is not there -- the panels would be much more productive if installed elsewhere.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Wonderful (albeit long) piece by Dmitri Orlov, author of Reinventing Collapse, on our infatuation with nifty keen green stuff:

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2009/06/definancialisation-deglobalisation.html

    The idea of perpetuating the status quo through alternative means is all-pervasive, because so many people in positions of power and authority wish to preserve their positions. And so just about every proposal we see involves avoiding collapse instead of focusing on what comes after it. A prime example is the push to develop alternative energy. Many of these alternatives turn out to be fossil fuel amplifiers rather than self-sufficient resources: they require fossil fuel energy as an essential input. Also, many of them require an intact industrial base, which runs on fossil fuels. There is a pervasive idea that these alternatives haven't been developed before for nefarious reasons: malfeasance on the part of the greedy oil companies and so on. The truth of the matter is that these alternatives are not as potent, physically or economically, as fossil fuels. And here is the real point worth pondering: If we can no longer afford the oil or the natural gas, what makes us think that we can afford the less potent and more expensive alternatives? And here is a follow-up question: If we can't afford to make the necessary investments to get at the remaining oil and natural gas, what makes us think that we will find the money to develop the less cost-effective alternatives?
  • trishka (unverified)
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    george, i agree with your point that money is much better spent on energy efficiency measures rather than solar.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Lesile G:

    Solar will never replace oil, not in our lifetimes. Heavy equipment and many vehicles need oil to run - they don't run on Solar.

    George Anonymuncule Seldes:

    Heavy vehicles run GREAT on electric -- heavy freight haulers are called "trains" (look 'em up on wikipedia). Meanwhile, some of the most powerful construction equipment in the world is all-electric (used in mines).

    Bob T:

    Now that was a very disingenuous answer, George. Lesile G. (?) used the term solar, not electric. No one (not even Lesile G.) is saying that electricity cannot power such equipment or heavy vehicles, but merely pointing out that "solar powered" vehicles etc (i.e. with the panels and stuff directly attached) won't exactly work.

    She wasn't talking about vehicles using batteries that were charged elsewhere.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    George Anonymuncule Seldes:

    Cut the ethanol and biodiesel subsidies to zero and put the money into real solar.

    Bob T:

    Depends on the type of ethanol. Corn ethnol is a total waste of time, land, and money (not to mention costly to us all) because corn is not a very efficient crop to use as a biofuel, while sugar-cane ethanol is (corn ethanol reduces net greenhouse gases by 13% and sugar cane ethanol reduces this by 90%). Ethanol apparently costs about a buck a gallon and has 2/3rds the energy of gasoline.

    Even worse, because of the subsidies there's less corn available for food and and often costs more, and more land is switched to growing corn instead of soybeans and wheat which thus causes increases in soy and wheat products such as feed grains which thus leads to increases in the price of poultry and beef. That's the unseen cost, and one that I guess politicians will "solve" by handing out more in food stamps, which is not a solution but a curtain (i.e. one program must be created or enlarged to hide the problem caused by an earlier bright idea).

    Corn ethanol subsidies will continue down this rat hole because few, if any, politicians and serving lawmakers will challenge it (and with Iowa being a key early primary state they leave their integrity in Hew Hampshire - heck, even President Santos caved on that one. Such is the danger of all welfare).

    Brazil has a great climate for multiple yields of sugar cane year-round while North America and Europe does not, but a good alternative for our own source of biofuel can be some of the grasses that are being used. Bush mentioned swichgrass in one of his speeches, but the better grass to use is miscanthus (used in Europe as a fuel). An acre of that grass yields 1150 gallons per year compared to 354 gallons from an acre of corn.

    The only real problem is that being cellulose instead of the sugar or starch it cannot yet be efficiently converted to a liquid fuel. The solution being worked on is the use of bioengineered microorganisms to break down the cellulose to aid in converting the grass into ethanol or some other type of alcohol. The best alcohol biofuel we might use would be butanol which is close to gasoline in energy per gallon.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Leslie Carlson:

    but given the billions of dollars that have gone into subsidizing Big Oil over the years

    Bob T:

    One of the subsidies listed is: Construction and protection of the nation's highway system.

    That's not an oil subsidy any more than it would be had we been using electric, alcohol fuel, hydrogen, solar or even pedal cars this past century.

    The key fact to remember is that gasoline has a huge amount of energy per unit which is difficult to match. The government wants energy, too -- lots of it.

    And much of the military spending would probably be spent anyway, although Mid-east oil is not as large a percentage of our imported oil (most comes from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuala). We're actually subsidizing Europeans' oil supply.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • billy (unverified)
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    KH: I agree. Account why you need two cars

    JK: Because curtailing human development in any way, even for a moment is far worse than you can imagine. This planet isn't big enough for humans and nature, so buh-bye nature!

    I don't doubt that these environmentalists care. They care very deeply. They think natural is good, man made is bad. Forrest fires are natural and therefore good in their twisted minds. Man’s creations are not natural and thus bad. That is why they want us to abandon modern society and go back to the romantic age, dirty sweaty hippies! They are leftover romantics from before the age of enlightenment. If it feels right it is right. They tend to think there are too many people and it would be good if a few billion died. Many are childless and don't ever intend to pay their debt to society. Owen McShane, did a paper on this subject at: http://www.rmastudies.org.nz/documents/UrbanRomanticsUS.pdf. In person he goes a lot further.

    When you combine Owen’s observations, with rail hucksters, political lobbyists and politicians, identity politics for everyone except white men and animal rights numbnuts, I think that pretty much explains smart growth.

    I actually saw one of them get all sad over a breeder keeping lady bugs in the refrigerator. He appeared overcome with emotion that someone would do such a thing to innocent lady bugs, although it reportedly does not harm them - just slows them down. Later this person became a fugitive wanted for environmental terrorism. I am completely convinced that he believes all of it. (just so you don’t think I run in that crowd, this was at a political candidate’s debate and that conservation broke out near me - I listened in stunned silence.) The FBI has material on their website that explains how ALL domestic terrorism, even those that protect human life, originated out of the environmental movement.

    It's time to make a choice. People or nature?

    Thanks JK

  • Assegai Up Jacksey (unverified)
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    It's time to make a choice. People or nature?

    Thanks JK

    OK. Nature. Shit. You're too scrawny to have enough adipose tissue to power my waste-fat buring clean car!

    They are leftover romantics from before the age of enlightenment.

    Well, if anyone needed proof that JK lives in a world of delusion, he not only has his own version of environmental science, he has his own version of history as well!

    They tend to think there are too many people and it would be good if a billion died.

    No, that's backwards. I wish that a billion lived. How about we allow the same number that we have thought was OK for all other great apes, total. That would be about the population of Ft. Worth, Texas. Sounds more like it.

  • www.myshopbay.com (unverified)
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    I purchased the ralph lauren polo t-shirt for my friend as a gift and he was SO excited he wore it the very next day. When I asked him about how many compliments he received he just grinned. Apparently everyone loved it!

    While it's such a great shirt, just be such not to over wear it!

  • spaminator justice (unverified)
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    Since this blog refuses to deal with spam comments, I've introduced your URL to every spammer in the world.

    Ban JK and Wunderblunder or it gets worse.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Speaking of "solar" fuels, Seattle has woken up and stopped buying agrocropped biodiesel (diesel fuel produced from cultivated crops rather than "waste" streams -- although there are no unused streams of edible waste oils and fats anymore).

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Sorry, here's the link on that

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/407384_fuel19.html?source=rss

  • Nolan (unverified)
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    I think it is fantastic how we are using renewable energy and going green in so many ways. I think we also need to do things like reducing our energy usage, like installing geothermal heat pumps to replace high energy heating and cooling systems.

  • Nolan (unverified)
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    Thats a great article full of information. Thanks for sharing.

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