Archive for Denver Metro

Investing in renewable Energy workshop, Oct 17

I’ll be teaching a workshop on “Investing in Renewable Energy”on Tuesday, October 17, from 6 to 8 pm, at the National Renewable Energy LaboratoryPhoto of NREL Visitors Center Visitor’s Center in Golden (pictured).  This will be geared towards people who do not have a lot of experience in the financial markets, and I’ll cover several different approaches to take depending on your sophistication, risk tolerance, and investable assets.

There should also be plenty of time for quesiton and answer.

The workshop is sponsored by the Colorado Energy Science Center, who provide workshops and information to the public on Energy Efficiency for the public.  They also publish Smart Energy Living,

 an excellent magazine which explains how your home uses and wastes energy, and gives you the tools to make educated choices.

The workshop cost $10 at the door, or $5 for Smart Energy Living or Colorado Renewable Energy Society members.  All revenues go to support CESC.

Space is limited, so make sure to Register if you plan to attend.

Directions to the NREL Visitor Center are here.

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Watts and Revolts- more Intermountain Rural Electric controversy

 

In the September issue  of Watts & Volts, IREA management attempts to make three arguments:

  1. They say the investment in Comanche 3 will save their customers money relative to gas generation.
  2. “There is no way to produce large amounts of reliable power without CO2.”
  3. They attempt to brand members who oppose their actions as extreme environmentalists who want to ruin our economy and send us back to the Stone Age by imposing gigantic taxes on CO2 emissions.

None of these arguments hold water.  I will deal with each in the order I’ve listed them above. Read the rest of this entry »

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National (and Colorado) Tour of Solar Homes, October 6

Note: This post was originally for the 2006 Tour. The 2007 Tour of Solar Homes will be on October 6, 2007. See the original post after the break.

———————Info about 2007 Tour of Solar homes————————

Colorado Solar Tour link
Colorado Tour of Solar Home Flyer
For Southwest Colorado, there’s some info on the SWCRES website.
For Fort Collins area tour, see NCRES Website
For other states, go to the National Solar Tour link

———————Info about 2006 Tour————————
Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting Steamed about Global Warming

I need to rant.  A local co-op utility, IREA, just south of the
Denver metro area, just came up with $100,000 of their rate payer’s money to a
global warming apologist.  See an article about it at the Denver Post.  Fortunately, the reporter had the good sense to go to my friend and associate Phil van Hake, who was very clear about how idiotic this is.

Just to set the record straight:

  1. Global warming is not longer controversial in scientific circles.  Just read any relevant publications from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.   I chose them simply because they are government funded, and considering the stance of our government, they’d probably pooh-pooh global warming, too, if it were possible to do so and still maintain some shred of scientific integrity.  If that’s not a good enough source, I was just reading the latest issue of the Economist, (hardly an environmentalist rag), and where they discuss the continuing heat wave in much of the US.  No, we can’t absolutely attribute this particular heat wave to global warming, but the pattern of erratic and hotter weather is completely consistent with climate change models.
  2. Suppose you’re playing dice, and your opponent keeps on getting lucky rolls.  You might assume his luck is due to chance, but if someone later tells you that he was caught with loaded dice, do you then think to yourself, “He seemed like a really nice guy.  I’m sure he was unjustly accused.”?   That’s the game we’ve been playing with climate change: luck has not been going our way, and most reputable scientists are telling us the dice are loaded.  Isn’t it time to get up from the table and cut our losses?
  3. IREA is a CO-OP.  It should be spending money trying to increase the welfare of its members.  Instead, it’s spending their money lying to them.  When Exxon lies to us, at least I understand their management is doing it because they believe that those lies will lead to greater profits for their shareholders. 
    I think they (the Exxons of the world) are wrong, because when public opinion catches up with scientific reality, we will start enforcing strict carbon emissions standards, and companies that are not prepared for that eventuality will be hurt.  But IREA has no such excuse: they exist to serve their members.
  4. IREA is not alone in giving Pat Michaels moneyin his attempts to debunk climate change.  He’s an industry apologist, and does bad science.  Michaels has a history of threatening to sue people who say this sort of thing about him.  I’d love to have this discussion with him in a public forum such as a court of law.
  5. Here are some other sites having discussions about this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/disinformation-you-want-it-ireas-got-it/; http://mountainpower.blogspot.com/

8/7/06– Colorado is far from alone in having to deal with obstructive government.  I just read a scathing editorial by RENEW Wisconsin  Executive Director Michael Vickerman on a so-called planning report from the Wisconsin PUC.  Wall Street has woken up to the need for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and main street is not far behind, but that does not mean that the bureaucrats are are going to wake up and smell the coffee any time soon.  What we have here are people who made up their minds long ago about coal-fired power generation, have supported coal as the “least cost” alternative for decades, and now that the facts have changed, they are fighting a furious rear-guard action to justify their past mistakes. 

To quote Stan Lewandowski, IREA General Manager, “A carbon tax or a mandatory market-based greenhouse regulation system would erode most, if not all, of the benefits of the coal filed generation.”   That is absolutely true.  If the true costs of coal fired generation were taken into account (which is what a carbon trading system, tax, or regulations should be designed to do), coal would have no price advantage.  Only someone wedded to coal as a generation technology would think this was a bad thing.

To quote John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change.  What do you do, Sir?”

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