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Guest Column

April 12, 2014

The anti-pipeline crowd won't win

At the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s hearing in Oneonta on April 1, the antis continued their obstruction of anything fossil-fuel related.

This time the Constitution Pipeline was the target of their usual litany of devastation, destruction, noise/fumes/traffic/crime, explosions, etc. etc. The skin falling off milking cows was a nice touch. The collapse of the arctic ice sheets was another. Those who chose to stay on message claimed the 950-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement was “inadequate” and needs to be studied and re-studied by agency after agency, who should then pass their studies to other agencies. In other words — DELAY.

OK, we get it. The antis don’t like gas. If not gas — what?

Renewables, of course, and the antis have a plan. It calls for 17,000 off-shore/on-shore windmills, 1,200 solar plants, 5 million photovoltaic rooftop units, and a sci-fi wish list of wave/tidal/geothermal/hydroelectric projects. All of this will power ... New York. Sorry, New Jersey. You’re on your own!

Aside from the non-existent electrical storage technology and the mind-boggling electric grid adaptation, there’s the little matter of astronomical capital costs and the huge, eternal life support of subsidies, tax credits, rebates, mandates, et al., to enable an energy system that will last ... twenty years? That’s its efficiency life-cycle.

OK! OK! Let’s say money is no object, we can magically wish storage and transmission technology into existence, and we’ll re-build the whole thing in twenty years. How about it then?

One small problem (among many): if it’s impossible to get a windmill spinning in Meredith, does any sane person think Amagansett, Rhinebeck, Syosett or Niskayuna will be elbowing their way to the front of the windmill line? Lots of luck getting site plans approved for thousands of industrial-scale, view-shed spoiling, shadow-flickering white noise machines that kill birds. I can just see the local hearings now. The horror! The horror!

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