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Wow! Normally I find myself nodding in agreement with the "view" of the Pilot in these types of articles. Not this one. Let it be said publically that the view of 6 editorial board members for small newspaper in Steamboat Springs does not represent the view of our community in aggregate.
You've missed many of the complexities surrounding this issue
Consider a few things.
There are carrots (opportunities and market based incentives) and sticks (mandates, regs and penalties) in this equation. Your "view" completely ignores the many obvious carrots out there and only complains about the EPA's new stick. Of course, non of us like the stick especially when we all love to let freedom ring.
There are a lot of carrots out there.
Natural gas fire power plants are cleaner and cheaper than aging expensive coal fired power plants. It has been a long time since our country opened a new coal fired power plant. Peabody is one of 4 primary coal companies in the US angling toward bankruptcy. Share price is down 89% YTD, check it out (BTU), on the verge of delisting by the NYSE. With only 4% of our electricity generated from wind and solar, how can you make the argument that the EPA's efforts are a bad thing for the state, meaning our coal industry. It's is dying all by itself, not at the hands of renewables but by the new cost effective opportunities coming from clean and plentiful natural gas.
Distributed Generation (which is a big word for renewable energy adoption by utiltities) is now on par with coal on cost alone. Solar and wind costs have dropped nearly 70% in the last three years. Did you notice? Market pricing is driving the global effort to adopt DG chising down those carrots. Strangely, in most countries outside the us, where they have no such entity as the EPA, you'll find the percentage of power generated by renewable energy to much much higher, nearly 25% in most of Europe. But here in the US, our politics and "views" are so wildy influenced by the traditional fossil fuel industry, that we can't seem to catch up with the rest of the world - the EPA sees this, the Steamboat Pilot does not.
How about electric cars? With gasoline at multi-year lows, why are so many car manufactures proudly announcing the rollout of their super cool new electric, or hybrid electic vehicles? They see the growth, they see the opportunity, they see the publics' demand for these vehicles as a new market for them. Battery costs are dropping dramatically making electric car options more cost effective and competitive. Tesla just rolled out the new Power Wall home battery. Again, did you notice? This is the front edge of a massive evolution in how we produce and consume power for our homes and transportation. There are positive, cost effective, market driven carrots everywhere.
Yet your view wants us to look only at the EPAs new stick.
Open your eyes a bit folks
I wanted to reply briefly to Nora's comment above asking if this type of thing shouldn't be pay for via the "Technology tax". I think you are referring to the Steamboat Education Fund that derives money from a .50% sales tax. Info can be found here www.steamboateducationfund.org. The fund does provide significant financial support to the school district including spending on technology, but it is not a "technology tax". And as the article states, a large portion of the funding for the SSHS Makerspace program was provided by the education fund. just a quick clarification
Jayne does indeed have something "messing with her community". Unfortunately, it is not Fat Tire Beer, nor is it the Wild Earth Guardians. It is the fact that natural gas has fallen from $5/ MmBTU to almost $2.5/ MmBTU in under a year. What? Let me help. Coal is not on the brink because of regs or environmental groups. It is simple economics as the massive glut of supply in natural gas has driven, utilities and countries across the globe to shift to a more economical source of primary fuel for electricity. Coal simply cannot compete with nat gas on a cost basis especially considering delivery costs (coal trains not cheap). And thus the demand for coal continues to fall year after year as it has for nearly a decade.
We are all sympathetic to coal towns and the coal industry under such obvious pressure with several major coal producers on the edge of bankruptcy. Pulling beer from shelves is an angry act. It tells me that there is now some acceptance of this end game with the pointy finger looking to find blame somewhere/ someone. At least we've move to this second stage of the process (read- On Death and Dying, 1969 Kubler-Ross)
Just keeping in real
I happen to glance at the blogs following my letter and got a good chuckle. Scott and Steve thanks for your relevent comments. Others, I don't know how you managed to take the theme of my comments and twist it into a surmon about Fed stimulus. Why does the value of a property go up? As any realtor will tell you there are lots of reasons. Predominantly, they are supply and demand issues, location as well as individual property features. The gist of my letter was about who should pay for improvements to those property features (re read if necessary).
keep it real fellas or folks will simply tune you out
Fred you forgot to include the following in your list of those "waging war" on coal:
and the air
BTW, do you understand how on-line advertising works? Diane has no secret control over the timing or placement of her repeating messages on-line.
Join us in the 21st Century!
Scott, we are talking about complete installation costs as well as 25 years of maintenance built in. You get that right? plumbing supplies are cheap off the shelf as well but that's never your finished cost is it? Perhaps you are the Uber DIY guy. Good for you. But for the rest of us, we don't have the time or knowledge.
We have committed to the array for our personal home and I can say without a doubt, you will not find a better deal, either in up front costs or annual maintenance expenses. Of course I did the research, got bids to do a home install, etc and even after the tax rebate from the Fed, it's still about $1.00/ watt less by going with the community array. Folks, make no mistake, this is the last stop to participate in solar for under $3.00/ watt. This pricing does factor in the 30% tax credit and that tax credit is going away in 2016. Prices of solar panels are already on the rise after hitting an all time low in late 2012. The real cost difference comes down to the economy of scale of participating in a giant array with a volume deal on installation, permitting, connection fees, etc. Every builder in town knows that price/ sq foot drops with a larger project. This is no different. I wish I could buy more than 120% of our annual KWH usage (which we did to accomodate a plug in vehicle)
Don't forget that this is not a consumption item as mentioned. This is an investment in your home, one that will save you money every month, and ultimately pay you back handsomely on the sale of your property (yes homes without electric bills sell for more money). Solar panel installations are increasing at double digit rates, 20-30% in some countries, and have been for the last 8 years. Could so many have it all wrong? Are all of these people, businesses, municipalities, governments and countries just making bad investments?
I agree with the paper that the county and city have missed their chance to lead on this one. In their defense, it seems there are a lot of politics involved and both have a lot on their plate as is. I hope they might reconsider at a different time.
Reading these posts, I also understand there is a serious lack of knowledge and education about solar in our community. We probably need more help and information in general.
Get em while they're ..... hot :-)
Not sure what you're referencing in terms of permit fee cost differences between counties, I have no idea. Perhaps you got that from another source? Cost to participate in CEC solar array is - as Tim said - almost 1/3 what everyone was paying a few short years ago and the fact that the county can take advantage of the Fed tax credit in the current pricing is an opportunity (lost). Municipalities can't get tax credits as non tax paying entities of course - but via the Community solar array, they can.
County should do this now, the next array will be more expensive as tax credits expire in 2016 and solar prices are already on the rise. $2.75/watt will be one of those costs that we look back on and say, wow, why didn't we buy more at that price.
I think CEC would be very wiling to share contract info with the county. I think I have seen them all personally (Power purchase agreement with YVEA as well as contract with CEC). Are they looking for some other contract?
No surprise at the comments on this one. Tim, thanks for your thoughtful and realistic views shared by a growing number of local residents. I always find the "More like this story" articles interested, especially this one from one year ago when Craig Station was ranked #1 (for carbon pollution in the state)
With that said, we should recognize that Craig Station is and has been working hard over the last year to become more clean as a carbon based facility. The badge of #1 polluter in the state obviously didn't sit well with anyone. Regulations, public opinion, rising costs of coal extraction and transport are all contributing to current adverse environment for the coal industry and power facilities. Yes, these trends are hard on the aging coal industry, related workers and local economies. But the tide is coming in locally, nationally, globally as the more efficient, lower impact world of distributed clean energy gradually replaces our legacy power systems. Workers will retrain themselves and find other work in new clean energy industries, which are contributing regularly to our nation's employment recovery. This too shall pass.
click on the link above "Our view" in which the Pilot expressed an opinion that our community did not need a sustainability coordinator way back in may of 2007. This is the not the time, they opined. Now, with perfect hindsight, we know that 2007 was in fact The Time to move forward with our community's sustainability efforts. Other mountain towns did so, took advantage of enormous available grants, both at the state and Federal level, developed an environment that was attractive for progressive clean tech and clean energy companies to do business (Carbondale, Garfield) and are now reaping the rewards 7 years later. Up here in NW CO, we are just barely scratching the surface of what can and should be done and I applaud the cities renewed committment to sustainability. We should all expect there to be a vocal few who can't handle change as well as others but clearly this is the right direction, if not a little late! Cheers
Last login: Wednesday, November 4, 2015
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