Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Sun is Shining on Colorado, Thanks to Gov. Ritter

A nice article that goes into a little more detail on the ConocoPhillips' recently announced renewable energy research hub in Louisville, Colorado and how Governor Ritter is leading the charge to make Colorado the renewable energy capital of the United States, if not the world. The article, "Research Hub Boosts Colorado Economy," via CNN Money covers much of the groundwork that leaders in Colorado are laying to create economic growth here in that industry.

The only problem I have with the article is that the author decided to get a dissenting opinion from Jon Caldera of the rapidly-dwindling-in-influence, Independence Institute. The goal of this "institute" is to demonize any form of government or as Grover Norquist said, "to get it (government) down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub". Now, in the article Caldera is quoted as saying this:

"As long as there's no government subsidy or corporate welfare, I think it's fantastic," said Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank. "Unfortunately, renewable energy is one of the largest recipients of corporate welfare. What government does for one industry it needs to do for all."

Perhaps the author did some selective editing and took Mr. Caldera's quote out of context. But as it stands above Caldera contradicts himself in just three sentences. In the first sentence he doesn't want government subsidies or corporate welfare. And then in the third sentence he implies that if there are subsidies or corporate welfare that there needs to be welfare for ALL industries. Now aside from the lunacy of subsidizing every industry the United States has, Mr. Caldera contradicts himself because he says, "What government does for one industry it needs to do for all." Perhaps Mr. Caldera was being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but whatever the case it doesn't help the dialogue. Plus channeling some taxpayer money to this developing industry will help Colorado move faster towards energy independence, create jobs, generate revenue, and help us develop energy forms that are not toxic to our increasingly stressed environment.

Oh and where did he get his statement, "renewable energy is one of the largest recipients of corporate welfare"? Sounds sufficiently vague and false to me.

I'll get off my soapbox now. Let's celebrate the fact that Governor Ritter is guiding Colorado on a path towards the future and not towards the past. Right on!

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Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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