Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Anti-renewable IREA Says Conservation Bill Violates Its ‘Right to Dissent'

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) is out to lunch and taking a nap. There are several issues in this article by the Colorado Independent where IREA seems like they have an agenda that isn't in the interest of their consumers, nor the communities that surround their coal-fired electricity plants. They're agenda seems to me to be a little too much of "don't tread on me" when they need a little more, "do the right thing."

I had a gander at IREA's website and lo and behold right on their homepage towards the bottom is a bit of revealing information. They attack global warming and climate change with the title, "Is Earth Entering Another Cooling Cycle?" We can debate the semantics and science of whether the Earth is warming, cooling, or doing nothing at all. Whatever the case may be (and we will see), you cannot deny the fact that electricity created by coal-fired power plants is horrible for the air we breathe and water we drink. It is a fact. Coal is dirty. And even though we can't see the particulates in the air or coal slurry that is seeping into our water supplies, it is still affecting our bodies. I bet IREA would deny that as well.

Now as I've said before we cannot just turn off the coal-burning power plants. I've discussed it in my recent post, "There Is No Such Thing As Clean Coal". The need for base load power is critical. But this is not an excuse to refuse the implementation of other options in energy generation. To attempt to appeal to IREA's base instincts, implementing renewable energy to supplement the power supply makes good business sense for a few reasons. It's sustainable, it comes from a renewable resource (sun and wind), it's good for our health, there is an infinite supply (all fossil fuels are finite), sun and wind are easier to harvest (as opposed to digging mines or removing from mountain tops), renewables will become cheaper than coal, and due to the great technological minds in this country, renewable sources will eventually produce more output power than coal.

This article and the attitude of IREA makes me think that they are more interested in putting a stick in the eye of environmentalists/climate change advocates rather than exploring ways of supplementing their customer's energy supply with renewable energy.

Oh and one more thing. Smoking was once acceptable and even advocated by doctors and nurses in magazine advertisements. We now know that smoking kills, not to mention all of the horrible side-effects from diseases such as arteriosclerosis, emphysema, and lung or throat cancer. So just as smoking was once acceptable and then found to be horrible for the human body, I predict that one day we will look at burning coal to provide us with electricity as brutal and depraved.

Wake up IREA, your actions lead us to believe that you've been sleeping since the 1930s.

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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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