Right Opinion

Trouble Ahead

Joseph D'Aleo · Aug. 1, 2014

Last week the governors of the six New England states met in an emergency session at Bretton Woods, NH, to discuss what to do about the pending crisis.

What crisis? The increasingly likely failure of the electric grid leaving many or all of us in the dark and cold next winter, skyrocketing electricity and fuel costs and supply shortages for natural gas and heating oil. See this American Spectator piece to see why we should be worried…very worried.

This crisis is because of the enactment of energy policies based on failed science. In a hell-bent campaign to rid itself of any form of dirty, messy “non-renewable” energy, New England has been closing down coal and oil plants for the last decade. Cleaner natural gas and hydro power (the only reliable and cheap renewable) are at our doorsteps but there are forces blocking their entry into the region. New England doesn’t have the pipelines to bring in the gas. Nor is anyone going to allowed to build them, either. We are only a short distance from eastern Pennsylvania, the nation’s third largest overall energy producer. Yet a proposal by Sempra Energy of Houston to expand its existing pipeline from Stony Point, New York, has already met fierce resistance from people who want nothing more to do with fossil fuels or pipelines in their communities and construction is highly unlikely.

Last winter, when record low temperatures hit, there just wasn’t enough gas to go around. Prices skyrocketed from $4 to an unbelievable $79 per mBTU and electricity prices spiked to ten times their normal level. Just to put things in perspective, during the first four months of last winter, New England spent as much on electricity as in all of 2012. Average electricity rates in New England are already more than 40 percent higher than the national average and may soon be 150 percent higher.

Despite the shortages, pressure from green groups is forcing the shutting down of the Yankee nuclear plant in Vermont that provided 75% of Vermont’s and 4% of New England’s electricity. Last winter, we imported energy from New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant but Governor Cuomo and his fellow democrats are trying to close that too.

So the only “clean energy” left in New England is hydroelectricity – generated in Canada. The Canadians are indeed eager to sell to Americans. But that means building transmission lines down from the north and everyone is opposed to that as well. Northeast Utilities, which services much of New England, has been trying to build a Northern Pass transmission corridor since 2009 but environmental groups insist the lines be buried underground. Meanwhile, environmentalists have become so ambitious and well funded that they have bought up land and property rights in northern New Hampshire just to block its path. Plans to bury just eight miles of the 187-mile route have ballooned costs from $200 million to $1.4 billion and the project is years from completion – if ever.

Meanwhile, the EPA is shutting down coal-fired electricity generation across the country (at least two coal plants in our region) by enforcing air quality standards that are unnecessarily stringent (small particulates, their so called ‘carbon pollution’ is down 50% since 1999 and well under all existing standards) and impossible to meet.

These actions are increasing the likelihood of electrical grid failure. Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says “…the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”

The EPA also has banned the sale and more and more communities the use of many wood stoves that so many people use to heat their home or supplement their other sources to keep cost down. 

The same pattern that made last winter cold and this summer cool will cause another very cold winter in 2014/15 with the coldest shifted south and east. That would increase the chances of serious energy problems here in the northeast given all the issues above.

Rising electricity and fuel costs will force companies to move out of state or shut down or at the very least, slash staff. As we have said, rising energy costs will raise the cost of foods and all goods and services, hurting those on fixed income and the poor and middle class.

All of this is unnecessary. Agenda driven politicians are still pushing this based on failed science and the new anti-humanitarian environmentalism. See this powerful talk by Dr. Patrick Moore, the nations first ecologist and co founder of Greenpeace on the radicalization of the environmental movement.

You are not told winters in the U.S. (including all nine climate regions) and in northern Europe have cooled for 20 years. Temperature have not warmed for 20 years also in the tropics, where the CO2 models projected the steepest rises.

The demonized CO2 has proven to be hugely beneficial gas that has helped increase crop yields and plant growth, drought resistance and diminished water use. Ask any greenhouse owner, they pump CO2 into their greenhouses. All the bad things the models suggested would happen have not. The greenhouse theory has failed miserably and the frantic alarms proven unwarranted.

Quote by Chris Folland of UK Meteorological Office: “The data don’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations [for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions] upon the data. We’re basing them upon the climate models.”

Quote by Paul Watson, a founder of Greenpeace: “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”

Joseph D'Aleo is a Certified Consultant Meteorologist and Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

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