Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tells the Colorado Oil and Gas Association that Wind and Solar Plants are Gas Plants

On July 8, 2010, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave a lunchtime speech at Energy Epicenter, the annual conference of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. That speech provides a number of insights that are useful to those who are concerned about energy issues, concerned about the environment, and interested in the activities of power brokers who stand to make a great deal of money if important energy decisions favor their particular industry.

In this clip, Kennedy offers music to his audience’s ear. He describes how he is involved as a director on the board of a large clean energy venture capital fund and how one of the companies funded by that group is building large solar thermal installations that will represent a substantial market for gas whenever the sun is not shining.
As he says at the end of the clip:

For all of these big utility scale power plants, whether it’s wind or solar, everybody is looking at gas as the supplementary fuel. The plants that we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants are gas plants.

Aside: During the clip he also hugely exaggerates both the cost and the time required to build a large nuclear power plant. According to Kennedy, a 1 GWe nuclear plant would take 15-20 years to build and cost $15-$20 billion. End Aside.

I wonder what he tells his ardent supporters in the environmental community who have been taught to believe that wind and solar energy are actually replacing fossil fuels? Does he tell them that utility scale wind and solar installations are simply a means to shift some of the market demand and profits away from the coal industry and to natural gas suppliers? Does he mention just how much natural gas is produced by the same large multinational companies that import most of our foreign oil and who pay little in the way of US taxes?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the founder of Waterkeeper, an organization that is currently working diligently to shut down the Indian Point Nuclear Power Station. The most likely replacement fuel would be natural gas.

Update: Posted February 11, 2012 – If you want to keep up with the progress being made on the solar thermal power plant that Kennedy described in the above video, there is an excellent timeline posted at http://ivanpahsolar.com/ End Update.

Update: Posted March 27, 2013 – As of February 27, 2013, the constructors at Ivanpah solar claimed that the plant was 84% complete and that they had achieved “first flux” a milestone on which several hundred mirrors were focused on the tower, raising water temperature to below the boiling point. End Update.

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11 Responses to “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tells the Colorado Oil and Gas Association that Wind and Solar Plants are Gas Plants”

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  1. DV82XL says:

    Well at least they are being open about it, I guess. The positive thing about insiders making statements like this, is that we don’t sound like conspiracy nutbars when we accuse the fossil fuel industry of the same thing. These days that can be a big hurdle to overcome when trying to convince others that all is not green on the renewable side of the hill.

  2. John says:

    Former Senator Tim Wirth made a similar statement to the Colorado Oil and Gas association. Colorado is a focal point because of a lot of natural gas being extractor there and Colorado is adopting a 30% renewable energy standard. The irony is that a proposed uranium mill in Western Colorado is facing a lot of opposition even though the environmental damage from natural gas is much greater. Lately when I visit my home town of Durango, I notice that the country side looks like it has a bad case of acne with all the gas wells. Many of these are on private property where the property owner has no right to stop a company from putting the well there.

  3. RaySquirrel says:

    Is this the same Robert F. Kennedy who spread the unfounded claim that thymarosol in vaccines causes autism? Despite the fact that thymarosol has not been an ingredient in vaccines in the US since 1998, and even older longitudinal studies from Scandinavia discovered no correlation to exposure to thymarosol and autism, there are now trends of parents who are not vaccinating their children. Because of this man’s advocasy work, herd immunity in the united states has been compromised and children in the US are now again dying from vaccine preventable diseases. Why is it the most ill-informed who are loudest speakers?

    • Brian Mays says:

      Yes. He has been beating that dead horse as recently as this year.
      The man is truly a mental midget. He’s also a hypocrite (e.g., Cape Wind) and a conspiracy theorist as well. If his last name wasn’t Kennedy, he’d be just another heroin-addict and ex-con. Instead, the US has to be afflicted with his nonsense.

      • John says:

        If he wasn’t a Kennedy, he probably would have been shot at least one of the many times he sailed his boat up the Indian Point Nuclear power plant while trying to show how unprotected the plant was. I can just hear the conversation between the security guards, “wait! Don’t shoot….it’s just another Kennedy”.

        • Brian Mays says:

          “I can just hear the conversation between the security guards, ‘wait! Don’t shoot….it’s just another Kennedy.'”
          Followed quickly by, “He’s probably just drunk. Simply keep him off of any bridges, and he should be OK.”

    • Steve says:

      I like to think of it as an unintended blessing; some people are both so obnoxiously loud and offensively stupid as to let the whole conspiracy out of the bag. As in this case, RFK Jr. and natural gas. More clever people in his position do not make it a point to outright highlight the linkage between “renewables” and natural gas. In this sense then, Mr. Kennedy has done some of the heavy lifting for us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I suppose the environmentailists would probably argue they are making a nod to practicality: better to burn natural gas (the cleanest-burning of the fossil fuels), a fraction of the time, than to burn coal and oil-products 100% of the time.
    It does seem a shame that they completely avoid nuclear as an alternative for ‘baseload’ power.

  5. harlz says:

    The only reason anybody pays the slightest attention to this guy is: 1) he’s a Kennedy, and (not coincidentally) 2) he’s rich.
    Wonder if the enviro-minded folks that live over the Marcellus shale fields know what Frackin’ Bob is up to?

    • Rod Adams says:

      @harlz – If you get into any conversations with them on the web, now you know a place where you can send them to find out how Bobby talks to the gas industry.