I have recently become an active participant on TheEnergyCollective.com. It is an interesting site that is aggregating commentary and blog feeds from diverse source that include Dan Yurman’s Idaho Samizdat and Joe Romm’s Climate Progress.
This morning I ran across a fascinating “inside baseball” post from Henry Gentenaar a managing partner at Reluminati, LLC. Henry had paid his $250, put on his tuxedo and attended what he called “a prom for the people who’ve been working to bring logic to the way America powers itself.”
The official title of the event was the Green Inaugural Ball. Al Gore hosted the event and AWEA (the American Wind Energy Association), SEIA (the Solar Energy Industries Association), and the Sierra Club among others paid part of the fees for the venue, the entertainment, and the drinks. I highly recommend a careful read of the post to find out more about the kind of people working in the green energy industry. (Hint: they are a lot like the people working in most other industries.)
Here is the quote from the post that qualifies it to be a “smoking pop gun”. (That is my new tag for a piece of direct evidence that anti-nuclear activity is being undertaken by someone in the energy business outside of coal, oil and gas. Those are the big three that qualify as toting real guns in the competitive battle against nuclear fission, all others are toting pop guns.)
There was the green advocacy non-profit staffer, hoping against hope that nuclear doesn’t make its way into the mainstream of energy choices. (“Let’s spend the money it takes to build one nuclear plant and spend it putting solar and small wind on every public school in the country.”)
There was business being done between all sorts of folks. There were discussions about the stimulus package and what it means for renewable energy. (Wanna know how much a particular lobbying firm tied to the Clinton administration is charging to get companies tied to the stimulus package? $15 grand a month for three months—no guarantees but they will help with PR along with the PA. I was told they haven’t had as many takers as they were expecting and may be putting together a ‘budget’ package).
As you might imagine, I left a comment:
Henry – thank you for the very interesting post about the ball to which I guess I would never be invited.
You see, I am one of those atomic advocates that scare the dickens out of people like that “green advocacy non-profit staffer” who is worried about letting nuclear power into the mainstream of energy choices. It is kind of funny – we both like emission free energy and I am sure that we both like clean air, clean water, and vast open spaces. At least, that is what “green advocacy” non-profits should like.
My problem with wind, solar, geothermal and even hydroelectric power is that they are simply not capable of pushing fossil fuels out of any market. All of them absolutely require back-up power sources to make up for times when they are not available and none are capable of direct use as motors for even large vehicles – unless you want to return to the days of clipper ships.
In contrast, atomic fission has pushed coal, oil and gas almost completely out of some fairly significant markets (French electricity, aircraft carrier and submarine propulsion in the US Navy, and icebreaker propulsion in Russia’s arctic fleet). It has also made enough progress in other markets to dramatically change the supply-demand balance and lower prices for all customers. Best of all, it actually prevents the emission of about 700 MILLION TONS of CO2 every year in the US compared to making electricity with coal. (The world total is 2.6 BILLION tons.)
One of the nice things about your post for people trained as critical readers is that you expose the fact that “green energy” is just another industry full of people out to make a buck. The snippets you provided tell us that there are at least some people in the industry who worry more about the competition than about actually making the world’s energy supply cleaner, more affordable and more reliable so that people can live better lives.