Drill, baby, drill?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On a recent Spring day Germany generated over 50 percent of its energy from solar:

Germany, with 1.4m PV systems, generated a peak of 23.1GW hours at lunchtime on Monday 9 June, equivalent to 50.6% of its total electricity need. According to government development agency Germany trade and invest (GTAI), solar power grew 34% in the first five months of 2014 compared to last year.

This is truly amazing and shows what can be done with some wise infrastructure investments and a willingness to tell your local Coal Barons to "suck it". Oh wait, that particular Koch – Colorado's own Bill - has seemingly moved on from coal, while Colorado has most decidedly not and still relies on coal for 66% of its energy

The recent fire and power outage at Colorado Springs' Drake Power Plant has given the city, and the state in my humble opinion, an opportunity to turn its eye towards the future.

But many local business leaders just can't see the obvious benefits of a solar-powered Springs:

The 12 options the City Council is considering for Drake include the costs of building a replacement power source, adding renewable energy, offering demand-side management incentives and adding to Front Range natural gas plant. The best financial option is to keep Drake open for 30 years, according to the consultant's report. Utilities would see a more than $200 million return on its investment.

When Drake is decommissioned, Utilities will need to build a replacement power source, which most likely would be a gas-fired plant. Coal-fired power is produced at roughly half the cost of gas-fired power, but is dirtier.

Utilities is spending about $121 million to install scrubber technology at Drake to meet environmental standards. In June, the Obama administration released a draft of The Clean Power Plan, which calls for reducing carbon dioxide emission at power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

More than 30 coal-fired plants have closed across the county in the wake of strict Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including emission control.

As an astute politician once said, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money." That observation and its ramifications here are quite clear. But, besides coal, there is also Colorado's unnatural reliance on hydraulically fractured natural gas and its "clean" fuel — that comes at such a high environmental and human cost.

No news here, but our own Gov. Hickenlooper is a giant fan of fracking. Sadly, news on that front is often troubling as our reliance on coal and our eternal slowness is moving to new energy technologies.

Officials shut drilling waste well after 2nd quake 

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) – Colorado regulators have ordered the shutdown of an oil and gas wastewater disposal well east of Greeley after seismologists detected two earthquakes in the area in less than a month.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission directed High Sierra Water Services to stop injecting water into the well after a team of University of Colorado seismologists recorded a 2.6-magnitute earthquake Monday afternoon. The team began monitoring the region after a 3.4-magnitude earthquake May 31.

And……..

Man found dead at oil and gas site in Greeley

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) – Authorities are investigating after a 57-year-old Greeley man collapsed and died at an oil and gas site in the tiny northern Colorado town of Gill.

Sheriff's deputies were called to the site near the intersection of Weld County roads 68 and 69 at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. John McNulty was pronounced dead at the scene.

It's long past time for Colorado to use its significant natural resources to power its not insignificant human resources. I'd bet my bottom dollar we could easily top Germany's recent record with enough wind and solar generators located in our fair state. (Maybe with wind alone, have you felt that stuff blow through here?!?!?)  

But, it'll never happen with a Governor so fond of fracking, with business leaders so leery of investing, and with voters so dismissive of science and nature. 

Our energy problems have been obvious for many years now. The answer to me, my friends, is blowing in the wind….

Zappatero

About Zappatero

Just a guy with a keyboard trying to get CO's Dems to support key Democratic and Progressive policies.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Great post and info, Zap.  About two years ago I arranged a meeting in CoSprings between some of your utility and council guys with a billion-dollar electronics company, a former CIA Director and Doyle Beneby of Citizens Public Service.  This was early on in the Martin-Drake debacle.  The electronics firm was looking for a city to host their US headquarters/operations (they are investing heavily in battery and solar technologies), Doyle had already put San Antonio on the glide path to 'green', with his first order of business as CEO to kill a proposed coal plant.  The ex-Director was working closely with the military on creating regional opportunities for expanding their 'net zero' accomplishments at Ft. Carson. Long story very short – there just wasn't any interest. 

    The majority of the council was so hell-bent on proving that angry old white men burn coal (and they weren't about to give the Obama Administration a 'win' in the green debate) they couldn't see the potential (apparently even now) of transitioning CoSprings to one of the first major American cities to go green.  It's sad – there is nothing but potential south of Monument Hill – all the way to Pueblo – to create an economic renaissance around a 21st-century energy economy.  All you need is elected leaders that can extract themselves from a 19th century mindset (and I understand what a tall order that is for the Pikes Peak Region).

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      PS: I meant to include that Beneby was present because he was interested in making a 'sister city' connection with CoSprings.  They both have very similar military-based economies, and at that time CPS had already successfully brought a handful of clean energy companies in to the city with RFP's issued by their own municipal utility.  He thought a cooperative approach would be a win for both cities.

  2. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    The answer to me, my friends, is blowing in the wind….

    Yup, I agree. It sure as hell isn't coming out of an exhaust pipe…

  3. ajb says:

    I'd just like to point out that, if I recall correctly, Germany was in the middle of a heat wave at the time that the record was set. Yes, that means clear skies, but it also means high demand. Yet, somehow, the grid didn't fall to its knees and collapse in a shower of sparks. 

  4. ohwilleke says:

    Germany doesn't have widespread use of air conditioning, because a summer heat wave by German standards is a pleasant late spring day by Colorado standards, and because it is much more expensive to do so.  The average high temperature in late June in Berlin is about 73 degrees F, and on June 9, it was in the high 80s.

    • ZappateroZappatero says:

      Germany is in a higher lattitude than mainland U.S. This might indicate less sun for them, but their percentages are astounding.

      Wouldn't our position closer to the equator guarantee us an even better return on investment?

  5. DaninDenDaninDen says:

     A history worth remembering and is perhaps being repeated, in 1966-67, The US Army was deposing of waste from decommissioned WWII chemical agents( read what you will here) at the Rocky Mt Arsenal , North of 58th ave in Denver, via deep well injection(to a depth of 80,000ft., if memory serves well. The upshot was a series of (3-4 Richter scale) minor quakes rattling windows and residents. Not in my backyard! Was the hue & cry; the injection well ceased, so did the quakes.

  6. DaninDenDaninDen says:

    Norway is profiting nicely from its 2.3 billion expenditure in the Baaken Shale.  ( they aquired fracking technology by buying Bingham Oil drilling) More famous for its explot of share of North seas oil. Their oil company is nationalized, providing cradle to grave amenties we only argue endlessly about, & probably never see in our life times. Dang socailists poaching in our back yard, where art thou, flag draped tea bagged patriots with 7th grade reading skills?

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      They (the Norwegians) are now moving onto Colorados' western slope with Frams' proposal to drill the slopes of the Grand Mesa. The fragile airshed of Palisade and the agriculture it supports is about to take a hit. As I read the BLMs' EA, they (Fram) have no plans to use green completions or closed loop systems to prevent loss of metahe and VOCs. Palisade farmers should prepare for losses in production if this drilling proposal is successful and goes beyond the exploratory stage.

      We are working hard to get air monitoring in place before drilling ramps up.

  7. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    USDA-ARS has already completed one study on Colorado crops and the negative impacts on corn and wheat from fugitive methane emissions.  Perhaps you can get your Rep Scotty to find funding for the emerging western slope issue?  Let's just say this: if you live in a red or orange area on this map and you are a farmer, it's not a good thing…

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