Thursday, February 27, 2014

Topeka after action report

Two postings down is the set up piece.  So, now the report.  I ask for 6 appointments, got 3, 1 stood me up, but I walked in on several more successfully, I think I talked with 9, had a set down long talk with 4.
These poor bastards have been fed a raft of misinformation and lies from the fossil fuel trolls, and ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, both Koch run groups.  The primary lie is that wind energy raised our (KS) electric bills 15 times the last few years.  It has not, the mandate for more wind and solar has an escape valve in it.  If it would raise the rates 1%, (1 stinking percent) it would be ended then and there.  It has not even come close to a 1% increase.  All those rate increases are the increasing cost of fossil fuel, and for cleaning up the smoke stacks.
One crusty old GOP senator told me wind raised the rates and I said "not true" he said "is true" we did that 3 times in rapid fire then suddenly he said "your right, but it's OSHA that raised rates (he means by forcing smokestack scrubbers) cause Obama hates coal".  So you see some of these fucks know the truth but will spread the lie.  I know when to take the victory I seek and sluff-off the rest.  My response was to reinforce what he just admitted, and discount the rest as something outside of our focus.  I said "That right, I see you do understand wind energy is the lowest cost wholesale energy our utilities can buy.  This bill before you has a single goal, to inhibit access to additional low cost energy?  Why would you do that?"  I don't think I changed his vote, but I know he knows that I know he understands the truth, I have to believe it makes him squirm a little in that dirty skin, things eat on people sometimes.

Of those I saw, I think I changed one GOP mind on this, last year we had a similar day with legislators and I was told by one GOP that I converted him on this, we won that vote, but Koch's never stop trying.

One thing all of these guys threw out at me with great satisfaction and a sort of that trumps everything swagger.  "Wind cannot be counted as baseload" they gloat.  In case you don't know, baseload is the reserve power spraying through the wires, it's the nuke or coal plant running full tilt all night just in case a bunch of us get up and turn a light on at 3.  The juice has to already be there in case we want it.  Utilities and grids have agreements within regions to help one another supply this over supply, the just in case power necessary to have a reliable infrastructure.  Because wind  and sun are not constant these regional electric pools did not count the resource as baseload, meaning they might not be able to junk a dirty power plant because of baseload requirements.  But...times change.  The 9 state Southwest Power Pool I am in now counts a portion of the renewables overall capacity as baseload.  Same with the Texas Power Pool.  It turns out as more wind and solar farms are scattered over large areas some always are producing.  Solar is very predictable, even cloudy days produce power at a reduced but known rate.  Germany, Spain and Australia already use what they call "virtual baseload".  Anyway you cut it, renewables are getting easy to integrate into complex grids and in the case of Southwest Power Pool they know that every night the wind they contract will produce a known minimum, so  a coal burner is backed down to a lower output, saving coal, money, air quality.  Don't let anyone grin through the baseload rebuttal, tell them that's no longer true, and it ain't a bunch of hippies tree huggers doing it, and Obama didn't make them do it, rather it's a consortium of dozens of transmission line and power plant operators making wise business decisions.


  1. Darrel, Excellent post! And, good on you for traveling to Topeka. Next time you are in town (pre-brief me first this time) I will take you on a tour of what Peabody Coal and Duke Energy is doing here in SW Indiana.Bring your camera...


  2. Good job Darrel and a good explanation as I carry it on off to facebook! From all those folks without the understandings or resolve to go head to head with the politicians ...THANK YOU!!!!

    1. Thanks Pop, If I had known you would re-use it I would have checked it for grammar. If money wasn't being used to buy votes, it would take only a few letters or calls to sway most politicians. But with money on the other side it takes more calls, visits, letters, emails to get through to them. There are a lot of good fights out there, I think the environmental one is about the most important. If we run out of water, or can't grow food in the heat, most the other problems cannot ever be solved, nor will they matter.


Anonymous comments might end up in the trash.