Cuomo in a pickle over alternative energy push
The Oklahoman Editorial Board
by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
Published: Tue, May 29, 2018 12:00 AM
PITY New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose environmental bona fides mean everything to his chances of winning a future Democratic presidential nomination.
And pity other liberal politicians who are so invested in environmental zealotry that they can't see the forest for the solar panels.
The Audobon Society, for example, despises climate change but also hates how large-scale solar panel installations and wind turbines kill birds by the thousands. Northeastern U.S. Democrats like Cuomo love alternative energy but are uncomfortable with the scenic “blight” caused by the devices that actually generate alternative energy.
Cuomo is caught on the horns of dilemma over his professed desire to kill a nuclear energy plant in favor of wind power. Trouble is, the demise of a plant that makes clean electricity will require more consumption of traditional power sources such as natural gas.
The abundance and relative low price of natural gas came about largely due to hydraulic fracturing. Cuomo can't stand fracking. He hates pipelines that move the product resulting from fracking. Never mind! New offshore wind turbines would cut greenhouse gas emissions and replace the upstate New York Indian Point nuclear facility.
Except they won't. Cuomo knows this, but it doesn't fit his narrative. Similarly, environmentalists know that animal welfare is adversely affected by alternative energy projects, but this doesn't fit with their worldview.
What we know is that bringing to market any energy has consequences to animals and the environment. This is true of wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas. Energy production is and has always been a messy business.
Yes, every effort should be made to keep the supply chain clean, responsible and safe. We favor pipelines over rail transport for oil for this reason. Cuomo apparently does not because he doesn't like pipelines.
Consider the environmental impact of a massive solar plant west of Las Vegas. Two years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported that the plant is responsible for the deaths of about 6,000 birds a year because they're burned to death by the heat generated at the facility. Also, a protective fence has concentrated the roadrunner population, making those birds easy targets for coyotes.
The Audobon Society, no friend of oil and gas, says climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels kills about one bird per gigawatt hour of electricity produced but the desert solar plant has been killing seven birds per gigawatt hour. Far be it from the society to criticize solar power — it instead suggests that it be promulgated on a small scale.
Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds each year. The “green” take on this sobering statistic? Well, cats kill at least 1.4 billion birds annually!
This all seems a tad comical until you realize how serious Cuomo and others are in pressing for alternative energy over conventional energy. The offshore windpower project Cuomo is touting — even under the most optimistic scenario — would make only about 60 percent of the power coming from the nuclear facility he wants to eliminate. And where would the other 40 percent come from?
That would be the evil natural gas, of course.

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