Our local government minions pretend they are the world’s leaders in showing the way to a fossil free/greenhouse gas free existence.
Accordingly, they have passed a plethora of regulations that would ostensibly lessen greenhouse gases over time, meanwhile driving up the cost of utilities and everything else. Nevertheless, any gains they have made have gone up in smoke each and every time California experiences yet another wildfire.
Our local example of this phenomenon? The Alisal Fire.
Did you know that Santa Barbara County supervisors saddled you with $250 million in debt by constructing a facility to convert some of your trash to energy (enough for 1-2,000 homes) and gain a mere 10 years’ worth of capacity at the landfill?
Meanwhile, the Alisal fire swept through the landfill and burned up $20 million-plus worth of equipment and infrastructure, including the piping that collects methane gas emitted from the landfill. As a result, the county had to truck all the trash and recyclables to Ventura until operations could resume.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to be green!
Accordingly, I queried the county to determine how many trucks a day made the trip down Highway 101 (which is limited at times due to construction) to Ventura and how much methane gas escaped? Funny, the county wouldn’t give me the numbers despite two inquiries! This, after forcing ExxonMobil to do an EIR to flush out all the details on their emergency trucking application. I guess the quest for details depends on who is having the emergency?
Unfortunately, that is only half the story.
Goleta has approved a $60 million battery storage project that uses Tesla Megapack batteries warrantied to last a mere 15 years. The system is ostensibly designed to power some 13,000 homes.
Their story? These lithium battery packs will only ignite a fire once every ten thousand years!
Yet, just three months prior to approval, a Tesla Megapack in Australia ignited, and it took four days before the fire burned itself out despite the fact 150 firefighters were on the scene.
The awful truth is these batteries ignite via what is called a “thermal runaway” event. These type of fires can’t be put out, they have to burn themselves out. The firefighters, while staying clear of the toxic smoke, were there in an attempt to prevent the fire from spreading to other battery modules.
Of course, the emissions from forest fires and lithium battery fires (which just forced GM to recall all Chevy Bolt vehicles) is only part of the problem. The media never challenged the activists supporting the Goleta battery storage facility as they claimed the battery facility would replace a natural gas peaker plant. Hello? A peaker plant creates energy.
A battery storage facility simply stores energy created elsewhere. In this case, the goal is for the battery facility to store energy from wind and solar projects.
Such storage is needed because otherwise wind and solar are virtually useless because they only produce intermittent energy, usually at the wrong time of day!
Speaking of wind, the Lompoc wind energy project, which cost $150 million and gobbles up some 3,000 acres, will ostensibly power some 43,000 homes for some 15 years or so, until the mechanical parts, subsidies, mandates and tax credits expire!
The three projects highlighted here will cost rate payers upward of $500 million, serving a measly 57,000 homes for a mere 10-15 years’ worth of green energy virtue signaling.
Alternatively, Diablo Nuclear Power Plant, which generates no ghg emissions, originally cost less than these three projects combined, and it has powered upward of 1.7 million homes non-stop since 1985 without mishap.
Furthermore, Diablo could easily outlast these other projects while producing 24/7/365 energy for another 20 years, and it is paid for!
Unfortunately, California would rather burn than turn.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.