American imperial stouts are thick as molasses, and just as dark. Some are sweet as chocolate sauce; others are packed with hops and bitter grains, like syrupy digestifs. Some, like practiced drunks, hide their liquor; others slur and stumble out of the bottle. Extravagant? Sure. But when chill winds blow, it’s soul-steeling stuff. As one 19th-century British brewery proclaimed, a good hearty stout “is not only a luxury, but in many cases a useful medicine.” Pipe and foie gras optional.
Gout and stout don’t go along, so I’ve cut my personal consumption waaay back. But still, there’s nothing like a good dark stout, and not served too cold please.
Ghost of Energy’s Past and the Ghost of Energy Future.
Hawaii and California, built (at great expense) in perhaps the best locations in the world for wind power. Billions spent. Today a fraction are still in service, kept alive by cannibalizing their companions for parts. In some cases because one-of-a-kind machines built by failed companies for which no replacement parts are available. Others, simply because its cheaper and after all, so many have failed. 14,000 idle wind generator turbines in California alone by one accounting.
Its not surprising, the machinery is heavy, complex and (at the top of a very tall tower) very hard to maintain. A lot gets packed into what is, relatively, is a very small space on top of a natural lightning rod. I’ve seen that some supporters are saying that basing criticism of today’s wind power industry on thirty year old designs that are inferior to today’s state of the art models is unfair, very unfair (try to imagine a pout and stamping feet). Well, all I have to say to that is, I guess it was a bad idea to build so many of them then. And on the Federal and States nickel (which is to say the taxpayers nickel). If Federal subsides haven’t been made available, and made so lavish, to the tune of I believe $18 Billion. Then maybe in the 70′s & 80′s a reasonable number of these Bird Cuisinarts would have been built, and then by those companies that had some experience in that type of work. Instead, thanks to the Federal gravy train, a lot of companies and people who shouldn’t, got into the game (can you say Enron?)
Today my same argument is true, if it makes sense, if its well designed and built by people who are seriously interested in producing electricity with wind or solar then let it stand on its own. And that includes a level playing field on rate compensation. In Massachusetts if they ever manage to build the ill-conceived off-shore wind project, Cape Wind, then most rate-payers in the state can expect a rate increase. That is due to the guarantees now mandated by MA state law. (18.7 cents kWh/ National average 6-7 cents kWh)
If the state regulatory authority shifts the burden from residential to business rates (as is expected) then say goodbye to whatever manufacturing is still here.
So why? Why does this industry, with its thirty year track record, get subsides to build their business and then we are forced to buy their product at two to three times the prevailing rate? Those pushing this, here and all around the country, fall, I think, into two categories; True believers, who worship the Green God, and profiteers of different stripes, from the vaguely dishonest to the completely dishonest.
Last. This deal has no enforceable provision to deal with the inevitable day when someone must pay to safely and cleanly take down those menaces to navigation. So I guess we’ll in the hole for that too.
By the way, even after Cape Wind is fully built and in operation, not one gas or diesel fueled generation plant will be removed from service, or even temporarily shut off. Since Wind Power is fickle and unreliable, enough traditional plants must be kept ready to supply Wind’s output and at a moments notice.