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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why burn coal when you can burn money?

The City of Portland's trying to force Portland General Electric to shut down the Boardman coal-fired electric plant as soon as possible, rather than in 10 years as PGE wants. The mayor slithered into a Public Utility Commission hearing last week to grandstand on the matter.

Fair enough. Coal stinks. But His Honor didn't come empty-handed. He showed up with a 17-page report put together by a hired expert consultant, Mike Burnett -- a self-proclaimed "'serial pioneer' in emerging sustainability areas":

I wonder how much that baby cost, and where the money's coming from. I thought that in our current budget crisis, the city was holding down the hiring of consultants to a bare minimum. Couldn't we leave the expert testimony to the Sierra Club?

And I hesitate to ask whether Burnett was paid out of sewer or water bills. Does anybody know?

Comments (14)

Funny, a bunch of pages, PowerPoint slides and testimony on CO2 and nothing on what will happen to utility rates.

Once Sam gets his issue going on, he rides it until it dies.

HotSky consulting formed in Feb '10 to generate one report. Nice easy money being a hack for the govt, huh?

Boy, this guy is quite the carb on based life form. His whole career is a long and well paid attack on harmless CO2.

I see Creepy didn't bother hiring an energy or financial consultant to provide the impacts from closing the board before affordable replacement power can be established.

This is yet another example of a baffoon politician using public resources to advocate a policy which he will be entirely insulated from any impacts.

It's everyone else's money.
He'll get any cost of living increases needed to avoid the pain of higher energy costs and he'll get his pay and benefits regardless of what he does to the public who pays him.

What a Creep.

I don't suppose that Sam had some form of generating capacity to replace the 601 mW that shutting off Boardman would entail, did he?

No, we just need to make all the icky energy plants go away. We'll convert the streetcars and MAX to run on unicorns and rainbows.

Is this the same Mike Burnett who heads the Oregon Climate Trust?

"The Climate Trust projects also suffer from the same problems. The investigation revealed carbon offsets funding Native American canoe journeys, wind projects that had already been built, and passing out bicycle helmets. Accordingly, offset purchasers are not buying a real, verifiable product, though they do get to feel as though they are reducing GHGs so long as the mirage stays in place."

I've grown really skeptical of all this posturing around the term "sustainable".

Well...I finally found somebody willing to make a realistic attempt to actually define "sustainable". Derrick Jensen. Nothing any of the yahoos pimping this term around the political scene here comes anywhere near moving us to the point where we, as humans, can support ourselves upon the land which we live. Jensen's first premise is that "Civilization is not and can not be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization." Jensen puts the coup de grace to the wounded concept that Jared Diamond held out, that collapse might be avoided. I rather agree with Jensen's analysis...it's more a matter of how bad the collapse will be and what it will leave in it's wake.

The bicycle riders...the LEED condos...the windmills on the grid...Not a bit of it is 'sustainable'. Thinking it is is truly delusional.

People need to start asking these public figures what they mean...explicitly...when they use the term "sustainable". I'll bet that most cannot offer up a cogent definition, as it's just a 'buzz word' to them.

Does Portland city and Oregon state government have to have a "Greek" financial meltdown before the politics of green gives way to a more business friendly political policies? The roaring 90s economy allowed more public attention and resources to be devoted to the environment. But those days are long gone yet we still have the same "green" politicians hanging on with the help of public employee unions and the federal government's money printing presses.

Sustainable is similar to how "natural" was once used to describe all things good and "green" and better for you. "Natural" means nothing actually, but it was a feel good marketing buzzword that grew out of/meant to attract the back to nature crowd of the 60's and 70's.

Think "natural" food stores and all those "natural" products. The Food and Drug Administration made it illegal to make any kind of health claim on food products that heralded "natural" on their labels. Even products with artificial ingredients can be labeled "natural".

So it is with "sustainable". It can mean anything and everything, while actually meaning nothing; a handy marketing tool to promote a green aura of feel good as needed.

"Organic" went on to become a legal definition. And, actually, there is a similar, third party" certification program legally identifying sustainably grown food products.

"Natural" has fallen out of favor and "green" and "sustainable" are simply buzzwords which will become equally dated and empty before the marketing wizards of Madison Avenue coin the next catchy word.

Oh, and the idea of building the first (and only?) edifice to sustainability gives me the creeps, and already sounds outdated...

Will Adams some day wake up and realize that he knows literally NOTHING about issues like this?

It's like him showing up at the CRC meetings to lecture officials from across Oregon and Washington about interstate bridges.

Sam, you are an administrative flunkie. You have been your whole career. You aren't an engineer. You are sure as hell not a finance manager.

People like you should not be making decisions on an issue as important as closing down an major power plant. It's waaaaay out of your league. Let the experts at PGE figure it out.

Will Adams some day wake up and realize that he knows literally NOTHING

cf. Anosognosia

If we close Boardman, where will we get our power?

I mean 24/7 at today's cost. Not some hoped for, in the future, technology.

The reality is that the only viable replacement is nuclear, which Oregon's paranoid greens refuse to allow.

The green fools want to raise the price of electricity to the point where wind and solar become cost effective - probably 5-10 times today's electric rates.

How would you like your electric bill to multiply by 5 or 10? That will destroy our standard of living, but they don't care as it fits their agenda as to how others should live.

BTW, much of the report talks of reducing CO2 while it has now been pretty much proven that the whole climate scare is a fabrication, much of it driven by Wall Street profiteers. See http://www.sustainableoregon.com/


Doesn't Adams have anything of any consequence to do in regards to say, running this city?

Couldn't he spend his energy trying to figure out how to keep certain cops from harming the public they are sworn to protect?

I wonder if someone could put adderall on a dart and give Sam a dose so maybe he would worry about doing his job?

It's as if now that he is mayor, and he has weathered two impotent recall attempts, he is more interested in not doing what he was elected to do, but rather running out and saving the world.

Hey Sam, fix the roads first, OK?

Let's not forget that wind has a nasty habit of stopping and starting on its own schedule.There's no gate you can open up when demand peaks.

The reality of skyrocketing rates is coming soon. Sooner if an early stake is put in Boardman's heart.

The mayor of Portland is trying to close down a plant in Boardman??? A little out of his jurisdiction, no?

I thought most of the pressure on the Boardman plant was been at the state level, from DEQ, and the primary problem was mercury...along with sulfur dioxide and other toxics...not CO2. I think I'd be pleased if they'd reduce the toxics below unacceptable levels.

Of course, having the US Army Ordinance Depot just a few miles downwind makes one wonder about Mad Hatters, and all.

Of course, the Boardman plant off-gasses CO2, as well. So far as I know, you cannot have a coal-fired electrical generation plant without off-gassing CO2. [i]Any[/i] combustion process off-gasses CO2 was my understanding. I think it's a matter of the quantity of unwanted gases.

If he thinks too much CO2 is being released, he [i]could[/i] start right at home and stop breathing.

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