Tag Archives: Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy

GPACE’s Scott Allegrucci misleads again

In the energy debate in Kansas, sometimes facts are hard to come by. Especially when green energy advocates mislead others about facts they must be aware of.

An example is GPACE Director Scott Allegrucci’s comments from Clean Energy Day, a post which holds his remarks before a crowd in Topeka.

In his remarks, Allegrucci uses imagery of a western Kansas desert to mislead listeners about the water usage of coal-fired power plants. These plants do use water. Quite a bit, in fact.

But Allegrucci must be aware — if has any interest in being intellectually honest — that the power plant has to purchase water rights for the water it will use. That water, if not used by the power plant, would very likely be used in agriculture. Those agricultural products — mostly corn to be turned into beef and ethanol — would in turn likely be exported from Kansas.

But instead, Allegrucci speaks of Colorado and Texas utilities who “get to use our water.” And this: “We suggest it would be cheaper and cleaner to put Kansans to work building a pipeline to Colorado if we’re just going to give them our water.”

This intellectually dishonest debate does nothing to increase understanding of the issues Kansas faces.

GPACE poll on Kansas energy

Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy recently released a poll that purportedly shows great interest in Kansas for clean energy sources. Looking at the poll, however, leads to little confidence in its results.

Some of the results the poll produced are totally meaningless. For example: “Results show that most voters (almost two-thirds) think the price of coal will increase over the next 25 years.” Is this poll relying on Kansas voters as experts in coal futures? This result is probably more the result of the Kansas press repeatedly reporting the wishes of radical environmentalist groups.

The poll also asks questions that produce results like this: “88% of Kansans feel that it is important that Kansas become energy independent by developing natural gas and wind resources that already exist in the state.”

“Energy independent” sound like a good thing, doesn’t it? It conjures up the fear of the United States being reliant on Iran or Venezuela for its energy. But we’re not talking about enriching rogue countries. We’re talking about our neighbors in Colorado and Texas, for example. Have we declared a trade war with these states? We happily export beef, wheat, and airplanes to our neighboring states. What if Texas decided it didn’t want to be dependent on Kansas for airplanes?

One of the poll questions asks Kansans how important it is that Kansas’ electricity production in the future “will help stimulate the state’s economy and create jobs.” The poll question doesn’t state this, but it clearly alludes to the environmentalist lobby’s mistaken belief that a switch in energy policy will create thousands of “green” jobs and drive the economy forward. Jobs will be created, to be sure. But wealth and prosperity, which is what we really want, will not be created.

This green jobs myth is dangerous. Ask Spain. As reported in Green energy policies causing harm in Europe, each “green job” created in Spain cost $774,000. Academic Study Challenges Projections of Green Jobs provides additional information.

The same question asks Kansans whether it’s important that future electricity sources “can be provided at a long term fixed price.” The future cost of the renewable energy sources that GPACE supports — wind and natural gas, mostly — can’t be predicted. They are both already much more expensive than coal, and their future cost is unknown. This question may be alluding to the threat of taxes or caps on carbon emissions. These policies will affect natural gas power production too, although to a lesser degree than coal.

It is certain, however, that taxpayers will have to continue to subsidize wind power production, or it would not be used. But this poll didn’t ask a question like “should Kansas’ future energy policy include a power source that is so costly that it must be subsidized?”

The same question also asks if it’s important to produce energy in a way that doesn’t cause climate change. Who wouldn’t agree with that? The question, however, ignores important factors of cost. There’s also the realization that anything we can do in Kansas is virtually meaningless in the context of the entire world, as shown in KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual.

As reported in other stories here, GPACE has a history of asking misleading questions. The results of this poll may be read by clicking on Wind Energy, Net Metering, and Kansas Energy Sources.

Another Misleading Question by GPACE

Yesterday we saw how the website of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy contains a list of ten questions for Sunflower supporters. My post GPACE “Sunflower” Questions Misleading showed how these questions are designed to influence public opinion in a very misleading manner.

One of the ways some of the questions are misleading is that they’re based on a false premise (or two). Here’s question number eight, which provides another example: “How is it a good idea for the part-time, partisan Kansas Legislature to be responsible for thousands of annual permit requests and for enforcing compliance, in addition to other priorities and constitutional duties?”

This question is based on this premise: that because a majority of Kansas legislators want to overrule one decision made by Rod Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the legislature wants to be responsible for all decisions made by KDHE.

That’s quite a leap of logic, and one unsupported by any public statement by any member of the legislature that I’ve seen. This question is obviously designed to evoke a specific response unsupported by facts. It’s misleading.

Here’s something else: The use of the word partisan in describing the legislature. This is designed to convince people that the action taken by the legislature was tainted because it was based on political considerations, rather than other considerations of a higher order such as, say, scientific evidence.

The reality is that the Sunflower electrical plant permit was approved by the professional staff of KDHE. It was KDHE Secretary Rod Bremby, a political appointee of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who decided to overrule his staff and deny the permit. That sounds like partisan action to me.

GPACE’s website states “GPACE seeks to correct an imbalance in the information citizens and their elected representatives have received regarding the critical and complex energy policy decisions facing our state.” From what we’ve seen so far, GPACE’s misleading and loaded questions contribute to misinformation rather than balance.

GPACE “Sunflower” Questions Misleading

The website of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy contains a list of ten questions for Sunflower supporters.

(It seems if you’re an environmentalist, the term “Sunflower” is enough to let you know what these questions are about. For normal Kansans, though, they’ll need a little more information. These questions refer to Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and its proposed expansion of the Holcomb Station coal-fired power plant. Or, simply, “the coal plant.”)

When I read these questions, they reminded me of questions used in push polls. These questions — not really questions at all — are designed to produce a change in the views of the respondent. They are often based on a false premise, but sound reasonable or tenable. That’s the case with many of these ten questions.

For example, here’s the first question: “How is the use of our scarce (and hard earned) water resource to produce electricity for Colorado good economic policy for western Kansas?”

Now if you didn’t know much about this issue, you might conclude these things from this question: That the plant will use a lot of additional water that Kansas can’t spare, that western Kansas exists only to serve the selfish interests of Colorado, and that exporting electricity to Colorado isn’t a benefit to Kansas.

Here’s some of the things wrong with this question: First, the premise that the power plant will use a lot of water is false. That’s because the plant has to purchase water rights for the water it will use. If the power plant didn’t use this water, it would likely be used in agriculture, probably irrigating corn to be fed to cattle or turned into ethanol.

Besides, the water usage of the plant is very small compared to the use of water in Kansas agriculture. My post Holcomb, Kansas Coal Plant Water Usage in Perspective explains.

Then, what’s bad about exporting power to Colorado or other states? Don’t we in Kansas spend a lot of effort producing oil, natural gas, wheat, beef, and airplanes just for export to other states? How is electricity different? Has Kansas started a trade war with Colorado?

It’s true that the Wichita Eagle’s Rhonda Holman complained that the plant would export power “while leaving Kansas with 100 percent of the carbon dioxide.” (See Untruths About Carbon and its Regulation at the Wichita Eagle) Her complaint is based on a false premise. I know of no authority — not even Al Gore — that believes that carbon dioxide pollution is a problem in the local vicinity of a power plant. To the extent that carbon emissions are a problem — and that’s a mighty big “if” — it’s a problem on a global scale.

Some of the other questions posed by GPACE have similar problems. This technique of pushing questions based on false premises does nothing to promote reasoned discussion of issues in Kansas.

Wind power: look at costs of “boom”

There’s been a lot of investment in Nolan County, Texas. Things are booming.

That’s pretty much the entire point of an op-ed piece in the Wichita Eagle by Scott Allegrucci. (Money Blowing in the Wind in Texas, January 16, 2009)

He’s the director of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, based in Topeka. This organization’s website states that “GPACE seeks to correct an imbalance in the information citizens and their elected representatives have received regarding the critical and complex energy policy decisions facing our state.”

If that’s really GPACE’s goal, Mr. Allegrucci didn’t advance it in this piece. That’s because he promotes the benefits of spending on wind energy without considering the true cost of wind energy. Further, he ignores the tremendous subsidy poured into wind energy production.

Last year the Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report titled Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future. This report contains information about the realities of wind power. It provides the balance that GPACE says it seeks to provide but fails to deliver in Mr. Allegrucci’s op-ed.

For example, did you know that every bit of wind power that’s produced receives a subsidy? Last year, as the subsidy was about to expire, wind power advocates warned that without the subsidy, wind power production would cease. No new plants would be built. It’s these subsidies that have created the growth in Nolan County that Allegrucci writes about. These subsidies produce some peculiar incentives. From page 25 of TPPF’s report:

The financial handouts available to wind developers are so generous that, in Texas, many wind-energy producers “will offer wind power at no cost or even pay to have their electricity moved on the grid, a response commonly referred to as ‘negative pricing.’ Wind providers have an incentive to sell power even at negative prices because they still receive the federal production tax (PTC) credit and renewable energy credits.”

Directing subsidies of any type into a concentrated area produces the results described by Allegrucci in this county. There’s nothing remarkable about that. But what about the rest of Texas? From the executive summary of the TPPF report:

The distinction between wind and wind energy is critical. The wind itself is free, but wind energy is anything but. Cost estimates for wind-energy generation typically include only turbine construction and maintenance. Left out are many of wind energy’s costs — transmission, grid connection and management, and backup generation — that ultimately will be borne by Texas’ electric ratepayers. Direct subsidies, tax breaks, and increased production and ancillary costs associated with wind energy could cost Texas more than $4 billion per year and at least $60 billion through 2025.

It’s a common error, assuming that since no one owns the wind, wind power is free once the turbines are built. That’s far from the case, though. Page 23 tells us this:

The true cost of electricity from wind is much higher than wind advocates admit. Wind energy advocates ignore key elements of the true cost of electricity from wind, including: (i) The cost of tax breaks and subsidies which shift tax burden and costs from “wind farm” owners to ordinary taxpayers and electricity customers. (ii) The cost of providing backup power to balance the intermittent and volatile output from wind turbines. (iii) The full, true cost of transmitting electricity from “wind farms” to electricity customers and the extra burden on grid management.

The reality is that the boom in Nolan County is being paid for by electricity customers throughout Texas. Not by their choice, too.

When considering wind power, balance requires us to consider these factors. The illustration that a concentrated area experiences a boom from a subsidized, expensive, and unreliable source of power doesn’t paint a picture of sound public policy.

Rasmussen Poll on Kansas Coal Plant

What is the attitude of Kansans toward coal-fired power plants?

Opponents of these plants have polls purportedly telling us that a majority of Kansans are opposed to them. See the press release Kansans Support Denial of Coal Plants, Want Wind Power for New Electricity from GPACE, a group headed by Scott Allegrucci, a former actor and son of Joyce Allegrucci, the former campaign director and chief of staff for Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. But also see Kansans’ Opposition to Coal Plant: Look at the Poll for a look at the type of questions used in this poll.

Now a Rasmussen Reports poll from June 2008 covers some issues in Kansas. The poll can be viewed here. The last question in the poll is this:

Should the State of Kansas allow a power company to build a new coal fired plant in southwest Kansas?

48% Yes
32% No
19% Not sure

This time the question is asked plainly, without the emotional imagery used to frame the questions in the poll mentioned above. The results, not surprisingly, are different.

Kansans’ Opposition to Coal Plant: Look at the Poll

We’ve been told that Kansas public opinion is against the building of a coal-fired power plant in western Kansas. See the press release at Kansans Support Denial of Coal Plants, Want Wind Power for New Electricity.

I would encourage you to view the questions that appeared on the poll cited in the press release. Here’s one, where people were asked which statement comes closer to their point of view:

Statement A: Now more than ever we need to commit to alternative energy sources such as electric power generated by wind. We have the technology, if we only have the political will to invest sufficiently in it.

Statement B: Wind energy is a nice idea, but it is ultimately insufficient to meet much of our energy needs. And placing huge wind turbines all over our beautiful rural landscapes is hardly the path to sound environmental stewardship. We need to focus our efforts on more practical sources of energy.

Do you consider these two questions to be loaded, in that they use imagery designed to generate a certain response? Statement A refers to “political will,” something that most people are in favor of. Who doesn’t want more “political will?” Besides, what we need is private investment in electricity generation, not political investment.

Statement B implies that “huge wind turbines” spoil our “beautiful rural landscapes” in Kansas and is poor “stewardship.” Powerful words, aren’t they?

In my opinion, this question is designed to produce agreement biased towards statement A. It could not be more blatant.

Kansas Blog Roundup for May 30, 2008

Abortion politics were at the forefront in Kansas this week. Robert Novak’s column about Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (A Pro-Choicer’s Dream Veep as printed in the Washington Post) revealed some previously-unknown information about the relationship between her and the notorious late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller of Wichita. The KRA comments and links to Novak’s column: Novak: A Vice-President of Abortion.

Kansas bloggers were quick to notice and expand on the story. The Kansas Meadowlark reports with this article that corrects Mr. Novak on a few details and expands greatly: Dinner for 6 or 20? Gov. Sebelius sold dinner, photos to highest bidder: Dr. George Tiller. At raubinandmegan.com, Raubin Pierce posts this entry: Gov’s Party:No Kids Allowed. The Kansas Republican posts several articles: Kathy Sebelius and George Tiller, Tillergate at Cedar Crest: “What’s for Dinner?”, and Baby Tartare Anyone? Some of these posts at The Kansas Republican contain altered photographs, one which, in my opinion, is tasteless. I would urge center-right bloggers in Kansas to not use the same childish tactics that many left bloggers do.

The Kansas Trunkline wonders about the ethics of northeast Kansas congressman Dennis Moore in Taxpayers, Traveling and Dennis Moore and While the cat’s away, the mice break ethics rules? In a related post, The Kenig Konnection asks Where in the world is Dennis Moore?

Stay Red Kansas contributes a post about JOCO House Updates (that’s Johnson County, I believe).

The Kansas Meadowlark reports on energy policy in Kansas in GPACE PAC/Sebelius only want unreliable energy sources for Kansas? Also Jim Cates will have a radio show again, if only on the internet: Partial Victory: Cates Now Streamed Online.

The Voice For Liberty in Wichita posts a letter that urges Sedgwick County to forgo trash franchising: Sedgwick County Trash Franchising: On the Road to Economic Perdition. Public schools are again a topic there with these articles: Let’s Spend on Wichita School Facilities, But Not Maintain Them?, Wichita School Bond Issue: Who Is Running the Survey?, and Wichita Public Schools as a Public Good.

The Energy Policy Goals of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius

The Kansas Meadowlark gets it just right in this quote from a recent article: “Unfortunately Sebelius’ energy policy is more about winning elections than solving long-term energy problems.”

Most Kansans realize that Kathleen Sebelius’ national ambitions are more important to her than the good governance of the State of Kansas. Her policy switch on the desirability of coal-fired power plants in Kansas helps her nationally, but hurts us here in Kansas.

The Meadowlark’s full story is here: GPACE PAC/Sebelius only want unreliable energy sources for Kansas?

Kansas Blog Roundup for May 16, 2008

Kansas Education has a post promoting a new report about early childhood education issued by the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy. An excerpt: “As appealing as the logic of universal pre-K may be, there’s a final reason to cast a critical eye on it: putting all or even a majority of very young children into government-run programs threatens the balance of responsibilities among important institutions such as family, religion, business, and government. Some level of government is required, but too much distorts a society.” The post is here: Plato’s Republic on the Plains.

The Kansas Trunkline wonders Where in the World is Kathleen Sebelius? and How far left is Kathleen Sebelius on the Holcomb Power Plant issue?

The Kenig Konnection reports updates in the second and third district congressional races in Kansas: 2nd, 3rd District Updates.

At The Kansas Republican, Wyatt comments on the controversy surrounding Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and her church: Bishops cut Sebelius off at the Knees. But in Dan Glickman: Boyda, Moore, You’re Wrong on Colombia, I must disagree with Wild Bill when he states “[former Kansas congressman and Secretary of Agriculture] Glickman knows a thing or two about good agriculture policy.” The best policy is, of course, no policy.

The Kansas Meadowlark has been hard at work again. He reports on the formation of a Kansas political action committee headed by Scott Allegrucci, a benefactor of political patronage in the past: New Kansas 527 PAC: GPACE Action. The Meadowlark notes a little about Scott’s mother, but it is his father who Kansans should keep in mind. See The Ethics Case Against Justice Donald L. Allegrucci and The Wrong Canon; The Wrong Allegrucci.

Other Meadowlark articles of note include District Court Nominating Commission Works as Designed: 3 of 3 nominees are Democrats in a county with 21% Democrats and Friend of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius? Did you get to fly the State of Kansas Executive Aircraft to the NCAA basketball tournament in San Antonio?.

The Quiet Conservative comments upon Governor Kathleen Sebelius’s veto of CARA, The Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act: The Forgotten Veto.

The Boondoggler at the Wichita 259 Truth blog has a nice article commenting on my recent appearance before the Wichita public school board of education. Wichita School Board Information Management.

Karl Peterjohn of the The Kansas Taxpayers Network contributes a fine editorial about Kansas and its energy and regulatory future: How Much More Will Kansas Electricity Cost In Your Future? (via Voice For Liberty in Wichita)