Friday Funny – Renewable Energy Fails Protesters Calling for More Renewable Energy

Oh, this is precious. In Madison, Wisconsin, demonstrators gathered outside the Public Service Commission to protest against a requested rate structure change by the local utility company, Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E). During the protest, they decried the use of “dirty coal” and called for more renewable energy. To make their point, they had a blow-up coal power plant that was running on a fan powered by wind and solar charged batteries. Before the protest was over, however, the batteries died and their solar panel could not produce enough energy to keep the power plant standing upright.

h/t to Paul Westhaver


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Mike Bromley the Kurd
October 17, 2014 12:31 pm

Not to mention, at all, the synthetic materials making up the flaccid coal plant. It sure as shinola was not made of burlap.

Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
October 17, 2014 5:48 pm

Let’s add any plastics in their batteries and solar cell setup as well to the cognitive disconnect.

Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
October 18, 2014 3:24 am

You mean the solar viagra failed

Reply to  Jack
October 19, 2014 3:30 am

If it lasts for more than 4 hours….

Reply to  Mike Bromley the Kurd
October 18, 2014 10:57 am

Mike Bromley, I think it would be feasible to make a coal plant mock up with biodegradable materials. First we would cut down some trees, trim them to make the proper shapes. We could build a charcoal oven fueled with tree branches, and use the charcoal to make the fake coal plant look suitably dark and sooty. This would be considered a renewable fake coal plant because at the same time we would plant replacement trees. The replacement trees pull the CO2 generated when we make the charcoal and run the chainsaws with gasoline.

October 17, 2014 12:32 pm

Oh the irony. How appropriate.

Reply to  cbone
October 17, 2014 2:07 pm

And a salutary lesson for all that would have us swap to renewables. Says it all really.

Dunham Cobb
October 17, 2014 12:33 pm

Using a futbol (soccer/football in Latin countries) analogy, this is a classic “auto-gol” (when a team scores on itself). Love it.

October 17, 2014 12:34 pm

LOL! They see and experience the problem first hand, but they still can’t quite grasp it!

October 17, 2014 12:34 pm

Stupid is as stupid does.

Joel O'Bryan
October 17, 2014 12:39 pm

It won’t be so funny when it’s the Eastern US power grid that collapses when (demand > supply) due to the loss of coal-generated baseload capacity.
The Prog pols will be scrambling for cover WHEN that happens.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 17, 2014 1:00 pm

I disagree, they will blame it on evil fossil fuel companies and their greed… and claim that if Republicans/skeptics had not been blocking the Progressives from erecting more windmills and solar panels like they have been calling for… these power shortages would not have happened.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Alcheson
October 17, 2014 1:14 pm

The Warmists will likely continue with their denial and say such things but the majority of sway voter types will know who to blame.

Reply to  Alcheson
October 17, 2014 1:28 pm

Yes, one of the myriad Koch brothers no doubt sabotaged the heroic renewable energy, blew back the wind and pushed in a curtain of clouds, the way evil denialists do.

Cold in Wisconsin
Reply to  Alcheson
October 17, 2014 1:32 pm

How are the conservatives keeping them from putting up more renewable power sources? I would suggest that the conservatives are simply saying “pay for it yourself without subsidies! Go for it!”

Reply to  Alcheson
October 17, 2014 3:35 pm

Likely they will attempt to blame the “evil fossil fuel companies”, in which case I say it is high time to be forceful in reply. Simply state we did not have problems before they decided to “fix” things. The old adage is, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” However they insisted on fixing what wasn’t broken, and in the process they broke it
If the power goes off in the midst of an arctic blast this winter, as I expect it will, lay the blame at the feet of the EPA. Under no conditions allow the blame to be shifted to the power companies. Over and over point out that things worked well, before the EPA demanded change.
If you sit back and allow others to control the dialog, you have no one but yourself to blame, if blame is dished out where credit is due, and those who deserve blame receive credit. .

george e. smith
Reply to  Alcheson
October 17, 2014 6:42 pm

This is why any REAL source of “alternative energy” simply has to pull itself up by its own bootstraps. It cannot be energy subsidized by any other real energy source,
Any candidate, that cannot develop itself without subsidy, is likely to be an energy consuming thing, rather than energy producing thing. Now energy availability losing schemes, (lossy processes) are ok, if we use them to convert primary energy, into other more convenient types. Like coal to electricity for example. But primary energy has to be self sustaining.
And yes; for the pedants, we mean “producing” in the sense of making available for doing work; and not conjuring up from nothing. That first law of thermodynamics thing.
And we know that is possible, with some processes, because that’s what makes the world go round now, and we got here from harvesting figs, up a fig tree.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Alcheson
October 17, 2014 7:54 pm

E Smith I’m more pedantic about your atrocious use of commas. This truly is the mark of the end of civilization.

george e. smith
Reply to  Alcheson
October 18, 2014 12:25 pm

Well Jeff Alberts, I’ll put commas wherever I darn well please. I will plead guilty to having typo’d and put a comma where a full stop was called for. I put that down to the fact that my right eye can no longer resolve detail any smaller than a semi-truck.
I follow the teaching of Dr. Richard Lederer; the foremost authority on the English language.
His rule for commas is very simple. Put a comma anywhere you would pause to take a breath in reading your text. (no matter what the academic grammarians say is “proper”.)
The purpose of language is communication; not adherence to pedantic grammar rules.
The flexibility of English is the reason for its world wide universality as the language of communication. And no I am not saying more people speak English than other languages. But International airline flight crews, do not converse with control towers in Mandarin or Cantonese; they communicate in English, and they pause wherever it is convenient to put a comma.
And I would highlight tinkling and twittering and texting, if I was looking for the demise of civilization.
But I’ll watch your posting with a pedantic eye from now on, just to make sure you do it properly.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 18, 2014 3:41 am

Wish that were true. When we start experiencing brown outs due to this policy, it will simply be because they TOLD us so, and we didn’t build ENOUGH solar/wind.
One thing we know by now, they’re never wrong. Evah.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  jimmaine
October 18, 2014 1:02 pm

Brown-outs cannot be allowed by the grid operator. Any dip in voltage below operating limits drives higher current draws, and overheating of lines and equipment. That must be prevented to prevent equipment damage that could take weeks to repair at hundred of millions of dollars in real damage to the grid infrastructure. So brown-outs will quickly lead to regional blackouts as the grid operators shed load to keep the overall system stable and voltages in safe ranges. Then a series of rolling black-outs will commence across sub-regions with the grid as non-linear instabilities happen faster than new sources can be brought on-line.
Rolling black-outs will not occur simply because wind and solar inflows stop. It will happen because the system is operating on a ragged edge with limited base load due to removal of big coal-fired plants. It will then take only an unscheduled shutdown of a big generator followed by a outlier event, i.e. a hot or cold period to trigger rolling the black-outs.

October 17, 2014 12:40 pm

It would have been equally as funny to show the huge footprint of solar cells that would have been required to keep the balloon inflated. There was no way that this stunt could have been a winner.
But doesn’t this idiot realize that the power rating on a solar cell isn’t necessarily the power that you’ll get at any given time? The probably would have needed 10 or more of these things to keep the balloon inflated.

Reply to  wobble
October 17, 2014 6:35 pm

It’s a 130 watt solar cell vs a 1500 watt fan… The math was never going to work once the batteries were depleted.

Reply to  rbdwiggins
October 17, 2014 7:51 pm

You fail at ecomath.

k scott denison
Reply to  wobble
October 18, 2014 9:09 am

Yeah wobble, the sheer stupidity of this group is really quite evident. So people should listen to a group that can’t figure out how to power a simple fan? LOL! That’s a good one!

October 17, 2014 12:41 pm

Madison…Wisconsin’s answer to Boulder, Colorado. In Madison they only protest the local utility. In Boulder they are purchasing the local utility so they can go all “green”. You must read about it to believe it.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  rocdoctom
October 17, 2014 9:14 pm

rocdoctom – “In Boulder they are purchasing the local utility so they can go all ‘green’.”
I’m living it. I’m trying to figure out how to make it through extended power outages in the near future with a grid run by a local, government-run, muni power company with unionized service men/women who were hired for their green credentials (i.e. they’ve never worked for Excel Energy, and thus have no experience restoring power outages due to hundreds of snow-covered limbs taking down lines in the middle of a nighttime Rocky Mountain blizzard). Oh, but I’ve been promised that my rates won’t go up because it’ll be like a non-profit (not kidding). What’s being touted as a plan for a green future has eco-math fail written all over it. People with brains (48%) lost to the eco-loons (52%) and I’m actually surprised it was that close given the Boulder citizenry.
What are the guesses as to percentage increase of my power per kW-hr? I’m thinking 100-150% range within the first year after Excel walks away.
What are the guesses as to what’s going to power the grid during those winter blizzards when demand is high, they can’t spin the windmills ’cause the wind speed is too high and the sun isn’t shining on snow covered solar panels? I’m guessing that after the first extended outage and the pitchforks come out, it’ll be coal.
My options:
1. gas-powered generator with a 50 gallon drum of gasoline in my garage
2. homemade solar cells (so I don’t have to take subsidies from my neighbors), w/ installed batteries
3. install my own mini nuclear power plant (I am an engineer but this might be a stretch)
4. Assume I’m wrong; the green muni power company will work perfectly as advertised
5. move to a new town
People’s Republic of Boulder = 60 sq mi surrounded by reality

Anthony H
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 17, 2014 9:22 pm

Option 1, especially if you have a natural gas line running to your home and can use a natural gas powered generator. If you don’t have such a line, you’ll have to use a regular gasoline-powered generator, which sucks because you’ll need to tank of gasoline, but it should be cheaper than your other choices.

Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 12:38 am

No, that’s not an eco-math fail, it’s clearly in eco-math distinction territory. It is a math fail, though.

Ian W
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 4:51 am

Bruce, get a propane powered standby generator wired in permanently to the house with an autoswitchover. It will start up after a couple of seconds when the power goes below a set value, and close down when the grid power is back up. Gas powered generators can be cranky propane is better and you can bury the tank out of sight so not borrowers can access it.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 5:10 am

Isn’t Boulder sustained by the tourist economy? What happens when power-dependent businesses can’t operate? I can just see the spin on that — “Do something for the environment AND your health! Hike back up the ski trail for your next run. Chair lifts are for Koch-funded climate change deniers!”.
Yep, those green jobs will just come rolling in so fast you can’t count them all.

Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 5:24 am

Wait until you hear the squeals when the ski lifts stop operating.

Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 5:26 am

Another hint: if you’re the only one on your block with the foresight to own a generator, don’t leave all your lights on and have a very, very effective muffler so the sound of the engine isn’t too obvious. Why give the pitchfork bearers another target?
This year (May) we had a shiny new high efficiency furnace installed for a mere $11k. Well, it’s been on A/C duty mostly, but today I had a chance to hear the new ground-level exhaust (apparently we don’t use chimneys any more). The thing sounds like someone opened the valve on a Scuba tank. Not cool, and definitely will end up with a slushy warm spot once we’re into real winter. What are these people thinking?

k scott denison
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 9:11 am

Wow Boulder Skeptic, the citizenry there is setting a new bar for “stupid is as stupid does”! Good luck to you.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 1:18 pm

This is exactly what happened on a national scale in Germany. Now many factories have their own on-site generators. Their costs are higher, the grid is less reliable, and it emits more CO2 than if they had left everything alone.
My advice, get a natural gas powered generator as others have recommended.

Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
October 18, 2014 10:33 pm

I’ve got one word for you: Venezuela

michael hart
October 17, 2014 12:44 pm

That’s one flaccid bouncy-castle.

October 17, 2014 12:44 pm

Obviously, they didn’t get a large enough tax-funded subsidy.

Reply to  Gary
October 17, 2014 3:39 pm

Subsidy is the Viagra of dunderheaded science

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Caleb
October 17, 2014 9:20 pm

Luckily in the US, Viagra is covered if you are a rapist in jail and for the citizenry at large through Obamacare medical coverage (it’s free, really, … no really, free, no one has to pay)

October 17, 2014 12:46 pm

I have noticed that the misanthropes work really, really hard to get higher energy prices, but when they actually succeed at getting higher energy prices and the resulting loss of jobs and production, they disavow any responsibility at all.

Leon Brozyna
October 17, 2014 12:47 pm

“Take care of me …
Take care of me …”
Stripped of all the fluff is what the protestors chant, as they march in search of a caring master.

Reply to  Leon Brozyna
October 20, 2014 2:06 pm

We ought to take them at their word. Let them be children, carefree, safe, and kept away from anything dangerous, like a voting booth.

Don Penim
October 17, 2014 12:50 pm

An erection dysfunction?…

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Don Penim
October 17, 2014 1:34 pm

Maybe they thought the ‘V’ in PV stood for Viagra – or the PV was fakin’ it.

Jim Francisco
October 17, 2014 12:53 pm

The only thing that could have been better was for a big wind to blow it into a wind turbine.

k scott denison
October 17, 2014 12:53 pm

Ah, Mad-town is at it again. There is just no cure for stupid. But don’t worry, they didn’t notice the hypocrisy at all!

Mark from the Midwest
October 17, 2014 12:53 pm

I’m sure they all voted for Obama, after all he’s the leader of the “party of science.” (James Carville’s own words) …

October 17, 2014 1:00 pm

Seems like there was plenty of hot air there. They should have put it to use.

Tom J
October 17, 2014 1:03 pm

Coming from Madison one wonders if this had more than a little to do with the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In any case I’d like to propose that all our Universities (including the University of Pennsylvania- Michael Mann) operate completely off grid and utilizing solely wind and solar power generation.
Hot dorm and classrooms.
Cold dorm and classrooms.
Raw food.
Cold water showers.
Warm beer.

Reply to  Tom J
October 17, 2014 5:05 pm

Mann is at Penn State (Big 10), not University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League).

Jim Francisco
Reply to  BobM
October 18, 2014 1:52 pm

He should be at State Penn.

Gunga Din
October 17, 2014 1:07 pm

The solar panels probably failed because of all the clouds the coal plant was putting out.

October 17, 2014 1:11 pm

Was the rate structure change to pay for the renewable energy costs?

Col Klink
October 17, 2014 1:25 pm

And solar panel owners never have batteries (too expensive – they dump their unwanted excess power onto the grid, unannounced and unrequested and by getting back equivalent amount of power when they demand it from the grid, they are forcing the grid’s users to pay retail for their junk power. And are also lowering the capacity of the reliable power plants, causing their costs-per-kilowatthour to go up, paid for by grid customers). Sometimes grids require wind turbines to maintain enough battery capacity
to keep power output after wind dies for enough time to allow the grid to spin up backup generators.
Renewable energy simply cannot meet the requirements of the power grid. It should be banned from entering the grid, forcing solar panel owners to either dump their excess power or buy batteries. What happens when politicians are moved to action – they make stupid decisions about things they know nothing about.

Tom O
Reply to  Col Klink
October 17, 2014 2:14 pm

“What happens when politicians are moved to action – they make stupid decisions about things they know nothing about.”
The problem with this is that they DO seek the advice of “experts” who are not experts in what they are seeking advice about as much as they are experts at exploiting ignorance. We have far to many “experts” in this world that have such a narrow area of expertise that they have learned that “speaking firmly and sounding like you know what you are saying” will get you compensation every time.

Reply to  Col Klink
October 17, 2014 3:47 pm

Forcing utilities to essentially buy power from homeowners at retail prices is one of the sneakiest cross-subsidization schemes ever devised. The utility company is required to buy the power for the same price that it sells it for. So there is no price differential for the utility company on that power. The price differential is where the utility company gets the money to pay overhead, to maintain and improve the grid, and to provide a return for investors. Since it gets ZERO price differential on power bought from homeowners, it has to get a higher price differential on other power to make up for that. This raises retail prices for everyone, but of course the homeowners selling the power get a benefit that more than compensates for the higher retail prices — they get to run their system without buying batteries. Other consumers get no benefit from the deal — they just get to pay the higher prices to provide the benefit for the “free-riders”.

Reply to  Bryan
October 18, 2014 12:27 am

Dan Gardner’s book, “Futurebabble” is a good read on this. Summarised, it has bee demonstrated (initially by Phillip Tetlock), that almost all experts are almost always wrong when they make predictions.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Col Klink
October 17, 2014 11:15 pm

The old rule of thumb was to be an “expert” you had to be 150 miles from home. It look like that still applies.

October 17, 2014 1:30 pm

No engineers.

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Chris4692
October 18, 2014 6:45 pm

For the sake of my engineering alma mater UW-Madison, I sincerely hope not!

October 17, 2014 1:33 pm

Too funny! Even funnier is tht MG&E converted its old coal-fired units in Madison to run on natural gas. D’oh!

Mac the Knife
Reply to  ChrisW
October 18, 2014 6:42 pm

The previous Gov. Doyle (D) administration rolled over like a 2 dollar trick when pressured by the Sierra Club and ‘community activists’ and dictated conversion of 2 Dane County coal fired power plants to ‘biomass boilers’.
When the political tides reversed in Wisconsin, one of the 1st thing Governor Walker (R) did was to halt the conversion to ‘biomass’ before any more taxpayer dollars could be wasted on that economic stupidity. The least expensive solution at that point was conversion to natural gas.

October 17, 2014 1:35 pm

Friday funny #2 – Gore’s strategist named Ebola czar!
17 Oct: WaPo: Obama taps Ron Klain as Ebola czar
President Obama has asked Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to both Vice President Biden and former vice president Al Gore, as his Ebola response coordinator, according to a White House official…
Klain is not known for his health-care expertise, though he would get briefings on those policies in his capacity as a campaign strategist for Gore and the Democrats’ 2004 presidential candidate, John F. Kerry…
Klain navigated the legal and political worlds with ease, Jennings added. “He wasn’t just an analyst. He was a strategist.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) questioned Klain’s lack of medical credentials, saying in a statement: “Given the mounting failings in the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak, it is right that the President has sought to task a single individual to coordinate its response. But I have to ask why the President didn’t pick an individual with a noteworthy infectious disease or public health background?”…

Gunga Din
Reply to  pat
October 17, 2014 2:15 pm

Obama sent troops to Africa to combat Ebola. Let’s hope this guy knows what a mini-gun really is.
(But continuing in this vein could easily derail the thread.)

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  pat
October 17, 2014 8:01 pm

Off topic once again. Thank you so much.

george e. smith
Reply to  pat
October 20, 2014 12:14 pm

Well Ron Klain was not even competent to control the mouthings of Joe Biden, who has turned the office of VPOTUS into a town square stock for the launching of overripe tomatoes.

October 17, 2014 1:40 pm

They need a subsidy to stay inflated.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Resourceguy
October 17, 2014 2:11 pm


Harry Passfield
October 17, 2014 1:42 pm

How come I hear that the US (EPA? POTUS?) wants to close quite serviceable coal-fired plant, as does the UK and a few other western countries, while the likes of China and Russia are going all out to create as much fossil-fueled electricity generation as possible? Daft question, really. I guess I know the answer.
And when the inevitable power crisis hits the west, who will step in to ‘save us’? The UN?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 17, 2014 2:12 pm

Don’t look for sound policy in the actions of the Obama Administration or his EPA. They have ideological goals that conflict with reality. They have their own logic, one motivated by politics and power. The fools in the video that AW posted above are just Useful Idiots.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 18, 2014 6:06 am

“…Useful Idiots,” you say?
They don’t seem to be useful and they have a steep hill to climb to reach the level of idiots.

Duke C.
October 17, 2014 1:43 pm

Listen to the audio at the end of the clip. One of the protesters claims they usually plug it in to a wall outlet. Ironic.

October 17, 2014 1:49 pm

Political science losers

October 17, 2014 1:51 pm

The real irony is protesting against the requested rate change AND demanding less coal and more “renewable energy” at the same time.

Doug Huffman
October 17, 2014 2:00 pm

Does UW-M even have an engineering school? Why, yes it does, where were the engineers?

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  Doug Huffman
October 17, 2014 3:04 pm

Studying, so they can get real jobs when they graduate.

Nigel S
Reply to  D.J. Hawkins
October 17, 2014 5:53 pm

At the pub trying to blot out the hideous image of the future of mankind that these protestors create.

Reply to  Doug Huffman
October 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Too busy living in the real world (where they’re actually accountable).

October 17, 2014 2:16 pm

Nobody said it would be easy.
Maybe they can try again in mid-January ?

October 17, 2014 2:24 pm

There’s more fun.

In Madison, Wisconsin, the miles of unreality are focused on getting as many homes and businesses to go solar as possible. But at least there’s some good news.

Officials gathered into a heated tent with a plywood floor Wednesday to symbolically break ground on what is believed to be the largest solar energy system project by a municipality in the state.
The title likely won’t last for long, unlike the cold that greeted the first day of spring and forced officials to dig into a pile of sand instead of the frozen snow-covered ground.
Government agencies around the state are increasingly adding solar to existing buildings and incorporating the technology into new facilities. That means the 58,000-square-foot snow removal equipment building that is being built on the southwest side of the Dane County Regional Airport may soon be bumped from its chair as the biggest solar project by a government agency in Wisconsin.

A snow removal building powered by solar energy? I can’t imagine a single thing that can go wrong with this.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Jimbo
October 17, 2014 7:40 pm

We could hope that the Laurentide Ice Sheet 2.0 will just plow it under a mile of ice into pea-sized gravel.

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Jimbo
October 18, 2014 6:56 pm

Thirty years ago, when I lived in Madison and attended the UW, it was the same brand of illogical, politically correct stupidity. Different decades, same socialist ‘green on the outside, red on the inside’ stupidity.

October 17, 2014 2:55 pm

The stack on the left says “Global Warming.”
Didn’t they get the memo about “Climate Change, etc.?”

Reply to  inMAGICn
October 17, 2014 3:07 pm

…left…in the fallen pic.

October 17, 2014 3:17 pm

Barton Moss anti-fracking protesters in urgent plea – for GAS – Apr 07, 2014 12:12 Manchester Evening News
A group protesting against fracking for shale gas at Barton Moss have been left a little red-faced after making an urgent appeal – for gas.The camp’s supply ran out Sunday morning and they tweeted from their account @BartonMoss “#bartonmoss URGENTLY needs water and gas for the cooker if anyone can help”.Between 10 and 20 people live there at the moment, with more people attending daily protests, and they use the gas for cooking.The tweet predictably attracted some ridicule on Twitter.@InsiderOnEnergy who tweets anonymously about energy industry issues said: “Ironic really isn’t it?“Why can we not live what we preach and use a sustainable source?”

Reply to  Paul in Sweden
October 18, 2014 8:15 am

“If government policy had been geared toward renewable energy I could be using a solar cooker now but I’m not.”
I can buy a solar cooker from Amazon for USD 100. Evidently Gong is unaware of this.

Reply to  Akatsukami
October 18, 2014 6:32 pm

…and I bet Amazon would deliver to you it in the rain too.

Bruce Cobb
October 17, 2014 3:18 pm

They don’t like the proposed rate structure changes because it means those who use less will have to pull more of their own weight. It also allows “time-of-use” rates, varying rates by time of day. Presumably, they either don’t care or are ignorant of the fact that renewables drive electricity prices up, thus hurting the very people they are protesting about. Hypocrites and nincompoops.

October 17, 2014 3:30 pm

Sanity in the face of madness in Pennsylvania:

Senate OKs larger state role in pollution control
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:51 pm | Updated: 12:01 am, Thu Oct 16, 2014.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Senate has approved a bill to require legislative approval of any state plan for reducing carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and other sources.
The Senate approved the measure Wednesday by a vote of 31 to 17. The bill was sent to Gov. Tom Corbett, who is expected to sign it.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, each state can provide its own plan as part of the first-ever national limits on greenhouse gas emissions. However, the bill also would require Pennsylvania’s plan to be approved by both houses of the Legislature before it could be sent to the EPA.

And now for something completely different:

Pennsylvania State Senate Passes Climate Action Roadblock; Bill Passed Today Will Interfere With Key
October 15, 2014
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Moms Clean Air Force, PennEnvironment, ConservationPA, Sierra Club, PennFuture and Clean Air Council today slammed Pennsylvania State Senators for passing a bill that will hinder state efforts to reduce carbon pollution.
The Senate voted 31-to-17 today to pass HB 2354. The bill, which has already passed the House, will create unnecessary roadblocks against climate action and leave the state vulnerable to federal interference.
It’s tragic that the Pennsylvania Senate today put polluters ahead of protecting public health,” said Jackson Morris, eastern energy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Equally appalling, state Senators put personal interests ahead of protecting Pennsylvanians’ health and their future. It’s time for the governor to do what’s right for Pennsylvania. He should veto this misguided and potentially unconstitutional bill that would make it harder to clean up the air and improve the health of all Pennsylvanians.
Pennsylvanians can’t afford to wait on another bureaucratic hurdle to clean up our air, curb dangerous pollution and build a clean energy economy. This misguided effort could take away our power to solve these challenges on our own, with our own experts, scientists, and innovators,” said Joanne Kilgour, Director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter.
This bill will allow politicians to overrule Pennsylvania’s best scientists, and interfere with the Department of Environmental Protection’s attempts to use the fastest and most effective measures to reduce carbon pollution,” said Gretchen Dahlkemper of Moms Clean Air Force. “This is an unprecedented move to put politics over science, and over the health and safety of Pennsylvania families.
With the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy days away, it is shameful that our politicians in Harrisburg continue to stand in the way of action on climate change,” said Adam Garber, PennEnvironment Field Director. “Their decision to make it even harder to slash the largest source of carbon pollution in Pennsylvania will be felt by millions of Pennsylvanians who are faced with the consequences of extreme weather and flooding from the climate crisis.

More bold and bolded statements at link.
Wow, putting important economic decisions in the hands of those most directly accountable to the affected citizenry is practically begging for more climate change-induced extreme weather like not-a-hurricane Sandy. Who knew?

October 17, 2014 3:39 pm

I must have been bored two evenings ago because I answered the call, from some caller I.D. that seemed to be a survey of some sort.
It started out with about 10 questions regarding my current electric supplier (things like, are you happy with it, would you consider freezing in the dark, would you consider the comforts of your guests while freezing in the dark, etc.).
Then they began to ply me for my thoughts about global warming.
The questions were the typical vaguely worded ones, and you had to give a score of 1-10 whether you agreed or not.
I did my best 🙂
The questioner was getting exasperated by the end of the call.

October 17, 2014 4:07 pm

Funny thing, I have one of those inflatable air mattresses (not the temporary camping style, a full sized one), great unit, I sleep well. The air pump only needs to be run once every couple of months to “top it off”. Otherwise it consumes no electricity at all. And that’s with a couple hundred pounds rolling around on top of it 1/3 of the time.
First rule of designing inflatable things; attempt at all times to keep the air INSIDE the unit. Maybe I should write a “Designing balloons for dummies” book ?
Seal it up properly, inflate once with a “large blower”, then occasionally use a small blower to “top it off”. It could be done with a lot less wasted energy than these folks used. They got it inflated, but sadly lost their MOJO….
Cheers, Kevin.

Steve Oregon
October 17, 2014 4:08 pm

What the want is for the government to take (by force) money from some people and businesses with means and use it to seek justice.
Social Justice, Earth Justice, Climate Justice, whatever.
It’s a ridiculous and endless pursuit without end or measurable accomplishment towards the vision they feel is so close they can taste it.
Their delirium and anxious thirst for arrival disables their cognitive ability to realize they haven’t even left the station and there is no train, no tracks and no station.
Other than that they are silly little people.

Steve Oregon
October 17, 2014 4:08 pm

What they want…….

Tom J
October 17, 2014 4:12 pm

The reason their display didn’t inflate is because renewable energy sucks more than it blows.

Jimmy Haigh.
October 17, 2014 4:15 pm

Reminds me of the anti-fraccing protesters cooking by gas.

October 17, 2014 4:48 pm

These are amateurs. Professional leftists would not have admitted that the solar panel failed.

Geologist Down The Pub Sez
October 17, 2014 5:53 pm

I skimmed this thread pretty quickly, and perhaps I missed anyone noting the basic irony of polycrystalline silicon cells – that the production of the silicon emits so much CO2 that the cells have to run way beyond their expected lifespans to make up for it. Maybe irony is too gentle a concept. Perhaps I mean hypocrisy. Polycrystalline silicon solar cells are net producers of CO2.

Reply to  Geologist Down The Pub Sez
October 18, 2014 4:24 am

Not sure about that. Huge capacities for polycrystalline silicon have come online since 2008, with the subsidy bonanza in the EU; prices have dropped a lot. I would guess production has become rather efficient.
If you want real energy intensive raw material, try carbon fiber.
Ironically that’s the stuff the electric car industry wants for its car bodies. Now THAT’ll be sustainable! Sustaining all the fossil fuel capacity you can build….

Geologist Down The Pub Sez
Reply to  DirkH
October 18, 2014 4:14 pm

Ever been in a silicon smelter? There is no way to make the carbothermic reaction less CO2 intense. You just have to have a lot of free carbon available to combine with the oxygen when the oxygen-silicon bond is broken. So for every molecule of silicon you produce, you also release a molecule of CO2. Even the electrodes are fossil carbon. And they use really large amounts of electricity in those cells. Guess how that electricity is generated?
I worked in a silicon smelter. Yeah, they produce lots and lots of free CO2.

Reply to  DirkH
October 19, 2014 2:17 am

Having worked for many years in the aerospace industry with carbon fibre composites I would strongly advice against automotive use. True, they are very light and very strong, but they are also extremely expensive and production (and repair) is very energy intensive. The strength of repaired structures also tends to be unpredictable.
Also burning carbon fibre composites are extremely dangerous, both to people and electronics. Dealing with a fire actually requires more protection for firefighters than handling an ebola patient.
And finally – they are very expensive to dispose of safely.

Reply to  Geologist Down The Pub Sez
October 18, 2014 4:31 am

This analysis looks rather good, it shows an EROEI of 4 for PV in shady Germany; without considering buffers; with buffering it drops to 1.6. Which is not enough to run the usual high culture.You need at least 3 for that; if you can get more you can start to afford more useless eaters, like oikophobic Greens.

Gene L
October 17, 2014 6:01 pm

It gets even better. A quick search found this page:
Madison only get 89 sunny days a year.

October 17, 2014 6:02 pm

If only they had a gas power generator. Ok they do not like gasoline, strike that.
How about this, they could have brought axes and chopped down trees off the greens, and used the wood to generate hot-air for a hot air balloon with their slogans on it. The height of the balloon provides more visibility for their slogans across a wider area. Could be a problem with authorities getting annoyed at the tree chopping, so strike that.
Ok how about flying kites with their slogans, strike that, not enough wind.
Funny how it always comes back to fossil fuels if you want dependable energy.

Martin 457
October 17, 2014 6:49 pm

I’m thinking that the protestors could have kept that thing inflated with their own CO2 laden breath.
Sometimes, ya just don’t know which hand to slap people with.
Both is a good choice.

October 17, 2014 7:57 pm

Climate change is like Ebola – World Bank chief
Last updated on 13 October 2014, 11:24 am
Slow response to both climate change and Ebola is killing people, warns Jim Yong Kim
By Sophie Yeo
World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim has compared climate change to Ebola, suggesting that inaction on both is “killing people”.

Speaking at the World Bank’s annual meeting with the International Monetary Fund, Kim said that the Bank’s work on climate change was informing its response to the deadly disease, which has killed over 4,000 people mainly in West Africa.
“Ebola and climate change have a few things in common. Most importantly, we are running out of time to find solutions to both,” he said.
“Also, until very recently, the plans to fight them were either non-existent or inadequate. And, inaction is literally killing people – one because of the rapid spread of a deadly virus, the other from the poisoning of the atmosphere and the oceans.
“And finally, perhaps most critically from our point of view, resolving these problems is essential to development, whether from the perspective of human suffering, economic growth, or public health.”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  kadaka (KD Knoebel)
October 17, 2014 8:05 pm

Can’t we stay on topic??

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 17, 2014 8:35 pm

It’s Friday and it’s Funny. What more do you want?
“…Kim said that the Bank’s work on climate change was informing its response to the deadly disease…”
What is the zero carbon footprint alternative energy solution for a medical waste incinerator? Place materials in a sealed crucible at the focal point of a heliostat array the size of a small city, heat until all the organics inside must have been destroyed, then wait until it cools off before opening to avoid venting that deadly atmospheric and oceanic poison, carbon dioxide?
If that’s what it’ll take, the World Bank will arrange the financing, since they’re too worried about fighting climate change to allow the building of incinerators using dangerous planet-killing fossil fuels.
Then just hope the piles don’t get too high before the next sunny day… 🙂

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 17, 2014 11:46 pm

It’s all on the topic of planet saving from those 6 or 7 Billion horrid human plebs destroying the elitist’s Paradise.
Prince Philip wants to be reincarnated as a lethal virus, although I think he wants to be a more successful one. Could someone please show him some photographs of his desired outcome.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 18, 2014 4:19 am

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
October 17, 2014 at 8:35 pm
“…Kim said that the Bank’s work on climate change was informing its response to the deadly disease…”
That explains why they totally botched it.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 18, 2014 10:17 pm

Kant, might argue whether there ever was a topic.

Andrew N
October 17, 2014 8:54 pm

Children of the future will not know what a bouncy castle is.

Reply to  Andrew N
October 17, 2014 10:21 pm

Solar power … It’s worse than we thought.

October 17, 2014 9:16 pm


October 17, 2014 11:05 pm

A hairdryer is 1,200-1,500 Watts, this was only 1,000 Watts.
I did a quick back the of napkin calculation to see what equipment they would need to keep this running on solar using the same equipment they have.
The panel was 135W rated output; the fan was 1000W, so you would need 8 panels in full sunlight to keep it running. Of course if a cloud comes by or over cast day the power goes down a lot. If you assume 30% of name plate capacity typical output of the panel you will need 25 panels. But this is only to keep it running during the day time. But maybe you have a full 24 hour occupy Madison going protest going on and want to run it for 24 hours. Well then you need 32 car batteries (two lasted 45 Minutes) to get you through the 12 hour night plus an addition 25 panels to charge the batteries during the day.
So a total of 50 solar panels like the one shown and 32 batteries plus the space to set them up. This is best case by scenario the way, I think you need to double the numbers to make it work in real life.

Reply to  CNC
October 18, 2014 1:32 am

No, you would not be using that much power unless you were stupid enough to not turn the heat off on the hairdryer…

Reply to  Mark
October 18, 2014 1:46 am

True, your correct, but my point was 1,000 watts is just not very much power in a household. Probably 25-35 watts just for the hairdryer fan.
I liked the comment why not just have balloon that is more sealed and just keeps the air in, then it only needs to be topped up once in awhile. Then there silly solar panel would work.
I also want to point out the number of panels and batteries need just to supply a contentious 1,000 watts. I lot more than most greens think.

Larry in Texas
October 17, 2014 11:31 pm

I saw this video, and thought it was hilarious. Further demonstration of the futility of mere solar or wind power as a baseload solution to the energy problem. It will ONLY be useful as a supplemental load under certain circumstances. But these guys from my old stomping grounds, the People’s Republic of Madison, Wisconsin, are nothing but fools (Madison, Wisconsin, is a place where most of the fools in Wisconsin congregate, like a sewer drain congregates sludge).

October 18, 2014 1:46 am

Maybe a nice Antarctic expedition would suit them.

Steve Jones
October 18, 2014 3:09 am

The clown that set up the bouncy castle still doesn’t understand despite setting up a very public demonstration of the impracticality of renewable energy.

October 18, 2014 5:57 am

Fox News program “The Five” ran this story as well with some commentary.
Mods may consider adding this video below the Maciver Institute video.
Another interesting tidbit is MG&E had converted their coal plant in Madison to natural gas.

October 18, 2014 6:08 am

Actually this is sad… It only shows how uneducated people are about these subjects and how lacking our general education system is. And the worst, on this Europe with its normally common sense approach is no better.

Reply to  Max
October 19, 2014 4:32 am

The education system is lacking by design. The uneducated are easier to manipulate.

October 18, 2014 8:39 am

Let’s actually build a national solar powered coal plant. It would be the perfect expression of bureaucratic government insanity in action.
I can’t think of a more perfect pork project simultaneously displaying incompetence and hypocrisy. I mean the solar offsetting the coal as rationalization would be wonderful.

b fagan
October 18, 2014 7:02 pm

The sad thing about Anthony Watts is his inconsistency.
Here he takes an easy shot at protesters instead of examining real issues – how to maintain the grid as it gets more renewable load, and how some groups are promoting punitive rate increases on those who use less energy.
Yet he uses solar and promotes solar, so he’s one of the very group he’s taking a cheap shot at.
“While I have a skeptical view of certain climate issues, I consider myself “green” in many ways, and I promote the idea of energy savings and alternate energy generation. Unlike many who just talk about it, I’ve put a 10KW solar array on my home, a second one on my new home this past summer of 2012.
Plus I championed a 125 KW solar array on one of our local schools when I was a local school board trustee.

I encourage others to do the same when it comes to efficient use of energy and energy conservation. ”
I understand an easy jibe at the protesters lack of power backup was irresistible, but what’s your thought if your utility comes after “greens” like you? What is your take on how to pay for improvements to the grid to accommodate the growing use of renewable sources?

Reply to  b fagan
October 18, 2014 8:52 pm

Don’t try to put the onus on me.
How’s that for a start ?

Mac the Knife
Reply to  b fagan
October 18, 2014 8:52 pm

The reliability of the grid will be significantly improved and the cost of energy lowered if expensive, unreliable and constantly fluctuating power sources are refused access to the power grid. Being forced to subsidize these expensive, unreliable and constantly fluctuating power sources and then having to pay even higher end user energy costs because of all the problems they cause is an act of government forced collective insanity.
Restoring scientific sanity to the EPA regulations will significantly improve the reliability of the grid and lower the cost of energy. Forcing low cost, reliable power plants to cease operation based on politically driven faux science ‘findings’ that CO2 is pollution is another act of government forced collective insanity. CO2 is not pollution. It is the Staff Of Life to all flora on the planet Earth. Every breath you inhale has 400ppm CO2. Every breath you exhale has 20,000ppm CO2 and that is similar for all mammals on the planet. CO2 is not pollution. It is as natural and ‘clean’ as the air you breath in and out.
Labeling expensive, materials mining intensive, high manufacturing and maintenance cost, low energy density, unreliable, bird chopping and frying wind and solar energy as ‘renewable’ is the height of Orwellian cliche. Equally inverted and idiotic is labeling hydroelectric power ‘nonrenewable’, as they do in the state of Washington where I live. The cleanest, most reliable and sustainable power on the planet is labeled ‘nonrenewable’ to make destruction of hydroelectric dams more politically acceptable.
We should not accommodate unreliable energy sources that destabilize the electric grid and drive end user energy costs up.
We should not accommodate the false labeling of CO2 as pollution by the EPA ….or anyone else.
We should not accommodate the deceitful labeling of unsustainable and highly unreliable energy sources as ‘renewable energy’.
We should not accommodate the false labeling of highly reliable, low cost hydroelectric energy sources as ‘nonrenewable energy’.
We should not accommodate those who espouse these false arguments.

Reply to  b fagan
October 18, 2014 9:30 pm

What you really want to know is when I stopped beating my wife, isn’t it ?

Just an engineer
Reply to  b fagan
October 20, 2014 7:34 am

Bit of info about the installation relating to your “concern”
“The trick is to generate exactly enough power to result in a net-zero energy use, because PG&E does not pay you back for any excess power generated.”

b fagan
Reply to  Just an engineer
October 20, 2014 9:53 am

Hi, “an engineer” (I don’t include “Just” there, because I respect all the math that goes into it.)
I didn’t read the details of the Milwaukee rate change, but I was wishing out loud that Mr. Watts – as a person with his own renewable generation capacity – would have taken at least a moment for thoughtful comment after the initial “This is funny”. (and it was funny).
Preventing any sale of someone’s excess power is as foolish as forcing the operators to foot the entire bill for updating the grid to allow two-way energy flow. Watts shouldn’t have to generate “exactly enough power”, but at the same time, people with excess capacity shouldn’t expect top dollar for it all the time. PG&E should have net metering so they could buy his power when needed and thus cut down on use of fossil for peak demand cycles.
My point is that the grid is going renewable anyway, and if you look at sources like you see that the grid operators know it.
IEEE also has a lot to read at
We’re at a really big transition point and have to figure out how to share the costs and benefits. Within a very few decades, renewables plus storage will be cheaper than fossil in the US. Any remote place depending on diesel should already be getting rid of it, and gas peaker plants are very expensive to run.
But at the same time, we’ve got to figure out how to make it financially worthwhile for the existing base load generators – including coal and nuclear – to keep their plants open until such time when we have storage and demand management integrated into the grid at a scale where we can start retiring the fossil plants, and shutting down the oldest nukes.

Mac the Knife
October 18, 2014 7:53 pm

Coal was Mother Nature’s way of storing solar energy over millions of years, to be used by the first civilization with the necessary science and technology level to realize its energy potential. She stored so much of it that, even after +100 years of increasing use, the USA still has another 200 years of coal available to meet the power demands of the nation!
Unfortunately, Mother Nature nearly starved the plant life on ice ball Earth in the process, by tying up all of that carbon and reducing atmospheric CO2 to less than 250ppm.
These are the fundamentals the Madison solar erectile dysfunction twits can’t seem to grasp.

October 18, 2014 8:47 pm

Good ol’ plastic. I imagine it would be difficult to make inflatable coal plants with leather.

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Zeke
October 18, 2014 9:23 pm

How may inflated goat bladders and cow stomachs do you think a ‘good’ all natural, inflatable ‘coal plant’ would take? Maybe they should have found a ‘green’ bag piper to help keep it inflated? };>)

Reply to  Mac the Knife
October 18, 2014 10:00 pm

Hey, this could be the beginning of a great civilization for them! Chuckle.

Bob Diaz
October 18, 2014 9:59 pm

Let’s see, your input energy is 130 watts, but the drain is 1,000 watts. One does not need a PhD in math to see how this will play out. The fact that they couldn’t figure this out shows how little they know and understand about energy.

Joe G
Reply to  Bob Diaz
October 19, 2014 7:51 am

Bob, they just needed 9 more panels. 😉

Reply to  Joe G
October 19, 2014 1:24 pm

They could have just replicated the full scale system and put a STOR diesel generator on there as well.

October 19, 2014 2:51 pm

The irony runs deeper. Try reading the “basic principles” in MG&E’s rate case.
They talk about future “system reliability” being critical; that “securing and sustaining the “grid”” will become more complex. This whilst trying to switch to renewables from local sources.
As readers will know, wind and solar are incompatible will reliable supplies of electricity. Given the choice between serving its customers and going local and green, MG&E has shifted towards the former. The protesters have provided a very practical demonstration to MG&E and its customers of why the new rate plan is a step the right direction.

October 20, 2014 4:07 am

Instead of protesting why don’t they donate money time and resources to trying to invent a solution which can compete in the marketplace? Protesting is easy, solving a problem (even one which is not a real problem, just a perceived problem like CO2) is hard.
The new all electric car Formula-1 style competition is a great example of actually trying to do something positive rather than just protesting and whinging.

October 20, 2014 9:23 am

The deflated display collapsed into an ugly hockey stick form. It’s a fitting end. They were better at knocking over tombstones of vets in Madison during the anti-Iraq war protests.

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