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Oregon’s Groundbreaking Clean Energy Bill

The plan will have national implications and adds to the growing momentum to address climate change

Oregon Governor Kate Brown at the bill's signing ceremony. The state became the first in the nation to pass legislation ending the use of electricity produced by burning coal.
Image Credit: RenewOR

The historic clean energy law that passed Oregon’s Legislature with bipartisan support this month will have regional, national, and international implications.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s ceremonial signing of the state’s pioneering Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act at an elementary school that recently installed solar panels was both symbolic and appropriate. The new clean energy law helps address the greatest environmental threat of our time and protect future generations from the worst effects of climate change.

Oregon becomes the first state in the nation to legislate an end to the use of coal-fired electricity, with a deadline of no later than 2035. The law also requires that at least half of the electricity supplied by the state’s largest utilities — Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, which together serve 70 percent of Oregon’s electricity needs — come from new renewable sources such as solar and wind power.

And it directs those utilities to speed the deployment of charging stations for emissions-free electric vehicles. Plugging electric vehicles into renewable energy will help cut emissions from the transportation sector, which is Oregon’s largest source of carbon pollution.

When the requirements of SB 1547 are combined with Oregon’s legacy hydropower resources, the state’s electric sector will be 70 percent to 90 percent carbon-free by 2040. And that will give Oregon one of the cleanest energy portfolios in the country.

This groundbreaking law is the result of a remarkable collaboration of utility, consumer, and environmental interests (including the National Resources Defense Council) that all worked together to ensure cleaner air and reliable, affordable electricity for Oregonians.

According to a study by Oregon Global Warming Commission staff, the law will cut Oregon’s electric sector carbon emissions in half by 2030. Analyses by Pacific Power and Renewable Northwest find that achieving these dramatic reductions would raise electricity rates by no more than 1% — and, given the strong downward direction that wind and solar energy prices have taken over the last decade, could well reduce them.

Important outside of Oregon, too

Approving the nation’s first legislation to fully transition away from coal-powered electricity just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily delayed the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to limit power plant pollution shows Oregon’s leadership in the fight against climate change. And it will have an impact far beyond Oregon’s borders because:

  • It comes on the heels of the Paris agreement by 187 nations responsible for about 97 percent of the world’s climate pollution announced specific national emissions reduction plans for climate action after 2020.
  • It underscores the determination of state and local governments to combat dangerous climate change and is a strong reminder that action on climate at the state level can — and must — continue despite the Supreme Court delay stay of the Clean Power Plan.
  • It will help clean up the energy supply across the western United States. In fact, an analysis of the legislation’s expected impact shows it could cut carbon pollution by 30 million metric tons — equivalent to the annual emissions of 6.4 million cars.

Why the region will benefit

Although one-third of Oregon’s electricity today comes from coal-fired plants, the only in-state facility was already slated to retire by 2020. However, the two affected utilities supply power to Oregon from coal facilities they own in Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. By ending Oregon’s investments, the market for dirty energy will shrink, which should speed the retirement of those aging plants.

At the same time, the law doubles the amount of energy from new renewable resources that Pacific Power and Portland General Electric must provide to their Oregon customers. Therefore, the utilities will be obliged to look first to wind, solar, and other clean energy sources — and not new base-load natural gas turbines — to replace those aged coal plants.

And the nation, too

Oregon now joins the growing list of states that are moving aggressively to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy. California and New York, for example, have also mandated that half of their electricity come from renewables. Hawaii is requiring that all of its power comes from renewables by 2045.

These advances reflect the growing concern that climate change poses an urgent threat to our health, environment and economy — and the recognition that clean energy offers new opportunities for clean air as well as reliable electricity service and new jobs.

Noah Long is a senior attorney in the NRDC’s energy program. This blog, written in collaboration with Angus Duncan, was originally posted at NRDC Switchboard.

40 Comments

  1. Stephen E | | #1

    No coal plants
    Got this sinking fealing that when this is in full force Oregon is going to get electricity from neighboring states that don't have as strick of measures. When its cloudy and wind is down the power has to come from somewhere. So electicity goes up in price hurting the lower class in Oregon and they do that smiling.

  2. John Clark | | #2

    @Steve. California may come knocking in more ways than one
    Oregon should be weary of its southern neighbor because water is in short supply. The Federal Gov't could force Oregon to divert water to California and that diversion may have a negative impact upon hydropower generation.

  3. Eric Habegger | | #3

    Reply to Chris M
    It seems to me you are very wary of government intervention, but only in certain cases. Let me understand this. It seems you think it is perfectly OK for the Republican state organization in Michigan to have introduced fiat law and taken over the operation of Flint. If I remember you correctly, you also said it was perfectly fine if other counties took over Flint and that overall the poor residents of Flint were better off having their affairs taken over by other state localities with no voting representation by the actual residents of the town of Flint.

    How does this square with you now worrying about the government of California taking over the affairs of the neighboring state of Oregon? There is absolutely no evidence for that assertion. It seems to me you are just having a hard time accepting what the position you took in the case of Flint says about you. And because the person who brought it to the attention of everybody (me) happens to be from the state of California it is now important to you to denigrate my state.,

    [Insulting language deleted by GBA editor.]

  4. John Clark | | #4

    @Eric Simple really.
    I'm a proponent of States rights (10th Amendment). There's no reason why Oregon should have to shoulder the burden for the poor economic decisions (i.e. Water Rights) made by California.

    My own state (GA) at one point attempted to interfere with the sovereignty of the State of Tenn over a water issue. The argument was that there was an equipment error with regards to surveying the northern border which resulted in the line being drawn further south than was had been intended. The correct boundary would've crossed the Tenn. River in one particular spot. This claim is significant because the State of GA is involved in a water dispute with Alabama and Florida. If GA's territorial claim to the portion of the Tenn. River was upheld then the State was going to send water via pipeline south to Atlanta area reservoirs.

  5. Eric Habegger | | #5

    Chris, I suggest you look in
    Chris, I suggest you look in a mirror and think about the basis of your assumptions. Our water rights in California is a red herring and believe me when I say it will have no affect on our neighboring states. The chief cause of California's water troubles is simply drought. Governor Brown has already taken the first steps to loosen the historic undemocratic water rights laws from that originated from our early history. Unlike you and many of the state's rights advocates most of us, not all, actually think about what it would be like to be in another individual's shoes.

    I notice you have studiously avoided the blatant contradiction of the basic concept behind state's rights and the same basic concept writ small, i.e. the ability of any region having their own representative vote. Your historic argument about Flint and the state of Michigan really undermines your whole argument. It really shows that the traditional political position of "state's rights" in the south is really about maintaining the status quo in keeping certain races and economic classes of people unequal to others. In this case "states rights" isn't about rights, its about the right for the south to discriminate against people in resistance to the progressive forces from other parts of the country.

    It seems to me you have already dug a big hole for yourself in your previous positions on this forum that contradict the ideas you are trying to show. My usual advice is when you are in a hole, then quit digging.

  6. John Clark | | #6

    @Eric
    Drought is an issue and if the AGW predictions are true the state may never recover. The problem in California is pricing. California farmers were/are paying ridiculously low rates (government imposed) per acre/foot while growing water intensive crops (ex Pecans). Unfortunately the citizens of Socal suffered via intensive water use restrictions.

    There's more trouble brewing with regards to the Colorado River as well. Hopefully it won't turn onto the San Jacinto (sp?).

    The problem with Flint was a long time coming. I don't automatically assign the responsibility of their current issues to the current political party. My understanding is that the city went bankrupt which required the State government to intervene.

    Bankruptcies don't occur overnight or in a vacuum.

  7. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #7

    OK kids, play nice.
    But as a practical matter I don't get how anybody could force Oregon to divert a significant amount of water to CA, given that it would take a decades long project on the scale of the TVA or BPA have enough infrastructure in place ship water over the Siskyou range into Redding, let alone the hundreds of miles to the Central Valley (where is needed) and beyond. There are very few river systems in OR that could be diverted in any significant way into CA- water doesn't flow uphill. Most of the water falling on Oregon flows north or west, hardly any flows in the direction of CA. They'd have to pump (hard), note merely divert! (Funny thing about gravity- it's more than just a theory! :-) )

    Most of the hydro power resource is on the Columbia River (the border with WA, 300 miles from the CA border) and the Snake River (border with ID), and long-since paid-for, with good grid resources for getting more of it from other BPA resource states (like WA) when the wind resources of the Columbia gorge is inexplicably becalmed for the first time since record keeping began.

    https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/publications/scipubs/techmemos/tm201/fig01.gif

    It's simply not possible to bleed OR's hydro capacity in a meaningful way by diverting water to CA, or any other neighboring state. Any water diversion from OR's hydro resources would also be a diversion from those of ID or WA (not CA), and diversions would be negatively impacting the power resources for those states at the same time.

    The wind power resources within OR are pretty good (and expanding.) I'm not too worried about OR electric rates soaring. The build out of smart grid resources such as smart vehicle charging stations will do a lot for stabilizing OR's grid, and with demand response (now that FERC Order 745 has been blessed by the US Supreme Court) will be able to reduce grid loads during periods when generation resources are flagging.

    Most of the coal fired power in OR came from other states, and was only a single-digit fraction of the capacity total for the state having been displaced in recent years by natural gas and wind. At the rate renewables & flexible demand side resources are going in there isn't much risk of granny getting stuck paying high power bills while shivering in front of her 3 watt LED due to the shedding of that capacity from the portfolio.

  8. John Clark | | #8

    @Dana
    The GA/FL/AL water fight over the Chattahoochee River might give you pause. The 'fight' has been going on for decades and hasn't been resolved.

    Like I said earlier, GA was trying to get access to the Tennessee River using a 'survey error' from the 1700's as justification. Florida and Alabama argue (correctly I might add) that flood control was the only intended use for the reservoir built on this river just north of Atlanta. Water for the city of Atlanta wasn't one of them. Metro Atlanta demand can easily exceed supply and we've come close to hitting the 'bottom of the barrel' during La Nina years.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-state_water_dispute

  9. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #9

    Reminder to GBA readers
    I'd like to remind GBA readers that it is a violation of GBA policy to post insults or degrading comments about the personality of other GBA readers.

    We're here to discuss technical points and to share opinions. It's fine to debate the issues, but insults will not be tolerated.

  10. D Dorsett | | #10

    The relevance of the GA/FL/AL water to OR coal or CA water ???
    I get that the southeast is drought susceptible and plenty to discuss about how resources are divided & managed, but it's about as relevent to CA water & OR coal power as the Jordan/Israel water resources issue.

    OR has opted out of coal power, they think they can do it economically without affecting their water resources, and I happen to believe they're right. I also believe there is no practical way to move significant water from OR to CA even if they wanted to, given the mountains & high dry plateau topology of the CA/OR border regions, and the fact that the major water resources in OR are 300 miles from CA and shared with ID/WA. If that water resource got tight at some point (not likely, the water volumes of the Columbia are HUGE, comparable to the Ohio or St. Lawrence Rivers) there might be a WA/ID/OR tug of war over water, but CA can't be a player in that struggle due to topology & distance.

  11. John Clark | | #11

    @Dana
    come up in the past.
    The relevance? I was simply opining that when states get desperate what we think couldn't never happen, actually might. I originally suggested that with CA water problems, closing coal plants could be a potential problem in the future for OR since they'll rely even more upon hydropower. From the links below it's clear that I'm not the first one that has thought about diverting water from the Columbia.

    http://www.signalscv.com/archives/125074/
    http://hh-today.com/california-drought-and-oregon-water/
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2015/04/21/william-shatners-folly-our-water-will-never-go-to-california-southwest/

  12. Tony Fleming | | #12

    base load
    Oregon should be lauded for its efforts, but it must be noted that there is not much heavy lifting required on the part of its citizens or utilities, much less its politicians--or at least much less than in other states that don't already get a sizable majority of their power from hydro. Except in rare cases of really extreme drought, hydro provides the carbon free base load power into which Oregon's intermittent and nondispatchable wind and solar power can be easily integrated.

    The key phrase in the article is:
    "When the requirements of SB 1547 are combined with Oregon's legacy hydropower resources, the state's electric sector will be 70 percent to 90 percent carbon-free by 2040"

    Hydro represents a form of storage--the holy grail for renewable energy--that (ignoring for a moment the impacts on fish) is easily ramped up and down to match output from other, more variable sources. Unlike, say, coal, combined cycle gas turbines, or single cycle gas "peaker plants", none of which are readily ramped, at least not without significantly increasing CO2 output due to inherent thermodynamic inefficiencies of unsteady operation.

    In short, something like this is both politically and thermodynamically alot easier to do in places like the Pacific NW or possibly some of the TVA states, where a ready source of economic, large scale power storage in the form of hydro is available. Much less so elsewhere. That's why the "implications" for other regions will remain, at best, symbolic unless and until the basic challenges of providing large (i.e., grid) scale power storage are overcome.

    The real issue in Oregon and elsewhere is about economic power: whether to retain the monopoly power and single-supplier model of grid-scale utilities, or whether the climate challenge isn't better addressed by fragmenting that model into much smaller local "grids" and supply cooperatives where current technology does offer some opportunities for small scale power storage.

  13. James Wechsler | | #13

    Water transfer and hydropower
    It is not possible for the Federal government to order Oregon to send water to California. Western water law is completely different from Eastern water law an is nonsensical. However, it is ruled by compacts between the states which are constitutionally protected and not subject in a meaningful way to Federal directives. On the other hand, calling hydropower green or clean is only true in the global warming context; on other counts it is an environmental disaster. Please see all that has been written on the Colorado River and the Southwest.

  14. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #14

    Clearly not thinking straight @ Chris M
    It doesn't take a rocket scientist or even a civil engineer with big dreams to realize that moving significant amounts of water from the Columbia to CA just isn't feasible. It would be cheaper and more effective to build large scale desalinization plants in CA. The raw size of a coastal pipeline for getting water from the mouth of the Columbia, bypassing the mountains and the amount of high-priced real estate in OR it would have to take by eminent domain makes it a non starter. They realized that pretty quickly in the 1960s, even before scalable desalination plants were practical.

    According to one of the linked to articles, "The idea was scorned in Oregon and never got past the conceptual stage. But this may change if conditions get worse."

    That should be edited to say "...may change if conditioned get worse... en sus sueños." The amount of water needed to support agriculture in CA (= something like 75-80% of the water used in the state) would take a significant fraction of the flow, not a modest amount, and the raw pumping power cost would require another BPA sized power generation project to move that water 1000 miles to the Central Valley where it's needed. That's quite some pipe dream! Folks taking that seriously need to stop smoking that pipe and get a grip on reality. The proposals in the 1960 occurred before the EPA existed, but had it been done even without the environmental impacts were required, the napkin math financial analysis would have flunked it.

    It's one thing to be building pipelines for $8-10/bbl oil in Alaska (where the Feds owned all the real-estate), quite another to build crazy-out-of-scale coastal water pipelines when water is (even now) less than $1500/acre-foot in CA, even for high-priced urban use. For ag it's under $1000/acre-foot. At $100,000 per acre-foot there's a financial case for a giga-pipeline to be built, but even desalination costs are under $5000/acre-foot. CA agriculture is priced out of the market at water prices well below that, and while the urban areas might be able to afford it even a $100,000/acre-foot, they're only ~15% of the water-use picture in CA. Water intensive industries and agriculture would have to go elsewhere- water brought to them from afar or from desalination would be simply too expensive. But Hollywood and Silicon Valley would survive even with coastal desalination. In Singapore they're building out water recycling to reduce their water costs and reduce or eliminated the dependence on water from nearby Malaysia (the source of half their water as of a few years ago), at a financial cost/risk much lower than a 300-1000 mile giga-pipeline, but much higher than could be supported by agriculture. CA cities will survive, even if CA agriculture goes under.

    I had something akin to this discussion a couple of Julys ago while ascending & skiing the Muir Snowfield on Mt. Rainier (WA) with a software engineer who thought pipelining PNW water to CA was a great idea and a power company engineer who thought it was crazy. (The power engineer had the benefit of experience with what it takes to pump water for agriculture within the Columbia basin in WA.) Without a laptop along to run the rough numbers the software guy wasn't completely convinced, but at least had an inkling by the time we made it to Camp Muir. Physically do-able- yes, with technical difficulty. Financially viable- never. Taking something the size of the Klamath river in southern OR for use in northern CA might be economically feasible if N-Cal water goes up 2 orders of magnitude per acre-foot, but even at that much smaller scale the environmental impacts would not likely to pass muster.

    And, even if all financial and environmental sanity is forsaken and that pipeline got built, taking water from the MOUTH of the Columbia has no impact on the hydro power or water resources of OR, which are all 10s & 100s miles upstream of the tidal region of the river at Astoria.

    Tony has it right- the dispatchability and massive size of the legacy hydro resources makes a large scale build out of variable renewables much easier in OR / WA / ID than in places that don't have that resource. New wind (even before subsidy) has a cheaper levelized cost than new combined cycle gas, and new utility scale solar will be cheaper than new wind before 2020, despite the fact that wind is continuing to get cheaper and better year-on-year. According to NREL's recently published analysis, Portland OR has enough suitable roof top area that rooftops alone could supply 38% (a bit less than the national average) of the city's total power use with small scale distributed PV, never mind the utility scale stuff. (see: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/65298.pdf ) At the learning curve of solar a LOT of that rooftop potential will be financially viable without subsidy prior to 2025. The risk of soaring electricity prices for making the zero-coal decision in OR is small in the face of ever-cheaper solar, and the grid build-out needed to support large amounts of distributed solar isn't very daunting either. Rather than relying MORE on hydro power in the future, OR will be increasing reliance on cheap variable renewables, using cheap hydro to make that easy.

  15. Brent Lerwill | | #15

    Oregon’s Groundbreaking Clean Energy Bill
    Why does everything have to degrade into negative political dogma? I Love living in Oregon & Love that we are consistently a leader in things like this.

  16. Gary Morrison | | #16

    Government legislated stupidity
    What a bunch of do-gooder moron$. This is exactly why I and my business are leaving the West Coast and moving somewhere where people haven't lost their ever lovin' minds. Man Caused Global Warming is a lie, a scam and a farce and I'm sorry but anyone who believes in it is just plain $tupid.

    Yeah, pass more legislation. That's what we need! As if we on the West Coast are not already tied in legislative knots and taxed to death. Never mind that the whole premise is incorrect or that the legislation will cause a hundred unanticipated and unintended horribly negative consequences. It FEELS good so do it. Maybe all you brilliant folks should just go ahead and get a lobotomy. You'll feel really good afterwards. Oh right, that's already been done. Otherwise who could pass such a $tupid law?

    Really, what are people drinking and smoking these days? It's sure not common sense. You'll see when the whole country grinds to a halt in catatonia because of all of this incredibly moronic legislation. Of course common sense people like me will have to suffer (already are) right along with you IDIOT$. Thanks a lot for bringing brain death to a whole new level. I'm outa here.

    Market forces, people. Wake the frack up! It's the only thing that works and the only thing that has EVER worked!

  17. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #17

    This is not likely to be a productive debate
    I don't think those who disagree with the recently passed legislation in Oregon are likely to be swayed by my opinion. But you can count me as one more person encouraged by the Oregon law.

  18. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #18

    The idea that this is going to cost ratepayers is unfounded.
    Don't candy coat it for us Gary, tell us how you really FEEL! :-)

    Whatever your opinion is about climate change, mining & burning coal is a dangerous and dirty business.

    And even at today's low $/ton pricing on coal or fracked gas, the cost of new wind power is still cheaper, and OR has plenty of as yet undeveloped wind resources to fill the gap, if needed. This isn't going to cost the OR ratepayers or taxpayers anything extra, which makes it pretty easy for them. It may affect some SHAREHOLDER values on the utilities that own the fossil burners up or down (or not at all) but that's the utility market, baby, which never was a free market in the first place.

    "Market forces" and "regulated monopoly utility" aren't exactly the same thing. All utility markets are artificial legislative constructs. Free or nearly-free extraction fees for fossil fuels on Federal lands is one subsidy among many affecting utility costs, not a market force, and the construction of the BPA dams was essentially by Federal government fiat, with enormous amounts of subsidy. Whatever you think about current production tax credit subsidies for wind or income tax rebate subsidies for new PV or wind, it's no worse than the market meddling that built the status-quo, and in some ways better, since the latter subsidies have a clear end date in the not too distant future.

    The voters in OR have every right and opportunity to vote the crafters of this legislation out of office, if a consensus view develops that the new law is an error. But there doesn't appear to be a groundswell of popular dissent on SB 1547. If the ratepayers / taxpayers / voters of Oregon are lined up behind it, those who disagree can either organize against it or just suck it up. Those of us NOT currently living in OR don't really have much of a dog in that fight, whether we agree with the rationale behind it or not. But the notion that "...common sense people like me will have to suffer..." as a result of SB 1547 has no basis, unless you're one of the common sense people working at the coal mines or powerplants that may become shuttered.

    Full disclosure: I have relatives in the oil & gas biz who are sitting on sizable as-yet undeveloped coal seam methane projects in Oregon. At current market prices for natural gas it's not cost effective to develop those already proven gas reserves into production wells. SB 1547 doesn't affect them directly or immediately, but by taking a potential future gas customer class out of the market it dims their prospects of getting filthy-rich on that project any time soon, and that's a frackin' fact. But Oregon ratepayers & taxpayers don't owe my in-laws a thing, and if the market doesn't fetch a sufficient price, nobody is going to develop the resource. (They made a decent amount in salary & stock during the exploration phase, even some investors have yet to recover their money, and may never.)

  19. User avater
    Stephen Sheehy | | #19

    Conspiracy, Gary?
    By every leader of every country on the planet? They're all stupid? OK, if you say so. I mean we have never had any reason to mistrust Peabody Coal or BP, so maybe you're right.

  20. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #20

    No need to even discuss the climate aspect. @ stephen sheehy
    The renewable alternatives available to Oregonians are already cheaper than coal, even at today's record low coal pricing, and there is sufficient already-build grid balancing hydro capacity for variable renewables already powering half or more of Oregon's grid. No matter what you think about the effects (or non-effects) of carbon emissions are, cost-wise this is a lateral move for Oregon ratepayers.

    Whether their reasons behind the legislation are deemed moronic or sheer genius, it's not damaging the ratepayers financially. If Gary wants to bail and leave on principle, that is his right as an American, but whining about how it's going to cause him further suffering requires some evidence. The banking sector understands that the unsubsidised levelized cost of wind power is already cheaper than coal and continuing to get cheaper. Grid scale PV arrays are at parity with coal, now, and will be cheaper than wind in the near future. If anything this is likely to save Gary money than to pick his pocket, so his suffering would be emotional, not a financial stressor. It's stressful living surrounded by folks that don't share your world view, and I don't doubt that Gary suffers.

    The most recently updated levelized cost estimates of different electricity sources from the investment bank Lazard lives here:

    https://www.lazard.com/media/2390/lazards-levelized-cost-of-energy-analysis-90.pdf

    The levelized cost of wind is only undercut by the cost by energy efficiency. So, if market forces were the only driver, it would be to the advantage of energy efficiency + wind power, not coal, not gas. For now combined cycle gas is still close enough to compete in states with lousy wind resources, but Oregon is not one of those states.

    Common sense would be to mitigate future losses on the down & dirty side of coal, and continue buying into the cheap stuff, like efficiency and wind, which is what this bill has done. That's independent of any argument about fossil fuels & climate change that others might make, which is probably why getting it through the legislature didn't require Herculean effort. Cheap renewables have arrived.

  21. Gary Morrison | | #21

    LoL.............
    There is no debating with true believers. You people have all drunk the cool-aid and prostrated yourselves before the altar of big government and political correctness. You will suffer the consequences and it won't be pretty. That's the only thing that will get through your thick, naive skulls so I'll just let reality make my arguments for me. I've done a lot of debating on many blogs and in the end it has been futile.

    As for me and mine, we have bought a small farm where we will establish a homestead that will provide us with most of our food in a place (NOT the West or East Coasts) where people look you straight in the eyes and there's no rainbows, cotton candy or unicorns behind them.

    You people have no earthly idea how late the hour is and how insignificant what you are doing and saying is. We 'were' the luckiest people on the planet here in the US and all we had to do was take care of what we had. But unfortunately INSANE people can't take care of anything... obviously. But now we have become the dumbest as well. The whole world knows it too. Obama is a liar and a fop and the laughing stock of the world. Why do you think everybody and their mother gets those scam calls every day? Because the whole world knows that we've LOST IT and we're just sitting around on bags of riches that we don't know how to take care of anymore. Everyone sees it but us. Even in our precipitous decline, we're still the richest nation on earth. No one has what we have and no one has taken such spiritual and physical wealth more for granted than we have. We're in the process of flushing it all right down the toilet. We won't have it for much longer. We've been very bad little boys and girls and soon we are going to pay for our utter stupidity. No one in the whole world kills their own economy like we do with gleeful abandon here- well maybe no one except parts of decaying Europe. Good bye Western Civilization. We taught the whole world how to compete and now we want to become Socialists and legislate ourselves into oblivion? WHAT? The world learned very well and we forgot EVERYTHING! It's PATHETIC! We've been killing the goose that laid the golden eggs and she's gasping her last raspy breaths even now.

    The bad economy, Islamic terrorism and the rise of the Caliphate, nuclear armed North Korea (who almost have a ballistic missile capable of hitting us), a nuclear armed fanatical Iran. Do you think that 9/11 and the near total financial collapse of '08 were isolated events? No, they were very big warnings and we are NOT LISTENING! Danger is rising on every side and we cripple ourselves with legislation that nobody else in the world would dream of doing to themselves! Do you think that the pollution in China, Russia, India, Mexico stops at their borders? We voluntarily break our own legs while China rises as a global super power. We have become idiots and the only solution left is for a violent culling that will leave only the strong and the smart standing. It's coming. Continue to fiddle while the flames rise and see where it takes you.

  22. Gary Morrison | | #22

    Silly Dana Dorsett
    If everything else was cheaper than coal, you wouldn't need to legislate it out of existence, now would you? If alternative energy sources were really "levelized" LoL..., then the market place would be pushing them to the forefront, not government. Eventually, they will be cheaper when the technology advances. But lollypop liberals just can't wait. Why wait 'til later when you can screw the economy up right now? See, this is how progressives operate. They destroy whole industries, forcing commodities through the roof. Then when prices skyrocket, their own pet projects seem far less expensive. Clever little fools they are. They are fools because they too have to live in the same mess of a world they make for us minions.

  23. Malcolm Taylor | | #23

    ?
    I don't see how this discussion serves any useful purpose.

  24. Gary Morrison | | #24

    Naturally
    Of course you don't Malcolm. It doesn't conform to your religious beliefs. When you are a true believer, you won't accept any other point of view...

  25. Gary Morrison | | #25

    @Stephen Sheehy
    No Stephen. I'm saying that WE are stupid. We are big time dupes. Governments are smart like foxes. In fact, the United States has been the global fool for many years now. Our government has been emptying our pockets and the treasury and enriching themselves while giving the rest of the money to other countries in massive quantities over the years. We are such fools. Global Warming is just another scam they use to empty our wallets. Think carbon credits- a government controlled scam. O think of the flim-flam man Al Gore. He flies all over the world in his soot spewing jet making hundreds of millions off of our gullibility. Then he goes home to his mansion that uses more energy in a month than most small towns do in a year. Yes, the truth is depressing but you've got to face it if there is any hope whatsoever. I'm not holding my breath. Without divine intervention, we're doomed.

    Private corporations have never killed millions of people. Governments have and will again and again because- you guessed it- we're stupid. Poor America. Such potential wasted. Now our economy is teetering and enemies are growing stronger all over the globe and we have no one but ourselves to blame. Our brilliant response is to kill the coal industry. LoL............................................................................................................................................................................................

  26. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #26

    Lazard's analysts aren't stupid.
    Lazard is an investment bank, not a government, and the only green they're interested in is USD. For them it's all about ROI . They have been analyzing energy markets for over a decade and in recent years have been issuing roughly annual updates on levelized costs. (The linked to document was the 9th version.) The target audience is investors and energy industry board members, not climate change theorists / advocates / deniers. They are only tracking the energy landscape in order to place better bets, not taking a position about the rest of it. They are aware of energy policy & subsidy issues that affect direct cost, which is why they carefully separate out to pre-subsidy costs over anticipated lifecycles. It's as apples-to-apples as it can get, and it's the starting point to for calculating the cost sensitivity to different policy approaches, fuel prices, etc. It's only 20 pages or so- spend some quality time going over it. It's not BS. Again: https://www.lazard.com/media/2390/lazards-levelized-cost-of-energy-analysis-90.pdf

    Regarding the coal industry, I would agree completely that there is no "...need to legislate it out of existence..." any more than the steam locomotive or horse drawn wagon needed to be legislated out of existence. Coal will die soon enough of it's own dead financial weight, killed by competition from cheap wind & combined cycle gas. In OR they didn't exactly legislate it out of existence, the simply moved it off their balance sheets. Those coal plant assets still exist, and the owners are free to sell power into other markets, just not in Oregon. The narrative that the coal industry in general is being legislated out of business broadly by governments doesn't have much of a case. The fact is, natural gas (and now wind) is significantly cheaper than coal, and that's been true for nearly a decade, and gas is also more flexible, faster ramping, making it easier to track net grid load. Market forces are what's taking down the thermal coal industry, not Darth Government.

    The fact that even non-fossil alternatives are now cheaper than coal means that in OR legislating coal off their balance sheet won't take any skin out of the ratepayer or taxpayer's hide. It's cheap, dead-easy for them, cheaper and easier than in other places. If it were much risk exposure to higher costs there would have been more push-back.

    Combined cycle gas is also on the brink of being eaten by cheap wind in many places, legislated or not. Both the cost and capacity factors of wind are improving rapidly, and once built, the marginal cost of power is near-zero. No matter how cheap natural gas gets, it can't beat zero. The localized marginal pricing even goes negative in Texas when the wind blows. This is viewed by slow ramping or competitors (coal & nukes, not so much cc gas) as "too much wind power" on the grid, but for the ratepayers it's a bargain, and constrains both peak & average wholesale prices.

    Too much of the time regulators are playing nanny-state to protect the interests of their monopoly-utility baby above the interest of the ratepayers. Rather than legislating coal out of existence, incumbent coal (& nuke) operators in some other markets (notably & recently, First Energy, in Ohio) have sought and sometimes won regulatory relief in the form of long term higher-than-market purchase price agreements in order to keep the coal burners financially viable in the face of competition from everything from demand response to zero marginal cost renewables. Protecting these private interests with years long higher than market power purchase agreements is an out & out subsidy paid by ratepayers & taxpayers:

    http://www.utilitydive.com/news/as-hearings-conclude-firstenergy-subsidy-proposal-remains-in-doubt/412578/

    http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20160410/NEWS/160409785/round-1-ends-but-battle-looms-for-firstenergy

    Market forces, or corporate $ociali$m? First Energy's aging Ohio coal & nuke fleet is pet project if there ever was one. Allowing cheaper power to compete with (and beat) incumbent dinosaurs isn't screwing the economy- keeping the dinosaurs on extended life support is. If these plants aren't financially viable even at rock-bottom recent coal prices, what's the point? Why should ratepayers in Ohio be shoveling their cash at into First Energy stockholder pockets?

    But then, utility markets have never been free markets in the US. The move by OR is a cost-neutral move, and better than letting the ratepayers be held hostage to a First Energy type situation. There are winners and losers in the OR legislation but the losers aren't the ratepayers, but they are in the First Energy bailout. I really couldn't care less about the utility or merchant generator stockholders in either of those situations. In Oregon they just hastened the inevitable. In Ohio they're forestalling the inevitable and paying extra for it. Truth to tell, that show isn't worth the price of admission, but the regulators are making them pay it anyway (unless the FERC steps in and blocks it.)

    The decline of the thermal coal industry in the US is what economists call "creative destruction"- it's a long standing incumbent industry that has been overtaken by competing technologies. Yes, there's pain in those job losses, but it's outweighed by the job increases in the wind, gas, and PV solar industry. There are more jobs (and better paid jobs) in the US just the nascent PV solar industry, than in the thermal coal industry, which has long since shifted toward highly mechanized extraction methods with a much reduced workforce than 30 years ago. Wind is also a big high wage employer. Wind and solar jobs are construction jobs, hard to mechanize, yet the net power produced costs less than that of a coal plant.

    These economic realities are completely independent of what anybody (including the Oregon legislature) thinks about climate change and carbon emissions, etc. Thermal coal is toast, done, stick a fork in it. I won't miss the smell or the expense. YMMV.

  27. Gary Morrison | | #27

    @ Dana Dorsett
    I couldn't care less about "Lazard". Companies will be companies and corrupt governments will be corrupt governments. The fact remains that this legislation is a ridiculous burden upon the backs of the American people and in particular, the backs of self destructive, naive Oregonians. Subsidy is the flip side of corrupt government legislation. Government arrogates that IT can choose winners & losers instead of the FREE market. I am content to use the energy we have today knowing that if government does not meddle in that which it cannot possibly understand or improve upon, wonderful things lie ahead. I trust the FREE market. Anyone with half a brain should too. People need to learn to trust the process, not the government. It has already made US the most prosperous and most powerful country on the planet. Nothing has changed since that happened except us. We've been dumbed down and made to be more and more stupid. (and Common Core will finish the job) Have you ever read an 18th century newspaper? You had to really use some serious brain power to understand it. Poor America. We've made everything more complicated than it needs to be while at the same time bleeding the essence out of intelligence. That essence is common sense. We are bleeding to death, in case you haven't noticed...

    If we don't need to "legislate the coal industry out of existence" then why is President (Liar-in-Chief) Obama and Oregon doing exactly that? Coal is being actively driven out of business by this self destructive government and if you don't know this then you are living under a rock. Just pull your head out of your phony assessment papers and go to Pennsylvania and ask a coal miner what is going on. You'll get an ear full. Death and destruction of an industry is what- along with all of the collateral damage to families and institutions as well. Obama said that he would do it. He said that "prices would necessarily skyrocket" and unfortunately it is only terrible things like THAT which he has kept his word on. Unicorns and chocolate dipped hazel nuts. Heavy on the 'nut' part. The horse and buggy were defeated by more powerful and useful internal combustion engines. The MARKET made that choice, not effing government. You speak in airy-fairy theory while ignoring the concrete blocks falling all around your deaf ears. There are so many people like you now that it is no wonder that the country is going down the tubes like a toboggan.

    Wind is not ready for prime time without subsidy. Solar is not ready without subsidy. One day perhaps, but not now. But you idiots don't let a little inconvenience like reality stand in your way. You think you can just spout reams of high sounding gibberish and rivers will suddenly flow backwards. You may be able to fool and impress some with your arrogant, contrived double-speak but I am not one of them. Come talk to me again when you remember how to speak English. Pretty much everything you say is BS and the fact that you take paragraphs to speak sentences doesn't change that even a little bit.

    Bottom line: government sucks, water is wet, flame is hot, rocks are hard and I could make a fortune on common sense if I could somehow figure out how to bottle and sell it. Talk about a rare commodity, that's the rarest of all nowadays. But you'll see. You'll fall silent when you realize what you and those like you have REALLY done with your pretty lies to destroy a once great country.

  28. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #28

    OK Gary, one mo' time.
    "I am content to use the energy we have today knowing that if government does not meddle in that which it cannot possibly understand or improve upon, wonderful things lie ahead."

    The government has totally meddled with the energy we have today. Utility markets are not now, and have never been, free markets. Coal, oil/gas and nuclear have all had (and continue to get) enormous subsidies in various forms, since much of the mining has been happening on Federal lands at extraction fees at a fraction of what market prices would have demanded if from privately held land. Coal leases have only VERY recently been suspended after years of very low lease pricing, but that was by executive order, not legislative action. Feel free to campaign and vote for a different executive. (I guess Darth Hussein Obama can't run for a third term, eh? ;-) )

    Wind is TOTALLY ready for prime time without subsidy TODAY. Solar is too, at least at the utility scale. Places as poor as India has figured out that wind & solar are not only cheaper than locally mined Indian coal, they don't need the water resources that coal fired elecricity does (which is a problem during some seasons in that country.) Unsubsidized solar beat subsidized $8/bbl oil in open bidding for power in Saudi Arabia last year. It used to be expensive, but it isn't any more.

    The recent extension of the tax credit subsidies wasn't necessary to keep PV and wind rolling in the US, but WILL speed up both the implementation rate and the rate at which the costs fall.

    If taking coal off the books in Oregon will be a financial burden for Oregonians, it's hard to substantiate how. If you can point me to some analysis that supports that thesis I'll read it (I really will!)

    Pennsylvania coal miners got hosed by the exploitation of easier/cheaper to get, higher quality thermal coal in Wyoming & Montana, but more importantly, the exploitation of the Bakken & Utica shale deposits in their own back yard with improved fracking technology. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York gas is still a bit more expensive per MMBTU than Pennsylvania coal, but it can be burned at higher efficiency with more flexible ramp rates in combined cycle power plants. The higher efficiency more than makes up for the higher per MMBTU price. It's more legitimate to blame the development of better shale fracking technology than any legislative action. Think of fracking and combined cycle gas generation as the newfangled internal combustion engine, and underground coal as the horse drawn wagon. Highly efficient super critical coal plants can come close to competing with combined cycle gas on a marginal cost basis, but they're much more expensive to build, and nowhere near as flexible for tracking load.

    Oh, sorry, fracking technology development was subsidized by the feds too... You can blame Clinton, GW, Obama, and Gore, who all clearly conspired with the oil & gas business to put thermal coal out of business by undercutting them on energy pricing. Isn't that how it goes, something like that?

    Utility scale PV costs less than $1.50/watt (unsubsidized) in the US right now, and is closing in on being under a buck a watt in lower cost countries, and that's reality. By 2025 solar will be the cheapest form of energy available of any type. A few years ago used to think that wouldn't happen until 2030 or later, but the developing world has latched onto PV big-time, which is driving the pricing down faster than anticipated. India alone expects to install more solar by 2030 than the cumulative amount of solar currently installed world wide. Every time the production rate doubles, the price drops by 20% (more, in recent years due to incremental improvements in process & efficiency.) The doubling rate of solar world wide is under two years. The levelized cost of utility scale solar is competitive with combined cycle gas today, if still more expensive than wind.

    But before 2020 utility scale PV will be even cheaper than wind, and much cheaper than combined cycle gas, whether my relatives in the gas biz like it or not. Cheap PV is going to eat everybody's lunch, not just coal, and not just natural gas. It's not just clueless idiots like me saying it, it's spoken out loud in utility board rooms daily. The finance sector knows it, and the Saudis do too.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/solar-price-terrordome-chart-2014-4

  29. Gary Morrison | | #29

    @Dana Dorsett
    Well that's just great then. Solar and wind don't need subsidies any more. Then they should be springing up everywhere without any government help or interference with clean, efficient coal. I look forward to witnessing this sea change phenomenon for myself. I really do. Meantime, just ask T. Boone Pickens how competitive wind is.

    "If taking coal off the books in Oregon will be a financial burden for Oregonians, it's hard to substantiate how. If you can point me to some analysis that supports that thesis I'll read it (I really will!)" How about this analysis: 'If you remove competition, higher prices and inefficiency will result- not to mention system wide disruption'. There I saved you all the wasted time of finding and reading some tortured "analysis" and slogging through it. Heaven forbid that you should use your own God given common sense instead of pedantic, theoretical and tormented logic.

    If Pennsylvania coal got "hosed" by competition, then why hasn't it come roaring back with the demise of the fracking industry? Look, Obama and the insane Demoncrats (with the acquiescence of the traitorous Republican establishment) are responsible for the demise of the coal industry, not competition. If you were to take your political blinders off, this would become clearly apparent. He said he would do it before the election and in unguarded moments admitted that it would "necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket" and he made good on THAT promise because it HURTS US. I don't know how you can pretend to dispute this fact. Of course things which would have actually benefitted the country like promised "transparency" , accountability and racial and political reconciliation have been accomplished in the exact opposite. There has never been a more opaque, dishonest, crony capitalist, POLITICAL, and racially polarizing president in history. If you want to understand what Obama is really saying, all you have to do is flip what he says 180 degrees and you've got the precise translation- except in those rare, unguarded moments where the REAL truth slips out.

    The police and every other stabilizing institution (including energy and the military) in America are under intense attack by this horrible, stupendously corrupt Chicago gangster regime. Also, the rejection of the Keystone Pipeline clearly demonstrated that The Great Pretender is anti-energy and anti-America. That decision alone has gone very far in hurting US interests, which was his sole intent. We have anti-American devils leading this country from the top to the bottom now and this nation is going down the toilet fast because of it. The East and West coasts have largely bought into these BIG LIES propagated by Washington DC and have even been doing their damnedest to one-up the failed national agenda. It's pathetic and I don't put it past this regime to trump up some emergency and declare martial law so the Great Pretender can stay in office after November. It beggars belief how ANYONE could have possibly voted for that lying piece of ****.

    Which brings me back to my first thesis: The governments on the West Coast are massive failures. As a business owner I am ridiculously taxed from every conceivable direction I turn in order to subsidize bloated, useless state governments and socialized nonsense which reward the non-productive and penalizes the makers and doers to the point that it has become difficult to even run a business here because of government oppression, over regulation, meddling and the concomitant parasitical lawyers. They think that it is so beautiful and lovely here in the West that we will take any kind of crap they wish to burden us with and smile and bear it. Well I and many others just as fed up as me are not taking it any more. I am voting with my feet. I am taking my money, my businesses, my jobs and moving to a state which hasn't forgotten who butters their bread and actually acts like it. A place where people's minds aren't so open that their brains fall out and they fall for every fairy tale boondoggle that comes along. A place that is FREE like the West USED to be. I will be installing solar panels of the non-subsidized variety on my property. I am even going to build a water wheel electricity generating project of my own design on the farm without government looking over my shoulder, telling me I can't. Real innovation occurs when the government gets the hell out of micromanaging EVERYTHING. I even look forward to clean, limitless fusion energy as well, one day- brought about by the FREE market, not the damned, destructive government. But I'm not going to kill the Golden Goose because Unicorns dance through my dreams from time to time.

  30. D Dorsett | | #30

    Competition is not removed by kicking coal off the OR grid.
    "Well that's just great then. Solar and wind don't need subsidies any more. Then they should be springing up everywhere without any government help or interference with clean, efficient coal."

    In fact, both wind and solar were being built out beyond state RET and state targets and subsidies all over the place. That's been true for at least three years (which is why I was surprised that the US congress actually extended the tax credit subsidy.) But by re-upping the subsidy it pretty much clinches it that with the still significant cost learning curves of both wind & solar, and the higher production volumes brought on by the subsidy they will be FAR cheaper than fossil fuel power generation by the time that subsidy goes away, not just somewhat better.

    "Meantime, just ask T. Boone Pickens how competitive wind is."

    Pickens got in too early and paid too much, getting involved in a market that he wasn't as familiar with. There have been gigawatts of wind profitably built in Texas since he got out, and both the cost and quality of the wind has improved dramatically since then. Like solar, wind power is a technology, with year on year improvements in technology and price. They only get cheaper over time, at least in the near term. Fossil fuels are commodities in a very mature market, and the prices are volatile swinging more with demand than with the cost of extraction. Now that there is rough parity with the lifecycle cost of electric power between renewables and fossil fuels (even at near record low commodity pricing), there's no question about which is going to win.

    "'If you remove competition, higher prices and inefficiency will result- not to mention system wide disruption'"

    Competition is not being removed- Oregon is continuing to build capacity. But what they will be building has a lower overall cost than the coal.fired generation it's moving off the books. I suppose we could say burning $100 bills in a wood stove as "competition" to cordwood, but but ruling out $100 bills as a heating fuel wouldn't bring the cost of heating down, despite removing that "competition". At the moment coal & solar are at rough parity, wind is cheaper than both. But the learning curve on solar is faster than the learning curve of wind. Solar will win on price soon even though the cost of both are falling, but coal can't compete, barring some miracle technology breakthrough to double or triple it's efficiency. (Capacity factors on wind have roughly doubled in the past 10 years, even as costs have fallen by more than half.)

    Market disruption has far reaching consequences, sure, and that sucks for the disrupted. But the ratepayers don't owe the gas fracker or coal miners anything. That's called "market forces". If I can get better & cheaper service from NetFlix & Hulu than the local cable company it's tough noogies for the cable guy, but that's the nature of a market economy when a better technology comes along.

    "If Pennsylvania coal got "hosed" by competition, then why hasn't it come roaring back with the demise of the fracking industry? "

    Demise of the fracking industry? It has a cold, sure, but the fracking industry is far from dead, which is why natural gas it still trading at about $2.50/MMBTU. ($2.05, as of a few minutes ago: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/commodities ) When gas hits $5-6/MMBTU consistently for awhile the economics of coal relative to natural gas become competitive again. Lazard's LCOE assumption on combined cycle gas was $3.50/MMBTU, which is in fact roughly where the long term contract prices have been running for powerplant operators. If the spot prices remain at $2-2-50 the contract prices will also fall, and if they rise, the contract price will rise. But at the $5-6/MMBTU price point for gas that makes coal comparatively better, investing in more wind & solar becomes a complete no-brainer, since they'll be less than half the cost. The falling cost of renewables it already putting downward price pressure on natural gas, just as the falling price of natural gas in the past decade put downward price pressure on coal.

    FWIW: The competition for Pennsylvania coal came first from cheaper-better Wyoming coal. Only later did fracking come along and begin to eat both their lunches. And only in the past couple or three years has the massive growth of wind power pushed hard on the price of natural gas, primarily in the midwestern markets and Texas (the ERCOT grid.)

    Re-Keystone pipeline: Unless oil prices pick up dramatically, the Keystone pipeline would have been a huge money-loser for the developers. Shutting it down was more symbolic than having much of a net effect on total emissions from oil sand development- truly a political football. At the recent and current market price points for bitumen oil developing more oil sand production capacity is a huge money sink, but the existing production infrastructure can still sort of break even while making their financing payments. My brother in-law gave up his apartment in Calgary last fall and headed back home to the Pacific Northwest until price points recover. (He had been working a shale oil exploration project on native reservation lands for about 3-4 years, shortly after his gas project in OR got shelved due to low gas pricing, concurrent with a coal seam gas project in Zimbabwe that couldn't secure development funding for the gas power plant that was going to use that fuel.) At a sustained price of $100/bbl for the sweet stuff it was profitable to go after crummier sand & shale oils, but under roughly $50 those are pretty much money losers. You can break even on them at $40/bbl if you're really good at it and/or are on a more productive than average formation, but it's getting harder to get financing even if you have a good track record.

    The trillion dollar question now is whether the electrification of the transportation sector worldwide be sufficiently under way before oil consistently breaks $50/bbl again. The blunting of demand growth may keep oil prices bounded below the profitable price point for oil sand. I don't own a good enough crystal ball to make that call, but at least two European countries (NO & NL. both oil exporting countries) have banned the sale of internal combustion engine cars and light trucks beginning in 2025, China (where more than half the demand growth for oil has been happening over the past 20 years) is pushing electric car infrastructure domestically, and India (where most of the oil demand growth was expected to happen in the next 15 years) has recently suggested that they will be banning internal combustion engine cars and light trucks as of 2030. I'm not convinced there's a clear case that oil will go above $50 and stay there any time soon. It might, but Saudi Arabia is selling off their oil business and putting the money in a sovereign fund, an indication that they're not convinced it will either. At $25-50/bbl electric vehicles are at rough lifecycle cost parity (actually a bit cheaper) than internal combustion transportation, and like wind & solar, electric vehicles are a technology developing along a classic manufacturing learning curve, getting both better and cheaper year on year. The Saudis see the need to hedge the oil bet, and stop being just a gas station masquerading as a nation. Like wind & solar, electric vehicles are in the process of disrupting an industry. Hyundai-Kia will not be selling a car that can't plug in by roughly 2020, even though many will be plug-in hybrids. Ford will be rolling out more than a dozen plug-in models by 2020, some pure EV. This trend is just getting started, but there's reason to believe oil demand will see negative growth before 2030, even as more cars go on the road. Without demand growth oil will stay cheap, rendering oil sands pretty worthless. In the new market environment building the Keystone pipeline project is looking like a huge riverboat gamble, not a sure bet at all. That project may have been the victim of politics, but not going forward may have saved the developers from bankruptcy (an unintended consequence for the nay-sayers, mayhaps?)

    If leaving your state for another lowers your blood pressure, that's one great thing about being an American- you can always move if you don't share the consensus view in your area. I hope you find what you're looking for. I've lived, worked, and done business in red states, blue states, and purple states, but in retrospect it's all been pretty much the same poop, different piles, with only surface differences. Having also lived, worked, and run businesses outside the US, I find that Americans are more alike than they are different, and within the range all stripes are found in every state. YMMV.

  31. Gary Morrison | | #31

    Dana, Dana, Dana... :)
    "Competition is not being removed- Oregon is continuing to build capacity. But what they will be building has a lower overall cost than the coal.fired generation it's moving off the books." Well if that's the case, then why pass this STUPID law in the first place? If what you are trying to say through much unnecessary verbiage were true then the brain dead left wouldn't need to legislate it away- it would naturally pass to the wayside. No, outcomes are being actively ENGINEERED (to our huge detriment) by incompetent government for politically correct and politically dogmatic reasons, not sound free market purposes. And free market principals are the only things that really matter if you want a positive outcome. Otherwise, it's all just a bunch of BS masquerading as some kind of idiot sophistication.

    At this point, I don't really expect any studies to accurately reflect the state of natural competition because all systems have been so tortured and distorted by frivolous air-headed legislation that said distortion is much more apparent than actual reality. It's going to take a direct hit by North Korea and/or Iran with nuclear weapons on one or more of our cities to finally bring us back to the lowest common denominator of truth and restore common sense, Constitutional government and pure market functioning. The lesson we learned from 9/11 lasted for approximately one month- then it was back to stupidity as usual. The '08 collapse was a little more dramatic because the effects were longer lasting and more deeply frightening. But what did we learn? Exactly the subset of zero. Not a damned thing. Notice that these disasters follow a seven year pattern exactly. That's significant as I'll explain later. Notice also that each successive crisis was worse than the previous and that 2016 is the end of the current seven year cycle... :) I fully expect us to be nuked within the decade, if not within this year. While we continue to collectively have our heads buried deep in the sands of politically correct minutia and insane social engineering our real fate ominously approaches. The flames of real danger are growing fast overseas and we fiddle and posture over air-headed minutia. We are idiots and the full extent of this idiocrqacy we're engaged in will become apparent in a most painful lesson pretty much guaranteed by our descent into foolish chaos and the fracturing and polarization of every segment of society.

    This is the main reason why I am moving away from the West Coast. Both coasts have juicy targets and have long been in the process of abandoning God for narcissistic degeneracy. We actively, consciously reject him at every turn exactly as ancient Israel did. A covenant was made with our founders. We have broken it just as the ancient Jews did as outlined in the Old Testament in Isaiah and other places. (The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn) We actually uncannily parallel the course and fate of ancient Israel almost exactly. In fact our founding and original culture are intimately intertwined with that of the Jews. We forced God out and we broke the covenant. Our protection is removed. The stupidity now overwhelming society and government on every level is actually secondary to me to the actual threat of mortal danger. Fanatics have and are acquiring nuclear weapons. Oh and by the way, they hate us to our core. They SAY they are going to destroy us (and Israel) and we don't listen. Oh funny little countries with nukes- don't be silly. They won't REALLY do it. Oh yes Virginia, they certainly will and their plans are far advanced beyond what we imagine. Funny how Obama's apology tour did nothing but show our weakness and enflame this hatred even more. The fall of America advances.

    Blood is in the water and as a result our blood will be in the streets. Our government is incompetent from top to bottom. It has always been incompetent but now it's critically incompetent. When we followed the Constitution, the government was small and incompetent. Now it's huge and VASTLY incompetent. We are probably well beyond the point of no return. We will pay the price.

    So, I don't know what the argument is about. I am for alternative energy. I am simply strongly against government interference in 'almost' every way. Government needs to be reduced by 95%. It needs to provide for the common defense, fix the roads and bridges, secure the borders and uphold the laws that protect citizens from each other and very little else. No more full time politicians. No IRS (Internal Revenge Service), no Education department- that all needs to go back to the states and no more picking winners and losers in the private sector. In fact governments biggest job is to stay the frack out of our hair and leave the People ALONE to conduct their business as they see fit without of course harming each other. We are in a huge mess beyond any one person's ability to fully comprehend. The only solution is to return to the fold of a Christian, God centered society so that personal responsibility and not inept laws govern our behavior and reduce government to the dimensions as outlined in the Constitution of these United States of America. Barring that, we're in for a really, really big $hit storm. I'm not holding my breath 'cause I don't really enjoy being purple. I and mine are preparing... and preparing well...

  32. Malcolm Taylor | | #32

    Gary
    You've go me all wrong. I'm on your side. Tell me where you are moving to. I'm in. I've got ammo, two years dried food and several wives. See you soon!

  33. User avater
    Stephen Sheehy | | #33

    Malcolm- don't impose
    He's in his own private Idaho.

  34. Gary Morrison | | #34

    Malcolm
    Right, Malcolm. Whatever you say. You do not have a clue.

  35. Gary Morrison | | #35

    Stephen
    Jeez, Stephen. That wasn't even funny- not to mention not making any sense. Wit is the key too quality ridicule. You are unarmed.

  36. User avater
    Stephen Sheehy | | #36

    Sorry
    Sorry for the obscure reference. Falstaff I'm not.

  37. Gary Morrison | | #37

    My bad Stephen
    I thought you were going for a straight up derision effort. Seems it was something (what, I don't know :) less caustic than that. So it's me who's sorry. My knives are always sharp because I get a lot of crap from people. We live in very crappy times. It' s everywhere... :) I often compost with it... :) History will record this as The Brown Era just before the Hitting of the Really Big Fan era... and its aftermath... LoL...

  38. User avater
    Dana Dorsett | | #38

    I actually agree with Gary on some aspects...
    Taking coal off the books in Oregon was more symbolic than functional. In the grand scheme of things that coal-fired stuff is losing capacity factor to dispatch priority order as more $0 bidders like wind and PV get built out. It isn't necessary to make coal go away, it costs OR nothing to make coal go away= it's going away on it's own. This is feel-good political theater. As long as OR never falls into the First Energy/Ohio trap, (where Ohio regulators are actively propping up uneconomic fossil fired resources due to political pressure from Ohio's coal mining industry at the expense of the ratepayer) that coal power they pushed off their plate was/is going away pretty soon even without help from the legislature. Those power plants still exist, and as merchant power generators they can sell it elsewhere as long as there's still a market for it in 2035, and it's not officially off the books until then.

    2035- seriously! At the learning curve of solar & wind that coal fired power will surely have died a natural financial death before that date, barring a successful First Energy type bailout. It's political theater. Are you enjoying the show? (I am! :-) )

    OK, as political theater goes it makes a statement about where Oregonians want to go, and the EV infrastructure portion in that bill puts Oregon ahead of the curve on the electrified transport era. If you build it, they will come. The power utility engineer / ski-mountaineer I referred to back in response # 14 says that every time his company adds another row of car-chargers in the company lot it takes less than two years before they're full-up. If they want cleaner air in Portland (and they do) they're going to get it with EV policy support like that. As a former resident of Portland I'm for it, with or without coal power in the portfolio.

    The notion that the US government engineered the exponential growth of solar and wind power in the world that caused the costs to fall isn't a credible story. The US is a latecomer in the scalable renewables game, and only recently climbed into the top 10 countries for installed solar capacity. USA rose quickly to the #4 spot, and may be moving into #3 soon. For 2016 installations it's something of a tossup whether team USA will edge out Japan for #2. China is the 800lb gorilla in the renewables room on both wind & solar, both on installed base and annual additions. It's policy decisions in the rest of the world that generated the market volumes to bring the prices down to where they are not, not the US. But now that renewables costs are this low corporations are buying both wind and solar under power purchase agreements that have nothing to do with government mandates or targets. Their PR offices are making feel-good hay with it with "Oh aren't we SO low-carb!" but it's in fact largely financial decision. It's cheaper and very low risk to buy wind or buy (or sometimes build) solar under long term power purchase agreements than to pay the standard rate du jour through the local utilities on whatever their standard mix happens to be. Just the latest popular press reportage of that growing trend:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/12/why-companies-like-google-and-walmart-are-buying-so-much-wind-power/?

    It's cheap enough right now, it really is. It'll be even cheaper next year, cheaper still the year after that. Coal can't win, gas can't either, no matter which way governments push or pull on the policy strings. A manufactured technology on a learning curve will always beat a commodity on volume, once it hits levelized cost parity, which it has. By pushing the policy lever to build out some EV infrastructure Oregon is positioning their citizens to be able to take advantage of the falling costs. It's not a bad move on their part, and it doesn't come with financial sacrifice.

    The notion that the northwest states/territories were EVER free of government meddling (in everything from water rights to real estate and energy) isn't borne out by history. It's a fantasy. The whole "when the west was free" thing was invented by folks Hollywood for dramatic effect- it was never reality (or at least not for the past 150 years or more, predating mass migration along the Oregon trail.)

    The US Army asserted control by conquest in the late 19th century, and the federal government gave a whole bunch of real estate & resources to the railroad developers & homesteaders to make sure it became irreversibly populated and developed by & for paler US citizens (limiting then prohibiting Asian immigration for awhile just to be sure), then in the middle of the 20th century moved whole reservations and towns to develop the hydro power of that region. I have ancestors & living relatives participating in most aspects of those activities in the northwest, not just resource extraction. The real history of the region doesn't read like a Hollywood script, even if some of the landscapes sure look like the movies.

    There are plenty of fundamentalists who share much of his theology & policy perspectives in Washington & Oregon, most of whom don't seem to be leaving in droves (don't forget, televangelist Pat Robertson won the WA GOP caucus in 1998.) I'm direct-DNA related to some of THEM too. My own reasons for leaving the region had more to do with the woman I was chasing at the time than anxieties about nuclear retribution or a vengeful deity. (But I remember some beautiful sunsets at the beach on the Ozette res a few days after atmospheric nuclear tests by the Chinese back in the day. AWESOME!) The REAL reason Gary is moving away from the coasts is concerns about sea level rise due to global warming! :-)

  39. Gary Morrison | | #39

    Silly Dana
    Political theater? It's political disaster. Multiply this idiot law by a few thousand and that equals catatonia. That's the whole problem. Government is run by incompetents and it is tying the whole country up in knots. They don't know what to do so they pass law after law after law to justify their existence and then you have a total mess. There are coal reserves enough to last a thousand years. It can be burned cleanly. It's cheap. It would be a wonderful factor in supporting us until other, better alternatives are ready for prime time. The Obama regime of brain death is killing coal because that conforms to their completely nonsensical, far left ideology. I mean, and this is absolutely no exaggeration: half of this country is bat $hit insane. Bad things happen when the inmates are running the asylum and that's exactly what is happening now. No exaggeration whatsoever.

    No, I am absolutely not enjoying the present political theater. Bye-bye over taxed, over regulated, over legislated, Socialist West from Seattle to LA where freedom is dying a spastic death. You're wrong, Dana. The West did used to be free- quite free. I know because I used to breathe its fresh, free air, freely and then do pretty much what the hell I want. But no more and it's getting worse every single day. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, Commodore, Cisco, Oracle and a thousand others could NEVER get off the ground in today's legislative and regulatory environment. That's what stupid, insipid, politically correct over regulation like this law does. It is all down hill now. It is now an unfit region for a free spirit to live in and create. Only for Comrades and those who march in lock step with palm outstretched.

    Oh and man caused global warming is total B.S. I stated my reasons for exiting this God forsaken region. I could state a slew more and not one of them would be due to the farce of Global Warming. Don't put words in my mouth. Why don't you wander on down to Huntington Beach sometime and see for yourself the devastating rise in sea level! LoL.................................................................See how much it has destroyed the local Real Estate market... NOT! What a Joke! Maybe you can get a hundred year old, one bed, one bath bungalow for the devastatingly low price of a million bucks, right on the water! But hurry! Sometime in the next 10,000 years that bungalow is going to be UNDERWATER!

  40. User avater
    Brian Knight | | #40

    Clean Coal?
    Unfortunately, the Southeast region I live in, gets most of it's energy from mountaintop removal mined coal. The burning of this dirty fuel probably represents the most damage to the environment and society but here are some pictures that contradict assertions of coal being clean and unneeding of regulation.

    http://archive.washtenawvoice.com/tag/mountaintop-removal-mining/

    http://appvoices.org/2016/02/03/appalachias-stream-health-in-the-balance/

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/22/coal-ash-spill/4143995/

    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/one-year-since-duke-coal-ash-spill-citizens-united-solar-policy-key/

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