Clear alternatives to Mesaba Project

More on the Excelsior story. Read an op/ed from the Duluth News-Tribune by Charlotte Neigh, the co-chair of Citizens Against the Mesaba Project (CAMP). Here is an excerpt:

The Mesaba Project is planned for a site that is about as far as it could be from potential sequestration sites. Piping the carbon dioxide to western North Dakota or to Canada would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and it would reduce the efficiency of the plant by 10 percent. The feasibility of large-scale and/or long-term sequestration has not yet been proven. There are known environmental and health dangers from migrating and escaping carbon dioxide.

A new coal-powered plant built today can be expected to operate for 50 years. But proliferation of greenhouse gases cannot be allowed.

Excelsior Energy already has received about $40 million in public subsidies to promote and develop the Mesaba Project.

It is counting on between $800 million and $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees and $130 million in federal tax credits. Such sums of money could better be spent on research and development of alternative and renewable sources of energy and improved distribution systems to replace dirty coal as the mainstay of our electric energy generation.

Google’s Next Frontier: Renewable Energy

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 27 — Google, the Internet company with a seemingly limitless source of revenue, plans to get into the business of finding limitless sources of energy.

The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., announced Tuesday that it intended to develop and help stimulate the creation of renewable energy technologies that are cheaper than coal-generated power.

Google said it would spend hundreds of millions of dollars, part of that to hire engineers and energy experts to investigate alternative energies like solar, geothermal and wind power. The effort is aimed at reducing Google’s own mounting energy costs to run its vast data centers, while also fighting climate change and helping to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“We see technologies we think can mature into very capable industries that can generate electricity cheaper than coal,” said Larry Page, a Google founder and president of products, “and we don’t see people talking about that as much as we would like.”

You can’t tell me that new coal plants are the only way to go. We have options, certainly much more affordable options for innovating the energy sector. Many of these options could be done right here on the Iron Range. It’s time to think big, even if that means kicking aside the chirping consultants who seem to have so much influence in our political circles.

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