Rat has watched with interest the unfolding, and what now may be the unraveling, of “Clean Energy Jobs Act” (CEJA), a coal pile of policy proposals to get us away from burning hydrocarbons and move us to “renewable” energy. It has been in circulation for months in the Wisconsin Legislature, and was a product of a task force convened by Governor Jim Doyle to look at global warming.
It was always questionable how much the bill had to do with jobs, and now it’s even questionable how much it has to do with clean energy.
Unless, that is, you call hydropower – power generated by dams – clean. It certainly is renewable because the rivers always run, but river rats have always been suspect of hydro because of the damage it does to rivers. (And, in developing countries, the damage it does to people who get displaced by the flooding for the reservoirs.)
It’s very unlikely we’ll see any new hydro dams in
Hydropower was deemed “renewable” by the Global Warming Task Force and therefore deemed so in the legislation. That put it on par with wind and solar and biofuels and other things – all energy that can be produced in
That would have undercut a fundamental premise of the CEJA legislation – encouraging the development of renewable energy generated in
The bill was amended last week, and things appear to have gotten worse. The only tiny barrier to Manitoba Hydro providing ALL “renewable” energy in Wisconsin is some paperwork shuffled between Manitoba and Wisconsin “regarding the final licensure of two existing hydroelectric projects in Manitoba” (emphasis ours). (The quote is from the Wisconsin Legislative Council’s overview of changes to the bill.) That’s a pretty low threshold: native Canadians have fought with the utility over the decades, but there’s little history of Manitoba Hydro not getting its way, especially for dams already built.
CEJA has been compromised in other ways, and conservation groups are acting like it’s the drunk uncle at the party – entertaining at first, embarrassing as time went on. We’ll know its fate in a few days’ time.