United States

United States

Environmentalists not to blame

Regarding "Friends and enemies" (Windpower Monthly, February 2001). The author writes that it seems inevitable that a situation like that in California is exploited by politicians and specific interest groups to forward their own agenda, but what role have environmentalists really played and are they much to blame for the crisis? The editor responds.

I take serious issue with you over your statement that environmentalists bear responsibility for blocking plans for new power plant in California (Friends and Enemies, February). It seems inevitable that a situation like that in California is exploited by politicians and specific interest groups to forward their own agenda, but what role have environmentalists really played and are they much to blame for the crisis?

The direct cause of the crisis appears to be the unusually large amount of production capacity that has been shutdown. Whether this has been done to create a shortage and thus high prices is a matter of investigation at this point.

It does indeed take at least a year longer to complete licensing requirements in California than in many other states. But that's not why more plants weren't built. The danger is now that any plan will be accepted regardless of the environmental consequences. Notably coal. The competitive position of wind energy is based to a large extent on environmental considerations.

It was not the intention to suggest that the prime responsibility for California's energy woes lies with environmentalists, but to prick the environmental conscience and suggest that a supportive stance on new renewables power plant from now on was called for. Ed.

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