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This is post number 2000.

The only real significance is it is 150 posts more than where Tommywonk stopped exactly one year and fifteen days ago…

If some future historian looks back, I can only guess they may kindly make some note of the quality of thought that underlies these efforts, but my guess, is no one will ever notice…

Irregardless, as long as the urge to put thoughts down for others continues, we will go on. As usual, with no goal, no direction, and no ulterior motive. Probably upon reflection, my biggest surprise, right here, right now … is that I still enjoy it so much, and can’t wait to jot my thoughts down, click the button, and send them off to where ever cyberspace and the vast internet ocean, lets them drift….

For each of you who have become regular over the years, … thank you friend…

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Wind Potential Offshore USA
Map Courtesy of US Dept. of Energy (right click for full image)

As one can see there is a lot of competition for offshore wind… At one point in time, Delaware was poised to become the center of offshore wind manufacturing. Unless we move quickly, that place in history will be lost….

And just like our once ground-breaking New Castle- Frenchtown Railroad, although considerable investment was put in place to get it running, the rest of the world quickly passed us by…. because Delawaeans did what Delawearns do… sit on their hands…

We need to court GE with all the good reasons why they should build their new 5.0 offshore turbines here in Delaware. We need to spawn the development of an offshore tower construction company set up in Lewes. We need the MAPP lines connecting DC to our coast to continue forward quickly without interruption. Furthermore, we need to get NRG moving on building Bluewater Wind as fast as possible. Finally we need Delaware’s political contingent, including the Vice President, to create the tension always necessary to make bureaucratic things “happen”..

Time is wasting; we are sleeping.. The alarms gone off; it’s time to WAKE UP!.

1. Proximity to one of the top research Universities in the country..

2. Well trained work force, ex Chrysler, GM, DuPont, Siemens,

3. Good relations between unions and management at all Delaware companies.

4. Proximity to Dupont Headquarters.

5. Delaware’s Corporate Legal System.

6. Delaware’s own underutilized and “cheap” access port for import and export ocean traffic .

7. Close proximity to the moneyed and power towns of Washington, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which is good for investor relations.

8. Nearby beach as incentive to draw top engineers from around the nation.

9. Soon to be built, cheap offshore wind power, which will help to moderate utility costs against the ever rising price of coal and natural gas.

10. By getting foot in Delaware’s door, GE could have an inside track at building and installing their top rated turbines off Delaware’s shores…

GE is looking for somewhere to build a new solar plant... Not one requiring tons of sun, but a place to manufacture the thin film necessary for the exchange of electrons necessary to make electricity. Driving down the cost of this film, will drive down the cost of solar electricity.. The lower the cost, the more it will be used, meaning less coal will be burned….

Lower Delaware is the best place in the nation for it.

.. and thanks Nancy for bringing this to our attention…. 🙂

The key plank of kavipsian economics is to raise the top marginal tax rate. Ironically this does not raise taxes; it forces companies, businesses, wealthy people, and multinational corporations, to invest their money into real capital, in order not to pay those higher taxes.

When the top marginal tax rate was raised during WWII, we had a booming economy. While the top marginal tax rates were astronomical during the 50’s, and 60’s, we had a booming economy. When the top marginal tax rates were raised by Bill Clinton, we had a booming economy stretching across the entire nineties (which coupled with solid Democratic leadership), gave our government a budget surplus, raised the income levels for every quintile of the American public, and created a booming economy.

As soon as those rates are dropped (ironically to stimulate the economy), the economy stagnates, falters, sputters, and fails….

Recently Obama proposed that the US corporate tax rate, now standing at 30 percent, be deploded by 2/3rds, to around 20%…

Unfortunately this has put the inner sanctum of Dupont on edge. You see, in their wisdom they have invested their profits into working capital, and actually pay an average corporate tax rate of around 20%, … because of it…

If the corporate tax rate plummets, their competitors will now have the same rate, with much more liquidity, thereby putting our local business at a disadvantage in the race to woo stockholders, because of their lower recorded profits.

Against common perception, raising the marginal tax rate (or in this case keeping it high), does not really generate that much income for governments. People find a way to invest and dodge their way around them.

But, those investments and dodges, are a huge gain for this nation.

Still don’t get it? Try this example.

Earnings: $100 million.
Corporate tax rate: 30 %
Gross tax assessment: $30 million

Currently under Democratic leadership, there is a deduction of costs of building a wind farm supplying a major metropolitan area. Assume one can deduct 30% off the amount invested. Investing the amount of taxes to be paid, $30 million, yields an additional write off of another $10 million dollars, dropping the total due at tax time, … to $20 million dollars or 20% of the companies earnings.

Sadly the federal government lost $10 million dollars of revenue. But, … a $30 million dollar investment was made in…… say Delaware. Some of that went to local wages, which circulates throughout the economy creating additional tax revenue to local, state, and federal governments. Other of that money is used to pay for the raw material, or parts, and the labor that assembles them, as well as the transportation that brings them offshore and sunk into the sand off Rehoboth Beach.

Over the past four years, FPL has paid just $88 million in taxes on earnings of nearly $7 billion. FPL spokeswoman Jackie Anderson says the company is merely taking advantage of incentives to develop renewable resources.

If every company has to build something to lower their tax rate, our nation booms back to financial stability real fast….

Raising the tax rate ( or keeping the tax rate high) benefits everyone in the economy, provided they can write off their taxes by investing in real capital projects.

What happens when you lower tax rates, giving corporations and the wealthy large amounts of cash? What do corporations do with cash?

They simply hoard them.

Even the Wall Street Journal says so.

The Federal Reserve reported Thursday that nonfinancial companies had socked away $1.84 trillion in cash and other liquid assets as of the end of March, up 26% from a year earlier and the largest-ever increase in records going back to 1952. Cash made up about 7% of all company assets, including factories and financial investments, the highest level since 1963″.

At $50,000 a job, $1.84 trillion yields 36,800,000 new jobs. Currently 13.9 million are unemployed…..

Duh, the reason they are unemployed is because tax rates aren’t high enough…….

It doesn’t take a genus to figure it out. Anyone who knows American history, who knows when boom times occurred and when busts were felt, can figure it out themselves from looking at this.

Matthew Wald in his New York Times blog, has more information about the construction of the Electric Superhighway up and down Delaware’s coast.

Onshore, we use an AC grid, or one based on alternating current. But the link in the Atlantic would have to be buried, and alternating current does not work well in long cables that are enclosed because the interaction between the current and the cable casing drives up voltage to unwanted levels. So the system has to be direct-current.

Nearly all the submarine cables use direct current, a form of transmission favored by Thomas Edison but mostly rejected in the late 1800s in favor of alternating current, the kind of electricity now used to run most appliances. But alternating-current lines are hard to bury, because an interaction between the current and the cable casing drives up voltage to unwanted levels.

The cost of putting a cable under water can be lower than burying cables on land, because workers can lay the cables from giant reels, allowing stretches of more than a mile with no splices. But underwater lines are still more expensive than lines on transmission towers. Much of the cost in each case is to transform the electricity to direct current, a form that is easier to use in buried cables.

New technology offered by two European companies, Siemens and ABB, has lowered the cost for some direct current projects, and shrunk the size of the terminals where alternating current is converted to direct current and back, a crucial consideration in urban projects.

One of those companies Siemens, has a plant here in Glasgow, Delaware. Recently, European transmission experts were in town to deliberate.

So the new proposal for an Atlantic Wind Connection is actually about a series of links terminating at substations built on platforms that would sit in the ocean like oil drilling platforms, except, of course, these are clean-energy installations harnessing wind power. They would have to be hurricane-proof and include a spot where a service vessel could moor. Wind farms would tie into the system here.

The cable itself, weighing about 30 pounds a foot, would be lowered into a shallow trench that would be blasted by a device called a jet plow that squirts ocean water into the soil. The cable goes into the trench and is gradually covered over with sediment.

The cable itself is copper, with 1.75 to 2 inches of insulation and multiple shielding layers. It may have a steel outer guard. The outer diameter would be about six inches.

But beyond three miles from shore, no matter where it goes, the cable has a major advantage over cables on land: it faces only one landlord at the outset, the Department of Interior. And the department is sympathetic to wind.

This is a wake up call for Delaware. Governor Markell, Congressman-elect John Carney, Senator-elect Chris Coons, and Senators Ted Kaufman and Tom Carper, all need to get moving on this opportunity now, if only to head off those other states who will be trying to muscle in… These next 24 hours are critical.

Google surprised us yesterday with the news they were investing in an offshore electronic super highway off our beaches shores…

The High capacity trunk line, would disperse electricity being driven by Atlantic Offshore wind turbines, to the major metropolitan area requiring it the most.

This electic dispersal system, would stretch from off Long Island down to Norfolk, Va.

Google Breaks Logjam on Offshore Wind
Courtesy of Google

As stated herein, the primary problem up to this point, had been how to get the electricity generated offshore, to urban areas where needed, over Delmarva’s dilapidated and antiqued 1930’s era transmission system. Economic and political pressures had slowed down the development of MAPP’s efficient electrical superhighways.

Yet even before any wind farms were built, the cable would channel existing supplies of electricity from southern Virginia, where it is cheap, to northern New Jersey, where it is costly, bypassing one of the most congested parts of the North American electric grid while lowering energy costs for northern customers.

This is a safe investment. The largest energy user in the world, is our PJM grid right here on the East Coast. Currently much of what we use, comes from Midwestern coal burning power plants. Having a source of energy offshore, cuts down on the amount of lost power that leaks out during the process of transmission. The higher the voltage, the less leaking of electricity..

Once this backbone is in place, building offshore wind can began anew.

As frequently mentioned throughout these writings. someone is going to build wind farms up and down the Mid Atlantic Coast… It is too perfect of an investment to go untapped. Not in many other places can you find a similar opportunity where a minimal investment can yield the maximum of return… So, someone will be building wind farms. Some state will become the center of this industry. Delaware should be that state…..

After all, why do you think we got our former Senator chosen as Vice President?

Anyways….

When built, the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone will stretch 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia and will be able to connect 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines. That’s equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year and enough to serve approximately 1.9 million households.

The AWC backbone will be built around offshore power hubs that will collect the power from multiple offshore wind farms and deliver it efficiently via sub-sea cables to the strongest, highest capacity parts of the land-based transmission system

Locally, our economic recession could end today, if we’d just get wind off the ground and moving forward where it should have been years ago….

Bottom line, it needs to happen. It needs to happen in Delaware. Perhaps it’s true? Perhaps we need a federal project, just like the Depression Era Oak Ridge energy project built in Tennessee, to get wind off the ground as fast as possible?

The idea for moving the electrical backbone offshore, is pure genius. Figure the sharp wonks at Google would be the ones to see and capitalize on its potential, while potbellied Pepco sits on their hands…

Perhaps next Google would like to assist in the financing our wind farm? Guaranteed excellent returns on the investment…

Sorry not a post about the World Cup,  the Phillies, or the upcoming Tour De France……..

But about Substitute 1 for SB 119 that is now out of committee….

This piece of legislation will have great impact on our lives during the next decade. It is often hard for those trying to meet today’s economic challenges, to think past the immediate crises, and plan for our economic health over the next 25 years…….

This bill puts into law a requirement that may actually be somewhat conservative by the time the schedule it enacts, comes to its end…

Essentually it sets a minimum level of renewable sources required for this state’s total electric output….

Why is this important?

Private entrepreneurship needs something solid in hand before risking its investment of hard cold cash. This bill gives businesses, entrepreneurs, and far thinking individuals, a solid figure upon which to make calculations into the future required to determine whether that investment will or will not pay out….

No one invests money in order to lose it… That is why this bill is needed.

If passed, energy moguls, both large and small, can begin to build towards a more certain future, one which will create jobs…

This bill sets a floor on which all calculation can be built……

If passed, in the years 2025…. we will be paying far less for energy, maybe 60% less, than we would without its passage…..

This bill benefits investors, power procurers such as Delmarva Power, and rate payers like you far, far into the future.

Truly a … win…. win…. win.

The best use of money in the Federal treasury now, would be to invest 2 billion into getting a large offshore wind farm built off Rehoboth.

Subsequently, some of that money could be used for high voltage wires to carry the energy to Washington or New York.

It could come as either a grant, loan, tax credit, or a mix of both…

But getting $2 billion on the ground is now becoming critical….

As the logo suggests:  A good thing for the environment
Photo courtesy of the Telegraph

George Bush was considered a good leader after we had just gotten socked by 17 people in four hijacked airliners, when he picked up a megaphone and set the war against terrorism in motion…

They'll hear this

Fact: that war has diminished terrorism.

Today we are fighting in Afghanistan against Afghanistan people who think we and what we offer, are not the best thing for their future…

They have that right, just like you or I would have that right if an uncertain future were being imposed on us, as say 30 years ago, was portrayed in the movie Red Dawn…. But although the words terrorism get thrown about, …. most of us honestly think far less of terrorists now, than we did even during the most glorious days of the Clinton reign…..

I will say that is a success, one which can be measured by a quantified analysis of results. The US achieved success by diminishing global terrorism. Pretty unbelievable, based on the paradigm of the world we had 10 years ago….

But where I’m going with this,…. is that an event happened that impacted American prosperity, and everyone got together to overcome it…

Today, dead plant and animal material of 250 million years ago, is being forced out at high pressure into an underwater basin. Oil is washing up on shore; oil is creating a desert of life where once life thrived…

The equivalent of 9/11 would to not just simply go after BP, but to go after all of terrorism or in this case… dirty energy…. A real leader doesn’t solve a problem. He changes the paradigm….

What we need to do, is to leverage this unfortunate blemish upon the practices of the past, into a understanding and movement towards weaning ourselves off “dirty energy”….

Today, Obama did just that…

“We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny. ”

The time to embrace a clean energy future is now……

Sunrise on offshore Wind Farm

Two years ago, Delaware was poised to be the first state to have off shore wind… Legislation was passed, signed… the investment firm was pumped up… and then…. Babcock and Brown… collapsed.

The tragedy in the Gulf ….like a boot camp bugle too early in the morning, means that at this moment… we need to jump up, and go forward with upgrading the plans and building a 600 MWh wind farm off the Delaware coast…

Since private investors can’t handle it… we need a government who can…

We set a very similar precedent seventy five years ago…

Between July 1933 and March 1939 the PWA funded and administered the construction of more than 34,000 projects including airports, electricity-generating dams, aircraft carriers, and bridges, as well as 70% of the new schools and 1/3 of the hospitals built between 1933-1939. Some of the most famous PWA projects are the Triborough Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, and the Key West Highway in Florida.The PWA also electrified the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Washington, DC. The PWA did not create as much affordable housing as supporters would have hoped, building only 25,000 units of in 4½ years.

Those necessary structures today, would not be there without the Publc Works Adminstration. Simply put… It’s goal was to spread big bucks, on big projects… There is some argument that these expenditure did little to alleviate the Great Depression. The geography of the problem was too great: the solutions too small.. Only with the outbreak of WWII and Roosevelt’s realization that deficit spending was now mandated, did this nation begin to work its way out of the Great Depression.

Now try to imagine getting into New York today without either the Lincoln Tunnel or the Tribourough Bridge… Try imagine Boeing in the Northwest developing without the cheap power off the Columbia River…. Try imagine the US developing the atomic bomb without Oak Ridge, a subsidiary of the TVA…. Try imagining the Empire State, without the public funded Niagara Power Project, which held the price of power consistently from 1961 to 1981…

In each case, the long term benefits to the community far outweighed the benefits caused by just the new jobs alone…

Therefore it is time for us to do the same with Wind and Solar…

Private investment is stalemated; the active engine of the economy is (like it or not), the federal government…

For as little as 2 billion, we could begin construction within a year. The dreams of developing a wind farm construction-center right here in New Castle County, would again take wing. The dreams of importing the brains of energy to set up homes in Delaware, would once again become reality…

$2 Billion spread over 20 years… averages out at $100 million a year… Getting a return on that investment with wind energy, would be fairly simple… Between jobs, economic growth, full governmental coffers, and very cheap electricity for all… we could easily show that investment to be worthwhile…. And not to mention, were we to clear a little of our air, who can guess how much of a medical saving each household would garner?

But dreams mean little without action.. Now is the time to begin the pursuit of landing a large government contract to begin off the coast of Rehoboth as soon as possible..

We all know it works. Evidence as been there in the above structures… all our lives… We just need to do it….

So…

Do it.

……. and if that happens…. this BP disaster will have been a good thing in the long run…..

A Giant Battle For A Little Wind

Greeks hold the line at Thermopylae

A little over two millennium ago, the roots of our western civilization stood on the brink of eradication. Only a small band of Greeks stood between the massive Persian army and the destruction of Athens, the foundation of democracy and defender of fine arts. Ironically had the outcome of the battle been different, perhaps it might be us placing IED’s along roads built and traveled by those descendant of that Persian stock.

But against such invincible odds, this small band of men chose to fight, and took the necessary action, even though outnumbered 10,000 to one, against the greatest army ever to land upon Grecian shores. Through strategic planning and personal courage, they stood fast against the onslaught and in doing so, changed the course of history..

Now we too stand at a crossroads of civilization, where our choices and bravery will lead to great consequences. The nemesis we face, however, is one we have brought upon ourselves.

Of the hottest years ever recorded in history, twenty one have occurred during the last twenty five. The ten hottest years on record, have occurred since 1993. Five of those hottest years have occurred since 2000. The year 2005 was the hottest on record. Last year 2006 was the hottest ever in America. This winter, the one we finished yesterday with the first day of spring, is the hottest winter ever recorded! This problem is not static; it grows worse with each day.

A decision is about to be made, regarding the future generation of Delaware’s electricity. This decision, though made by a few, will certainly affect many. Due to its timing, this is to be one of the first major decisions ever made by a state in real time regarding renewable energy. If chosen, Blue Water could be up and running in little over two years, not fifteen. This gives other states and other nations the distinct possibility of being influenced by our success, to such a degree that man’s ultimate footprint upon this planet, may have the distinction of being first decided in our small state.. One can hope, that instead of the PSC dooming us to continued carbon dependency, a choice will be made that will prove to all, that wisdom, open mindedness, and courage are not yet extinct among Delawareans and that this state of Delaware can indeed count on those traits to remain instrumental when it comes time to choosing what is best for our own future.

It will require great courage to vote for Blue Water’s wind proposal. For we will not know what problems may yet appear over the future’s horizon. As someone already mentioned, on these shores wind power is untested. But a cold eye cast towards gas or coal can quickly discern monstrous problems down those two roads should we choose to follow either of those options. Sometimes, as with cancer, the certainty of knowing what WILL happen if we continue doing what we have always done, can sometimes propel us down the road less traveled.

There will be great pressure upon you in the PSC to take the comfortable choice, and avoid the upcoming battle against the carbon interest should you dare to make the “right” choice. But in years ahead, the gravest of consequences are predicted to befall each of us, should you fail, fall short, and err in judgment. With gas and coal both expected to continue their steep price climb over the next twenty five years, any wrong choice made now, could burden this struggling small state to the point of economic exhaustion.

Only a fresh puff of wind can break this downward trend. Blue Water’s generation plan can give us, this army outside your tent awaiting your decision, the extra economic lift it needs to face down the multitude of obstacles arrayed before us.

Be known, that as you confer in your tent that is flapping in the stiff breeze, and ponder the subtle strategies arrayed upon the ground before you, that you have an loyal army of public opinion, over ninety percent, ready to take on any hardship, attack any risk, and march forward into any battle with you arm in arm, should you decide to lead us to renewable energy. We do it willingly, not for glory, not for honor, not for personal aggrandizement, but because we are truly in awe of the immense and profoundly global consequence that our small state’s actions may impart upon the future of all civilization.

Should Delaware fall short, fail to do its duty, and continue to compromise its future by the rapid exhumation of carbon fuels, we no doubt shall one day be viewed as harshly, as that poor fool who panicked and guided the Persians to a secret path through the mountains, thereby surrounding those brave souls, whose valiant effort against incredible odds of 10000 to one, managed to stall the onslaught and save Athens and the future of western civilization.

Now civilization looks to us.

When the CO2 ultimatum is laid before us, demanding that we too sign over our state’s future to those armies beholden to carbon kings, and threaten to blot out our sun with hundreds of thousands’ of tons of emissions volleyed in our direction, let us hope that we too, fully mindful that we guard our own Thermopylae through which all these monstrous armies of carbon interests must pass, stand shoulder to shoulder, and reply ” “In that case, we shall fight in the shade……………”