Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wind power so popular we need more

Electric customers in Colorado were disappointed to learn that all of the available slots for wind power are filled. The reason for this popularity is not necessarily a yearning for clean power sources but the fact that the wind power option was less expensive than conventional power and it looks like that will continue:
"The utility intends to make another fuel-cost filing on December 1, which could change the price difference between wind power and conventional electricity. Wind power will likely remain less expensive."
I think that this is good news. As conventional electricity produced with conventional electricity becomes more expensive consumers and producers should turn to cheaper alternatives. This is capitalism happening. As oil prices go up other types of energy exploration takes place because it is more cost effective. Once these new sources exist market forces act on them to make them more efficient and less expensive.

The same can be said for other products, like plastics, that come from petroleum feedstocks. Higher raw material prices force manufacturers to look for less expensive raw materials, more efficient production, or completely different technologies to achieve the same end, just starting from different materials.

If oil remained cheap forever there would be no pressure or need to switch away from it. If greenhouse gases are a concern, harness market forces (for example: trading carbon credits) to address that issue.

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