Right From the Start
For the past couple of weeks there has been an ad playing on the radio by one of the companies that sell, lease or install solar panels. That ad asks the question as to whether solar power is now so competitive that it is making the utility companies nervous.
Let me help them with the answer. No! Solar power is not competitive and, in fact, would not be commercially viable except for massive subsidies by the government at virtually every turn of the screw. The same can be said of the wind energy industry.
Supporters of wind and solar energy are quick to point to “subsidies” received by the oil and gas industry as justification for the massive government subsidies received by their industries. The trouble is there is no comparison in size, method, or taxpayer risk in those subsidies. The oil and gas industries receive accelerated depreciation treatment for acquisition and development of oil and gas properties. The wind and solar industry receive subsidies through – well, just about everything. A February 8, 2014 article by Larry Bell in Forbes estimated that the level of subsidies to the wind and solar industries is about fifty times greater (per megawatt hour of electricity) than that available to the coal industry and twenty times greater than available to the oil and gas industry. Continue reading
by NW Spotlight
As the United States came out of its recent recession, 40 percent of the new jobs created between 2007 and 2012 were energy jobs. This one industry sustains our economy more than any other.
This makes Wednesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on reforming our outdated energy tax code all the more important. Our own Sen. Ron Wyden will be among the Senate members speaking, along with industry leaders, analysts and educators. Continue reading
by Dan Lucas
England has recently been rocked by a child sexual exploitation scandal. A report released late last month revealed the horrific sexual exploitation of 1,400 children, some as young as 11, over a 16-year period. The report was from an independent inquiry commissioned by the town council of Rotherham, in the north of England. The report actually said the number of 1,400 children was a “conservative estimate.”
In summarizing the problem, the report said “It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.” Continue reading
The Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) is a nonprofit organization funded by taxes imposed on utility ratepayers. Most of the tax money is spent on subsidies for energy conservation programs.
While energy efficiency is a good idea, not all projects pencil out. State law requires that specific measures, such as installing additional attic insulation, be “cost-effective.” That means that installing the measure makes more financial sense over the long term than having the utility simply provide more energy. Projects that are too costly are disallowed. Continue reading
by Sen. Doug Whitsett
Legislators are charged with making decisions on behalf of the public. This often involves setting priorities in terms of what best serves the needs of Oregon taxpayers.
Many of the decisions we have to make on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, of which I am a member, regard the use of bond funds to pay for infrastructure projects throughout the state.
When the 2015 regular session begins, the State of Oregon will have between $800 and $900 million in available bonding capacity. Plans are already being made on how to spend those dollars, with a variety of competing interests. Continue reading
by Ron Swaren
Please note I am not referring to a copy of I-205 placed on Portland’s west side or any Westside Bypass Freeway. However, when the Columbia River Crossing task force eliminated competitive proposals the central reasoning seemed to be that these were “not in the (I-5) bridge influence area.”
But aside from tearing down the I-5 bridges, wouldn’t we want any supplemental structure to be outside the “influence area?” I’m not talking about Idaho, simply at other points within the Metropolitan area. And there is no good reason to tear those existing bridges down. Continue reading
by Bill J. Kluting, concerned Oregonian
So-called conservation groups like Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are following an agenda. You have to give them “credit” for what they have accomplished in the past and what they look to do in the future.
They have successfully used the federal and state courts to tie the hands of the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, State Forestry Departments and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife – preventing them from ensuring our forests are protected and managed properly. Continue reading