US Southern States 'Screwed' By Lack Of Renewable Power Options

Windmill Colonial Williamsburg Virginia photo

Windmill at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Image credit:PlanetWare

Brian recently posted on Southern State governors being briefed by a military security expert about the serious risk climate change poses. A national military leader seemed like an effective messenger for Southern governors: given that the South traditionally depends on Federal tax dollars to run a large contingent of military bases. Following the brief, reaction to the House-proposed climate bill was interesting. The Daily Press, of Newport News, Va, reports that the Governors aired grievances about how climate change is being addressed. Here's one money quote.

"Many of our states have no chance to generate consistent wind and solar power," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The House-passed energy bill, named the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, "just screws us."
Now that they realize how serious climate change is, what horse will be traded for their support of effective climate legislation?They want nucs.
While Southern governors expressed hope of expanding the amount of nuclear power production -- a method of generation that produces low carbon emissions -- nuclear isn't considered a renewable source in the legislation.
A remarkable anecdote to put this in perspective: North Carolina recently banned development of wind farms in the most promising area of the state. Hard not to react adversely to a stipulation that nuclear be declared 'renewable' given this single lack of good faith effort to get at the real McCoy.

Still, the governors have a legitimate point. Except for biomass, their respective States' renewable energy potentials are relatively limited. See Cool Interactive US Wind, Solar & Biomass Power Potential Map Released by NRDC for details.

How about a little more Federal help with increased energy efficiency? Why can't that be a demand?

Writing about this, I wondered 'what's really behind the opposition to climate legislation?' Is it actually just the practical matter of insufficient renewable energy potential? Because if it is, practical problems have practical solutions. Intuitively, I expect is it more about economic development and protecting the resources that have brought industrialization to the South.

How many European and Japanese car makers would have built those wonderfully efficient, job creating factories in the US South if they'd thought that energy was going to become less reliable and more expensive?

With labor unions increasingly down in the Great Lakes States - a region where wind and hydroelectric energy potentials are high - is there a concern that the manufacturing base will move back north?

Just thinking out loud.

Related posts.
"Clean Coal" Industry Needs More Financial Stimulus - The Battle Of Brown VS Green States Begins
Southern Lawmakers Holding Up Progress on Renewable Energy ...
Climate Bill Battle Heats Up – This Could Get Ugly
US Manufactured Housing: Paradox & Opportunity