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November 28, 2006

Comments

jfinlayson

"Increasing oil prices and enthusiasm from the incoming Congress are renewing interest in sustainable energy and have led to the construction of 50 to 60 new geothermal power in nine states" [emphasis mine].

That statement doesn't belong in the article, much less the opening sentence.

While I don't doubt that a Democratic congress will bring more much-needed focus on sustainable energy development, this sentence is absurd. The election was less than a month ago. Are we to believe that 50 to 60 geothermal power plants were decided upon, planned and built in four weeks? That's what that sentence literally implies.

Perhaps the author meant to write something more like "will lead to the construction of..." or "have led to plans for the construction of..." rather than "have led to the construction of...".

But even that would be an opinion unsupported by anything else in the article. There are no quotes from the geothermal industry supporting the notion that they are now planning a larger number of power plants (let alone "50 to 60" more) than they were planning a month ago, and that any such change in plans (if there was any) was a result of the election.

The only reference to politics in the rest of the article was concern about whether tax credits created by the 2005 Environmental Policy Act will be renewed beyond the December 2007 deadline.

jfinlayson

Lest anyone jump to a wrong conclusion, I should point out that I have no political loyalties. In fact, politics makes me queasy.

I wrote the comment partly because the lede sentence of the article was poorly composed and/or absurd, but also partly because I perceive a needless, unsupported, and ultimately counterproductive partisanship in it.

I think that any real progress on energy issues requires a broad, permanent consensus embraced by all parties. Energy policy is a very long term thing. The simple triumph of one party over another in any given election is too ephemeral and temporary to produce the sustained commitment, effort and policy stability required to solve our energy problems. Having one party position itself as pro-sustainable and the other position itself as pro-fossil is a recipe for failure.

Political economics tells us that no party will ever establish a "permanent majority". An energy policy that can nurture the development of sustainable energy will only work when the people and companies who actually do the research and development know that the can count on the continuation of that policy regardless of which party controls government.

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