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Muncie (IN) Free Press: Economics and politics of renewable energy (Part 3 of 3) March 28, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Submitted by Wanton Writer on Mon, 03/26/2012 – 1:22pm. http://www.munciefreepress.com/node/25463

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, IN – Renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal could be the norm in 50 years and Delaware County continues to lead the nation and world in manufacturing and application of wind turbines and geothermal heating and cooling systems.

Despite a Tom and Jerry episode between Democrats and Republicans over tax incentives given to Brevini Wind and its German handyman, VAT Energies, the market for renewable energy still comes to Muncie to see that $90 million plus geothermal system that Ball State University will ultimately use to heat and cool its campus.

It was amusing to see big media turn renewable energy into a folly and failure without mentioning one word about Congress and the Indiana General Assembly failing to create more tax incentives and even mandates for renewable energy. And it was also troubling not a word was mentioned about renown physicist Amory Lovins who offered a 1984 review that the United States was losing the energy war to Germany while spending time criticizing German national Oliver Viehweider for never creating a single job while promising to build a wind vane to brand Delaware County just like the Nestle Quick Bunny in Anderson as the renewable energy capital of the word.

Sure, millions in tax incentives were provided to Brevini and VAT and some of that money will never be recovered. That is still small comparing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in property tax abatement to General Motors and Borg-Warner Automotive just to see the Chevrolet plant become a gravel lot and the Borg-Warner factory an empty shell.

Brad Bookout, county redevelopment director, pointed to neighbor Ohio to explain what needed to be done to continue to future of renewable energy. The Ohio Legislature mandated public utilities acquire a portion of their energy from renewable sources that developed both wind and solar facilities.

Indiana and its Republican controlled Legislature is beholding to oil and coal and state utility regulators are more interested in unproven technology like coal gasification that Duke Energy is spending billions to build or to support Indiana Michigan Power and its dependence on that big Cook Nuclear Plant besides other fossil fuels.

Indiana Michigan has taken steps to use renewable energy like the wind farm, Wildcat One, that is being built north of Elwood in Madison and Tipton counties. Indiana is not the windy state like the great West and both sides of the Rocky Mountain.

But as Ball State proved, Indiana has vast water resources like the rest of the Midwest with the largest fresh water source in North American, the Great Lakes. And Ball State seems to attract the attention of dozens of universities and institutions that want to kick the coal and oil habit.

Lovins also pointed out during his speech on the Ball State campus that Congress effectively killed the renewable energy industry in 2010 with denying incentives and funding. That Republican crowd that again is supported by big oil and coal continues to push for the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from coal shale from Canada to Texas.Even President Barack Obama signed on to support a portion of that project much to the concern of environmental groups and renewable energy advocates.

Lovins described sustainable energy as reinventing fire and predicted it could take half a century for the greatest country in the world to evolve. It could take Germany less than 10 years with plans to shut down nuclear reactors and go totally with wind, solar, and geothermal power.

And Germany and its Volkswagen industrial and military machine, will be mass producing electric, carbon fiber body cars next year with a new battery guaranteed to last for days while United States motorists pay nearly $5 a gallon for gasoline while spending a trillion dollars a year to keep the military securing Mideast oil fields in the name of fighting Islamic terrorism.

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