Daily Archives: June 27, 2013

Renewable-Energy Subsidies and Electricity Generation

by Veronique de Rugy

Mercatus Center

George Mason University

This chart uses data from the US Energy Information Administration to compare federal investments in green energy and the share of green energy in electricity generation. 

Wind energy receives the lion’s share of renewable-energy grants. The industry has received nearly $30 billion in federal subsidies and cash grants over the past 35 years, and Washington has promised another $12 billion in subsidies in the next decade.

Among the specific fuels and technologies, wind plants received the largest share of direct federal subsidies and support in fiscal year 2010, accounting for 42 percent of total electricity-related subsidies. From 2000 to 2010, federal wind subsidies grew by an average of 32 percent per year while subsidies for other energy sources remained relatively flat. Between fiscal years 2007 and 2010, annual wind subsidies grew from $476 million to nearly $5 billion almost tenfold. 

While the data of the full amount of subsidies is not available, as of March 21, 2013 DOE’s 1603 program funded $18.2 billion in cash grants for renewable energy projects. Furthermore, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the wind industry has received $8.4 billion in subsidies through May 2012. 

Wind energy is subsidized through dozens of different federal credits, grants, and loan guarantees. These programs give wind producers significant pricing advantages over other, more reliable sources of energy. Despite this advantage and the extraordinary federal investments in wind energy, wind energy produced only four percent of the entire US electricity generation in 2012, coming in a distant fifth place behind coal, nuclear, natural gas, and hydropower.

Taxpayers should not be forced to shell out billions of dollars on subsidies for such a low-value energy generator that has already been heavily subsidized for 35 years.

Data note: electricity generation data from the EIA were updated in May 2013; subsidy data were not. Therefore, we use the 2010 figures in order to compare total subsidies, support received, and share in total generation. Solar provided 0.02 percent of total electricity generation in 2010.

NOAA Study Finds Anglers Top U.S. Lightning Victims

NOAA’s National Weather Service has discovered that 64 percent of lightning deaths since 2006 occurred while people were participating in leisure activities, with fishing topping the list at 26 deaths. John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service, conducted the study by examining demographic information for 238 deaths attributed to lightning over the last seven years. NOAA released these findings on the first day of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week to call attention to the danger of outdoor activities during a thunderstorm.

Of the 152 deaths associated with leisure activities, fishing is followed by camping (15 deaths), boating (14 deaths), soccer (12 deaths) and golf (8 deaths). The remaining 77 people were struck by lightning while participating in a number of other leisure activities like enjoying the beach, swimming, walking and running, riding recreational vehicles, and picnicking or relaxing in their yard. Between 2006 and 2012, 82 percent of people killed by lightning were male.

“When people think of lightning deaths, they usually think of golf,” Jensenius said. “While every outdoor activity is dangerous when a thunderstorm is in the area, outdoor activities other than golf lead to more lightning deaths. NOAA has made a concerted effort to raise lightning awareness in the golf community since we began the campaign in 2001, and we believe our outreach has made a huge difference since lightning-related deaths on golf courses have decreased by 75 percent.”

Jensenius said the large number of fishing, camping and boating lightning deaths may occur because these activities require extra time to get to a safe place. “People often wait far too long to head to safety when a storm is approaching, and that puts them in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation,” he said.

Prior to the lightning safety campaign, lightning killed an average of 73 people each year in the United States. Since the National Weather Service launched the campaign, the average has dropped to 37. Seven people have died from lightning strikes so far this year.

The best way for people to protect themselves against lightning injury or death is to monitor the weather and postpone or cancel outdoor activities when thunderstorms are in the forecast. Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if people can hear thunder, they are in danger of being struck by lightning. The only safe places to be during a thunderstorm are in a building with four walls and a roof or in a car. A hut, cabana, tent, or other rain shelter will not protect a person from being struck by lightning.

FWS grants Huelskamp’s request that it again delay a final listing determination for the Lesser Prairie Chicken

FWS grants Huelskamp’s request that it again delay a final listing determination for the Lesser Prairie Chicken so that it can solicit more scientific data.

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) celebrated the news he received June 27th from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Daniel Ashe per the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) 

Director Ashe wrote: “Thank you for your letter of June 21, 2013 … requesting that the [Service] consider a six-monthextension under the Endangered Species Act (Act) on the final listing determination for the lesser prairie-chicken.… The Servicewill soon publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing a six-month extension of the final listing determination for the lesserprairie-chicken through March 30, 2014. Public comments received by the Service since the publication of the proposed rule havehighlighted substantial scientific disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the listingproposal for the lesser prairie-chicken. Therefore, as the law allows, the Service is extending the final listing determination for sixmonths in order to solicit additional data and information that will help to clarify these issues.”

Congressman Huelskamp made the following statement:

“We welcome Director Ashe’s decision to grant our request to extend for six months the comment period for the potential LPC listing under the Endangered Species Act.  This is a positive development in our demonstration of the effectiveness of voluntary efforts by landowners, businesses, and state and local governments to handle any LPC issue.  I remain confident that the regional voluntary plan, if fairly reviewed, will be sufficient to avoid the unnecessary listing of the LPC and protect the rights of individual landowners and the states.  An LPC listing would pose a grave threat to many businesses across the Big First Congressional district, especially our farmers, ranchers, and energy companies.”

Rep. Huelskamp and his staff have repeatedly met with FWS director Ashe and other FWS officials over the last six months, emphasizing the role that state and local officials and private landowners are playing in protecting the species. He continues to work with Representatives who have LPC habitat in their districts to ensure that both the bird and the rights of landowners are protected. He looks forward to the FWS recognizing the adequacy of these efforts that will preclude the necessity of a federal listing of the species.

Kansas Outdoor Recreation Survey 2013

State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan seeks public input

As part of the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is providing a forum and survey to learn more about what park-goers want. Public input is desired on topics including managed park use, issues and needs, and the types of experiences park-goers hope to have in the future.

Public input gathered from the forum will be shared with the State Outdoor Recreation Plan Advisory Committee at their September meeting. The online forum, moderated by Dr. Sid Stevenson of Kansas State University, will focus on four topics during specific time frames:

June 21-July 4: Which outdoor recreation facilities are most in need of renovation or replacement at state and federal parks in Kansas to best enhance outdoor recreation experiences? Specific examples are welcomed.

July 5-July 18: Share a story of a meaningful outdoor recreation experience that you or your family had in Kansas and how the site where that experience took place contributed.

July 19-Aug. 1: Which of the following local outdoor recreation experiences would you like most to be within walking distance of your home (if you live in town)? Trails, picnic areas, sports venues, natural areas, playgrounds, etc.

Aug. 2-Aug. 15: Improved access to natural outdoor experiences, particularly those that are water-based, is important for urban dwellers. Please provide suggestions on how this can best be achieved and examples of success stories.

The Kansas Outdoor Recreation Needs and Issues survey, which is being offered in conjunction with the forum, will assist outdoor recreation planners and agency decision makers in developing strategies to address important issues facing outdoor recreation in Kansas over the next five to 10 years. Participants should expect to take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete the survey.

SCORP serves as a vision for outdoor recreation in Kansas. It is designed to meet the requirements of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (LWCF) which requires states to have an approved State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan on file with the National Park Service.

For more information, visit ksoutdoorrecreation.blogspot.com.

Application Deadline for Limited Resident Elk Permits July 12

General resident, landowner/tenant, and hunt-own-land elk permits can be purchased online

Boasting body weights that can easily reach a quarter-ton, elk are one of the largest land mammals to roam Kansas. Known for their brute strength and the extraordinary antlers of males, these members of the deer family are prized by big game hunters far and wide, and were native on the Kansas prairie before settlement.

Although individuals and small herds exist throughout the state, most Kansas elk are concentrated on Fort Riley in elk management unit 2a. This summer, hundreds of hunters and military personnel will apply for a Fort Riley elk permit, however only about 25 will receive one. Fort Riley elk permits issued this year will include 10 either-sex and 15 antlerless-only. The 15 antlerless-only permits will be divided evenly among three segments: October, November, and December.

For other who wish to hunt elk outside of Fort Riley, general resident, landowner/tenant, and hunt-own-land permits are available. An unlimited number of resident and landowner/tenant either-sex or antlerless-only permits authorized for Unit 3 are available online and over-the-counter July 30, 2013 through March 14, 2014. Unlimited hunt-own-land either-sex and antlerless-only elk permits authorized for Units 2 and 3 will also be made available online and over-the counter through March 14, 2014. Hunt-own-land permits are valid during any season with equipment authorized for that season.

Elk permit prices are as follows:

Any-Elk (Either-sex)

General Resident: $252.50

Hunt-own-land: $127.50

Resident Youth (15 and younger): $127.50

Antlerless-Only Elk

General resident: $102.50

Hunt-own-land: $52.50

Resident Youth (15 and younger): $52.50

Elk season dates are as follows:

On Fort Riley (Elk management unit 2a)

Muzzleloader and Archery Season: Sept. 1 – Sept. 30, 2013

Firearms Season for Holders of Any-Elk Permits: Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2013

Firearms Antlerless First Segment: Oct. 1- Oct. 31, 2013

Firearms Antlerless Second Segment: Nov. 1 – Nov. 30, 2013

Firearms Antlerless Third Segment: Dec. 1 – Dec. 31, 2013

Outside Fort Riley (Elk management units 2 and 3)

Muzzleloader Season: Sept. 1 – Sept. 30, 2013

Archery Season: Sept. 16 – Dec. 31, 2013

Firearms Season: Dec. 4 – Dec. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1 – Mar.15, 2014

To apply for or purchase an elk permit, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting /Applications and Fees / Antelope & Elk.” A fee of $7.69 will be applied to every elk permit application and to those purchasing a bonus point.