National Post Columnist Lawrence Solomon Invents Story about Washington Hydro to Discredit Wind Power
In the past, National Post columnist and Energy Probe propagandist Larry Solomon has only rarely crossed the line from odious personal opinion (e.g. young people shouldn’t vote) into blatant falsehood (e.g. that the United Nations claimed in 2005 that most small islands would be submerged by 2010). This week he ventured back into that unfortunate region, and I am beginning to wonder whether the entire Energy Probe organization (which Solomon writes for) is just a front group for grumpy old men with an inexplicable hatred of anything that doesn’t pollute. Seriously.
The subject of this two-minutes’-hate is Solomon’s idiotic announcement yesterday than wind power took another big hit this week in Washington state, where the Bonneville Power Authority has had to temporarily scale back power production from, among other things, the wind power plants. Solomon says that’s because during unexpectedly high wind surges, they have to turn off the windmills so that water doesn’t spill over the hydroelectric dams elsewhere along the Columbia River and hurt the salmon. Um, what? Unsurprisingly Solomon has missed a basic fact:
Sadly, to get the fact, you have to turn to a real news organization, aka not the Irrational Post. If you know about how rivers work in spring, you may have guessed what’s going on already. If not, here’s how Reuters explained it:
The largest snowpack since 1997 has boosted river levels and hydro output… BPA said it cut back all coal, gas, and thermal generation to minimum levels due to low overnight power demand… BPA increases the amount of water moving through its hydro turbines, minimizing the amount of water spilled over dams to alleviate the danger of gas bubble disease for endangered fish.
Now, there are three points here. The first is that the Post has reversed the problem here. Solomon claims that the windmills had to spin down because there was too much wind and the hydro dams couldn’t cope (uh… yeah). Actually, there was so much power being generated by the hydro dams that the electrical system as a whole could survive on that alone, and so all the other systems, not just wind, were ordered to scale back production. If the energy infrastructure was more heavily developed, Bonneville Power Authority could have sold the power to someone else on the grid. As it is, they just stopped producing power. Wind never threatened salmon.
The last point, unfortunately, is that this whole thing started because of a big snow-melt. I hesitate to mention this, because if Solomon realizes there was more snow than usual, he’ll probably take that as yet further evidence for his crackpot theory that we’re actually experiencing extreme global cooling. All that said, the fact that I have to explain to a national columnist that snow melts in springtime is more than a little disturbing.
At this point I’m not sure whether Solomon realizes what he’s doing or whether he’s just an idiot. To be quite honest, it’s very hard to believe that someone could read the rather basic story that the Bonneville Power Authority is cutting back on non-hydro power sources because of high hydro production and come away with the theory that wind surges endanger salmon, unless you want to. The comments section of the Post is a firm indication of just why certain groups in our society can benefit from even such obvious and pathetic distortions. Obviously some people, at least, are prepared to believe just about anything.Tweet