Hoist Yer Sails, Matey

Much has been written about “Cap and Trade” recently.  Regardless of it’s “good intentions”, I suspect most would refer to it as the largest proposed regressive tax increase in this country’s history.  But, apparently not satisfied with the crippling effects this legislation would have on our economy, Congressional democrats are now proposing even stiffer energy “standards”.  

Details are beginning to emerge about a climate bill being offered in the House.  There is so much to dislike about this proposed bill that I encourage you to read the entire Wall Street Journal Opinion.  What follows, will  focus on only one aspect.

Right off, the bill mandates that 25% of U.S. electricity come from wind, solar, geothermal or biomass by 2025. Sorry, nuclear doesn’t count. This kind of renewable portfolio standard directly contradicts the putative flexibility of cap and trade, which is supposed to allow businesses to reduce CO2 how and where it is least expensive. But Democrats aren’t about to let the details of their own policies stand in the way of magical thinking.

At the moment, wind accounts for about 1% of our electric generation, solar, considerably less, and geothermal and biomass aren’t even “on the page” yet.  But, within 16 years, under this proposed legislation, they must account for 25%.

Of the four electricity sources listed, it would appear that wind might offer the best prospect for the immediate future.  Remember, we only have until 2025 to accomplish this feat.  But, one of the bill’s sponsor’s, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, apparently hasn’t spent much time in his home state for, it would appear, at least the past 7 years. 

A company called Cape Wind Associates has been trying  since 2002, to put wind turbines in Nantucket Sound between the island of Nantucket, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  So far, all that has been accomplished in those 7 years is, well, not much.  And, the law suits against the project are continuing .  Curiously, one of the opponents of this project, at least last I looked, was none other than Senator Edward Kennedy of, you guessed it, Massachusetts.  He’s not opposed to wind energy in general, but just isn’t a big fan of the wind turbines being visible, as they will be, from the Kennedy “compound” on Cape Cod.  In other words, not in my backyard.

As there will be many more NIMBY opponents of wind turbines between now and 2025, it’s up to us to comply with these proposed electricity generation standards.  Hoist yer sails, Matey.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Lazybum on April 12, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Arggghh! I am sure the Kennedys would be happy to USE the wind power, you just can't put the turbines there. They might…uhh…kill seagulls! Yeah thats it, thats why drunken Teddy does like them! Yeah, thats it!

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