According to an article in today’s Washington Post, professor Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State is predicting that if carbon emissions continue to rise, by 2100 the earth’s average temperatures will be more than 7 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than prior to industrialization. Most scientists agree that a temperature change of this magnitude will be catastrophic for humans. Schmittner said. “I was struck by the fact that the warming continues much longer even after emissions have declined.
In a separate study, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute found that the only way to keep the earth from further warming involves, “a much more radical change to our energy system than people are thinking about.”
While half of human carbon emissions naturally dissipate within a century, a significant percentage of carbon emissions will last for thousands of years.
Caldeira and his co-author, University of Montreal researcher H. Damon Matthews, wrote “each unit of CO2 emissions must be viewed as leading to quantifiable and essentially permanent climate change on centennial timescales.”
On Thursday, Two Dot Wind LLC of Billings asked the Montana Public Service Commission to reject Northwestern Energy’s plan to charge what they feel is an exorbitant integration fee to add power from the company’s wind generators into Northwestern’s electrical grid. Northwestern’s position is that if they are required to buy the four megawatts of power generated by Two Dot Wind at Martinsdale and Livingston, they will also need to purchase an equal amount of regulating reserve power to make up for times when the wind isn’t blowing, and that Two Dot Wind should be responsible for paying for the extra costs of integrating that power output. Two Dot Wind and representatives of other small wind generating companies contend that the cost of integrating their power into the grid is small, and that they should not have to pay unless Northwestern comes up with a study that shows the actual cost. They fear that if the Public Service Commission allows the higher cost, wind energy companies will abandon projects in Montana in favor of neighboring states with lower integration costs. Two Dot Wind was founded by Billings doctor David Healow, and owns wind turbines at the Martinsdale Hutterite Colony and just north of Two Dot.
The Helena Independent Record article by Mike Dennison on this story can be found at www.helenair.com/articles/2008/03/07/top/55st_080307_wind.txt
Jay Toups of the Big Sky Coalition reported a successful turnout at last weekend’s symposium on biomass production in Hamilton. Some 250 attendees heard presentations on bio-energy, turning woody fuel into power, plasma conversion technology, turning manure into methane, bio-fuels from algae. There was also a presentation on America’s energy future by a member of the 25×25 Organization, which hopes to generate 25% of America’s energy needs from bio-fuels by the year 2025. Most of these presentations can be viewed at: http://www.bigskycoalition.org.