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Dorothy Barnett

Future Generations

4 years ago | Jan 07, 2014
By: Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director
As I write my first blog of the New Year I’m reminded of how important the work we are doing is for future generations. When I say WE I actually mean CEP staff, board, partners, funders and supporters (current and former).

To meet our mission of reducing emissions in the Heartland, we have spent the last seven years focusing on policies and programs that will increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Initially I saw renewable energy as a way to revitalize rural Kansas and the Heartland states.  My work was focused on economic prosperity for landowners and communities hosting wind farms. In many ways that holds true today, however, the landscape has changed for me personally and for the Heartland physically.

Personally, I’m a first-time Nana to an amazing little boy, Sawyer Jack. Until he showed up, it wasn’t always easy to connect "future generations” so clearly. My own three grown daughters will likely have fresh air, ample water and affordable clean energy. While they will feel some affects of a changing climate, I wonder what Sawyer will face in the next 80 years?

The Heartland is already seeing the effects of climate change marked by drought and extreme weather events. Even as agriculture sees higher yields due to a longer growing season, it’s likely to see an increase in pests (due to warmer winters and earlier springs), increase in weed species and decreases in soil moisture and water availability.

2014 will be a historical year for the climate change conversation and according to a new survey from the University of Stanford:
  • A surprising majority of Americans across the political and geographical board are hungry for action on climate change.
  • A new analysis of 21 scientific surveys reflecting public opinions in 46 states showed that a large majority of Americans now believe that global warming is manmade and that the government should reign in greenhouse gas emissions—especially at power plants.
  • "Majorities in every state surveyed said the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions” and "in particular, by power plants.”
Someone is listening. The Environmental Protection Agency will set limits on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions power plants can emit. Targets will be set for each state in a draft rule due this June.

Several states (and their administrations) are proactively working with stakeholders to determine how they will position themselves to create economic opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

I hope Governor Brownback and his team will follow the example set by our neighboring states be a part of the solution for Sawyer Jack and the rest of our future generations.

Happy New Year!


Comments (15)

Newest first Oldest first

  1. Les Blevins's avatar Les Blevins

    Peter Henderson is right when he said;” Maybe the future of climate friendly energy won't have as much to do with wind and solar energy as current booms in those suggest.” “Clouds and calm days could make them both alternative energy bit players in a clean power future where round-the-clock dependability is critical.”

    I believe one day people in the know will wake up to the fact that although wind and solar release far less carbon into the earth’s atmosphere, than fossil fuels, neither wind nor solar energy use can actually extract carbon from the atmosphere. And at that point I believe they will understand the best way forward is for humanity to move globally to renewable biomass energy as much as possible because biomass is the one and only alternative renewable energy that can actually be used to extract carbon that has been previously released into earth’s atmosphere and can make it available for sequestration in the form of bio-char (sometimes referred to as agri-char) and it will be sequestered in depleted farm soils to enhance food production on those marginal soils. A win-win-win situation turnaround from a lose-lose-lose situation we are now in and will remain in if we depend on traditional thinking.

    As I reported earlier; AAEC has developed such a new concept low-carbon energy technology. It’s technology we’ve designed, developed for serving as the basis for tens of thousands of cleaner renewable energy production systems and energy efficiency improvements around the world. AAEC’s technology consists of new concept thermal and fuel gasification-conversion technology that can provide an on demand heat and power source for stand-alone use or to back up solar and wind energy systems when needed and in this way help double the deployment of biomass, waste, solar and wind energy projects in the coming decades.

    I’m in hopes of finding others who will join and/or support this effort. Contact me for more info.

    Best Regards;

    Les Blevins


    Advanced Alternative Energy

    1207 N 1800 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66049

    Phone 785-842-1943 Fax 785-842-0909


    #15 – 23 July, 2014 at 10:01 am

  2. Brady's avatar Brady

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I believe

    that you should publish more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not

    discuss such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!

    #14 – 22 July, 2014 at 4:36 pm

  3. Michael Keller's avatar Michael Keller

    Wind energy is NOT competitive in Kansas, as we do not need the power. By displacing conventional generating sources, the debt on those facilities still needs to be paid. That includes the new Iatan unit and billion dollars worth of pollution control equipment at LaCyne.

    The bottom line is KCP&L is proposing to raise our rate because they intend to use "cheaper" wind power. That makes no sense at all. KCP&L can expect fierce opposition.

    #13 – 9 January, 2014 at 1:12 pm

  4. Dorothy Barnett's avatar Dorothy Barnett

    I'm always amazed at which blogs generate enthusiastic debate. Thanks Mike, Les and Stanci for reading our CEP blog and for your remarks.

    Les, we agree innovation in power production is an important way to combat climate change. While CEP is not in a position to promote your product, we do admire your passion and wish you the best in your endeavor.

    Stanci, we admit we don't know as much about solar as we do wind energy. We're fortunate to have some great companies working in Kansas (including Cromwell) who are helping us get up to speed on the benefits of solar energy. Watch for more info on solar going forward.

    Mike, we most certainly agree that the most cost effective solution for all of us is to use energy wisely. Investments in energy efficiency cost the consumer much less than any form of new generation.

    While wind energy cost may have been higher than traditional forms of generation in the past, newer technology and higher than expected capacity factors for wind energy in Kansas make this clean source of energy cost competitive with other forms of generation. Westar CEO Mark Ruelle said in ReNews "for the first time we've been able to add renewable energy at a cost comparable to other energy sources" and just yesterday, KCP&L president and chief executive Terry Bassham said of their newest wind farm announcement “These investments continue our commitment to move toward a more sustainable energy future in an affordable way."

    We value all of the opinions and discussions on our blogs and hope you'll continue to tell us what you think.

    #12 – 9 January, 2014 at 12:24 pm

  5. Mike Keller's avatar Mike Keller


    I have visited some of their cities and the air is more or less brown. However, that pretty much describes the air in the US years ago as we developed our industries.

    They have made an economic judgement that it is OK to have stupefying levels of smog. Would not be my choice, however.

    #11 – 9 January, 2014 at 11:51 am

  6. Stanci's avatar Stanci

    No offense to the Chinese but have you visited any of their cities? They are disgustingly polluted places. Not a model the U.S. should be emulating. I am proud to be a part of a nation with higher standards.

    #10 – 9 January, 2014 at 11:22 am

  7. Mike Keller's avatar Mike Keller

    So what's the "true cost" of wasting large sums (as in trillions of dollars) of the folks money for expensive power we do not need and that has virtually no impact on the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere?

    The legislatures need to be ridiculed (particularly the US Congress)for being unable to think logically and primarily concerned with getting themselves re-elected, as opposed to helping improve the lot of the citizens.

    As for the Chinese, they can make lots of money selling renewable energy stuff to the pin-heads in the US and Europe. They are, by the way, building nuclear power plants and coal plants at break-neck speeds. So much for touting them as embracing "green energy". They are pragmatic folks who take logical actions to help China advance.

    #9 – 8 January, 2014 at 4:56 pm

  8. Stanci's avatar Stanci

    What reason do you have for the Chinese government developing renewable energy facilities at breakneck speeds? They don't do anything for political reasons. Money & power are their primary drivers.

    What you seem to be failing to understand is that it is not just about "electric-rates" it is about the TRUE costs of the various energy sources. We pay much, much more for traditional energy sources than what shows up in our monthly electric bills.

    Do your Pro Forma models account for the financial and human costs of Fukashima? How about Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill? Or Chernobyl, Amoco Cadiz, The Kuwait Oil Fires, The Three Mile Island Nuclear Explosion, The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Fly Ash Slurry Spill, and countless others.

    I prefer to maintain professionalism (at least in public) but since you mentioned "dim-witted," isn't it obvious which energy sources make the most sense to harvest? It is to most; by quite a large margin and getting lager.

    #8 – 8 January, 2014 at 12:15 pm

  9. Mike Keller's avatar Mike Keller

    The utility companies are being forced into using renewable energy by mandates passed by dim-witted legislators and left-wing activists (that would by none other than Kathleen Sebelius). Our electric rates would be lower if utilities were not forced into using renewable energy and that is fact. Try looking at what is included in the recent rate increases.

    #7 – 8 January, 2014 at 11:43 am

  10. Stanci's avatar Stanci

    I'm sure those are nice models. It appears that Westar Energy (and countless others) seem to have some models of their own.

    #6 – 8 January, 2014 at 11:34 am

  11. Mike Keller's avatar Mike Keller


    I've got financial Pro Forma models that clearly show wind energy is vastly more expensive than conventional energy sources. Analysis tools developed by our National Labs show the same results.

    I have no doubt your information is nonsense. When you compare energy sources, the basic analysis parameters need to be the same. That means the capacity factors must be the same, otherwise the comparison is just crap. Wind has a capacity factor of maybe 20%, versus around 80 to 90% for more conventional sources.

    #5 – 8 January, 2014 at 11:27 am

  12. Stanci's avatar Stanci

    Oh, and MK;

    The LCOE (Levalized Cost of Electicity) for wind is actually cheaper now than coal AND natural-gas. I won't get into it on your other points...mainly because I don't have to. Wind is winning the economic case. Nuff said!

    #4 – 7 January, 2014 at 9:27 pm

  13. Stanci's avatar Stanci

    Great blog post Dorothy and excellent comments everyone (Les, I would definitely be interested in speaking with you at some point).

    Dorothy; to follow on Les's point, you should consider solar energy for you and your members. We are currently offering a great $0 down solar lease program in Kansas that rivals similar offers in California, Arizona, Colorado and elsewhere.

    Basically it allows folks to go solar without any money out-of-pocket. You don't pay for anything until your system is installed and fully operational for a month. Then you only pay a low monthly lease payment which is LESS than what you save off your electric bill. The best part (aside from the environmental stewardship and saving money every month) is that it's basically lease-to-own as you own the system outright at the end of the lease term.

    Excellent pain-free way for Kansans to go solar!

    #3 – 7 January, 2014 at 9:24 pm

  14. Michael Keller's avatar Michael Keller

    There is little in the way of sound economic reasons to deploy wind in Kansas. We do not need the power; wind in unreliable, expensive and generally not available when needed.

    Further, the alleged "catastrophic-climate-change-caused-by-man" is becoming the stuff of science fiction and is essentially a grand hoax perpetrated on the unsuspecting by those enriching themselves at the expense of the ever poorer middle class.

    To be blunt, the forecasts of Armageddon predicted by the whiz-bang climate models have not been heeded by the planet for the last 15 years: the planet is not getting hotter; the seas are not rising; and the the ice is not disappearing in the polar regions (as the recently ice-bound scientists found out in the Antarctic).

    What current and future generations should be doing is using energy wisely. Wasting money on very poor solutions(AKA "renewable energy")to basically non-problems is not particularly wise.

    Technology and innovation will insure a bright future for Kansans, provided common sense is not short-circuited by those intent upon inflicting leftist, ill-conceived ideology on hard-working Americans.

    #2 – 7 January, 2014 at 4:21 pm

  15. Les Blevins's avatar Les Blevins

    Those are nice sounding words Dorothy but keep in mind they are only words. If you and/or your fine organization really want action I'm ready to go into action with you.

    AAEC has developed a new concept low-carbon energy technology we’ve designed to for serving as the basis for tens of thousands of cleaner renewable energy production systems and energy efficiency improvements across the American landscape and around the world. AAEC’s new technology consists of new concept thermal and fuel gasification-conversion technology that can provide an on demand heat and power source for stand-alone use or to back up solar and wind energy systems and in this way help double the deployment of biomass, waste, solar and wind energy projects in the coming decades.

    We believe humanity needs to repower human activities with cleaner energy on a much wider scale, and that innovation is our key to a better future and we aspire to offer home and business owners, towns, cities, counties and utilities our new concept low-budget, low-carbon pathway to greater energy efficiency, energy security, cleaner energy and economic development. I think now that President Obama is moving the climate issue to the front burner will be a big boost to what I'm offering an increasingly stressed planet.

    I’m confident AAEC’s product lines can be manufactured in the US and in most any locality on any other continent for the local and regional market and exported. This I believe could create licensing opportunities and more jobs and these are among the things I can offer an alternative energy hungry world.

    I’m in hopes of finding others who will join and/or support this effort. Contact me for more info.

    Best Regards;

    Les Blevins


    Advanced Alternative Energy

    1207 N 1800 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66049

    Phone 785-842-1943 Fax 785-842-0909


    #1 – 7 January, 2014 at 10:31 am

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