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Sanders, Pressley Help Launch 'Renew New England' to Elect Candidates Committed to Green New Deal and Jobs Guarantee

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/01/sanders-pressley-help-launch-renew-new-england-elect-candidates-committed-green-new

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Sowing the seeds of tomorrow today. Action, not false promises.

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Keep them dogies rollin’… move 'em up move 'em out rawhide!
Yee haw! Herd them liberal dogies into the DNC graveyard where they can be stomped to death!
Make ‘em slobber with faint evidence of hope, keep ‘em movin’ onward to the slaughter.
Bernie ain’t no St. Bernard, he’s a border collie. Keep them dogies rollin’…

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Of course work is also needed on reform of the electoral system.
For instance with a ‘ranked choice’ method of voting.
*ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_Greens_parliamentarians

Couldn’t find a separate list for ‘Greens’ in the U.S. but there are a few in this list of ‘third party’ representatives.
*ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-party_members_of_state_legislatures_of_the_United_States

Meanwhile, in Freedom House’s current table of ‘Global Freedom Scores’, the ‘Word’s Greatest Democracy’ ranks equal 53rd with Belize (one place below Slovakia and one above Antigua and Barbuda).

*ttps://freedomhouse.org/countries/freedom-world/scores

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Are these more of the young people and non-voters that the 2020 Sanders campaign was going to draw to polls in droves, but didn’t? I fell that 4 months ago, now I’m seriously doubting it.

Elect more Democrats, elect more reps who will need to follow Mama Bear into the corporate fold.

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I think your criticism is inaccurate, misplaced; frankly divisive and defeatist, as well as unfair to Bernie and the activists trying the best they can to change the corrupt status quo…
We have really only two parties and that will remain until we change it. To change it we must organize, fight, and act in unity - fight to change the things we can and never accept the lie we cannot.

This proposal, as the piece says, is "a coalition of grassroots volunteers and advocates fighting to elect candidates across the U.S. northeast region who are committed to a rapid shift to renewable energy as part of a broader move toward economic equality and justice" - it is not aimed at “herding” anyone, only support Green issues and candidates - perforce in our corrupt two party system that means people running under one of the only two shows in town, meaning “Dems” as RepubliCons are beyond hope or help.

You might consider cutting these people and Bernie some slack! Don’t confuse the entrenched DP corporate whores and DNC betrayers with those honestly seeking and working for change the only ways they can today - you do them a great disservice, and as Bernie says: “its not me, it’s US”!

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I wish that nobody had put any timetable on the climate crisis.

It’s like a coronavirus crisis, in far slower motion and much bigger in total impact when we get hit. The correct answer is, we wish the planning and the industrial ramping up had happened last week, and now this week is what we have.

We need political activists. We need people to work among the constituents that elected various climate creeps, including Democratic climate creeps and Republican climate creeps too. What really moves these people is the realization that she/he/they are likely to be simply cut out of politics and they realize this BECAUSE their more vulnerable friends were de-elected. So Eliot Engel just lost his committee chairmanship and is a lame duck today. Also, who did AOC replace? Who did Pressley replace? Go try and de-elect somebody else now. There might be a more diplomatic way of putting this to legislators.

Ranked-choice voting is the first and most important step. Well, after ensuring universal suffrage and double-verified vote counting. No machines unless they are open-source and available for all to see.

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I love the Cambridge, Massachusetts method of electing their City Council. Multiple-seat ranked choice voting works! It generally gets a result of surprisingly honest political representation, and isn’t that something that we want? Ordinary people can afford to run for a seat. Single seat ranked choice voting is still a bit of a beauty contest, highly influenced by gigamoney buying TV ads and Facebook ads.

I recommend that we, ordinary people, commence to vote on every possible place with multiple legislative seat ranked choice voting. Do it as a protest, where “pro” means testifying “for” something. If they don’t let you vote and win, vote anyway. Set up your own polling places, online if necessary, on the sidewalk if necessary. Honest government is worth it. Dishonest government we can find around any corner.

One mathematical improvement for Cambridge: When one candidate is accepted, a certain random selection of votes goes for that candidate and the randomly picked excess votes are assigned to their second choice. This means that a recount might possibly get a different random result. That’s an election problem.

The elegant solution is to split everybody’s vote into either fractions or into one million microvotes, the digital equivalent of fractions. Every single successful voter loses the same exact fraction of these microvotes and all of their remaining microvotes go directly to the next candidate. Now recounts get exactly the same results every single time, and the voting is safer. Try it!

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Now, I’m seeing a Green New Disaster. I want to see the following actual things:

I want to see concrete planning for the following R&D projects or I want everybody to ask big dumb questions early and often:

  1. Drake Landing housing community in Canada experimented with seasonal solar. It worked! I want to see a much hotter seasonal solar storage system above 212 degrees Fahrenheit this time, similar to what Iceland is already tapping for 50 years of both power and heat, except solar creates the geothermal field this time. Let’s heat universities using their current steam pipes but with stored solar. I was working on this today.

  2. I want to see a mountain slope solar chimney tried. I want 1 cent per kwh using a mountain chimney and existing geothermal. What’s wrong with cutting natural gas out of the electric power generation field?

  3. I want a version of hydropumping that raises and lowers solid mass. It’s cheaper and more energy-conserving.

  4. Above-street transit might be 3 cents per passenger mile (not counting luxuries like a fridge and a big screen in my car). Where’s the friggin curiousity these days if somebody is yelling that the engineering solutions are right here for us already and nobody cares because they’re all too scared of dying of climate change?

I don’t want to see:

Another 1960s Walt Disney monorail. That was done, a lot.

Nor do I want to see $25 billion for a nuclear reactor. That was done in Georgia recently.

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Change you can BEREAVE in

@Trog went through (last year I think) the calculations on what is the only project I know of (Energy Vault) and it didn’t seem very competitive to pumped hydro (which has limited sites of course since you need big lakes above and below). If you have a set of simple calculations you want to provide that shows concrete gravitational potential energy storage is more promising than I thought I’d be interested to see it.

I agree with you that it would be nice to start looking at more things because commercial ventures could overlook interesting avenues. We already have an organization (NREL which has that great document I’m still going thru that @PSwanee often links to) which could organize information on possible new projects. I’d love to see the basic calculations before I get too excited on a particular avenue.

Statuary, independent, non-partisan electoral authorities are also necessary. There will no chance outside of the Donkey/Elephant duopoly for other parties while the nearest the the U.S. comes to ‘independent’ administration of elections is having equal numbers of Democrat and Republican party members on the boards of electoral authorities.

Meanwhile, here’s the candidate list for a coming election in Australia to replace a member of the House of Reps. who has retired for health reasons.

*ttps://www.aec.gov.au/eden-monaro/

Alright so if you support this plan I’ve got some questions:

“Our Jobs Guarantee Program will: Install solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage devices in order to ensure 100% zero-carbon electricity consumption for the entire region by 2030.”

  1. Who is the employer that is guaranteeing jobs in the energy industry?

Solar, wind, hydro and geothermal assets are owned and managed by public and private utilities, however most utilities typically do not self perform construction of these assets or distribution line. Therefore are all these new projects going to be owned by the state and then self-performed by the state?

If that is the case there are some considerable issues with that - probably the foremost pressing being that you have to register all future generating assets with FERC for approval and work with regional and intersection controllers. These are federal agencies, which dictate policy (meaning just because you have an accelerated construction timeframe FERC isn’t going to streamline acceptance).

Now if the utilities will still own their assets, how do you mandate that utilities accept state employees for all projects, when they are not contractually obligated to?

Additionally when a utility proposes a project they submit a RFP to all contractors that must meet or discuss their requirements for completion of a project. The contractors are typically chosen either by lowest estimate of bid proposal or acceptable bid proposal with a competent contractor. Given that this policy requires higher than prevailing wages for all labor and incentives primarily new employees to the industry, in my opinion the state program would likely cost more than all competitors while also providing the least competent workforce. Why would any utility support this?

“ We will prioritize equity and ecosystem stability when identifying the best locations for solar and wind farms.”

  1. Why are you not prioritizing location for greatest solar or wind production within the acceptable confines established by FERC, EPA, BLM, State and municipal ordinances?

The purpose of this plan is to get to 100% renewable as quickly as possible right? So wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to chose locations that give you the best likelihood of maximum renewable production over time to achieve your goal.

Also this statement makes it sound like the Renew movement believes the state or municipal government has full authority to dictate the exact location for any asset. That is not accurate. Again these projects must meet federal requirements established by FERC, EPA, BLM as well as meet reviews by respective RTOs and ISOs of the area (NYISO, NEISO, NBISO, PJM).

“Every New England state will amend their RPS statute to mandate that, by 2030, all of the electricity that utilities purchase must come from zero-carbon sources.”

  1. Why is this zero language in this policy about state governments discussing energy policy changes with FERC? This is major problem.

Again, states do not have unilateral authority to dictate energy portfolios. New England is a large area of the country, but it’s not separate from the rest of the country. Every state in New England produces and shares energy with other states within the US Eastern Interconnection. If you want to make major portfolio changes YOU MUST TALK GET APPROVAL FROM FERC - this is non-negotiable. In fact last year there was a ruling against New England States and DC RPS proposals that could not be enforced because they artificially distorted market capacity for PJM - a Regional Transmission Organization within 13 states and DC.

~https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/downloadOpen.asp?downloadfile=20180629%2D4005%2832983620%29%2Epdf&folder=7583691&fileid=14961693&trial=1

“Every New England State will phase out all fossil fuel infrastructure”

  1. Seeing as this completely contradicts existing state policy, how does the Renew coalition address existing fossil fuel projects that are under construction with approval by both state and federal government?

Infrastructure construction does not just turn on minutes notice. There are existing projects that under development based on state decade long state plans. For a specific example New York has been planning to decommission Indian Point Nuclear Center in 2021 and 2022, since 2012. This single nuclear plant provides 15% of the net electrical generation for New York City, so not replacing its generation is not acceptable in any situation. The plan for replacement includes:

  • Constructing a 350 mile 1,250kV HVDC line connecting 1,000 MW of hydroelectric in Canada to New York - expected completion 2025 (cost $3.5 billion)

  • Constructing a 680 MW natural gas plant in Wayawanda New York completed 2019 ($785 million)

  • Constructing a 1,100 MW natural gas plant in Dover, New York expected completion 2020 ($1.5 billion)

  • Constructing a 185MW natural gas extension to Bayonne Energy Center and 55 mile 345kV connection to New York expected completion 2022 ($560 million)

  • Constructing 400 MW of solar and wind within the state expected completion 2022 ($640 million)

These are all approved projects that critical for the replacement of 2,060 MW nuclear plant. If they are not completed that poses catastrophic risk to the eastern Interconnection. In 2018 NYISO and NYSERDa submitted a report detailing that if these natural gas sites were not used as a replacement as many as 5 million customers could face brownout and blackout issue from 2022-2028.

So how does the Renew Coalition incentivize the elimination of fossil fuel infrastructure without posing catastrophic grid risk for these states?

And will the utilities be compensated for their loses given that these projects were already approved for completion? (If not, how does the Renew Coalition expect to work with any of the utilities in the future)?

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The economics of Energy Vault’s skyscraper concept look horrid. Whenever you build a skyscraper, the weight problems are going to multiply. What will happen in a Richter 8.5 earthquake? I never want to stack my blocks (my inexpensive satchels of mass) more than five high and maybe less will be more economical. That way I can have remarkably inexpensive satchels of mass.

I’m looking for 3000 feet of elevation change if I can get it. We need regional power storage. Just move the satchels up a mountain slope and then back down someday.

My current target is 3 cents per kilowatt-hour as a bottom line storage price per kwh. I want 10 megawatts times 72 hours of storage online for a large prototype. Energy Vault looks like $1 to $10 per kwh (ouch!) and their design doesn’t look robust.

Sorry, but I don’t have my 3-D sketches online.