Lisa Linowes is a New Hampshire-based energy policy analyst and the author of a report for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation which found that renewable-energy mandates in New England have resulted in dramatic increases in electricity costs. In her second appearance on the podcast, (the first was on April 25, 2022), Linowes explains why renewable mandates are costing Massachusetts ratepayers at least $1 billion per year, the causes of the natural gas shortages in New England, the death of environmentalism, and why the biggest climate NGOs in the country are silent about the impact offshore wind development is having on whales and other marine mammals. (Recorded June 19, 2023.)
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I'm Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talked about energy, power, innovation and politics. And I'm pleased to welcome back for her second appearance whoop second appearance on the power hungry podcast. My friend Lisa knows she was last on the podcast and ate on April 25, of 2022. Lisa, welcome back to the power hungry podcast.
Lisa Linowes 0:25
Thank you, Robert. It's a pleasure to be here.
Robert Bryce 0:28
So Lisa, before we go further, you know, guests on this podcast introduce themselves. So I warned you about that. And you've been on the podcast before. So please introduce yourself.
Lisa Linowes 0:39
Thank you. So well, actually, what I've done for the last nearly 20 years of my life is engaged in the debate over wind energy and and the issues around developing industrial scale wind energy. As part of that I spent a lot of time analyzing the policies that are driving it and and assisting communities and understanding what the impacts are related to it. So that's what I do.
Robert Bryce 1:03
But today, we're going to talk about the report that you did for the fiscal Alliance Foundation. In your been by the way, I'm going to just repeat you since you didn't mention that you're based in New Hampshire live in New Hampshire, if I recall, you have a business degree, a business background. You're the founder and executive director of wind action when the action.org, we're going to talk about your report called high impact how Massachusetts energy policy is raising electricity rates, which you wrote for the fiscal Alliance foundation. So I'm finishing your bio here, if you don't mind. Okay, so I'm very interested in this issue of electricity prices, because as we've discussed, it is well known. Very few people understand how much they pay for electricity, but they don't understand how to read their electric bill, they know exactly and can tell you within a few cents, how much they paid for gasoline the last time because they see that price, right. And they sit in there and they sit for two or three minutes filling their car. So they remember that price. They don't know how much they're paying for electricity. But New England has some of the highest electricity rates in America, and you particularly focused on Massachusetts. So let's talk about that. What what did you find in this report, particularly as it relates to Massachusetts, which I know that well, I looked at these prices just recently, but the five that the New England states are vie with California for the most expensive electricity in America, you say these high prices in New England are directly related to or correlate very closely with renewable energy mandates. Tell us about that, please?
Lisa Linowes 2:34
Absolutely. Right. And actually, the genesis of this report dates back about maybe 2019 timeframe, when the ISO New England had put out a graph. And I found this fascinating what the graph showed was from 22,008 through two I forget the year at that point, but it would have been 2019 2020, maybe, where they were showing what the cost was, what it costs to operate the full grid system that has all the components associated with wholesale energy prices, transmission, and all the various markets, capacity markets and others that that we're going into the cost of the energy and transmission side of your electric bill. And then what?
Robert Bryce 3:18
So to be clear, I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying I'm sorry to interrupt, but you're saying so this is just operating the grid. This is not about the generation side of things. This is just keeping the electricity flowing the district transmission and distribution part of the story?
Lisa Linowes 3:31
No, actually, it included the wholesale energy price as well. Okay. energy market side of it. Okay. Okay, thank you. And then but what it what it showed them was that there was a certain cost associated with running the grid and delivering an energy and the cost of energy. So the actual megawatt hours of energy, whether it was coming from an import or from an in region, power plant, and then it compared that to the residential retail rates that people pay in their electric bill, all in price. So the dish that they're in is energy transmission distribution, system benefits, charge taxes, you all that you add into your electric bill, the final class that the rate payer plays, resident pays residentially, and the Delta on those two numbers was enormous. I'm going to have the chart right in front of me here, it's a poor 2020. It was say for Connecticut, the price to run the grid was 6.7 cents a kilowatt hour with the Connecticut residential retail rate was 22.44 cents per kilowatt hour. That Delta was enormous. And so what we started looking into is trying to understand better what I and a colleague of mine are trying to understand what was making up that the difference part of it is a distribution system which obviously that is the portion that is owned by the utilities for managing the grid system. The part It's those lines that run in front of your home, and, and other components of actually delivering the energy from the grid to your home. But the other part of it, which is significant, had to do with all of the mandates that have been imposed on the ratepayers and Massachusetts in particular, it has an enormous number of different programs associated with climate, IT policies and associated with global energy. And one of the thing about that is that that that slide, as far as I know, that the ice unknowingly put together was not widely distributed and may have gone to people within that were stakeholders. And then New England Power Pool, which is, you know, group of that's made up of people that track and work within the grid system, you know, the generators and state other stakeholders. But they actually put that graph in a document that the ISO New England puts out called, there's their regional system plan. And in there, that was when I saw it, it was actually the 2021 document. And in there, they actually state that the delta, much of that delta between the price of running the grid, including the energy costs, and the price that people pay from their homes, that is by and large, made up of these policies, state policies.
Robert Bryce 6:26
Well, so you know, this is interesting, because, well, for a lot of reasons, right that it follows on what Meredith Anglin, who is another New England nurse, she lives in Vermont. But then people don't understand how the grid operates. They don't understand why it costs what it costs. They don't understand why they pay what they pay. And as I've watched what's happened in New England, it seems like these and what i After reading your report, which is available, by the way on the fiscal Alliance foundation.org. That these these increasing rates are due to the Renewable Energy mandates and also the inability of of gas consumed or gas producer gas marketers to build more pipeline capacity in the New England to bring in more gas to allow more gas fired generation lower cost gas from the from Pennsylvania is that it I know you were focused more on the renewable mandates. But how important is that short, that lack of gas,
Lisa Linowes 7:21
that that's essential, and I appreciate it, I debated whether or not I should put the information in about the gas pipelines, because that that's all part of the policy as well. I mean, the fight to allow for additional pipelines into New England is staggering. That and the our ability to get those built. Effectively, what we're ending up doing is building transmission to deliver generation from other parts of the, you know, from Canada and from New York, because we can't get the pipelines built. But that is a big part of it. And that huge run up we had in 2022, where I'm paying literally 22 It should be moderating this year, but I was literally paying 22 cents a kilowatt hour, were just the energy component, my electricity bill and Massachusetts it was up around 3031 cents a kilowatt hour for the energy only component. And that was by and large, because of gas with our inability to get gas delivered into into New England.
Robert Bryce 8:17
And part of that gas that is now being delivered into New England and I haven't looked at this lately, but it's coming through the LNG import facility in Boston Harbor, which I mean it's truly incredible that you have the Marcellus Shale, which is the biggest gas producing region. Well, I don't know when to look at the Permian numbers lately, the Permian numbers have been going up but staggering amounts of gas coming out of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, but you can't build a pipeline across New England if you can't do that you can't get the gas into into you can't build a pipeline across New York to get it into New England. So New England is gas poor, despite being within you know, I'll say spitting distance, not quite spitting distance of the biggest gas gas reservoirs in the world. I mean, it's truly remarkable. But tell me,
Lisa Linowes 9:05
go ahead. And that was one of the components of that which is very frustrating as you know, Indian Point as you were following that closely, then you can decommission
Robert Bryce 9:14
that and wrong and shuttered I will add because it still sticks in my craw that under under that will the nuclear I'm sorry, the Natural Resources Defense Council, under Andrew Cuomo prematurely shuttered that plant with which was cheered on by Riverkeeper. And they claimed that oh, it's going to be replaced by renewables and efficiency, and it hasn't and in fact, it's been replaced the output from from Indian Point 16 terawatt hours a year roughly, has been replaced by gas fired generation and co2 emissions in New York have gone up. Electricity prices in New York have gone up because of those bastards who I hope rot in hell for what they did because that was a absolutely sinful move what they did and I will not forget, and I will not forgive. So I'm sorry, I just had to interject that because I went to Indian Point It was marvel of technology should never have been shut down. Anyway, I and
Lisa Linowes 10:09
I'm totally with you, I you know, you said it much better than I would have been able to the only point I wanted to make was that did that there has to have been a part of extra contributing factor to our difficulty in getting natural gas as well. I mean, another straw in the pipe, that that's the in the pipeline that is drawing gas that would come here, I believe otherwise, but I have nothing to absolutely confirm that. But you put another draw in New York, it's going to it's going to go there,
Robert Bryce 10:40
right. So there's less available gas, less gas available to move into into the states that are further north. I want to go back to your report. And again, the name of the report is high impact how Massachusetts energy policy is raising electricity rates. And you primarily focus on Massachusetts, but you also talk about New York, New England. And I want to read this part, you said the annual cost of Massachusetts renewable energy policies has quadrupled in 10 years from today, and 50 million in 2011 to 1 billion in 2020. So I wanted to say, repeat this. So just to renewable mandates are now in 2020, which is about three years ago, are costing Massachusetts ratepayers a billion dollars a year.
Lisa Linowes 11:18
Absolutely. And it is higher this year than it was last year and higher last year than the year before. The only reason I stopped at 2020 was because that's the soonest available data we have from Massachusetts. And that's another frustration that mean the transfer the ability to get information and the lack of transparency, in this case, because of pure delays and being able to put those documents out is inexcusable. And so we have a document that now that's old data really because the mandates only they go up every year. And
Robert Bryce 11:49
I want to thank you because and then I want to remember just to reiterate here, you continued, you said cumulative. Cumulatively, this has cost Massachusetts ratepayers roughly $6 billion in increased electricity prices in that period that's 2011 to 2020. So I wrote down the question I had here, so how did you get that figure? You said it's hard to get the data. But how do you do that calculation?
Lisa Linowes 12:13
Yeah, well, what the the difficulty in getting it is that the state is not releasing it solid. This is what we're talking about here is what the in there are 26 separate programs in all of New England's each state has different set of renewable portfolio standards each, each RPS if you will, is a program that mandates a certain technology, a certain amount of electricity to come and be sold retailing to the state that comes from a certain technology. So that what we call class one resources will be wind, and you know, some some hydro, some biomass, some solar, and then we have various other policies or programs, right. So what is happening so those numbers they are there, the the utility is required to buy, certainly that they renewable energy credits associated with that, they basically to prove that they're selling that energy to their customers in whatever state it is. And if you are utility that sells in all six states, then you have to abide by all 26 programs. And ultimately, there's it comes to a certain percentage of all your electricity coming from renewables. It's a specific, again, when I use the word renewables, it has been very clear. We all think of renewables in terms of wind and solar, and maybe hydro and other biomass and other forms of generation landfill gas. But the renewables that are needed to buy are those that are established in statute or by rules. So right there.
Robert Bryce 13:53
So let's talk about that. Because one of the things that I think you helped me discover this, and we've talked, we've never met in person, by the way, I think we've talked many, many years. But now going back, I guess, since I started tracking this, the reactions or the rejections renewables back in 2010. And I think we've probably been chatted maybe, since then, I don't know, eight or 10 years ago. But but one of the things you pointed to me pointed out to me was that these wrecks these renewable energy certificates are credits, that there's a wind project in New York, that is in Western New York, but it's actually the wind output as being claimed by utilities in Massachusetts. So this is some tell me about the bookkeeping here, right? Because there's a ledger domain here in terms of these renewables and how they're being accounted for and what counts as a wreck and how these utilities are complying with this thicket of regulations, can you can you explain how that works? Because I've talked to utility executives recently said, this is one of the most corrupt parts of the deal. If you're going to have a renewable energy credit, they should have to use the electricity in the area where they're claiming it and instead, she pointed Well, you know, when project in Texas, Amazon was claiming it offsets their electricity use somewhere else. Well, that doesn't wash when you're the grid operator, you know. So anyway, I'll stop talking about what so how does a rec work?
Lisa Linowes 15:12
Yeah. Oh, thank you for that question. Because this is where this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where people are most confused, including legislators, which, which is very frustrating. But here's how the way this system works is that for every megawatt hour of generation comes out of a power plant that is deemed a renewable again, according to statute or rule, it produces two components. The first component is the energy itself, the electrons that go on the grid, an electron that comes from a wind project is no different than electron that comes from a gas plant and coal plant, regular power plant, we can't tell the difference. But there is a separate component A an accounting, that electron, that gets recorded, and that's called the renewable energy credit that is effectively the environmental benefit associated with a megawatt hour of generation that comes from wind or solar, or biomass or hydro, depending among the renewable. And it is that component that is used to track whether or not there is compliance within renewable portfolio standards. So let me give you an example. Here in the state of New Hampshire, we have a program that supports biomass, and that's our RPS dedicated to biomass wood based biomass biomass. And in New Hampshire, we consume about 10 million megawatt hours of electricity as a as a state. So we're very small relative to the other states, Massachusetts has upwards of 45 million megawatt hours, Connecticut is near there as well. So we're the size. But our mandate for biomass is 8%. And that means that 800,000 megawatt hours, or 800,000, renewable energy credits have to be recorded, and recognized as being is that generation soul to any any resident, any business in New Hampshire has to come from that 8% of analysis to come from that biomass technology. And so that when you track the renewable energy credits, that's, in fact, that's where the renewable mobility is. Now, we have states like Texas is a perfect example. Well, actually, let me step back from Texas. And second, because that's a little bit more complex, but we'll talk about New York. So in New York, they also had something like a renewable portfolio standard. And but it was slightly different in concept. So they had a number of wind projects that were built over the course from, say 2005 to 2015. And so in some after, but leading up to 2015, their mandates were pretty much met. And what they had were contracts, there was a a central procurement program where the state was buying those renewable energy credits. And so that and it for under 10 year program, so any wind project that was an operation, how to contract with up to 10 years, they were selling their renewable energy credits to the state in the state of New York could claim that renewability, that wind project was greening up if you will, the generation that was being sold in New York, right? Once those contracts were no longer in, in service, they, you know, they they went their full gambit of 10 years, then those wind projects started selling their generation in New England, taking advantage of or participating in the renewable programs here and eligible for our renewable energy credits. So a utility in New Hampshire or utility in Massachusetts, and Connecticut, could buy that energy and those rocks and claim them as the, as the renewable as meeting their compliance and meeting their mandate in Connecticut, Massachusetts, in New Hampshire, she's got a visit.
Robert Bryce 19:06
So it's not a visit. So it's just a well, as you're talking about this, I keep thinking, Martin Luther would recognize carbon credits, right? You know that there's something about this accounting for this, like, it's an indulgent somehow, right? Whether you're getting an excuse. And so here's a piece of paper that says, oh, no, this is renewable. Everything's okay. Or, you know, I'm fine. I'm taking an airplane trip. I was just booking a flight on United. Do you want to offset your carbon credits with the whole thing just seems like a scam of the First Order in that it's like, oh, well, never mind. You know, because there's a wind project in Texas, you're suddenly your grid is greener in Denver, no matter how many how much coal you're burning, or how many of you miles you fly on a 747. And suddenly, it's some kind of accounting absolution have I missed something
Lisa Linowes 19:53
here? And you make a very good point. So in terms of states that have renewable portfolio standards, so we we actually have laws on the books that mandate generation come from renewables, again, based on what's whatever that renewable is by statute. Those we have no choice around that. So utility has to go and seek out those racks. And there are in the case of the New York racks, there is a man, there's a requirement as part of the mandate that the energy ultimately be wheeled into New England. So it can't that energy those megawatt hours cannot be.
Robert Bryce 20:28
Come from Titan, it can't come from Texas, is what you're saying. That
Lisa Linowes 20:31
is correct. That is correct. So the energy is coming from New York, the wreck is coming from New York, where the issue gets confusing is that New York still claims that it's somewhat 2000 Plus megawatts of installed wind is all
Robert Bryce 20:51
but the RECs are going somewhere else.
Lisa Linowes 20:53
So it's not a question of where the power plant is located. Or even where the physical electrons might be consumed. It's all about where the racks settle. And the cracks have to settle, they have to be retired, you have to retire those racks, meaning they're out of commission, you cannot resell them once you've paid them for humanity. But to your point, which is actually a truly truly the, the the metaphor of indulgences, fits, or similar fits here. And that is the there's the private market for racks. So in the case of Iowa, or in the case of Texas, both of those states had at one time. And actually Thankfully, this year, Texas removed its RPS from the books, its RPS went in to effect more than a decade ago. And it was almost immediately met so that I forget what the numbers were. But as soon as soon as the policy was put in place, it had a mandate for a certain percentage that was met almost immediately with when, but the book, but the RPS still stuck around on the books and the wind industry fought vigorously to not let it go off the books. I'm not sure why I mean, I have my theories on why they were so anxious to keep it there, one of them and hoping that they might reopen it and impose further mandates. In any event, all of those racks that are being produced in Texas, go into the private market. So that's where people are buying those racks. And they're worth very little you comparatively, let's see, a private market rack out of Texas costs about $1 or $2 a megawatt hour versus a rack here in New England that costs $40 A megawatt hour. So for years that, you know, until we had this uptick in costs for energy, the rack was more valuable than the energy itself in New England, for the most part, but in Texas, you know, it's just like it's just buy, spend $1 on you pretty much covered your month's worth more than a month's worth of electricity.
Robert Bryce 22:57
And it's interesting to see how these big tech companies how they used to say, Oh, well, all of our electricity is is is renewable now. Right. And now they're being more careful in how they talk about and say we're offsetting our this, you know, our emissions, because we're doing this bet down there. And, you know, Amazon's buying all the office output of this one wind project. Therefore, even though their data centers aren't necessarily anywhere near the wind project, they're saying, Oh, well, this is accounting. And we're we're because we're doing this.
Lisa Linowes 23:27
Again, your marketing in that regard. Pure marketing. No,
Robert Bryce 23:29
and it's an it's it's greenwashing. Let's be clear, and that the the marketing yet greenwashing. But you also did some sorry,
Lisa Linowes 23:36
I'm sorry, I just want to say that that money that's going to warn any one of your listeners do not buy into the private market, because all that's doing is is lining the pockets of a wind developer who already has a project operational that is already generating electricity. So it's not even serving as a subsidy for that developer here in New England. And the argument is that the purpose of the RAC is to form a revenue stream to the developer, so that he knows is that when they're putting their finances together in advance of building a project, that they can claim both the energy side of the you know, whatever energy they sell, but also the rack that that has value that is a it's a subsidy.
Robert Bryce 24:18
Well, okay, well, so but as you say that Lisa, I'm thinking actually they're triple dipping, okay, so you get to sell the electricity and you get paid a certain amount for that watt hour megawatt hour kilowatt hour, you get to sell the wreck, and then you collect either the investment tax credit or the production tax credit investment tax credit for the solar, or offshore wind, and the production tax credit for onshore wind, so they're effectively three different payment streams. If you can build a project in New England that could be highly lucrative. Am I missing something?
Lisa Linowes 24:49
You are not missing anything? That is is that exactly right. So if you look at the
Robert Bryce 24:54
get into this business here, I may just decide that I'm going to let me let me talk about something else that's in your Paper again, it's called high impact how Massachusetts energy policy is raising electricity rates was written by Lisa Leno's, who's an energy politics policy analyst. She's based in Lima in New Hampshire. And she is a powerhouse and a dedicated and ferocious critic of a lot of the projects and renewable projects that are being built around the country. You have some avoided cost calculations that I thought really caught my eye in that in some of these RPS states, for instance, and when that really caught my eye, well, there were two one in Connecticut. It was Yukon at Avery P tea, and I'm not sure what this is, whether it's a battery project, but the avoided cost per tonne of co2 was $485. Another one in 2020 was in Rhode Island. The Pasco ag utility district battery storage project cost $2.3 million annual lifetime savings co2 avoided 1600. I'm not sure if it's 18 800. I think it's 1600. But the cost per co2 ton saved $1,438. I mean, this is just ridiculous. I mean, what you know, okay, co2 is bad, but how much are we willing to pay $1,000 A million million dollars, what is the upper limit on trying to get carbon and carbon indulgences or avoiding a ton of co2? I asked this because one of the previous guests on the podcast he does. His name is gonna come to me here in just a minute. But he did some excellent analyses on cost of co2 avoided. And he pointed out that the the cheapest way to avoid co2 is to keep nuclear plants operating. But $1,400 How did you how did you find these numbers, these calculations,
Lisa Linowes 26:45
so these numbers is the range of policies that are gone that are in effect in New England so that we have the RPS side of things, and that though, those policies are designed to encourage the development of new renewables, and or or maintain existing renewable so that they're twofold opportunity there. The other side of the coin is the the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the carbon trade or offset program. And in that case, they are the states their nines are actually I think, 10 states at this point, but the New England states, and then Maryland, Delaware, New York, so where the nine jersey was in there, and then they popped out and they're back again. But what that program is, is it charges the it sells allowances, carbon allowances to the power generators, those that are selling generation within the states. So the state is a state state run system, where all the states are allocated a certain number of carbon allowances, those allowances then are sold to the generators, which have to buy them they have to buy these these allowances. And that basically gives them permission to produce a carbon time in the air, okay. And so then that money, those, they call them proceeds, I see it more as a tax. But those proceeds then go back to the states so that we currently the power plant, the power generator, spicy covered allowance, the money then goes back to the respective states based on how many allowances were sold, there also, is there all auction, same price. And that money then is used for top predominantly for energy efficiency purposes. So I think 53% is the high the number roughly, that goes energy efficiency, other other uses of that money, or for encouraging more renewable energy development. In that case, we have the battery storage, that was just another program that Rhode Island was looking to put in or wanted to support. So the decision of how that money is spent is all based on what the state wants to do what you know, someone puts in an application seeks a grant from the money for the money, and then it's granted. And honestly, those numbers where they came from is directly from Reggie dot word, right? The renewable greenhouse gas initiative.org is they actually oversee the auctions that happen and then they put out a yearly report. And in there, they give this it's very hard to get this information generally. So I only went through and looked at their annual reports where they give samples of quote success stories. These are success stories where they successfully spent Regi money and these are on these programs in particular only used Reggie money and then they this is the the cost that ultimately how little carbon savings that is occurring as a result of these Ma'am. So there's there's a lot of ideology behind these more than any real economics in terms of the state's decisions.
Robert Bryce 30:08
Yeah, I like the way you put here. It's more. So I'll read back to you what you're saying is more ideological, these are these projects are ideologically driven, not economically driven. Is that a fair way to think about
Lisa Linowes 30:17
that? Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, they claim lifetime co2 avoided co2, tons avoided lifetime, okay. And many, in many cases there, I have the lifetime and in other cases, they they give just an annual, so two times avoid it. I mean, there's a lot of debate as to whether or not the the lifetime numbers that are here, first of all, you can't find out how they calculated the lifetime, okay, we're doing
Robert Bryce 30:47
in that graph or in that table so that the annual savings is in the parentheses and the lifetime is the one that's after that, is that what I'm
Lisa Linowes 30:54
buying? In that case, I just, I assumed a 20 year lifetime. So I just did 20 times just in that case to 75 years, which is the first item on the table and the table, right where they gave a lifetime. There's no explanation. I contacted two of the Reggie coordinators, one in New Hampshire, I went to Connecticut to try and get an answer how they calculated lifetime to not get an answer. It might be something buried when the utilities themselves go through an analysis. So
Robert Bryce 31:25
what you're seeing here is this is all just a bunch of assumptions that are based on assumptions that no one has any real idea of what the economics are, and you're talking about. Again, this is one of the tables that's in your report, you're referring to the first item which is a 2014 project in Connecticut, a PV rooftop project cost $1.5 million annual lifetime co2 tons avoided 5500 annual cost, I'm sorry, cost per co2 ton saved $273 I found was Reiner Kerr, who was on the podcast and he had done some he worked for stone and Webster he worked for Shaw group he worked for Loomis he'd been as it's been his whole career in the in the electric sector. And he did some calculations. I'll read this because this is interested directly germane to what we're talking about. And I needed to just dig it out. He was on the podcast last October. He wrote investments in grid connected solar and wind power generation cost two to six times the current social cost of carbon policy guideline. Investments in behind the meter distributed solar exceed social cost of carbon by a factor of 15. Here's the part that's relevant here about the batteries cost of using battery storage to lower carbon emissions by reducing reducing wasted surpluses is about seven to 19 times the current social cost of carbon guideline and end quote. It brings to mind I was in Des Moines at an event talking about it was a conference and it was keynote speaker and one of the other speakers there was from Mid American, which of course is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and as mid Americans, a big wind developer in Iowa and has sued Madison County, Iowa, by the way, try and force the county to take wind turbines they didn't want. But I digress. But this fellow said that trying to use battery storage to and renewables, he said would double the cost of electricity to consumers in the end. I mean, he said that very bluntly that this is just an incredibly expensive way to to provide power to the grid and this number that you're showing here. $1,400 a ton just seemed to exact a ticket very much confirm that. Yeah.
Lisa Linowes 33:29
Let's say the grid scale batteries are it's simply not not a viable technology today, I don't know where it will be in 1015 years. It's still it's being sold to the public. Because if it's like we'll just get rid of nuclear and replace it or battery and wind and solar and everything will be fine. It's It is shocking, shocking, really the costs but
Robert Bryce 33:50
a lot being deployed here in Texas and I think it's mostly for short term storage and also for grid balancing, and, and so on. I want to read as well what you talked about in terms of the land use conflicts because New England is very constrained. Obviously everywhere across the US it's constrained by by wind and land use conflicts. By the end of 2220 22, New England claimed 5015 150 megawatts of wind 50 473 megawatts of solar, most of the solar operators smaller, connected blah, blah, blah. And then you'd say a recent study released by the New England ISO or ISO New England found that meeting the deep decarbonisation policies adopted by Massachusetts and other states, including electrifying transportation and heating sectors would require 89,900 megawatts of wind, solar and battery storage. So these are crazy numbers. You add them up from seven gigawatts total to 90 gigawatts. It can't be done. Why is this not getting more attention? I mean, I've seen these studies by Mark Jacobson and Jesse Jenkins and lalalala oh, we're gonna do it all with renewables. Where do they think this stuff is gonna go?
Lisa Linowes 35:00
I, honestly, I have no idea. In fact, I that report that came out in September 2022. And it's laughable on its face 89,000 Plus megawatts have to be installed wind, solar and battery. And you know, that's
Robert Bryce 35:17
it have to be done by 2035 or something. I mean, this is next this is this is tomorrow for all practical purposes, right?
Lisa Linowes 35:24
Yes, exactly. Impossible. But it there was a conference call where it happened a zoom call where they were explaining that study, where the ISO New England had it. And you know, there were people in that call that really do not even question it. It's like, oh, just it's there. The number I think that people really do not understand what even a 30 megawatt project looks like, let alone a 50 megawatt 100 megawatt we don't have anything like what is in Indiana, Illinois, Texas, in terms of projects. So
Robert Bryce 36:01
you would need gigawatt scale projects for that to work to meet that number to go from seven to go to from seven to 90, the nine fold. Well, that's even more than nine fold 10 to what's my math 12 or 13 fold increase. I mean, these are just insane numbers. But here's the other one. So you also quoted the New England wind integration study that was done in 2010. And it found that to deliver energy to consumers, that they would have to build 4000 miles of new high voltage transmission in New England, that a cost in 20 $10 in between 19 and $25 billion. I mean, but again, this seems to me there's this conflict. And I've thought about this a lot between what the policy makers and the modelers and you know that what they imagine is possible, and then what is actually a, you know, potentially occur, can occur in the physical world. I'll ask the question this way, because I've been talking a lot reading from your things here. But what is this disconnect? I mean, you've been looking at this for a long time, Lisa, that, that between the theoreticians, I'll put them that way the policymakers that a theoretical people, do they just not? Did they not turn wrenches? Do they not know anyone in rural America? Why is it that they continue to I'll say it this way, delude themselves about what is possible with regard to these physical assets? Are these physical infrastructure? How do you see this disconnect?
Lisa Linowes 37:26
I think, what is happening when I've, when I've watched the environmental movement, because there's a big contingent of environmentalists here in New England, and they firmly believe we need to get off fossil fuel, whatever it's going to take the class is not an issue because, you know, we're trying to save the planet. That's, that's their mentality. That's where they're coming from. And they see each turbine installed each when each solar panel installed, any anything, any battery that's putting stuff in place is an incremental win. Okay. So they these established mandates that are put in place that there, I do not believe that they're intended to be reality, but they are used as a hammer on the piece, the public utility Commission's, the local communities, that we need to meet this policy, and it gets pressed over and over and over again. So I don't I don't believe any of them. Any of the environmental folks, any of the policy, people believe that we're going to get to 89,000 megawatts of operating wind, solar and battery. But what they do believe is that you establish the law. And whatever it takes to get a project built, it will get built, they'll put pressure on it, and in some cases, it will be impossible. But the enormous impact on that community that's fighting back, are the costs associated with you know, trying to get something built that is, at least protect somewhat protective of the environment. Well, it's it's going to it's going to be very difficult to get through the permitting process, but and maybe it will fail, but it will, if it wins, it's win incremental win. And that's where they see it. I do not think they take these laws for Batum I think it's just it's a number that has to be met. And it'll be used as a hammer over and over and over again until a project is built. And that's where we're at we've gotten to that point you know, we're it's there. It's going to break the system as it is you know, that that the original newest study the New England when integration study that is a New England did that was just ugly from 24% of our generation coming from wind and the kinds of class where we certainly do not have that today. That's that's not how much when we have built but we're meeting mandates through other technologies, biomass, hydro, and we're seeing where it's at, for instance, in the state of Massachusetts, they know they can't meet the mandates that they've established they know it, so they they put in their frantic about it. That's why they're pushing so hard for offshore wind at this point. But they're also pushing very hard to for more transmission to bring in hydro from Canada, a something that is something that the environmental movement fought for years, they might not want, they do not see hydro as a form of renewables, and certainly not not coming in from Canada. So, so they're having to make concessions and changing their laws, or revamping some of the how they're interpreting, applying the laws, I should say, but I don't think they're, I don't think they're serious about it. But at the same time, the laws are they're staring us in the face. Right. So how else to say we're we're
Robert Bryce 40:41
in Meredith, England has pointed out that these ideas will Hydro Quebec is going to be able to provide all this power, well, maybe not actually because Hydro Quebec, if they go short, they're going to pick her Hydro Quebec, they're not going to take care of, of New England or the roofing if there's a cold snap, and they need more power. Those aren't those aren't firm contracts. But let's say that happened
Lisa Linowes 41:01
to us. I don't know if you you're aware of followed in on Christmas Eve, this past December, that is exactly what happened. We had a cold snap that obviously there was suffering the same cold snap and Connecticut and Hydro Quebec, did they deliver just the minimum amount of generation to meet their obligation, but after that nothing, and we aren't we were on the verge of brownouts. And there's some speculation that one of the reasons we didn't get into brownouts was because the cold weather caused the outages. So our demand dropped as a result of outages in New England.
Robert Bryce 41:35
Let me so I want to I want to talk about offshore wind, because you mentioned that and you've been very active in fighting these offshore wind projects. And I've been following them for years. But I want to ask this before we get to that, because you've also written, written about the conflicts of interest among the people, the groups that are supporting offshore wind. And it's something I've thought about, and I started writing an essay on it. But you mentioned these different NGOs and climate activist groups. I don't call them green groups. I don't call them environmental groups, because they're neither. But here's the question isn't is environmentalism dead in America?
Lisa Linowes 42:12
That's a good question that that is such a good question. And I, when it comes to the environmental movement, that at one time, put all their eggs in one basket, and that is to protect our open spaces, protect our natural environment, protect the wildlife that lives on this planet, so that we can coexist with them. That environmental movement is dead. There's no question in my mind. It's been industrialized, and commercialize the movement itself. And it now it's all about climate change. And what climate change means for the environmental movement today is energy policy. That's where they stand today. And it's all about renewables and getting off fossil fuel not going on nucular. I mean, maybe maybe there might be some concession you make me be tracking a bit more than I am. But, but certainly, it's all about wind and solar.
Robert Bryce 43:08
Well, that second question was, Is it and this is how I've thought about it is that environmentalism and that protection of open space, the protection of wild lands, the protection of wildlife, has been replaced by climate tourism and renewable fetishism. Renewable Energy fetishism. And you kind of said that before about any wind project, any solar panel any battery is, is is that ring true to you? Climate ism. And then renewable energy fetishism? That's how I see it. Right. That in that environment, that environmental ism, that was the John Muir, kind of that whole, you know, smallest beautiful ethos has been replaced by No, let's pave the countryside with wind turbines and solar panels because climate change, so hasn't been replaced by this renewable energy fetishism is that you said industrialized, como was a commercialized, has been industrialized and commercialized energy and talked about energy policy. Does that ring true to you?
Lisa Linowes 44:03
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there was a time. I mean, I've been involved in this debate for so many years, there was a time in 2006 789, where we thought that we had a voice with the environmental movement. And you know, that Sierra Club Nature Conservancy, they all appear to be at least making an effort to protect the wildlife from large scale generation. This is, again, this would be wind energy built anywhere in rural areas of the United States. And what ended up happening was the wind industry started organizing, or entities, I guess, or NGOs themselves, that were a combination of renewable energy. The wind industry, really that was that was the player all along, and the environmental groups and they would get together, they all had a seat at the table and then they would deliberate over how they could get a project bill and how they can do it with proper mitigations or wouldn't if they can avoid into any environmental harm. And I think that environment that they partnered with the wind industry, and that is that partnership has now gone on for nearly 20 years. And that there's there's no breaking into it as far as as far as NRDC is concerned Car Club, Nature Conservancy. There, they want to be in charge of deciding where projects can be built and, and have a voice in that process. But they are, they are having to negotiate with a very difficult partner. And that is a partner that wants to get his project built anywhere they can, as quickly as they can, as cheaply as they can. And the winner ultimately, is a wind industry. So to the extent that the environmentalists are serious about protecting wildlife, either their voice has been silenced or curtailed, or they've just become partners. And well, well, that is
Robert Bryce 45:56
the natural segue to this discussion of whales. Because this is the part where to me, it's just really is gobsmacking. How these blind kind of dismissals of the concerns about the North Atlantic Right Whale, and that we're up to now over what 30 strandings 30 beachings of Wales, and somewhat similar number of dolphins since last December, higher numbers as I recall than any other recent time period. And it just happens to coincide with the beginning of this offshore wind energy development and the universal near universal response from these big NGOs is, oh, don't blame the wind business. Now, if I were going to do a little experiment, I'm just wondering if you we replaced this these projects with oil offshore platforms? What would be the change in the rhetoric coming from these NGOs? But it seems to me that what is this this kind of quiet acquiescence or this dough don't blame the wind business? Is confirmation of what you've just said that there's no they have they will I'll put it this way have they been bought you because you've written about conflicts of interest when it comes to the offshore? Well, offshore wind and the whale issues of these these groups have been bought off by the wind industry.
Lisa Linowes 47:09
We have we tried really hard as part of the save right whales Coalition, which I'm a part of, and one of the founders, we investigated where the money might be going, we found certainly direct direct money's going to the regional NGOs. And so while the states that are directly impacted by offshore wind, you can see where they're you could follow that money and see where it's going. So the New Jersey Audubon is getting money from the wind industry, the environmental League of Massachusetts is getting money from the wind and again, offshore wind industry, trying to find the money trail, from offshore wind to the large, you know, industrial size, environmental groups like NRDC, we could not find that because there are a lot many times they're funded by foundations. But we do know and have had people admit that their decisions around what how they're going to advocate where their advocacy is going to go, is being made by money and by their donors. So if it's not coming directly from the wind industry, maybe going to a foundation that's climate oriented climate, you know,
Robert Bryce 48:18
laundering that is laundering the money for the Yeah. So let me ask about the North Atlantic right whales, which are critically endangered now, some 370 remaining individual specimens. How big a threat and look, and this has been debated now, many times? A lot of oh, well don't blame don't blame the construction. Don't blame the wind projects. How 70 significant could this in your view, good these offshore wind developments lead to the extinction of the North Atlantic Right Whale?
Lisa Linowes 48:50
Yes. I think that's where we're headed. Right now. We have less than three under 40 actually individual right whales on the planet and you know, obviously much smaller population of reproducing females and where they're developing the wind projects in southern New England waters have a although it's not designated as federally, not federally designated as critical habitat. It is now recognized as critical habitat for the North Atlantic Right Whale. And that's where we're going to put hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines right where they live. And now that we're on right now, the vineyard wind project is under construction. And I just want want to let you know, while we've had so many whales that have died since December, and is corresponding directly with offshore wind surveying that's happening in east of in waters just east of New Jersey and New York. That activity has been ongoing since 2016. And that's one of the areas that say right whales coalition I'm working on and many people may not realize but in 20 2017 and 20 At NOAA data show that seven North Atlantic right whales were killed right around Martha's Vineyard. Martha's Vineyard, which is just 14 miles north of where this wind development is happening in southern New England waters, just north of where we looked at the data and see that the wind in wind developer was actually out there doing sonar studies. At the same time, when these whales were beached, no one is saying that those whales died because of what happened we we cannot say with certainty that the whale again, seven whales seven North Atlantic right whales died in 2017. And 2018. We can't say with with certainty that those whales died as a result of this offshore surveying. But there's no other explanation for why they died. And we're very concerned about that. And so that's part of it. And that, you know, the industry immediately came out, actually, the industry has been relatively silent on this. It's been blower bomb, the Bureau of office, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and NOAA, which is response as the agency responsible for protecting marine life. Both both have come out very strongly along with the state of New Jersey, arguing that these whales are not having the death has nothing to do with offshore wind. And they argue that this is the offshore wind, that the whales have been dying for a long time and their offshore wind surveys just start it right. That's what their argument is. But that's not true. The surveys have been going on since 2016. And so it's very concerning. The public needs to we are the public is unaware and is being you know, convinced by authorities that there is no problem. And it's very, it's scary. I've never I've never seen a situation where there's been such acquiescence on the part of the environmental movement who will turn around and sue on a dime to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale, except for now. Nothing that they've done everything in their power is protected against vessels strikes, they put want to see sea speed restrictions put in and all sorts of other regulations that impose that impose on who the fishing industry, recreational fishers and others. But when it comes to offshore when dead silence.
Robert Bryce 52:31
It is it is it is shocking. And and and dismaying and depressing. And in raging, I would say even. You know,
Lisa Linowes 52:41
Robert, can I just say when I'm asking if this were oil and gas? How would the environmental movement respond? Well, we know how they'll respond because we have a court case. What happened in 2018 and 2019 timeframe, the Trump administration, you may recall, wanted to open the Outer Continental Shelf off the east coast for oil and gas exploration. And the first step and one of the first steps in that process was obviously they're going to be doing the sonar studies, then same kind of sonar studies that are being done now by the industry wind industry to map the seabed. And in order to get to that point of beginning that exploration, they had these developers is oil and gas developers had to obtain from NOAA, what are called incidental harassment authorizations. These are documents or permits that grant the developer permission to harass if you will, not kill, not permanently harm, but harass and basically interfere with their life in the in the water in order to conduct their sonar. Okay, so a number of requests were done, were filed and granted, and you wouldn't see this court case. Every single environmentalist on the face of the earth piled on I asked it all the states, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, I think Connecticut, Rhode Island, South Carolina, all piled on filed a lawsuit and demanding an injunction that those incidental harassment authorizations be stopped. And they argued that the impact on marine mammals would be severe, it would be detrimental, it could not go forward because of the noise that's going to be produced, same noise that we're talking about here. That is produced by the offshore industry, and that injunction was granted and it was granted.
Robert Bryce 54:35
So one set of rules for oil and gas, a different set of rules for wind. Exactly, even though the structures that they would be building would not exactly the same but still involve putting steel into the ocean and require sonar and require industrializing the oceans as Jesse to also bill puts it, same kind of process. But because it was hydrocarbons there they NGO su Good. And now that it's when they're completely silent, and instead, they're enraged that the Texas Public Policy Foundation or some other groups would file lawsuits on behalf of the fishermen in the region. Oh, that's not fair somehow. Well, wait a minute. I thought there's one law for everyone here, but apparently there isn't.
Lisa Linowes 55:19
There isn't any, you know, I could take that same lawsuit. And you know, if I had the funding, if any of us had the funding and file exactly the same thing, just need change the defendant, in that case, it will be the wind industry. And, you know, I doubt I'd get the injunction okay. I doubt it would fly in the courts. That's where we're at right now.
Robert Bryce 55:40
So why do you care so much, Lisa, you're I know that. And we talked about wind action, which you fund primarily by yourself. It's not even a nonprofit. So you're not claiming an NGO status? You I guess, get some contributions. We'll all ask this question. How much of this? So how or how much money do you get from the oil and gas industry?
Lisa Linowes 56:03
Actually, we're just totally on a shoestring where there is no funding coming into wind action? I am, I am not paid for what I do. This is
Robert Bryce 56:13
so why do you care? There's so much I mean, you've dedicated I know, we've talked for, you know, several times in the last few years, and you're very dedicated to this, these causes and protecting open space protecting rural landowners from the encroachment of big wind renewable projects. Why do you care so much?
Lisa Linowes 56:32
Well, actually, a colleague of mine asked me, Do you feel like you're angry all the time, because that was the other part of it. It's like, you must wake up mad all the time about what's going on. But really, it's just it. There's so much that's just horrifying about what's happening. And what how gaslit the public is about this, that I could stop today and just not engage at all. But I, on some level, this is not self serving. On some level, I think that I thought there's any way that I could help people get their voices heard or help people formulate their arguments or get the data or whatever it takes to bring forward that the issues that's that's what drives me. Totally, I mean, that it's, it's challenging. Personally, it's very challenging. It's like, probably, it's I don't know, if I've ever mentioned this to you. And my husband had an I had a software company for many years, and we ended up selling it, and I've worked in software industry for years. But this topic is the most challenging I've ever engaged in. And you know, that's I, it just keeps me going.
Robert Bryce 57:45
And you mentioned your husband, we haven't talked about that. How does, how does your family feel about this? How do they see you think, Oh, your mom, you know, your kid, I know you have children? Do they say Oh, Mom would you know, why do you care so much? I mean, I, I make a pretty good living doing what I'm doing. I give a lot of public speeches, and I you know, I do okay. Your How does your family feel about what you do?
Lisa Linowes 58:08
Well, I mean, they've got, I guess, they accept that I'm just a little bit of an activist. And, you know, they except for I mean, they grew up with it, and my kids grew up with me being this way. So, hopefully, I mean, they've benefited to some extent they've learned how to investigate, they've learned how to analyze, I think, by watching what I do. My husband, he is extremely tolerant. He's he gets upset. I mean, he doesn't, he does not like what's happening, but he does not engage with it at all at this point. So
Robert Bryce 58:47
what is this happening? He said that what is happening, I guess how I would describe it as this kind of climate corporatism. Right. But there is a, you mentioned this, you know, that these NGOs, these climate activist groups that they've been co opted, I'll use that word by big money, right. But that is this. I mean, if you were going to describe the, you know, what is the big picture here, I put it this way that this is really a battle between big business big banks and big law firms against small town America. But it's in terms of a lot of these wind and solar projects. And I've written about it Kristiana, Wisconsin, I was there a few weeks ago, telling all the local people here the possibility of covering seven square miles of prime Wisconsin farmland with solar and these people are saying, No, we don't want this in our neighborhood. Are you kidding me this kill our little town. But isn't that stark? Is it that I mean, how do you see if you because this is the narrative that we're seeing in the New York Times, but it's the one that I see is the one that is really at play at work here. It got put into it. Am I saying this correctly? That this is some kind of corporatism against small town America and even the American Electric ratepayer? How do you see it?
Lisa Linowes 59:53
But hey, okay, so for many years, I saw it that way, too. I mean, it was the the is the attitude towards the general public. Regarding rural America was like, okay, they many. I mean, you talk to people that live in Boston and they would be, feel threatened to come to live where I live. And it's pretty wrong, very rural area, it's very, it can be scary. They see us, they see our people in rural America as gun toting crazies, right. And then, obviously, that's not the case, there are a lot of amazing people that I live with. And I didn't live here my whole life, I didn't grow up, I grew up in Connecticut. But so basically, the public at large may see people in rural America is just like, just open space, they just see the open space out there. And that's a good place to put all these power plants, they don't care. They don't notice that people live there. And if the people live there, they have their little narrative that says, well, they'll all benefit by the economic opportunities, like how many jobs when brains and all the property taxes are coming, so they don't see. And I don't think they'll ever recognize unless they had a second home, in an area, like in a rural area, and they'll see what the impacts are. But where things changed for me was when the offshore wind development came about. And here now you're not you're not dealing with rural America anymore. You're you're dealing with second homeowners that have views of the ocean that are many of them very wealthy, many, if they're not wealthy, if they're not the second homeowners there, there are communities that are making their entire beers, like, you know, revenue coming from the tourism that happens in New Jersey for the summertime, or Nantucket Island or Martha's Vineyard, right and serious amount of money going to these areas that you could categorize them as rural in some sense that are, but that the very wealthy now you now you have very wealthy people, very competent people and competent, and that they know how to articulate and fight and which may be,
Robert Bryce 1:02:02
and they can afford, and they can afford to hire lawyers and they have a bit deeper pockets. And so but what does that change, though, you're getting
Lisa Linowes 1:02:10
that what changed then was the industry. I have never seen the wind industry where it's acolytes become so vicious, like what I've seen this go around in that with the offshore wind, when you were seeing it, literally, there's a report that came out of Brown University, right. You know, in a revered university in this country, they put out a report a few months ago. And the whole focus of that report was attacking a citizens group that is trying to raise awareness in Rhode Island, about one of the offshore wind projects. And the attack was going after individual citizens in this report. And that, who did that? Well, there's a professor there. And he had any sector city weaponizes students against people that live in Rhode Island or have homes in Rhode Island that will be looking over and watching these projects. And that way, I don't know if that was funded through a grant or whatever. But but we So by and large, I think what happens in rural America is it's just the people are dismissed, we need the land, we're gonna go out there and we'll dismiss the public and if they complain well, so they'll get money, you know, they'll have the property taxes and all the jobs that come in this case, they can't tease people with money, they can't tease them with jobs, with their with their doing now is attacking people in the most vicious way. And and this
Robert Bryce 1:03:43
is this the climate in development lab Institute at Brown discourses of climate delay in the campaign against offshore wind a case study from Rhode Island.
Lisa Linowes 1:03:53
There you go. That's it. And that not only that, there's a local there's a local newspapers too, that are you know, I think it's eco eco Rhode Island eco ri where they've come out and they've named people by name. They put them out there addresses Mac, why? And these are
Robert Bryce 1:04:16
the we find we find arguments made by local anti offshore wind groups reflect those advanced in national climate misinformation campaign. So they're somehow conflating opposition to offshore wind with some with climate disinformation, as opposed to whether there is some what we see here is fake experts as he is this whole. Well, but this
Lisa Linowes 1:04:44
doing is raising questions about what's going on, rightfully so. But that and that's where we're at so that it's not a rural. It's not a rural urban divide. In this case. It's much more Yeah, I think that their arguments are falling apart at this point I think they
Robert Bryce 1:05:04
wouldn't. They've trotted up this thing that says her Rodney institute that they got some money once for some of the from some some hydrocarbon company and therefore that's it, but I even see them you will, they're using Meghan lap who was in the fishing industry and somehow the fact that she appeared on Tucker Carlson is somehow wrong.
Lisa Linowes 1:05:24
That guilt by association that is a typical tactic.
Robert Bryce 1:05:30
And then Michael Shellenberger is, I mean, yeah, then he's named in this as well. But it is remarkable that there's this that what about, you know, I'm young enough to remember Save the Whales, right? And if I were gonna be cute about it was like, save the gay baby whales for Jesus. Right? You know that that was kind of the, in the 70s or 80s, it was kind of the parody, right that we're gonna save the gay baby whales for Jesus. right that there were some, you know that that was the way you would parody the, the, in the NGO, the environmental movement more generally. But in this case, the environmental movement that what was the environmental movement is completely silent when it comes to actually protecting the whales. And I think Michael shown
Lisa Linowes 1:06:10
by sorry, in this case, though, when it's certainly silent about protecting the whales, but they have no problem turning their attack on individual on resonance, you know, that you're, you're you're either with us or you're against the planet, you're with us or you're against us, right? You're a climate denier.
Robert Bryce 1:06:28
Right. And that was what Michael Shellenberger wrote about it. He called it the environmental betrayal, I think and that, although that doesn't explain exactly the right wording for it. It's just somehow there. I don't know what the right exact right word is. But we've been talking for about an hour. My guest again is Lisa Limnos. She is the executive director and founder of wind action.org. She's also the author of a recent report for the fiscal Alliance Foundation, which you can read at fiscal Alliance foundation.org. The new report is called high impact how Massachusetts energy policy is raising electricity rates. We've talked about that report, we've been talking about whales. And I've only seen whales once I was in the Galapagos. And it was one of the most remarkable I was in a small zodiac and we were touring around the Galapagos, it was amazing. And I could not I was I was gobsmacked as the Brits would say. And I was with my family, my wife and my kids and how big those whales were and I don't know what kind of whale it was. But I was just stunned by the scale of the animal. I mean, it was just enormous. And man, we're in this tiny little boat where we all had life jackets on and you know, I'm a pretty good swimmer, but I was like him if this thing just even bumps us we're all taking a swim and and it was one of the more remarkable experiences I've ever had with wildlife, right? just amazed at how big these animals are. And yet there's this kind of as you say, and we've been discussing, oh, well this you know, you know, G climate change, therefore, don't worry about the whales. Whereas if this had been some other industry besides wind, there would be an entirely different response I think is fair to say. But I want to draw this to a close least because we've been talking now for more than an hour. I always ask these questions my guess what books are you reading? I know you're busy. You have a lot of things but your fiction reader nonfiction reader, what's on the top of your pile?
Lisa Linowes 1:08:09
Totally nonfiction, it's all about court cases and reports on noise, you know?
Robert Bryce 1:08:17
No, Tom Clancy. No, no thriller novels. No. So what nonfiction then what are you reading? Are these books are these reports the more technical
Lisa Linowes 1:08:26
report right, right. I wish I wish you know, my you know, so many people get into audible and they listen to and I listen to them books. I just, I can't I find it very distracting at this point. I assume. I'm totally focused on on what we're working on here. With regard to offshore wind. What gives you hope right now, man, I I'm a little depressed right now. So I don't I can't I hate to end it with a sour note. But I don't have a lot of hope right now. I'm seeing I'm seeing things barreling fat so fast. And I guess if I if I had to say anything, I'm watching the people in New Jersey that are stepping up the and in arguing regarding the offshore wind stuff and development and they are they are single focus. I mean, I used to think the New Yorker is that I'm when I worked with them with the onshore wind development were tough and focus in April and they were they absolutely were New Jersey and offshore wind debate there their lives are being is going up will turn upside down will end as they know it. Those projects get built in terms of the fact that many work in tourism, many people you know, have second homes out there. And it's and they make a living by the ocean and so they're fighting harm, and that's inspiring.
Robert Bryce 1:09:57
Well in the Government Accountability Office, his opening to invest allegation I understand as well on these with these whale deaths as well. So that is something. I mean, I saw that and I thought well now No, that's interesting. And I think that was requested by a New Jersey congressman, if I'm not mistaken.
Lisa Linowes 1:10:09
Yeah, you're absolutely right. And I hope it you know, it's a GAO study could take years and years. So I think what ultimately has to happen, as Congress has to put some pressure on NOAA, and particularly balm, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, because I just might want to comment really quickly, that if I can, there is the each of the states have an obligation or at least a voice in these projects that are being built, even though they're not being built in state waters. And they have to identify whether or not the project that development that's happening off those Shores is consistent with what the desires are, or the businesses and, and livelihood that happens within their state. And when Rhode Island went through its consistency review their staff. This involves a wind project called Revolution, when which is the same project with people in Rhode Island that were the subject of that Brown University study, or fighting. That's staff report was very negative about the offshore wind development, they said that it is going to have a long term adverse and cumulative impact, adverse incremental and overall cumulative impact on the fishing industry, and all industry up and downstream from that it could permanently put business, the fishermen out of business and risk their lives because they're not going to be able to safely fish within the area if if the fish remain, because that's Austin, open question. So despite that binding by the staff by the superior Coastal Resource Management Council, which is part of the state of Rhode Island, the project was approved. And that's what that the project would have rather was found to be consistent with the state's requirements over offshore development. And that's what's very frustrating because that decision could only have been made because it was made with a political bent. right thumb was put on the scale in favor of this project. We have a horrible staff report, staff report, it's a good staff report. But it's horrible with regard to the impacts of that project. And yet, they're pushing it through. And I'm, honestly I'm in arena and all of us are in arena that we don't recognize. So it's it's difficult. Well,
Robert Bryce 1:12:37
I was hoping to end on a hopeful note, because I asked what gives you hope, but if we're ending instead on a somewhat somber and I suppose maybe just a realistic note that yes, things have, what environmental protection, as it has been known for many decades has has ceased to exist, I think by the large NGOs and that is a deeply unfortunate situation. My guess has been Lisa Leno's, you can find her on Twitter Linode Atla knows Lisa, you can find her report on the fiscal Alliance Foundation website fiscal Alliance foundation.org. She's also on wind action.org. She's not hard to find on the interwebs. So, Lisa, thank you for coming on the power hungry podcast. Great to see and keep up the good work.
Lisa Linowes 1:13:20
Thanks, Robert. I appreciate it.
Robert Bryce 1:13:21
And all of you in podcast land tune in for the next episode of the power hungry podcast. If you're on a podcast thing and you want to give us a few stars, then do that and follow me on substack to Robert price.substack.com. Until next time, see ya