As we move into the new year we need to refocus our analysis of the new energy economy which Governor Bill Ritter speaks so strongly. We will need to insure our energy needs as they relate to our state's future growth. Certainly, renewable energy will play an important role in this future. It will not however, be the be all end all of our energy needs, nor even the major source of our needs for the foreseeable future.
Even those who aim to "lead" us into this future recognize the physical realities of today and the immediate future. The decision by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to locate its new supercomputer project in Wyoming, represents not only the realities of construction space and construction costs, but also operating costs as they relate to operational energy costs.
At 6.03 cents per Kilowatt-hour of electricity, Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power's (CLF&P) price is 35% less expensive than Xcel Energy's 8.16 cents per kilowatt-hour. It should be noted that CLF&P generates approximately 11.4% of its electricity production from wind power, while Xcel Energy generates around 13% from renewable sources nationwide. The argument that there is cleaner energy in Wyoming does not seem to hold up. Greater energy availability at a substantially lesser price may have been the deciding factor. As NCAR races to model our future climate and assess the impact of our current energy consumption on the changing ecosystem, helping to formulate the future rules under which we will live, there must be no hint of hypocrisy regarding their own internal decisions. If it is dire that we need to immediately "green" our energy sources, they too must live by those rules. If we must accept higher energy costs to save our world, must they not lead by example? We cannot have some telling others how we should live, while not adhering to those mandates themselves, if we are to believe that we are entering a new era and what they say is true.
For the security and efficiency of our future, we need to hold those would be decision makers and leaders to the same standards they seek to apply to us. Creating green jobs, green energy and greener lifestyles cannot be simply a marketing tool.