Check out this exciting video which details the myriad benefits of digital learning:
(Albuquerque) Wind energy, because of its variable nature, is not suited to be the lone or primary source of a grid’s total electricity, according to a new Rio Grande Foundation–Reason Foundation study. If it is used to produce more than 10-to-20 percent of a system’s electricity, wind power increases operating costs due to the need for expensive storage facilities or continuously available CO2-emitting backup power generation facilities.
The new Rio Grande Foundation–Reason Foundation report uses a full year’s worth of hour-by-hour power grid data from PJM Interconnection, which manages the electrical grid in part of the Eastern United States, to simulate how wind would’ve supplied the necessary power to customers in 2009. Reason’s models show wind power would’ve failed to supply all of the electricity PJM customers needed over 50 percent of the time.
Thus, if wind is going to produce a large percentage of a grid’s electricity it will be necessary to build expensive energy storage facilities or reserve power generation facilities to supply power when there is not enough wind to meet energy demands at any given time and to prevent brownouts and blackouts.
The study shows that as more reserve power is needed, the environmental benefits of wind power decrease due to the C02 emissions from those facilities, which rely upon fossil fuels and must operate even when not being used, in order to ensure reliability of the electrical grid.
The study concludes that, given the costs involved, the practical upper limit for wind power’s contribution to the electricity grid is 10% of the total energy mix. This would result in a 9% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Very high wind penetrations are not achievable,” said William Korchinski, author of the study. “As wind’s share increases, system reliability will be adversely affected disproportionately—unless adequate reserve power is available. That power reserve is expensive and lowers any possible environmental benefits.”
Full Study Online
Since publication of our paper, “Lack of Transparency for New Mexico’s
Not-For-Profit Hospitals Cost Taxpayers Dearly,” we have engaged in an extensive dialogue with various representatives of UNM Hospital. They have brought to our attention some concerns relating to the paper. This document is intended to offer a critique/correction of errors within the paper and clarify the issues presented within. It is also designed to offer an update on public meetings that have been planned to discuss the proposed expansion.
1) UNMH is not a not-for-profit hospital; rather UNMH is a government-owned and-operated facility. This is true and, although UNMH does have a not-for-profit fundraising arm, it is technically a government-owned entity. This actually worsens some of the issues with UNMH potentially moving into new areas of care (taxpayer-funded institution competing with a for-profit, tax-paying institution) outlined in our paper.
UNMH is funded in part through a Mil Levy that is voted upon by the citizens of Bernalillo County every 8 years, with the last vote being in 2008
2) In the RGF paper on UNMH, concerns were raised over the types of treatments to be offered at the new facility and why taxpayers should be asked to fund care targeted at non-indigent and non-native populations.
UNMH responded that it “distinguishes between emergent and elective care. Emergent is defined as immediate threat to life or limb if care is not provided quickly. Elective care, which might be better defined as scheduled, is defined as all other care. Cancer patients are treated as elective care patients because their care needs are urgent, but not emergent.”
While the distinction is welcome, RGF remains concerned that UNMH will be using taxpayer dollars to compete with existing, tax-paying, for-profit hospitals. More information on the specifics of this new project and how it will serve the Hospital’s existing mission (as opposed to expanding it) is needed. Some third-party analysis may be needed in this area.
3) RGF expressed a great deal of concern about transparency and the new UNMH wing.
UNMH responds that UNM Hospital is a part of the University of New Mexico and is a governmental organization. It is subject to the New Mexico Opens Meeting Act and the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. It posts its financial information and its Board agendas and minutes on its Hospital web site. Combined with voter approval of bond measures and regular updates to Bernalillo County Commission, UNMH states that transparency has been adequate
RGF responds that while meetings have indeed been public and in keeping with New Mexico law, there is a need for additional public input from various stakeholders throughout the Albuquerque area and the state as a whole prior to making such a large investment.
This project may ultimately be deemed necessary or it may be modified somewhat in order to address the concerns of RGF and others in the community. Before we invest $146 million taxpayer dollars in the construction of a new hospital wing (not to mention annual operating expenses), we need to have a more thorough discussion.
According to this document from UNMH, the Hospital has agreed to hold a series of meetings at which the public will be provided additional information and given the opportunity to offer input. The schedule and locations of those meetings are as follows:
Oct. 2, 6–7:30 p.m. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th Street NW, Chaco I and II
Oct. 3, 6–7:30 p.m. Jewish Community Center
5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Auditorium A
Oct. 4, 6–7:30 p.m. – Alamosa Community Center
6900 Gonzales Rd SW, Room A
We are encouraged by UNMH’s willingness to hold these hearings. It is our hope that the community will turn out both to receive information on this project and to be allowed to ask questions and express their own concerns.
If you don't read the great reporting over at New Mexico Watchdog, you should. Recently, our watchdog, Scarantino, reported that a local member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, Miguel Garcia, has been reimbursed for some unusual "campaign expenditures" and dubious travel expenses to and from Santa Fe. KRQE Channel 13 picked up the story and did a great in-depth interview with Jim on last night's 10pm broadcast.
The Rio Grande Foundation primarily focuses on economic and education issues, but government transparency and accountability are integral to our efforts as well. Yesterday, I was interviewed by Channel 4, KOB TV regarding efforts to preserve the integrity of elections and a study that claims mass-disenfranchisement will result from well-intended efforts to ensure the accuracy of voter rolls.
Check out the report below:
The show “Seinfeld” was said to be “the show about nothing.” In terms of the federal election, this election cycle might be called the campaign about nothing. The issue being avoided on a bi-partisan basis by most of the candidates of both major parties is our nation’s precarious fiscal condition driven by out-of-control spending.
Look through the websites and public pronouncements of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates (Gary Johnson being the exception), New Mexico’s senate candidates, and even those running for the House of Representatives. You will find plenty of platitudes and talk of “cutting waste.” You will, among Democrats, at least, find plenty of willingness to raise taxes on “the wealthy.” Republicans, on the other hand, will talk about overturning “ObamaCare,” but you find few specific ideas for dramatically-reducing the $1.3 trillion annual federal deficit.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently sat down with the folks at Channel 13 KRQE to discuss the massive expansion of Medicaid on the part of the states that is strongly encouraged under ObamaCare. The Secretary of course supports the expansion and we at the Rio Grande Foundation oppose it. View the story below:
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation was in Albuquerque on Wednesday, September 12 to discuss Right to Work Laws and how such a law might benefit New Mexico. Mark spent a great deal of time working on the issue in New Mexico and has some great anecdotes to tell throughout his speech. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez attended and spoke on the importance of Right to Work as well. Plus, see this report from Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico on the protesters.