A Windy Day in May














Do you remember when Forrest Gump Invested in the Fruit Company (Apple) and made some serious money?

I’ve been thinking about the analogy of investing in a fruit company and having little knowledge of the business, how many investors who buy stock really know much about the business in which they invest?

Let’s say you invest in a Fruit Company that grows delicious apples, and you read in the paper that they had a bumper crop of apples, but the company didn’t have acess to any trucks to haul the apples to market, so they rotted in the bins :-0

This may be a very close analogy to what is happening in the wind farm just above Throp, Washington this spring, and as Forbes Magazine reports, “investors are pissed”.

This weekend my Wife and I made a favorite drive along the old Thorp Hiway on a section that runs from Ellensburg to CleElum.  As we drove, we looked across the valley near the Fruit Stand  at the huge wind turbines with locked turbine blades looking like huge Monoliths guarding the view of the Stuart Range, one of the more magnificent mountain ranges in Washington State.

Why were these Giants not making electricity on this most perfect windy day in May? It reminds me of Maceys deciding to close their Stores for the holidays, the same days that determine profitability in retail sales for the entire year.  A wind farm locked down for the peak energy period of the year? Why?

I think the answer has a lot to do with the promoters and investors. All too often, the technical voices are drowned out by those who are giddy and cocksure that anything Green has to be good! But just like in my analogy,  the investors in this wind farm (and others) assumed there were Trucks and Trailers available to haul the product to market.

Fact is, it’s the BPA who manages the fleet of trucks and trailers in this case, and they have plenty of historical data as to how these trucks have been used in the past and to what capacity.  I know how it works, no doubt in my mind the voices were there in the early stages of this project.. pleading that someone look into grid capacity and assure that the product could be haued to market before the project progressed.

Now the talking heads speak of the exceptional snow pack this year, the high run off, the fact that our very green, renewable, carbon free, hydro energy is in abundance and literally flooding the grid ties to capacity! The BPA decision seems simple to me, it’s all the same color (green) but one is a fraction of the cost.

Exceptional snow pack? Lots of water for hydro this time of year? Use it or lose it? It’s all water over the dam? Isn’t it true that peak Hydro power and peak Wind power arrive in the same time frames every year?

Forrest Gump bought Apple on his own, no government subsidies, No state Governor waded in to overrule the objections people had regarding how viable the project was..

As Forbes reports.. the “investors are pissed”, but others might ask.. aren’t we all investors through massive Government subsidies, how many of us care enough to be pissed?

Didn’t I read that Washington State Governor Gregoire also provided a Five Million Dollar Grant (from State TAX Revenue) for other wind turbines on the west coast? Are these investments profitable, and who is providing the data on their profitability? Aren’t we in the middle of a budget crisis?

Maybe it is just as I see it.. no one really cares, long as it’s green, and that green might need to be only as thick as one coat of paint. Maybe it’s best that we all invest in Green paint, can you  sell near anything to Seattle as long as you slop some green paint on it?

End of article, but more on the weekend’s activities follows..

The Outback Inverter and equipment at our off grid place in Easton  continues to operate flawlessly, we’ve had Elk including two bulls walk through between the pump house and the power house, there’s also a large male Coyote who makes his morning rounds, he’s a daily visitor, and one morning we got to watch him from the cabin window as we drank our first cup of coffee.  We still need to start the Lister 6/1 to pump up our pressurized water system, all starts have been first compression stoke starts, and this engine is so easy to start, I’ve never considered an electric starter, one short run gives us all the daily water we need including two hot hollywood type showers a day.

We hiked some this weekend, and as we made our way up through a most beautiful narrow ravine filled with tall conifers and a babbling mountain stream, I took note of the near endless numbers of blooming Trilliums under the heavy canopy of tall Conifers.  There were a few late Morrells under the giant cottonwoods at the lower elevations, and other new mushrooms coming up that might be edible, one in particular that was meaty and near jet black in color found in the densely packed connifer forrests with a heavy blanket of composing needles. I did take a picture and I hope to learn more about that variety. We found brilliant red blooms in areas of deciduous growth, so bright, you needed to squint when looking at them.  As we worked up a thousand feet in elevation or more, we saw patches of snow, and then snow fields. The cottonwood leaves were coated with a sticky and wonderful fragerance, and the smell carried me off to thoughts of other times in the Cascade mountains.

As we set high on an rock outcrop looking down the valley, I thought about our media, and I wondered if their goal was ever any different than I see it now? Was there ever a time when they weren’t so keenly focused on their bottom line? Do they take on the views and opinions of the majority of their market audiance in an effort to be popular?   Do they report what their audiance wants to hear?  Personally..  I think that’s the case, and to point out there’s problems with the green ideas that many think will save us all may lose them viewers.

It’s generally about following the money.. “out of your pocket into someone elses.” Or at least that’s my thought at the moment..






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