17 March 2013

Energy Propaganda Conveyed by Advertising Insert

A four-page insert titled "Energy for Nebraska" was included in the Omaha World-Herald in its March 15, 2013 issue. It was an associative effort by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Public Power District.

It is blatant industry propaganda, meant to indicate that both entities care for the people of Nebraska and only want to provide energy which is environmentally suitable.

"Developing clean, efficient, renewable energy sources for Nebraskans is an ambitious long-term challenge."

This is the first sentence on the lower-half of the front page of this "partnership effort."

UNL was indicated first, so NPPD was obviously taking advantage of a collaboration with the state university.

Anytime some spokesman indicates that there was a "visionary pledge" to create the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, the comments are hyperbole. There were a couple of portraits of officials associated with the two entities, as if the two "white guys" shown had actually personally done anything to promote truly sustainable green energy?

More significant, was the top-of-the-page graphic on the first page of the insert. Prominent in the foreground was a solar panel. On the second page, a UNL director indicated that solar energy was a "key area of research."

UNL has not actually developed any solar energy facilities, so the graphic is completely misrepresentative. Similar vagueness continues on the rest of the four pages. There were no particular details given about any project now operational to develop local solar power. NPPD does have a solar energy facility at a building at Norfolk, and is considering solar energy use with pivot irrigation systems.

There is minimal effort in further developing solar power, due to current price considerations, according to the 2013 Integrated Resource Plan recently released by the agency, and which covers long-range planning for the next 5-20 years. The report says: "Although the cost of solar technology has declined significantly over the last few years, current assumptions still show it to be higher in cost than other renewable resources, particularly wind. For this reason, wind generation is used as a proxy for future renewable resource development in the current IRP analysis."

This apparently indicates a primary focus on wind turbine construction for the long-term."

How can NPPD cannot make any claim to being involved with water conservation. The terse story "Making every drop count" as included in the insert was probably provided by UNL to fill space on a page.

It was interesting to see the story titled "Field study focuses on grouse habitats and wind energy" during the same week when an associated story was issued by the Ainsworth Star-Journal, and included a picture.

Nothing was said about the R-Project. Nothing was said about the demise of landscape vistas because of powerlines to be built across land in Nebraska.

Nothing was said how negative impacts when wind turbine facilities are built. Prominent on this list is land fragmentation, loss of landscape vistas, road construction on native habitats, etc.

Nothing was said about regular deaths of birds due to wind turbines.

Undoubtedly, it cost many thousands of dollars to issue this insert. It is so easy to spend money to convey a bias, and indicate that it is a public education effort.

It would be preferable that these sorts of advertising efforts provide a comprehensive perspective! Commentary on the pages were certainly "efficiently harnessing the wind" it took to issue this propaganda!

Images from newspaper flyer.