Category Archives: Uncategorized

Open letter number two to Mariel Nanasi

Open Letter Number Two to Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy (NEE), Santa Fe, NM, by Peter Burrows, 2/28/19 

Dear Ms. Nanasi 

I received an email today from NEE which contained the following statement:  

“NOW is the time for a new model of energy production and procurement. We can have locally produced solar, wind and storage, and efficiency at lower cost than gas produced energy 300 miles away.” 

I would like to know if there is any place in the world where “locally produced wind, solar and storage” is cheaper than electricity produced by gas-fired turbines.  Outside of a few research stations in the Antarctic, there is no such place. Neither is there any place where wind, solar and storage are cheaper than coal-fired or nuclear generated electricity.  

I believe you have relied on misleading government statistics when you assert that renewable energy is more cost effective than the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy.   

The Department of Energy, on their Energy Information Administration (EIA) website, analyzes something they call The Levelized Cost of Electricity, LCOE, for different forms of electricity under a myriad of different assumptions. If you read the text carefully, you will find that they caution against comparing LCOEs between different forms of energy as that can be “misleading,” yet in table after table, comparing such LCOEs is precisely what the EIA does.  

Whether deliberate or not, the EIA virtually ignores the costs of intermittency that are inherent in wind and solar power.  Ignoring these costs means that LCOE comparisons with fossil or nuclear energy are meaningless. It’s not a matter of comparing apples to oranges. It’s more like comparing apples to basketballs.  

Perhaps the worst thing about the LCOE numbers is that they give economic legitimacy to renewable energy when in fact renewable energy is virtually worthless. It is only produced because of government mandates and subsidies. 

Just ask yourself, if renewables are in fact the cheapest form of electricity, why are coal-fired generating plants still being built? In India, for example, hundreds of new coal-powered generating plants are under construction, many of which will burn coal from one of 80 new coal mines opened since 2009.   

India’s coal production in the six months April to November, 2018, was 434 million metric tons, an increase of 39 million tons over the previous year. Annualized at 78 million tons, India’s incremental annual production is over six times all the coal produced in New Mexico last year (~12.6 million metric tons.) Sub-Saharan Africa is also forecast to be greatly increasing the use of coal-generated electricity in coming years.   

Ms. Nanasi, you are trying to avert a global climate catastrophe by shutting down New Mexico’s use of fossil fuels, yet much of the rest of the world is pursuing policies that totally overwhelm anything we can do here in New Mexico.  Furthermore, your policies will be hugely expensive, something relatively poor New Mexico doesn’t need.  

Wouldn’t we be better off heeding the advice of Bill Gates, who in 2015 said that the cost of 100 percent renewable electricity would be “beyond astronomical,” and simply eliminate new Mexico’s Renewable Portfolio Standard entirely?  I’m with Bill on this one. For an update on his views, please see: 

Ms. Nanasi, if the Department of Energy’s LCOE numbers are not the basis for your contention that solar and wind are cheaper than fossil and nuclear, please tell me what is the basis for your belief. 

Sincerely, Peter Burrows –  


Open Letter to Mariel Nanasi

An Open Letter to Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy, Santa Fe. New Mexico by Peter Burrows 2/18/19

Dear Ms. Nanasi,

Senate Bill 489 would require New Mexico’s investor owned electric utilities to be 100 percent carbon free by 2045, a goal to be achieved with renewable sources of electricity, especially wind and solar. As I understand it, one hundred percent carbon free has long been NEE’s goal, both for environmental reasons and, to quote from your recent emailing, “because renewables are the most cost-effective option.” With that in mind, I have some questions for you.

1) Our new secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Sarah Probst, was quoted in a January 11 article in New Mexico In Depth saying that going to an 80 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard would require a careful approach so that, “we don’t do anything that jeopardizes reliability or increases costs too quickly.“

Why would she say INCREASES COSTS if renewables are cheaper?

2) Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and life-long environmentalist, said in a 2015 interview with The Financial Times that the cost of going 100 percent renewable would be “beyond astronomical.”

Was Gates wrong? Have there been advances in energy technologies that enable us today to have renewable energy that is affordable, not “beyond astronomical” in cost?

3) Is there any place in the world where adding renewables to the power mix has lowered the average electricity bill? An article by The Institute for Energy Research dated 2/8/19, claims that electricity rates increase as renewables are added to the mix, In Germany, Denmark, the U.S., anywhere.

California, for example, in 2017 generated 23% of its electricity from wind and solar and its residential electricity rates were 18.24 cents per kilowatt-hour, “at least 40 percent higher than any other western state,” and 22 percent higher than I paid last month using my cost of14.98 cents after taxes, fees etc. Using the before fees/taxes cost of 12.65 cents, California was 44 percent higher. or Google: The 100 Percent Renewable Energy Myth BY IER (Inst for Energy Research) 2/8/19

(I went to the Dept. Of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) site and was unable to verify IER’s numbers. The EIA site is difficult to navigate, to say the least.)

4) I see that my electricity bills are increased by a “Renewable Energy Rider,” not decreased by a “Renewable Energy Credit.” Why are renewables increasing my bill if renewables are so cost effective?

5) If renewables are the least cost option, why are so many new coal-fueled electricity generating plants being built outside of the U.S.?

From, 2/16/19: “Since 2007 planning and construction of new coal-fired power plants in India has accelerated, and hundreds of new plants are in currently in the pipeline, as shown in CoalSwarm’s India coal plant tracker.”

HUNDREDS of new coal-fired plants? How can that be if renewables are so much cheaper than coal?

6) Totally eliminating the use of fossil fuels in New Mexico would eventually mean the elimination of natural gas to heat our homes.  Is this a long-term goal of NEE? Would this mean using electric heat, and would that increase Bill Gates’s estimate from “beyond astronomical” to “beyond astronomical squared?”

7) Are you using the Energy Information Administration’s Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) calculations when you compare the costs of different sources of electricity, e.g. solar vs. coal? You have to read the EIA’s accompanying notes carefully to learn that they caution that comparing LCOEs between power sources can be “misleading.”

“Misleading,” indeed.  Intermittent sources of electricity such as solar and wind are not comparable to constant sources, such as coal or nuclear.  Intermittent sources need to be buffered, i.e. smoothed for clouds and lulls, and stored for when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

The cost of storage is the driver behind Gates’s “beyond astronomical” estimate, and here is where NEE can get some answers from Public Service of New Mexico (PNM). PNM has been operating an electric storage facility since 2012. The PNM Prosperity Energy Storage was heralded as “the nation’s first solar storage facility fully integrated into a utility’s power grid.” (Renewable Energy World, 3/2/15)

By now, PNM should have a good handle on how much the storage costs would be at various RPS requirements, at least with the technology they are using. When PNM held a meeting in Silver City in May of 2017, I cited Prosperity Storage and said: “I assume you have lots of cost data from that project and can provide us with an estimate of what our utility bills would be if PNM was 100 percent renewables-with-storage.”

Six months later, I made the same request in a column for The Grant County Beat. Still no answer and I don’t expect to ever get one. However, I’m confident that New Energy Economy could get an answer. YOU they fear. Me, I’m just a nobody home owner/rate payer.

In conclusion, I share your desire for cheap, reliable, renewable energy. I’m just not convinced that “cheap” and “reliable” are possible with today’s technology.

If you are ever in Silver City, I know a great place to get a cup of coffee, my treat.


Peter V. Burrows                                                                                                                      


More on Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

More on Alexandria Ocasio Cortez by Peter Burrows, 1/27/19 

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, aka AOC, has taken America by storm. The new 29-year-old Congress- woman from New York City is on magazine covers, is featured in TV interviews, has been invited to appear everywhere and is talked about constantly by news pundits.  

If I was 50 years younger, I’d throw myself at her lovely feet. However, in my grandfatherly old age I look at this benighted young lady and feel sorry for her. Wikipedia tells us that she graduated cum laude from Boston University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics. My dictionary says cum laude means “With honor. Used on diplomas as a mark of high standing.”  

Why then, was she tending bar and waiting tables before her election? Probably because her college degree is worthless, cum laude or magna cum laude, something a lot of college grads are finding out these days. In AOC’s case, proof she got a college indoctrination and not a college education is to be found in her economic ideas.  

How can anybody take economics in college and come away with the conviction that economic prosperity can be achieved with huge government programs paid for by “the rich” and/or by the Federal Reserve writing checks?   

How can that person think that the government can provide guaranteed jobs at “living wages” for everybody and anybody? Where has this ever worked? How can this be afforded? Throw in Medicare for all, too. 

And, of course, she wants to increase the minimum wage to $15, proving she doesn’t know the first, or the second, thing about economics. (See my article, “God and the Minimum Wage” in Libertarian Leanings.) No wonder college degrees, outside of science and technology, don’t mean much anymore.  

Another AOC fact that bodes ill for America is that she is a Catholic, a Latino Catholic, like Pope Francis, who has similarly stupid economic ideas. Nowhere in the world, with the possible exception of France, has rule by Catholics been hospitable to democracy or free enterprise economics. Certainly, nowhere south of the Rio Grande. 

Catholicism is an authoritarian religion that, like many religions, sees the accumulation of personal wealth as somehow immoral. With that in mind, it’s not inconceivable AOC could run for president on a platform inspired by NYC’s mayor Bill Deblasio, who recently said that NYC has plenty of money to do all the good things Deblasio wants to do, it’s just that the money is in the WRONG hands. 

“Right” and “wrong” are words that inherently incorporate a moral judgement. By golly, if money is in the “wrong” hands, it’s government’s duty to take it and put it in the “right” hands. Lots of people think that is a proper role for government.  

Politically, this works, especially if the electorate both poor and ignorant. It worked for Hugo Chavez, who enjoyed the unique status of being an elected and reelected dictator. All that oil money down there in Venezuela was in the wrong hands, you see, and Hugo was just the guy to right that wrong. If a few billion ended up in his kids’ bank accounts, that was OK because their hands were the right hands.    

Charles Lane, who writes for the Washington Post and is an occasional commentator on Fox News, recently said something to the effect that AOC would be really dangerous if she knew what she was talking about.  

No, Chuck, she wouldn’t be dangerous if she knew what she was talking about, she’s dangerous because she DOESN’T know what she’s talking about.  

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: The Future of America

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: The Future of America by Peter Burrows 1/25/19 

I have to confess: I’m smitten with New York’s new Congresswoman, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, aka AOC. She’s gorgeous, charismatic, articulate and vivacious.    

She’s also, at the very least, profoundly ignorant and probably just plain stupid, but that won’t hurt her politically. Just the opposite. There are tons of ignorant and stupid voters in America, enough to make AOC, when she’s 35 and old enough to run for president, America’s first Latina Lady President, maybe even President for Life.    

You’re thinking, “Come on Burro. What’s with the ‘president for life’ crap? The Constitution’s 22nd Amendment limits presidents to two terms.” 

That’s true TODAY, but the demographic changes underway in America that would make an AOC president also make it inevitable that the Constitution will be scrapped.  AOC’s election was the canary in the mine, folks.  

To see what I’m talking about, let’s look at her Bronx Congressional District, which had been represented by an Anglo male for 20 years. This incumbent Congressman outspent AOC in the primary by over 10-1 and yet she kicked his butt by 15 points.  

Why?  Because she reflected the changing demographics of the district: 50% Hispanic, 46% foreign born and 68 % who don’t speak English in the home. You’re thinking, “Well, that doesn’t look much like America, Burro, so how can AOC be America’s future?” 

True, her district doesn’t look like America YET. Another 50 years and it will, but the Democrats aren’t going to wait that long. They realize that the stupid Republicans have finally awakened to their plan to gain permanent electoral majorities with the trifecta of open borders, welfare benefits and easy citizenship.  

While that strategy may still succeed, the Democrats have launched Plan B: Do away with the Electoral College. That way, all of America won’t have to look like AOC’s congressional District, just a few populous states with enough voters to swing the national majority to the Democrat candidate.   

Take a look at California, in which the last election was instructive. Republicans across the state lost elections thanks to a 94% increase in Hispanic turnout, helped in no small part by a California innovation known as “ballot harvesting.” This allows campaign workers to go to a voter’s home and help the voter fill out a ballot, which is then delivered to a polling place BY THE CAMPAIGN WORKER.  

It goes without saying that this system, approved by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016, is open to abuse, especially since in California the DMV automatically registers people to vote if they say they are eligible to vote. The DMV told the Sacramento Bee that “it is not responsible for verification of voter eligibility.” 

California is a sanctuary state controlled from top to bottom by Democrats who are sympathetic to open border immigration and allowing illegals to vote.  California’s population is currently 40 million. Throw in a few more big states that are rapidly tuning blue thanks to illegals from Latin America, and it’s coronation time for an AOC if there is no Electoral College. 

New York state, population 20 million, will probably become a sanctuary state this year, following New York City, which is already a sanctuary city.  Illinois, population 13 million, and New Jersey, population 9 million, are also sanctuary states.  

Here in New Mexico, also a sanctuary state, we can expect the state legislature to pass a bill that directs New Mexico’s five electoral votes to go to whomever wins the Presidential popular vote nationally, regardless of how New Mexico voted.  Governor Martinez refused to sign a similar bill in 2017, but Michelle Lujan Grisham sure as Hell will.      

I doubt this is Constitutional, but as we all know, the Constitution is an out-of-date document created by Anglo-Saxon, white supremacist, male chauvinist Christians, and after they get rid of the Electoral College, “Progressives” will get rid of the Constitution, too. 

Adios, America.    

Reefer Madness Meets Vaper Madness

Reefer Madness Meets Vaper Madness by Peter Burrows 1/22/19 

Back in 1936, Hollywood released a movie, “Reefer Madness,” that purported to show the dangers of smoking marijuana cigarettes, commonly called reefers.  One inhale would bring on manic, violent behavior, even death.  Seen as a warning almost 90 years ago, today it is simply ludicrous.                                                                                                                   

Attitudes have changed so much that New Mexico may soon become the eleventh state to legalize recreational use of marijuana.   Some people say legalization constitutes the real “reefer madness,” but most of us think that recognizing marijuana realities is a sanity long overdue. 

For a REAL insanity, consider the hysterical grandstanding by politicians and government bureaucrats over something that not too long ago was considered to be not only sane, but a Godsend: vaping nicotine.  


What vaping refers to is using an electronic cigarette, called an e-cigarette, to inhale nicotine without burning tobacco.  The devices, some of which look like old-fashioned cigarette holders, use a rechargeable battery to heat a nicotine infused liquid to a vapor, which is then inhaled. No smoke, no smell, no lung cancer.  

Introduced 15 years ago by a Chinese company, e-cigarettes have grown to a world-wide $7 billion industry, helping thousands of people quit old-fashioned cigarettes and almost all of their attendant health risks. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC last October, “If we could switch every adult smoker to an e-cigarette, it would have a profound public health impact.” 


Nonetheless, Dr. Gottlieb is threatening to have the federal government outlaw the sale of e-cigarettes because non-adults are starting to vape, big time.  While vaping is still far less popular with kids than smoking was 30 years ago, Gottlieb et al are crusading to “save our children” from vaping by making vaping products illegal FOR EVERYBODY.   

How stupid.  Is the doctor being paid by the drug cartels to create a new market for them? Doesn’t he realize the ban would affect mostly adults, and since some kids will take up cigarettes anyway, isn’t vaping a far better alternative?    


If you’re like me, you probably didn’t realize a non-elected government bureaucrat could shut down a billion-dollar industry without due process simply because that bureaucrat was on a moral crusade.  

Why not just ban cigarettes, Dr. Gottlieb? Oh, I forgot: cigarette taxes raise a lot of money for you bureaucrats to spend.  

Question for Dr. Gottlieb: Who made you God? 


Question for the reader: Does it make sense to legalize marijuana and simultaneously illegalize nicotine vaping? 

“God” and the Minimum Wage

God” and the Minimum Wage   by Peter Burrows 11/21/18  

New Mexico is now ruled by Democrats, top to bottom, and one of the first things we can expect these Democrats to do is to raise New Mexico’s minimum wage, now at $7.50 per hour, to perhaps as high as $15.  I expect there will be a few stupid Republicans who will go along with this.                                                                      

Some of you are thinking: “Stupid?! Those are Republicans who CARE Burro, you heartless Libertarian POS.”                                                                                                           


 OK, let’s think about it for just a second. If passing a minimum wage law could eliminate poverty, why doesn’t old Mexico, for example, enact a $50 per hour minimum wage and then no more poor Mexicans would be trying to illegally enter low-wage America, right?  Hell, Mexico might have to build a wall to keep Americans out.                                                                                                                                  

Does that make sense to you? Of course not. Why, then, do most people support minimum wage laws when only a little reflection would persuade them such laws are foolish? Because most people don’t spend any time thinking about it. They just assume such laws are good. They are wrong.                                                                           

There are a number of assumptions inherent in minimum wage laws, none of which are correct.  The first assumption, and this is the biggie, is that Government is God.  Why do I say that? Because minimum wage laws assume that government can eliminate the law of supply and demand.                                                                          

The law of supply and demand, which could also be called the law of price and demand, says that demand is an inverse function of price, a fancy way of saying that when prices go up, demand goes down, and vice versa. This is a common-sense law of human nature, and no written law is going to repeal it.                                 

It is not an iron-clad law, thoughbecause there are circumstances in which demand follows the direction of the price, e.g. when a stock is going up in price, that is frequently a sign to BUY, not sell. The same is true for any market where speculation is a strong force, whether stocks, tulip bulbs or even houses.                                               

That is not the case in the market for labor.  There is less demand for labor at $15 an hour than at $7.50 per hour.  Period.  The higher the minimum wage, the greater the unemployment it causes. Yes, there are a few studies that claim that increases in minimum wages do not increase unemployment, but none of those studies involved dramatic increases in the wage rate, and short-term effects of small increases can easily be obscured by other economic trends.                                                                            

Most studies show what you would expect: increasing the cost of labor reduces the demand for labor. Just ask yourself, if increasing minimum wages doesn’t influence the demand for labor, why not pass a $50 an hour minimum wage law right here in Grant County?  That would make us all rich, right?  It would also result in an empty parking lot at Walmart.                                                                                                     

Since most Democrats, Progressives and Liberals operate under the illusion, whether they realize it or not, that government is God, we can expect New Mexico to soon be further impoverished by an increase in the minimum wage.     

The ACLU Is Coming To A Sidewalk Near You

The ACLU Is Coming To A Sidewalk Near You by Peter Burrows 9/3/18  

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is notifying cities around the state that their local panhandling laws are unconstitutional.  Here is Silver City’s notification: 

If the ACLU has their way, and it looks like they have a very strong case, anybody walking in downtown Silver City can expect to be approached by someone who will ask for money.  The ACLU says such a person is exercising their First Amendment right of free speech, and any laws that restrict that right, such as designating certain areas as no-begging zones, are unconstitutional.     

You are probably thinking, “Whoa, Burro! What about my right to privacy?” Unfortunately, there is nothing in the Constitution about a “right to privacy,” an oversight the courts have been attempting to correct for years, usually involving cases of sexuality and marriage.  Roe v. Wade, for example, holds that anti-abortion laws violate a woman’s privacy. 

Supreme Court rulings have embodied the notion that a right to privacy is implied in the Constitution. The liberal Justice William Douglas once wrote that a broad right to privacy is found in the “penumbras” (shadows) of the specific protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. This was in a case overturning a state’s ban on contraceptives which Douglass deemed a violation of “a right to marital privacy.”    

Robert Bork argued that such reasoning deprived elected officials of the legislative power the Constitution meant for them to have. He said: “The Constitution isn’t the only law that exists. It’s only a framework for how we go about things and a list of specific things legislatures must not do. Beyond that, it’s up to the legislature.”   

As a strict constructionist, I tend to agree with Bork, yet I am in complete agreement with Justice Louis Brandeis, who wrote in a 1928 opinion that the right to be left alone is “the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.”    

Whether spelled out in the Constitution or not, the right to be left alone is something I think most people would agree is a self-evident, unalienable right, to borrow a couple of phrases from the Declaration of Independence.    

I am well aware of the hypocrisies of a strict constructionist looking in the “penumbra” for an unspecified right, while the “penumbra” crowd denies such a right if it conflicts with the statutory right of a panhandler to exercise his or her free speech.  

To square this circle, I think we need to recognize that the face-to-face spoken word involves more than just the speaker.  Freedom of speech in the written word, e.g. newspapers, magazines, billboards, pamphlets; and in broadcasting, e.g. TV, radio, the Internet; does not require the targets of such speech to pay a damn bit of attention.  

A beggar approaching you on the street and making a verbal request is an entirely different proposition. You are then being placed in a situation not of your choosing and, unfortunately, you have no Constitutional “right” to be left alone that overrules the beggars right to speak to you.    

To illustrate the inherent difference in oral vs, written speech, imagine you see a beggar on the street carrying a sign that reads: “Give me some money because I need it and don’t ask what I’ll use it for because that’s none of your fucking business.”  

I would consider that a legitimate exercise of free speech, and I think you would, too. A little uncivil, but certainly not threatening. Just ignore and walk on by, or if you admire the chutzpah, part with a buck or two.  (I would.)   

Imagine that the same beggar approaches you and makes that same request verbally, perhaps even in a sweet voice. Same thing? Absolutely not.  Most people would feel threatened.  In fact, if San Francisco is any guide, threats from panhandlers will become the norm.    

Goodbye, downtown businesses.  

I’m not an attorney, but it seems to me there are three legal considerations we need to look at in this situation. One, the Bill of Rights is essentially a bunch of laws that limit what the GOVERNMENT can do to an individual. Secondly, the rights in The Bill of Rights are not unqualified. As famously noted, you have no right to falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater.  Finally, there are legal traditions that have evolved over time in our courts and legislatures that provide protection against encroachments on our privacy by other individuals. 

These sorts of privacy protections are called torts, although torts are not confined to privacy violations. A tort is a wrong or injury caused by an INDIVIDUAL for which the victim can seek compensation.  Privacy torts, specifically, provide the legal means to seek damages when someone has violated our privacy. 

An intrusion tort involves offensive intrusion upon the privacy or solitude of a person, usually physically but also through eavesdropping or wiretaps.  It seems to me the unwanted solicitation of a beggar qualifies as an offensive intrusion.  

You’re probably thinking, “Big deal, Burro. I’m going to sue some panhandler who gets in my face and a judge will award me the poor slob’s dirty socks, if he has any socks. No thanks.”   

Not quite what I had in mind.  If the City must allow the panhandling, the City must protect the citizens from the panhandlers, not an especially difficult task.  I assume street vendors require a city license, why not those “entrepreneurs” who use our streets to make a living without selling anything?  

If the City doesn’t control the panhandlers, sue the City.  Maybe the City could then sue the ACLU.  

An even better solution would be to allow only non-verbal panhandling.  Panhandlers can carry signs or pass out written pleas, but they can neither initiate a verbal exchange nor impede the progress of those on the sidewalk or street.  Would that pass muster with the ACLU? Worth a try.