This week, the slow-motion trainwreck at the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office may have finally ended, as the embattled sheriff decided he’d had enough and resigned. Jody Greene had been under scrutiny and pressure to step down over comments he made in a recorded phone call where he stated he wanted an underling to fire all the black sheriff’s office employees, calling them “black bastards” because he suspected many of them supported his opponent.
Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser suspended Greene in October while an investigation took place. But now, the local D.A., Jon David, said the State Bureau of Investigations has found more issues, and the racist phone recordings were just the “tip of the iceberg.” At least with his resignation, it appears the sheriff’s office can begin to rebuild trust with the 30% black county it’s meant to protect and serve.
Another chaotic situation is of course unfolding in our nation’s capitol, as Republicans are playing a game of chicken over whether or not California Congressman Kevin McCarthy should be the next speaker. N.C.’s own Dan Bishop is on the side of those who want new leadership, or at least concessions from the current GOP leaders.
But FOX News seems to have overstated his position, by quite a bit, saying in a Thursday article that Bishop was planning on retiring if McCarthy becomes speaker. Bishop’s spokesperson, Allie McCandless, immediately took to Twitter to make clear this was NOT the plan.
Danielle Battaglia, who reports on the capitol for McClatchy papers like the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer, backed up McCandless’s version of events, saying, “I was there for this interview with @RepDanBishop and his team is right. He absolutely did not say what is being alleged. Allie’s explanation is what he said.”
So, it looks like, even if D.C. is in chaos, N.C.’s 8th District likely will not also be thrown into chaos with the resignation of their congressman.
Lastly, Duke Energy had a press conference this week taking ownership of the Christmas blackouts. Some green-energy enthusiasts decided to take all the wrong lessons, though, actually blaming traditional power sources — like nuclear, coal, and natural gas — for the crisis, and suggesting we need MORE solar and wind power.
They think solar is the solution, even though the Duke spokesperson said, according to my CJ colleague Theresa Opeka, that “solar generation performed as expected but was not available to meet the peak demand since the peak occurred before sunrise.”
Ah yes, the sun does need to be up for solar to help out, just like the wind needs to be blowing for wind turbines. But you can also see in the chart below, shared by JLF’s Andre Beliveau, that solar contributes barely a blip, despite all the investments Duke has been pressured to make, and most of their impact was in the brief window between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
You can see that little yellow line rising with the sun and setting again, producing no electricity when people needed it in the cold of night. Even if you cover the state in these panels, North Carolina would need to either maintain a second power-generating system using the tradition sources in order to fill in the gaps, or create a massive battery system to store energy created during those sunny and windy moments. Both options are pricey and inefficient to say the least.
What did exceptionally well during the blackouts was nuclear, the solid purple line at the top of the chart, which was so steady it looks like part of the chart’s x-axis. It was very reliable, very productive, and, if you’re worried about CO2, isn’t a fossil fuel. Why don’t we get some more of that maybe?
Just think of all the time, energy, and resources Duke Energy has been forced to dedicate to massive solar and wind projects, when they could be building more nuclear plants. Maybe we should just start calling them “greenouts” to drive home the point on their true cause, especially since we are likely to see more of these grid failures in the near future.