The Superdome blackout reveals another energy company that, while preening to the public about its green morals, forgot its core business. There’s a lesson there for Michigan too. As a manufacturing state, Michigan must have cheap power to be competitive, yet – distracted by green initiatives like Renewable Power Standards – its energy prices have ballooned.
Just as no one will remember pre-Deep Horizon BP’s green rebranding of itself as “Beyond Petroleum,” so will no one remember that – before its embarrassing, primetime, Superdome blackout – New Orleans utility Entergy was billing its Super Bowl efforts as a new benchmark for green sustainability.
Green? Now the only color associated with Entergy is a black eye.
The Super Bowl’s “a wonderful platform to bring people together to think about how our actions as individuals matter, and what we can do about climate change,” Patty Riddlebarger, director of corporate social responsibility (we’re not making this up) for Entergy, told National Geographic. She bragged about “protective and energy-saving features” from improved insulation to rainwater control to 26,000 LED lights to buying carbon credits.
Too bad they didn’t buy better power lines.
The Associated Press reports after the 34-minute blackout that the utility neglected decaying infrastructure coming into the stadium despite a memo warning months before the big game of “a chance of failure” due to “concerns regarding the reliability of the Dome service from Entergy’s connection point to the Dome.”
Oh. Though the blackout’s cause is still under investigation, Entergy’s priorities were clearly not on keeping the lights on.
Rewind to the 2010 BP oil spill and an oil company obsessed with image over substance. Hidden behind BP’s politically-correct PR blitz was a corporation that was one of the industry’s worst in offshore oil drilling safety.
“BP got distracted from its core businesses and spent its energies getting into solar ventures and carbon-trading schemes, and otherwise losing the plot of an energy company. The absurd re-branding to ‘Beyond Petroleum’ speaks volumes,” reported the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Chris Horner after the Gulf disaster.
Michigan has also taken its eye off the ball. While mandating that 10 percent of its energy come from alternatives, industrial power rates have jumped by 18-35 percent in just four years for Michigan’s industrial customers.
Allen Hershkowitz of the left-wing Natural Resources Defense Council praised the NFL for its partnership in building green window-dressing as having “the potential to become one of the most important collaborations in the history of the environmental movement.”
What’d he say? The power just went out.