Solar And Wind Power From Here To Eternity

The spill in the Gulf by BP has naturally caused a bump up in the jaw boning about the need and urgency for renewable energy sources.  It is like a mantra with some.   The left throws out the phrase “solar” power like it is the magic answer if only we tax enough rich folks and make all energy use much more expensive to discourage its use then the green world of Eden will be at hand.  Although the ranks of the dedicated may have recently been reduced a bit.  I wonder how enthusiastic Tipper is these days about the climate change agenda?  Anyhow, I am all for innovation and new ways to create our energy needs and I do believe that somewhere down the road we will be using other sources than carbon based minerals to produce our transportation needs and electrical needs.   I just want private industry to create it without all of us having to subsidize one particular pet political constituency.

Other than politics why are we spending billions each year on ethanol which is a proven disaster for energy production and not cost-effective.  I have no problem if you want to install a solar panel on your home for electrical use or build a windmill to provide it as long as me and the other taxpayers aren’t having to foot the bill.   The cap and tax bill promoted by the Dems has basket loads of special subsidies for both wind and solar.   The wind and solar production at the moment accounts for 1% of the power production in the US.   You can look this up for yourself on the EIA website.   That is the Energy Information Agency.   At a cost of billions per year we could assume for the moment that the production rate for both of these sources could be increased by 1% a year.  That would be a fantastic rate of increase and in 20 years it could account for 20% of our energy production.   Even at the end of that period it would be a minority of our energy production.  It would costs billions assuming we would all stand for a 10 to 20% increase in our monthly electric bill and gas about 5 bucks a gallon.   Just the one  project that Boone Pickens is promoting in Texas would cost more than a billion dollars to construct and that doesn’t include the additional costs of the new transmission lines necessary to get the power to the people who need it.

Have you kept up with the wind farm off the coast of Mass. lately?  They have been working to develop that for years.  These solar and wind farms require huge amounts of acreage wherever they are built.   To do the increase of 1% a years we would be talking about hundreds of thousands of acres of land dedicated to just those projects.   Just as in Mass. you would have to deal with the environmentalists who object to the projects as “ugly” or dangerous to some damn bird or fish.   Again, check the record in Mass. and the litigation there.  That project apparently now has all the government approvals but is still a few years from starting if it ever does because of litigation. 

As soon as one of these projects is announced the NIMBYs start coming out of the woodwork and I don’t necessarily blame them.   We are talking about miles and miles of transmission lines that will have to run through areas where people already live.   I know the West is filled with lots of wide open spaces but even there the ranchers and environmentalists don’t like those wind farms or solar farms.  They do take up lots of space very quickly.  You can drive to West Texas around McCamey and see miles of the things.   If you live on a coast I am not sure you would think the view of the 300 foot tall windmill a few miles off the shore is pretty than an oil rig.

Maybe they will have a breakthrough in these technologies at some point.  That would be terrific is they did.  It would be neat to have a 2 foot by 3 foot panel on the top of your car that could generate enough power to drive your car for 500 miles.  Believe it or not when we first started the space programs they were predicting such a device because the early solar panels were being used to power the satellites.  Of course they only powered small motors and tiny computers.   The company that can invent the cost effective method to generate reliable power will make millions and become the new Apple and I applaud that idea.  I do not applaud Government, Inc. trying to micromanage our lives and tell us how to spend our energy money.   Like the market decide which method is best. 

Lets do it all, try it all and in the meantime use our natural gas for transportation.  It is demonstrably cleaner than gasoline and it is here.  It will increase our security and create hundreds of thousands of new and well-paying jobs for Americans.  It should also be used for electrical power generation for the same reasons.  We have the technology now to implement its use and the infrastructure could be installed in a matter of a few years rather than decades.

Things change and our energy use, production and needs will change.  Our prime source for energy will change.  We should at least embrace the change that is the most economical and allows the least government intrusion into our lives.   I have no problem with nuclear power but it is sadly a non-starter probably because the Left is so opposed to it that the litigation and slow downs make it the least feasible alternative.  Sad but true.   We need to do something or else a few years down the road you won’t be seeing this on the computer except at select times when the power is on.  Having abundant power is not guaranteed, we have to make it happen.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value”  A. Einstein.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Filed under business, Economics, Environment, Global Warming, government, Politics

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