Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Energy Policy Debate: Bold New Ideas

After hearing the new crop of poli-chickens regurgitate the same old rhetoric regarding America's energy future, I'm demanding some fresh ideas. Here's the problem with red vs. blue policy:

Red (GOP): Drilling in Alaska is a good idea, but that's not going to fix the problem even in the short term. There isn't enough oil in Alaska to offset our current imports. US on-shore domestic oil production has been declining since the 1970's, so it's foolish to think that we can bring online enough domestic supply to slake our ever-expanding thirst.

Blue (Democrats): Biofuels like ethanol will never replace gasoline nomatter how much you subsidize it. It's a net-loss when you consider the cost of farming and additional infrastructure. Additional taxes on gasoline would be a good idea if you were building towards a feasible solution, but hybrid cars and E85 are going to be disasterous if mandated federally. Besides, I trust this Congress with money less than I would a bank run by crack addicts. How's that non-existent Social Security trust fund going, Mr. Byrd?!

Smashing through boundaries: The fix is in!

We're going to drop the price of fuel for consumers and build up the infrastructure to maintain the same level of prosperity and rapidness of travel all the while decreasing our consumption of petroleum products in the long-term. More specifically, I'm calling for:

-Nuclear power to replace diesel-guzzling ocean freighters and heavy rail locomotives. Yeah, that sounds radical, but if we can put an engine on a submarine that makes 50,000 horsepower and doesn't need to be refueled for 10 years, then why are we dumping God-awful amounts of diesel fuel into these boats that bring us our beer from Europe and our miscellaneous bullshit from China? I know that there's a security risk, but the US Coast Guard can easily implement a satellite tracking mechanism to ensure that these boats don't fall into the hands of terrorists. We could very easily replace our obnoxious lovers of diesel juice that deliver bulk manufactured items via railroads. Wouldn't it be ironic to have a perfectly environmentally sound, zero-carbon train deliver thousands of tons of sooty coal to be burned to make electricity?

If security concerns prevent us from using this ultra-efficient, Al Gore friendly method of powering our industry, then I hate to inform you but Osama Bin Laden and Co. have officially beaten the US. The point of terrorism is to make your victim too afraid to be themselves, and if we get hung up because we're afraid then we lose.

Replacing the mass consumers of diesel fuel will free at least 30% of our domestic refinery capacity and roughly the same in crude oil consumption, thus automatically reducing our demand on petro products by roughly 1/3. In dollars for you, that brings us back to around $1.55-$1.80 a gallon on gasoline with a much more stable price that is far less subject to Katrina-like fluctuations and panic.

-We need a mass transit system that is beneficial to suburban commuters. We can't follow Europe's model because their cities are built much different from ours. We have a bigger country and we have a chance to really do something revolutionary to satisfy our need to move people from place to place rapidly while catering to the impatience of US consumers. This is a challenge, but this is very possible. Great advancements have been made in the field of magnetic levitation trains by Japanese researchers that could prove to be the ultimate technology for making trains a means of inter- and intra- city transportation so rapid that the airlines can't even keep up!

There's two things that energy ideas should have in common: They should have a very positive economic effect and they should improve the environment. One without the other is a NO DEAL. Sorry, Al Gore. I'm not willing to lose my job over some extrapolated research, we're a good bit smarter than that. We can keep our economy and protect and improve our planet at the same time. I demand this of our leaders.

Let's discuss- how else can we lead the world into economically and environmentally-friendly energy solutions?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wind power! It's a growing industry here, and has grown rapidly in the past two or three years.

In a 2006 speech, Bush said researchers found that six percent of the continental U.S. is highly suitable for harnessing the wind's energy; up to twenty percent of our nation's electricity demand can be met with this. We already generate a lot of power from wind (about 10,000 megawatts), but it accounts for less than one percent of our nation's energy needs. Twenty percent of Denmark's power is from wind turbines, they're pushing for more!

There is so much open space out in the Rockies and Midwest, and it is very windy. With wind turbines, comes job opportunies; some of those places (such as Nebraska) could use the jobs to reduce the outmigration.

There are some downsides (mostly minor ones) with wind power, but the pros definitely outweigh them. Some people oppose these things because they "kill many birds", which is a load of crap, as there are studies to debunk this. Others just think they're ugly. NASA doesn't like them because they scramble radar. If you haven't already, I suggest you all start with the "wind power" and "wind turbine" articles on Wikipedia.

P.S. I read your blog all the time, I just lurk a lot; keep up with the good articles!

ken hawk said...

I thInK cArs sHOUld Be MAde Out Of NERf mateRIAl.


KEn HAW!KK

BlackLabelAxe said...

I've read a great deal about wind power, and that's one energy source that is becoming a viable force on our power grid.

Travelling through Europe on a train is a great way to see how they harness the wind all over the continent. The offshore wind farms are proving to be a very powerful asset, Ireland is the world leader in that department.

It was the advent of GE's multi-megawatt generators that make this technology able to hold it's own weight. The older wind farms did little more than kill birds and make noise. The new breed of wind generators use much larger props that turn slower and are less dangerous to birds, and are also capable of generating enough electricity to quickly pay off the very high cost to manufacture and install.

I agree, anonymous, this looks like a winner! Thanks for stopping by and for the great suggestion!

BlackLabelAxe said...

Hey Ken, I just found out that they are playing old episodes of American Gladiators on the ESPN Classic Channel. Something about a Nerf-car made me think of that.

Please tell me you're an American Gladiators fan, I know I am!

BlackLabelAxe said...

Oh, and for you investor-types, GE stock is generally believed to not have much room to grow, but it does pay dividends.

Besides, by investing in that company you are rewarding their innovation in environmentally and economically beneficial technology.

They also lead the pack in hybrid car battery manufacturing and design.

Ann Coulters bastard son said...

I'm with you on Nuke power on ocean freighters. And more nukes here on land. It's gonna take a lot of idea's to get us to guzzle less fossil fuels.
Wind farms, more hybrids, solar power, and how about flashing back to the 70's with the 55 speed limit? Outlaw the manufacturing of SUV's. Every time an American buys one of those stupid gas guzzelers, an Arab oil merchent pop's a woody out of his man-dress, and sends a check to the Islamic Brotherhood.

ken hawk said...

i TrIeD out AMerican gladiatoRs i actuaslly wanted to be a gladiator buT they saiD no wa y so i was a contestant and yeah i Got my Ass kicked on AssaulT i got shot in the face and fell Down and th e Gemini guy kepT shoOTin g me in the groin even ThouGh the roUnd was oVER.

k eN aHAKW