March 15, 2009

"Where's the beef--uh wind?"

World Primary Energy Consumption by Fuel Type, 2006

" Hey I dont see no wind or solar on that pie, do you, little brother?"

Climate change posers

.....Hansen condemns coal-fired power plants as “death factories,” and his belief that coal is evil is widely shared. It is also obviously wrong. If we were to stop using coal tomorrow, we would discover that it remains a vital source of life.

Coal accounts for almost half of the planet’s electricity supply, including half the power consumed in the United States. Coal keeps hospitals and core infrastructure running, provides warmth and light in winter, and makes life-saving air conditioning available in summer. In China and India, where coal accounts for about 80% of power generation, it has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

It is little wonder, then, that US energy secretary Steven Chu, who two years ago described the expansion of coal-fired power plants as his “worst nightmare,” now calls coal a “great natural resource.”

The vital question is what would replace coal if we were to stop using it. Judging from their chant — “No coal, no gas, no nukes, no kidding” and “Biofuels — hell no!” — the protesters in Washington would rule out many plausible alternatives.

Solar and wind power appear to be acceptable, but both are much less reliable than coal, and much more expensive. Only about 0.5% of the world’s energy comes from these renewable sources. Even with optimistic assumptions, the International Energy Agency estimates that their share will rise to just 2.8% by 2030. One reason is that we don’t know how to store the energy from these sources: when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, what powers your computer or the hospital’s operating room?

Moreover, renewables are still costly. Recently, former US vice president Al Gore and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon claimed that, “in the US, there are now more jobs in the wind industry than in the entire coal industry.” Never mind that the numbers were massaged, because they still hold a valuable lesson. The US gets 50% of its electricity from coal but less than 0.5% from wind. If it takes about the same manpower to produce both, wind power is phenomenally more expensive......

1 comment:

  1. There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. After a brief reprieve gas is inching back up.OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel.If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.We have so much available to us such as wind and solar. Let's spend some of those bail out billions and get busy harnessing this energy. Create cheap clean energy, badly needed new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation that would be for our nation at large! There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now.