Energy Clarity

Political rhetoric will engulf the nation over the next few months, and “clean energy” will command center stage.

 “Clean energy” is categorized as the opposite of dirty, pollutant and CO2 emitting fossil fuels. CO2 will be called a pollutant, which it isn’t.

Politicians are fond of calling wind and solar clean, and extol them as a way to achieve energy independence.

It’s at this point we need to stop the politician and explain we already have the resources to be energy independent.

Wind and solar can only produce electricity, not oil or gasoline, and its oil and gasoline that power virtually all our methods of transportation.

And, in so far as electricity is concerned, we have over a hundred years supply of natural gas and coal that are used to generate our electricity.

We are already energy independent in so far as electricity is concerned, and we have enough oil and natural gas to become independent in transportation fuels.

Oil, natural gas and coal are fossil fuels that are the bane of environmentalists because they emit CO2.

But, there really aren’t any meaningful substitutes.

Wind and solar are incapable of supplying all our electricity, and what they do supply is at a very high cost. We must use fossil fuels or nuclear energy to supply the electricity we need to power our economy and to sustain our standard of living.

Gasoline, diesel fuel and natural gas are, with few exceptions, the only viable methods for powering our cars, trucks, trains and airplanes.

No matter which biofuel is mentioned, it is either not available in any meaningful quantity, uses food to create the fuel or creates environmental damage. For example, ethanol uses corn … bio-diesel from palm oil causes forests to be destroyed … bio-diesel from Jatropha requires large quantities of water … ethanol from algae is, essentially,  unavailable – and all are prohibitively expensive.

Ethanol and other biofuels are also, for the most part, not CO2 benign.

Electric vehicles may work, but without a revolution in battery technology they will remain costly icons that lack justification other than to, possibly, cut CO2 emissions.

So “clean energy” is a mirage meant to distract people from the realities of what powers our high standard of living.

Someday it may be possible to use Nuclear Fusion to generate electricity, be able to produce cellulosic ethanol, use solar panels in orbit above the earth to generate electricity or have small, powerful batteries for vehicles.

But, they are still a dream: A dream worthy of research, yet not ready to power America.

Be on guard when a politician mentions “clean energy.”

If he (or she) says we need “clean energy” to become energy independent, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

If he says, wind and solar will allow us to become energy independent, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

If he says wind and solar can power our cars, he probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

If he says we need a “clean energy” future to remain competitive, he definitely doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Developing our oil, natural gas and coal resources is what is needed to revitalize our economy and maintain our competitiveness – now and in the future.

In this election year, we need clarity.

Challenge all politicians to see whether they know what they are talking about.

 

 Note:

To be entirely clear, only ethanol from sugarcane can be produced in quantity without threatening food supplies, but not in sufficient quantity to make a dent in the amount of gasoline used in the U.S.

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