Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where Do We Get Our Energy?

Energy. Abundant, affordable energy is the single biggest source of our standard of living. And a lack of that energy is the quickest way to push our lowest income residents into desperate straights. There is so little understanding out there regarding the massive scale of our electricity generating infrastructure that even our esteemed senators could make comments like those of Harry Reid (see below). The talk of renewables and green energy is in our future...distant future. But people alive right now will probably never see more than a few percent of their energy come from truly renewable sources.

Here is the breakdown of the sources of electricity in the United States:
Coal 49%
Natural Gas 20%
Nuclear 19%
Renewables 9%
Petroleum 2%

Hey, renewable looks pretty good at 9%. One problem. The environmental left doesn't like about 75% of our renewable electricity: hydroelectric dams. We will not be building any more of those dams mostly because of the endangered species act. So what does that leave us with.

Other renewables and % energy generated
Biomass 1.1%
Geothermal 0.3%
Wind 0.2%
Solar <0.01%

For comparison, let's look at France.

Nuclear 78%
Hydro 11%
Natural gas 4%
Coal 4%
Other fossil fuel 2%
Renewables 1.8%

If we got almost 80% of our electricity from nuclear, I guess we would have looked at Kyoto differently. France didn't buy into the "No Nuke" movement and now they are glad they did not listen to the environmentalists of the 1970's.

So, the leftist environmentalists worked feverishly to prevent non-carbon sources of electricity (hydroelectric and nuclear) in the US and now wants to add 7 trillion in carbon taxes to make the remaining sources prohibitively expensive.

Why not fix the mistakes of the 1970's with hydro and nuclear first?

A final irony. The biggest solar project in the US was scheduled to be constructed over the next 4 years. It has been blocked by a lawsuit from the environmental left. The issue: the Environmental Impact Statement. The just say no left is trying to ruin the economy by blocking all forms of feasible electricity, and at this point they look like they will have their way, just like the 1970's.

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