Skip to comments.Consider the Source [Letter to IBD on Gray Davis' Energy Plan]
Posted on 03/19/2002 3:00:20 PM PST by snopercod
"Californias New Energy Plan" (National-issue, March 12) shows that it has refused to learn from its own history and may very well be condemned to repeat it.
It was wishful thinking about solar, wind and hyrdopower that got California into its crisis. After 20 years of effort, "renewable energy" sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass (burning old tires, garbage, etc.) supply only 9% of Californias electricity. Even though construction of nuclear power plants stopped in 1980, the atom gives California nearly twice as much - 16% - of its energy.
Aside from their still-high costs, the primary drawbacks of solar and wind are that they are intermittent. There is no economic way to store the electricity of use at night, on cloudy or windless days or during peak periods.
Ken Davis, a former deputy energy secretary, has calculated that to produce the 218 additional gigawatts of electricity America will need by 2010, using only solar and wind, we would have to cover 9,400,000 acres with windmills or solar panels - and hope for a lot of sunny and windy days.
Our technology-based economy is going to need more power, not less, and it wont come from windmills. Some 13% of U.S. power output is used to manufacture and run computers and our sprawling information technology infrastructure. Electricity consumption has grown 60% in the last two decades. It will grow more.
Power consumption in Silicon Valley has been growing at three times the rest of California. Oracles campus is by itself a 13-megawatt load. Sun, spread across six campuses, uses about 26 megawatts, and its requirements are growing by 7% per building per year. The Internet now accounts for almost 10% of total electrical consumption.
Californias energy crisis is a self-inflicted wound. If you want milk, you need cows. If you want power, you need power plants. As Californians might say, duh.
--Daniel John Sobieski, Chicago
I highlight wind because the windmills have been a maintenance nightmare. On any given day at least a third will be nonoperational due to mechanical problems in some areas. Oh well, if we increase them by 700% we'll be in good shape...
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Article posted a while back about his forcing private investor utilities to have 20% of their generation coming from green sources!
You might think the governor of that state would be encouraging more plants to be built there.
Good thing Gray Davis is governor, huh?
How does Al Quaeda pay for its weapons? How does Iraq pay for its weapons? How does Libya pay for its weapons? What has and will it cost us to defend ourselves against enemies we finance with petrodollars? Wasn't there an alternative?
Instead we let the RICOnuts place legal restrictions on the competitors to foreign oil. Who sponsored those restrictions? Who fed the environmental hysteria? Who is the biggest collective sponsor of environmental groups? Who founded the Environmental Grantmakers Association? Who are the biggest sponsors of the UN? Along with international banking investors, the charitable foundations of major oil industry stockholders: Rockefeller, Pew, Prince Berhnard, Phillips, the British Royal Family... oil.
Were the alternatives viable? Coal? Natural gas? Nuclear? Trip reduction through broadband? If one added the cost of supporting the military infrastructure to maintain our industrial expansion and acquisition of raw materials abroad to the price of the products we import, I doubt very much that all that foreign entanglement would look like a good deal because of the risk of nationalization and war. If you add the risk to our liberty, the safety of our families and children, the threat of our own government, and the internal regulatory cost driven by UN treaties, I doubt very much that it would look like a good deal.
The pattern is repeating in other resource markets where we have plentiful resources and end up importing because of environmental restrictions. We import timber to the Pacific Northwest, minerals from China that are available just above Los Angeles, and now even food. If we don't learn our lesson very soon about the price of liberty and the cost of risk, we will lose the first and pay for the second anyway.
I am reminded of an old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon skit, where Captain Peachfuz is piloting a jet plane and the plane runs out of fuel. It starts to loose altitude. Bullwinkle, opens the door, steps onto the wing, turns toward the rear of the plane, pulls our a large book and starts reading. Immediately, the plane gains altitude. When the plane lands safely, Rocky comes over and asked what happend.
Bullwinkle says, that a jet engine is just a fancy source of hot air. When Bullwinkler realized that, he grabbed his copy of the Congressional Record, stepped out onto the wing and started to read it.
Now for the punchline. I think that Davis suggesting that wind power will help California's energy future is just so much hot air.
Why don't you fire that off to IBD? firstname.lastname@example.org
They actually published one of my letters last year, and you're a much better writer than I am.
Who is Daniel John Sobieski, Chicago, and why would he be surprised to see his letter to IBD here?
When they do work, they are like a huge bird killer. They kill eagles, hawks, falcons which come looking for the dead ducks, geese, other waterfowl and just plain birds.
Many of the bird killer mills were put in migratory lanes that have been used by migratory birds forever. So ducks, geese and other migratory waterfowl fly into these windmills on their migrations. Then some just fly these areas to get to feeding areas and then fly back to the safety of a water area. If they do this twice a day, they have to run a gauntlet of rotating blades twice a day!
Besides the carnage of dead birds including some esa critters, a 6 to 10 pound Canadian Goose hitting one of the rotating blades at 50 mph will often knock that blade out of balance. This forces a shutdown of that windmill until the blade can be rebalanced or replaced. Some owners up here have just abandoned their windmills due to the high cost of bird damage to the blades of their windmills. A Golden Eagle or Bald Eagle will cause a lot damage to the blades!
Of course the enviralist pushing for the non power, ie, renewable power, will never get into the bird killing/slaughter aspect of these sometimes power producers.
..and why would he be surprised to see his letter to IBD here? Because somebody keyed it in by hand ;-)
That is a bad thing about IBD their lack of internet access. I let my subscription lapse until they come up with their daily publication on the internet. I will gladly pay the same amount to access their internet site as their paper monthly cost. Even as a retired Grampa, I don't have the time to weed out all of what is important to me from their good but overwhelming daily newspaper!