Wednesday, February 25, 2009
President Obama's Renewable Energy Fantasy
Here is the 2007 piece of the energy consumption pie so called renewable energy filled--7%. Big Wup. Let's look at some of the categories. What the heck is Biomass? It is wood and wood waste, municipal solid waste, landfill and biogas, ethanol, and biodiesel. These all put out CO2. Wouldn't their use be counterproductive to preventing the 'ravages of climate change' (a phrase our President used just last night)? Why, yes, they would, and their only real virtue is that they are not fossil fuel. Therefore, they are renewable, but not 'green.' And look how large a part of the 7% they are, the bulk of it. Take those out and green energy is but 3.5% of the energy consumption. That's not so good.
The next biggest is hydroelectric--big dams with water turbines producing electricity. No green- house gasses generated, but they are hell on rivers and the fish in them, especially salmon. Is there a real possibility of substantial increase in the amount of electricity they produce in the next decade. No. There are no big dams being built in America and if any ones were planned they would probably be killed by the tree huggers and snail darters. Indeed, nearly 500 American dams have been removed in the past 4 decades. We're stuck with just over a third of our renewable electricity (2.5% of all our energy consumption) being generated by dams, probably forever.
That leaves the big three green sources, geothermal, wind and solar (which together are 11% of the renewable (at least on paper) and therefore .77% of all our energy consumption). Geothermal is difficult to get and maintain and only exists in certain places so its growth is pretty limited unless there is a technological breakthrough. Wind and Solar have had a lot of growth lately and the sky is the limit (as long as the government subsidies hold out).
Here is what President Obama said last night: Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.
What? We will have by early 2012 a full 14% of our energy consumption supplied by renewables?
Transparently untrue. Here is what the United States Energy Department now predicts for 2030 (21 years away, not three)--Hydroelectric-3%; Biomass-5.51%; all other renewable energy-2.45%. That totals 10.96% not 14%.
Does the President know that we can look up the energy figures on the government website?