Sunday, July 26, 2009


Questions For the Secretary

Former Colorado Senator and current Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had a long rainbow and unicorns type column in the Denver Post about the "new energy future." Here are some representative passages:

The West's vast solar energy potential — along with wind, geothermal, and other renewables — can power our economy with affordable energy, create thousands of new jobs, and reduce the carbon emissions that are warming our planet.


That is why I am changing how the federal government does business on the 20 percent of the nation's land mass and 1.75 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf that we oversee. We are now managing these lands not just for balanced oil, natural gas, and coal development, but also — for the first time ever — to allow environmentally responsible renewable energy projects that can help power President Obama's vision for our clean energy future.

American business is responding to these new opportunities. Companies are investing in wind farms off the Atlantic seacoast, solar facilities in the Southwest, and geothermal energy projects throughout the West.

And here's the grand finish:

We need comprehensive legislation that will create new jobs, promote investment in a new generation of energy technology, break our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is one my questions with an answer following:

Can solar, wind and geothermal power our economy?

Germany, which has more photovoltaic arrays than any other nation, and a lot of wind generators, hasn't cut back on coal fired plants (indeed is expanding coal fired plants) and is backing off their poorly thought out notion of closing all their nuclear power plants. Their share of solar wind and geothermal power is 8%. Ours is .7%. Germany produces six times as much photovoltaic power as we do. So we're way behind where the Germans are and the Germans say virtually none of their economy is powered by wind solar or geothermal, because they run their fossil fuel plants as if the wind, solar and geothermal gadgets don't exist. Is it really likely that we will do differently? We'll do better?

Here are questions for which I have no answers:

How does legislation create jobs?

How does legislation promote investment? If a project makes no economic sense, how can the government make it better without funding it in whole or part?

How can refusing to allow us to develop and use our fossil energy here, in 20% of America and off our shores, break our dependence on foreign oil?

Why do you think that the severe economic damage the Cap and Tax Bill will cause (for a miniscule reduction in CO2) will not be worse for Americans than doing nothing and seeing a slight continuance of normal warming cooling, now cooling?

UPDATE: That last question is a little biased and assumes facts for which I have previously provided evidence. But our current proposed legislative actions wouldn't be the first time the Government's so called cure was not worse than the disease. Anyone recall ethanol fuel derived from food crops? Photovoltaic and wind generators are just as bad.


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