The most frightening thing about the current energy debate is the Pollyannaish stance of the left. No drilling – there must be alternative sources available now. This is more a mystical belief akin to the ancient fervent beliefs in magic than anything founded on good science and engineering.
There may be – and probably are – good alternatives. The problem is that, since the left denies us the ability to drill our own oil and develop any alternatives in a sound and well researched/tested way, we will be prematurely implementing technologies that are not yet ready for prime time.
Let us consider windmills. They offer a great deal of promise, yet are now being implemented without proper consideration of all possible engineering demands. A case in point – the good, green conscious people of Oregon have proudly implemented one of the foremost wind farms to date. Only this last July they came within a gnat’s whisker of disaster. On Monday, July 7, 2008 there was a large, unpredicted wind gust, far above the ability of the local regulating station’s handling ability. If the wind had gusted just a little bit more, the choice would have been to let the electrical overage burn out a significant part of the Northwestern power grid, or to spill a huge amount of water around the hydroelectric dams supplying the area. Sounds simple, but if too much water is spilled, the local fish population will die in vast numbers. That is not a very green solution. If some really good engineering solutions are not designed and implemented this scenario will occur again.
That is the problem with most of the alternatives at present. They are not totally dependable. What happens to life if the power grid is fried or cut off? Well, most major cities go into food shortage if delivery and storage are interrupted for 3 days. Most of these cities will have serious hunger within 1 week, death from starvation in about 2 weeks. There will be deaths in hospitals when the local hospital generators run out of diesel fuel – most do not have over a 3 day supply.
Now then – solar. To date, solar photovoltaic cells cannot efficiently and dependably provide major power solutions. There is a solar plant in Spain that is a sort of superduper solar hot water heater. It is what is referred to as a concentrating solar power plant. It looks pretty good as it begins service – but at around 2 billion we don’t have the bucks to plop them around for the fun of it. Nor has it got enough of a track record yet. Give it about 3 years, and then – if it really works well – start building. But first – for 2 billion and a good 10 years building – make damn for sure that it really will deliver and is cost effective. We cannot afford a failure just to feel green. If the engineering and construction are rushed because we must have alternative power now, because we are not allowed by the left to use what we know works, we absolutely will have a failure. Whether it is catastrophic or merely a couple of billion dollars wasted is left to your imagination.
Meanwhile, we have to develop our own oil – of which we have a great deal – and we have the delivery method in place. The left whines that we cannot drill our way out of this. Nonsense, another wishful lie. We most certainly can drill responsibly and cut the price at the pump in half. The left lie is, as usual, backwards. Drilling can bring new oil to market in less than 2 years. Just the announcement by Bush that he was lifting the Presidential ban on drilling – which did not include the Congressional ban – served to drop the price significantly. The alternatives – if they exist on a practical scale – will take at least 10 years to develop. And probably longer to bring to full market in a responsible and safe way.
No one with any intelligence at all thinks that we should not investigate other energy possibilities. But anyone with any sense at all does not want to invest in something that will fail us and cause the deaths of millions. Or is that the goal of some of the more radical lefties? Look at the more fervent animal righties and environuts. It appears that many of them would be happier to see humanity die off. At least that appears to be the goal of many of them that hate themselves and this country.
If we are rushed into betting on the wrong energy source, or even the right one without all the proper research and safeguards, the resulting catastrophe can make Dr. Frankenstein’s blunder look like a harmless kiddie joke. Consider the meltdown at Chernobyl. Consider the gas release a Bhopal. Both were unintentional engineering or maintenance disasters. We could well have a similar consequence if we rush into some promising power source without full and proper research, testing, etc.