Monday, May 01, 2006

Alternative logic.

We need more analysis like this. I've had the feeling for a long time that those touting alternative energy don't really know what it would take or how much it would cost. Certainly windmills to generate power isn't proving as popular with the wilderness wing of the environmental movement as they thought it would be.

I don't think most people really understand the size of our energy needs and use, nor do they think about reliability. Every alternative has to compete in the market with oil, and the countries producing it have a lot of room to lower their prices, if they decide that some other alternative is a threat. I understand that's why oil companies are reluctant to rush into oil shale.

I saw a program in which it was pointed out that $20 of price per barrel of oil is due to speculation, i.e. the uncertainty that our sources will continue to ship the amounts we're used to. Nigeria, Venezuela and various Arab nations aren't exactly stable and friendly to U.S. interests.

Very little attention seems to be trained on the NIMBY problem with building new refineries and drilling new wells, and nobody seems to have the cojones to talk straight to the public, because the media doesn't want to hear it.

Most of the short term solutions won't do anything to solve the problems of supply. How feasible is it for Americans to dump their automobiles and switch to hydrogen or ethanol? Those who can afford to will buy new hybrid vehicles, but how does it take to turn over our national fleet? Buses and corporate fleets can switch to fuels like alcohol and natural gas because they can establish their own pumps and storage facilities.

We already are feeling the pain of shifting power generation to natural gas when winter comes. If everybody started using home electricity to recharge electiric vehicles, we're bound to find out that there are lots of complications.

We need more information about everything, and our media are generally a failure in this regard. Popular Mechanics can't do it alone.


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