Posts Tagged carbon
The US Department of Energy issued a press release today announcing a new $102 Million loan guarantee for a 50.6 MW wind farm near Roxbury, Maine and an 8 mile transmission line to connect it to the grid. Before we join hands in carbon-free jubilation let’s do the math:
$102 Million for 50.6 MW that will operate (best case) at 30% capacity = $6.72 million per megawatt (MW) of delivered electricity
Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and this year’s topic is Climate Change.
Is man made climate change real or not? Heck, I don’t know. What I DO know is this: whether or not human activity is causing global warming or not, there are certain things that it just makes sense for us to be doing.
We need to wean ourselves off of imported fossil fuels as our primary energy source. Oil and gas won’t last forever and prices are sure to rise as supplies dwindle and demand grows. Imported fossil fuels come from places in the world that have amassed huge amounts of wealth at our expense. A lot of that money is funding people who want to kill us and destroy the freedoms that millions of people have died to earn and to protect. Read the rest of this entry »
News stories are not always as benign as they appear.
On October 9, 2009 Forbes.com ran a story about Gazprom, Russia’s state owned natural gas company. It would seem they’ve set up shop in Houston, TX and have begun a very aggressive program to enter the US natural gas market. They are targeting 5% of the market within 5 years, and 10% within 10 years.
Their strategy? Import LNG into the US and sell it at a price low enough to undercut domestic suppliers. Since the US uses about 60 billion cubic feet of gas per day, that would mean importing 6 billion cu feet per day from Russia. That amount of gas would mean $64 Million flowing out of the US into Russia every day, along with a loss of American jobs and energy security.
Russia already has undue political influence in Europe where they control a large percentage of the natural gas supply. There’s little the USA can do to prevent the Russians from carryout out their plan; LNG is a commodity bought and sold on the international market. The only sure way to prevent importing energy is to have a supply of lower cost home-grown energy. The only large scale domestic energy sources with low enough costs to compete with gas are coal and nuclear. Read the rest of this entry »
Listen to the podcast here. Have you noticed that the numbers we use in daily conversation keep getting bigger and bigger? When I was young my father pointed out to me that a family who had one million dollars could live off the interest alone, and would have a tough time spending it all. While that was certainly true at the time, the value of a million dollars is not what it used to be.
If you listen to the podcast you’ll hear an audio clip of one of my favorite movie villains to help illustrate my point. Even Dr. Evil had trouble comprehending the size of a billion dollars, but what hundreds of billions or even a trillion? We hear and read those numbers in the news and in conversation, but what do they really mean? It’s easy to understand the number of zeros that make them different, but that still be pretty abstract. I contend that many of us really don’t comprehend how large those numbers are when it comes to measuring things in the real world. We need visual or mental references to help us understand the scale of such large quantities. Let’s use electrical power as an example. The base unit of measure for electrical power is the Watt, but what is the difference between a watt, a KW, a MW, and a GW? Read the rest of this entry »
Operation Sea Orbit – 1964 (Front to Back: USS Enterprise, USS Long Beach, & USS Bainbridge)
The Markey / Waxman Climate Change Bill
Momentum is building towards greenhouse gas regulation in the United States. Two weeks ago the house of representatives released draft climate change legislation sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman and Rep. Edward Markey. On Friday the US Environmental Protection Agency turned up the heat when they declared CO2 and other greenhouse gasses “hazards to public health” and labeled CO2 a pollutant. This action gives the EPA authority to regulate CO2 emissions even if congress does not pass legislation focused on curbing greenhouse gas releases.
I’ve been preaching long and hard that a combination of plug-in hybrid vehicles and nuclear energy can help solve two problems at once; energy independence and CO2 emissions. It seems The Weekly Standard in the UK has reached the same conclusion.
In the United States there are 104 remodeled conventional nuclear power generating plants. … On average they produce more than a gigawatt (a billion watts) each or about 22 percent of total U.S. electrical consumption, without sending a single drop of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. … By upgrading our own 100-plus plants to that level, we could produce enough cheap electricity to competitively replace gasoline and charge the batteries of every potentially electrified car and light truck in the United States. An additional 40 such plants would be sufficient to power all our buses, heavy trucks, and trains. With 200 plants, augmented by existing and upgraded hydropower, we could replace all hydrocarbon-based power-generating plants and virtually eliminate the U.S. carbon footprint. If this seems too big a task, one need only look at France which gets 80 percent of its electrical power from nuclear plants.