Starving us of energy, for our own good

Does Barack Obama even want Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, or Virginia?

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there…. So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

So said Sen. Obama in a San Francisco Chronicle interview in January. (More here, here, and here) Fairly in line with Joe Biden’s professed hosility to coal of any kind (video here). Residents of the above coal-producing swing-states and others will be delighted to hear of Obama’s ambition to put them all out of work by way of punitive government fees. He went on to say that “under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” (Obviously, this was back when Hillary was still “inevitable” and Obama had less to lose.)

So with what, pray tell, would Obama fill the cavernous energy gap left by all of our shuttered coal plants, which after all do represent by far our biggest domestic energy source (nearly half our power production) and would leave us almost totally dependent on foreign energy sources if “bankrupted” by Obama’s cap-and-trade system?

The not-so-pretty search for an answer, with one alternative after the other shoved off the table, below the break.

Certainly couldn’t be the next most practical alternative, nuclear energy. Obama feigns nuke-friendliness, but adds a poison pill, as demonstrated in the Wall Street Journal:

On nuclear power, Sen. Obama says he’s open to expanding nuclear energy, which now provides 20% of the nation’s electricity, as part of an effort to increase power sources that emit little or no carbon dioxide. But he also has said there is no future for expanded nuclear energy until the U.S. comes up with a safe, long-term solution for disposing of nuclear waste. He opposes the Bush administration’s plan for storing waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

See Jonah Goldberg’s excellent (and pretty durn funny) articles here and here about how ridiculously safe, secure, and exhaustively studied and vetted the proposed Yucca Mountain waste depository site is. If Nevada weren’t so important a swing-state in this election, we might have heard something from John McCain, who demonstrated the size of his stones with his declared opposition to ethanol subsidies even while campaigning in Iowa. Clearly McCain is able to tell a purple state what it needs to hear over what it wants to hear; unfortunately, it looks like he and his campaign have decided that they’ve reached their quota of states to p*** off, since we’ve heard nothing from him about Yucca Mountain, apparently in deference to Nevada’s electors. Stones only carry so much weight, it seems.

Shutting down coal plants, stonewalling new nuclear plants, barring new drilling for oil at every turn, blocking progress on oil shale processing…does Sen. Obama really think he can replace all of this with wind and solar power? Why must he rule so many energy sources out, whereas McCain has repeatedly called for expanding our energy-producing capacity on all fronts, including the above existing ones (as well as those such as solar, wind, geothermal, etc. which won’t be market-accessible or generally practical for generations)?

Well, he doesn’t think he can, really, which is why he’s calling for a 15% reduction in overall electricity demand. In the meantime, he’s planning a massive shift from gas-powered vehicles to — wait for it — electric vehicles, which kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? And how exactly will he enforce this mandated “reduction in demand,” other than by a similarly mandated reduction in supply? Are rolling blackouts a suitable price to pay for more plug-in hybrids on the road?

Barack Obama needs to realize that in order to replace one energy source, you have to have another market-ready source into which you are ready and able to ease consumers. You don’t transform an energy infrastructure overnight, and certainly not by deprivation. Hopefully coal-state voters will keep this blind spot of Obama’s in mind, and vote accordingly.

UPDATE: Sarah Palin, campaigning in Ohio, is already highlighting these clips in her stump speech. More here.

3 thoughts on “Starving us of energy, for our own good

  1. Jeff Dahlgren

    Good point and well thought out arguments both for and against wind and solar power. You did not mention the current state of the grid, which is not designed to really handle grid tie systems but instead just max produce and rollout to end users.

    That said, you are correct in that we need to really find a way to transition to renewable energy in a non-haphazard manner. The Pickens Plan is one that clearly addresses this and T. Boone is nobody’s fool.

    If we are to secure our security as well as our way of life, it is incumbent to find and develop multiple areas of energy production, with an emphasis on developing alternative as well as sustainable sources. That, whether we like it or not, is clearly wind as well as solar power.

    Jeff Dahlgren

  2. Kicker

    I have to disagree regarding wind as a significant source for alternative energy. While wind is not bad as a topping source, it is neither reliable enough, nor available enough, to be a major supplier.

    First, wind farms take a lot of area, and have already been implicated with a variety of problems, from noise to environmental.

    Second, wind generators are expensive, and have major environmental impacts in production.

    Third, while small wind units may be fine for isolated farms, putting wind turbines on every house, or filling up rolling fields, demands major modifications to the electric grid. Something that would be horribly expensive.

    Not to be too negative, but most of the cache of wind will never be realized because the technology and logistics just don’t support the hype.

  3. Pingback: Word spreading about hostility to coal? « WitSnapper | The Blog

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