American Elephants

The Price of Oil is Rising, Let’s Shut Down the Source. by The Elephant's Child

The Energy Blog at has a decorative little title line that says ENERGY BLOG followed by symbols for nuclear, wind, water, solar, a lightbulb (undoubtedly a CFL), a plant, and some power lines.  What is missing is anything representing coal, oil, natural gas, or the industries that actually produce most of our energy.  Isn’t that interesting?

The blog post was by Steven Chu, earlier this month,”‘Winning the Future with a Responsible Budget.” “The DOE as part of President Obama’s commitment to winning the future (WTF) will make critical investments in science, research and innovation that will create jobs, grow the economy, and position America to lead the global clean energy economy.” $8 billion.

While they are making these useless investments, they are cutting programs – that they wouldn’t cut if they didn’t have to.  They are reducing funding for the hydrogen technology program by $70 million, ending operation of the Tevatron at Fermi National Lab saving $35 million, reducing the budget for the Office of Fossil Energy by $418 million, zeroing out the Fuels Program, the Oil and Gas R & D Program and the Unconventional Fossil Technology Program. Hmmm. They really don’t like fossil fuels.

“In accordance with the President’s agreement at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels so the country can transition to a 21st century energy economy, the Administration proposes to repeal a number of tax preferences available for fossil fuel.

I am, frankly, very troubled by the Obama administration’s approach to energy. They seem to swallow whole the claims of rent-seeking companies who wish to go into business on the taxpayer’s dime. All over the world, if wind energy companies do not get generous government subsidies they go out of business – at once.  Venture capitalists are not interested.

Apparently Obama believes deeply in a “21st century energy economy” and is unfamiliar with  science, engineering and experience of other countries who have fallen victim to promoters. Is there any reason to trust Secretary Chu to pick winners and losers? Comments from Master Resource:

“Wind provides no modern power.  Rather it throws out spasmodic, highly skittering energy that cannot by itself be converted to modern power.”

Wind machines, even massively tall and wide contemporary turbines, are wholly inimical to modern power quality.  They are rarely reliable, by nature randomly intermittent, and, since their power is a function of the cube of the wind speed along a very narrow speed range, they are always variable.  No one can know what they will yield at any future interval.

DOE wants to build 54,000 megawatts of offshore wind.  This would mean 115 projects — 15,000 turbines located within 10 miles of our coastlines and spanning 3,000 square miles of open water.  The eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine is only 1,342 miles.

In 2005, all eighty of the Vestas V90 turbines at Denmark’s offshore Horns Rev facility had to be removed and repaired owing to the effect of salty water and air on the generators and gearboxes, after only 2 years of operation.  A similar repair problem was reported on 30 Vestas turbines off the UK coast. Hundreds of European offshore wind turbines were found to have a design fault that caused them to slide off their bases.  This is the same  Department of Energy that has found offshore oil rigs so dangerous, even in shallow water, that they are not issuing permits in spite of court orders to do so.

DOE insists that such an undertaking will revitalize our manufacturing sector and create more than 43,000 permanent, well-paid technical jobs. We’ve heard that one before.

The Stimulus was going to create all sorts of “shovel ready jobs.” As taxpayer money flowed like a waterfall onto the economy, we heard constantly about the jobs “created and saved” that turned out to be only a printout from economic computers.  We’ve heard about “green jobs” that have never appeared unless the definition of a green job is changed to be more inclusive. And green jobs that were promised to those who enrolled in the government’s green education camps, but they never turned up either.  The promise that more spending on projects that are of questionable value and years away will create 43,000 “well-paid technical jobs” sounds as ephemeral as all the previous promises. There are currently no offshore wind turbines in the United States.

Obama expects his very own clean green economy to rely on 80% renewable energy by 2035. So he’s shutting down everything actually useful in advance — to get us used to energy poverty and blackouts, I guess.

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