American Elephants

No Magic Wand, No Silver Bullet—Just Make Something Up. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama delivered his third public energy speech at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland this week. This apparently gets categorized as informing the public on his energy policy, rather than as the campaign speech it obviously was. The White House has moved into full reelection mode.

We passed the payroll tax at the beginning of this year to make sure that everybody had an extra $40 in their paychecks on average— in part because we anticipated that gas prices might be going up like they did last year, given tight world oil supplies.

Um, you didn’t say anything about the cost of gas at the time. But we’ve heard the “no silver bullet,” “no magic wand” and “no quick fix”before. “First of all we are drilling. Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. Any time. That’s a fact. That’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. I want everybody to listen to that —we have more rigs operating now than ever. That’s a fact. We’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil across the country. We announce our support for a new one in Oklahoma that will help get more oil down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.”

This is so shameless. America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years because of permits granted by the Bush administration, and oil is being produced on private and state lands over which Obama has no control.

Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember next time you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year  In 2010, our oil dependence, the amount that we’re bringing in, the percentage we’re bringing in, was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  We’ve got to do better than that, and we can do better than that.

But in order to do better than that, we’ve got to tell the folks who are stuck in the past that our future depends on this all-of-the-above energy strategy.  That’s our job.  That it can’t just be — it can’t just be drilling for more oil.  We’re drilling for more oil, but that can’t be all the solution; that’s just part of the solution.

[T]hey’ve been talking down new sources of energy.  They dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas-guzzlers.  They think that’s good for our future.  We’re trying to move towards the future; they want to be stuck in the past.

We’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  Let me tell you something.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail — they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  They would not have believed that the world was round.

Obama’s “all-of-the-above energy strategy” is not exactly all-of-the-above. Gasoline consumption has not dropped because of Obama’s clean energy initiatives, but because the economy is in the tank and some 15 million people are unemployed. Wind and solar, beloved by the administration, do nothing for our gas tanks. And they don’t do much for the electric grid either. Both require 100% backup from a conventional power source, usually a coal-fired power plant, for coal supplies nearly half of our electricity. Obama’s EPA is vigorously shutting down coal plants, threatening blackouts and brownouts.

Obama thinks of wind and solar energy as something new, but they are old, old technologies that have been in use for centuries, never efficiently. Wind is simply too intermittent, and with a coal plant cycling on and off constantly, there is really no net energy produced. The story for solar energy is similar. Solar energy is too diffuse, interrupted by clouds, shade and night.

The 115 year-old Roberts electric car, built in 1896, gets 40 miles to the charge, just like the Volt. Corn ethanol is being added to gasoline, but it is more polluting and contains less energy than gasoline, and raises food prices as well. Biodiesel is being mandated, but there isn’t any, and algae’s usefulness is a long way from being proved.

CAFE standards have been raised dramatically, but whether they can be produced is another question. The increases demanded are far beyond the industry’s previous engineering abilities, which were achieved by making everything in a car lighter.  There’s more to that than waving one’s hand and ordering a number met, but Obama is very big on mandates.

The president is in an uncomfortable place. Things have not gone well, the economy has not significantly improved, his ‘clean energy’ expenditures have been a scandal and a waste, Americans want ObamaCare repealed.  No accomplishments unless he makes them up, which is just what he is doing.

(click to enlarge)

You will notice that the increase in U.S. oil production all occurs in “tight oil”, or shale deposits. The sector totally out of Obama’s control.

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