The Future of American Energy Policy

Finding middle ground in the battle between drillers and renewers

Given the red-team/blue-team dynamic of American politics, it was probably inevitable that discussion of energy policy would degenerate into a debate between drillers and renewers—between those who want more domestic oil exploration to the exclusion of other power sources, and those who want the U.S. to kick its petroleum habit entirely. Both sides are being unrealistic.

Even with painful conservation measures and a crash program to develop alternative energy supplies, the United States will be relying on fossil fuels for many years to come. That's not oil-company propaganda. It's the conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences, which says even hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to plug-in electric cars would not change American gasoline consumption for at least a couple of decades.

But suppose the U.S. could switch to an all-electric fleet overnight. Assuming the entire grid did not melt from the demand spike, where would the electricity come from? Primarily from coal-burning and nuclear power plants. Alternative energy sources such as wind and biomass are utterly incapable of generating the juice necessary to meet current demand, let alone the energy needed to power millions of cars and trucks.

Consider: The U.S. uses nearly 4 terawatts of energy per year (a terawatt is 1 trillion watts). According to Reason magazine's science editor, Ronald Bailey, relying on the work of MIT's Daniel Nocera, putting a windmill on every available spot on the globe that has class 3 winds or higher—i.e., winds in excess of 11.5 mph—would produce 2.1 terawatts at best. And we're not going to be piping in wind energy from the Mongolian steppes. Biomass could produce 10 terawatts—if every person on the planet stopped eating, and we converted all of the world's crops into fuel for machines instead of people.

Even if the current grid did supply enough electricity to power our transportation needs, the U.S. still would have to rely on gasoline for a great deal of its movement. Take the Chevy Volt, America's best-selling electric vehicle. It averages a mere 30-40 miles on battery power alone. Then it needs to recharge for 10 hours. The Volt is a four-door compact. Imagine how long it would take to recharge a school bus. And if you leave the Volt unplugged in cold weather, then the engine must burn gasoline until the battery warms up to its minimum functioning temperature—somewhere between 32 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Foes of measures to expand drilling—such as the bill passed by the House last week that would open up Virginia's shores for exploration—point out that America consumes 22 percent of the world's energy but contains only 1.5 percent of proven petroleum reserves. Note the word "proven": It refers to the amount of commercially recoverable petroleum available under current government regulations.

In other words, no matter how much petroleum someplace such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains, if drilling is forbidden there by federal policy then it doesn't count as part of the U.S. reserve. Critics who say we shouldn't permit drilling off Virginia's coast because the U.S. has only a small share of the world's proven reserves are making a circular argument. If drilling were permitted, then we would have much bigger reserves.

All of the above constitute arguments for continued exploration and drilling. What they don't constitute are arguments against developing alternative energy sources. Yet many red-team cheerleaders for oil and gas insist that pursuing alternative energy sources is a fool's errand. It isn't. Just because they cannot meet our needs today does not mean they never will, and insisting otherwise is akin to astronomer F.R. Moulton's 1932 prediction that "there is no hope for the fanciful idea of reaching the moon, because of insurmountable barriers to escaping the Earth's gravity." Human ingenuity knows few limits.

While wind likely will remain of limited benefit, solar energy holds great potential. As Reason's Bailey notes, more energy from the sun strikes the planet in one hour than humanity uses in the course of an entire year. The trick is figuring out how to harness it in economically feasible ways. Unlike nuclear power, solar energy doesn't leave behind deadly toxic waste. Unlike petroleum, solar power is not—at least for human purposes—finite. And unlike coal, oil and gas, it does not contribute to global warming. (Conservatives, who like to think of themselves as hard-nosed realists, are going to have to stop denying the realities of climate change. True, not everything is known. But not everything is known about gravity, either, and it's still not safe to jump off a bridge.)

Of course, solar power presents challenges of its own—e.g., nightfall. And there are environmental objections, too. When several companies proposed building solar arrays in the Mojave Desert last year, Wildlands Conservancy's executive director said it "would destroy the entire . . . ecosystem," and Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to stop them.

That might be the biggest obstacle to our energy solutions of all: No matter which way the country turns, someone is standing in the way yelling, "Stop!" But given realistic projections of supply and demand, we shouldn't be arguing whether to develop this energy source or that one; we should be developing them all.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This column originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • ||

    A. Barton Hinkleheimmerschmidt.
    His name is my name, too.
    Whenever we go out,
    The people always shout,
    "Hey, A. Barton Hinkleheimmerschmidt.
    La la la la la la la....

  • ||

    You motherfuckers are just too slow.

  • Platypus||

    It's a contest?

  • ||

    Yes, but only if I win.

  • Spiny Norman||

    First!

  • Almanian||

    Well done, sloopy

  • ||

    Damn !

  • M. Simon||

    We could double or quadruple our effective oil supplies with this engine:

    http://powerandcontrol.blogspo.....-wave.html

    More effort should be put into this research.

  • Goobs||

    Um exactly which "red-team cheerleaders for oil and gas insist that pursuing alternative energy sources is a fool's errand".

    Because I haven't seen any. I've seen a lot of "red-team cheerleaders" insisting that we shouldn't subsidize renewable energy. Is the position of this author that we SHOULD subsidize Solar Energy?

    It's weird when writers let their "I'm different" counter-cultural desire to stick their thumbs in the eyes of both parties override their libertarian principles.

    There are plenty of energy policies to fault on the Red Team, including their support of Ethanol and risk-free drilling in the gulf. But they are not part of this simple black-white world that Hinkle wants to see.

  • Ventifact||

    Is the position of this author that we SHOULD subsidize Solar Energy?

    Same thing bugged me. Hinkle didn't stake a position on the genuinely contentious issue: government's role in the energy sector.

  • ||

    Yeah, I have liked Barton's columns before, but his initial paragraph seems like a giant straw-man setup when he writes about "those who want more domestic oil exploration to the exclusion of other power sources". I don't think any reasonable representative of the right or the libertarians just wants to drill and NOT try to figure out other VIABLE methods of obtaining our energy needs. We just don't want to handicap ourselves when it comes to using the supplies we do have and don't want to subsidize innefficient "green" technologies that at best are not feasible without government (life-) support and at worst make environmental problems worse and DO NOT supply our energy needs.

  • ||

    The Dean energy policy:

    (1) No subsidies, tax breaks, or tax penalties will be given to any industry solely because they are in the energy business.

    (2) No subsidies, tax breaks, or tax penalties will be given to any business on the basis of energy consumption.

    (3) The federal government will devolve authorization for mining and drilling to the state where the project is located, as well jurisdiction over environmental regulation of the project.

    That's a start, anyway.

  • ||

    I would change (3) to devolving authorization to the property owner where the project is located.

    Otherwise, spot on.

  • proegg antichicken||

    There needs to be some bigger boundary than the property line. Explosions from drilling natural gas wells here in SW PA have damaged nearby property many times. If my neighbor wants to sell his mineral rights and a giant rock ends up crushing my garage as a result then you better believe I have a say in it. It's nice to go full Libertarian and play fast and loose property freedom, but a some point someone always gets fucked.

    That said, this can happen at the county level. Unfortunately county bureacrats are often shiftless sad-sacks. I imagine real responsibilities would scare the shit out of some of them.

  • ||

    Ah, but then you would have had your property rights infringed upon and would be due compensation. Until your garage is hit by the rock, why would you have a right to tell him what he can do with his property?

    Also, another yinzer lands at H&R. Jesus, as many as there are of you here, why can't you break that stranglehold Team Blue and Team Red have down there?

  • proegg antichicken||

    I think there's 5 regulars, not an army. It's kind of a non-issue, I looked it up and there's a 1000ft. exclusion zone around residences. Sometimes the drillers are so rabid they ignore this and just fucking do it. We don't need more rules, probably less. We just need to stop incentivizing cheating the simple ones.

    I live in the city (Pittsburgh) but my tax-conscious office is 'burbs. I drive between 3 amazingly distinct cultures on my commute and it really enhances my libertarian tendencies.

    To anyone who knows the area those are
    Shadyside/Squirrel Hill
    Homewood/East Liberty
    Pitcairn/Monroeville

  • ||

    In reply to #3, that doesn't work in the case of off shore drilling as that is national waters not those of the states that lie on the coast. But other than that, that is good policy.

  • ||

    Then there should be no jurisdiction over offshore drilling. Can the EPA come and tell me to move my sailboat if I'm anchored 4 miles from shore? Nope. So, why can they tell some company with a rig in international waters?

  • ||

    In reply to #3, that doesn't work in the case of off shore drilling as that is national waters not those of the states that lie on the coast.

    Extend jurisdiction of the states for off-shore drilling by extending their property lines.

    I know, ideally, it would be up to the property owner, but I'm trying to be within shouting distance of realistic.

  • jacob||

    Once it is at sea, there should be no jurisdiction, unless it is smack dab in a shipping channel. Then it is up to the state, not the feds.

  • jacob||

    Once it is at sea, there should be no jurisdiction, unless it is smack dab in a shipping channel. Then it is up to the state, not the feds.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Sell the offshore waters as property*. Seasteads, anyone?

    *Navy and Coast Guard get free access.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Did I really just say that? Offshore waters?

    National waters, I mean.

  • skr||

    I am hopefully looking forward to the construction of ITER which is to begin at the end of the year. If successful we should have a full scale hot fusion plant by 2023. That's the solar power I'm looking forward to.

  • DK||

    ITER has all kinds of problems. For one, the slow neutrons produced during fusion will likely damage the containing walls and superconducting magnets. Even if all the technical difficulties get worked out, ITER still won't do ignition experiments until 2026 at the earliest (their number). And ITER's not intended to be a power plant - that's for future reactors which will come online in 2033 at the earliest. They'll be massively expensive; DEMO, the follow-up to ITER, is expected to cost $25bln+. I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

    But at least magnetic confinement fusion could be made into a feasible (if extremely expensive) power generation technology. The U.S.'s big project, laser confinement fusion, is even worse off. NIF will probably achieve ignition sometime in the next few years - and then? The massive amounts of laser energy used mean that NIF can only do small-scale fusion reactions 3 times a day. It's hard to see how this could be improved to allow for continuous energy production. Even if it could be surmounted, there's no current way to produce the extremely high precision fuel pellets used by NIF on the time scale required for continuous power generation (~1s). These seem even worse then the challenges of ITER and it seems unlikely that laser fusion will ever be a workable large scale power producer.

    I wouldn't hold out too high of hopes for fusion power. Researchers in plasma physics have been saying that fusion power is just around the corner for more than 50 years now.

  • T||

    Oil shale and fusion are the energy sources of the future! And always will be!

  • skr||

    ITER says they will begin ignition experiments in 2019. The neutron issue is a problem and they are building a reactor for materials testing in order to overcome that.

  • skr||

    Oh whoops that's should read 2033 for the prototype power plant DEMO which is to come after ITER. damn monkey paws versus tiny buttons.

  • skr||

    They were saying that because they thought it would be relatively easy like fission. That turned out to not be the case. After 50 years you would think we would have gotten a little closer no? Plasma containment physics is just now really coming into it's own. I think fusion is really our only hope to leave fossil and fission behind in a world of ever increasing energy demands as developing countries develop. Solar sure doesn't seem like it's up to the task anytime soon either.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Helium-3. Gotta love the stuff.

  • ||

    Until it's possible to store large amounts of electricity ,wind and solar will be a bit player in the market.Given the drawbacks in both [the sun must shine,the wind must blow] and the large amounts of land needed, I do not see the potential.

  • Just an Engineer||

    Exactly. Anyone who advocates for replacing hydrocarbons with renewables simply has minimal understanding of the system as a whole. We cannot store large amounts of solar or wind energy which means you must consume them at the time of production. Oil is the preferred energy source for transportation because it is very energy dense, easily stored and transported.

    Wind and solar will go obsolete before hydrocarbons because nuclear is the superior source for electrical power. The greater risks involved in nuclear over solar/wind will be more than overcome purely by the ammount of energy that can be produced in a given area. It takes a lot of backyards to produce enough power with renewables, and a lot fewer with nuclear.

  • Kroneborge||

    Actually the realistic scenarios have a mix of renewables that offset each other. Also, there are ways to store energy as well.

    Hydrogen, pumped water, and of course

    http://www.scientificamerican......grand-plan

  • Realist||

    Just more lib no nothing crap. Hey how's that nuclear disaster in Japan going??? You know the one where 18,000 Japanese died in the earth quake and tsunami and no one died of radiation. Yeah, the one where you shit for brains libs and the MSM spoke very little about the real tragedy.

  • Realist||

    should read "know nothing".

  • Just an Engineer||

    There are a very limited number of sites where you can do pumped water energy storage on a large scale. You need a hydroelectric dam that contains a very large body of water and that also happens to sit above another large body of water. You essentially need a series of very large lakes with a significant height difference between them. Using this method has environmental issues of its own, just ask environmentalists how they feel about dams blocking major waterways and flooding large tracts of land.

    I’d never heard of the underground compressed air method of storing energy before so thanks for the article. The problem with it is the efficiency losses due to heat loss to the ground and again when the gas is expanded. The article itself says they have to burn natural gas to reheat the air. It would help reduce our dependence on hydrocarbons but again it wouldn’t be a practical source of energy for transportation and why would you go through all this effort and expense for electricity when you could just use nuclear and not have to worry about energy storage at all.

    Hydrogen power could be used to replace hydrocarbons in transportation systems but again you wouldn’t want to produce large scale amounts of hydrogen using solar or wind when you could just use nuclear and produce a lot more hydrogen with a smaller land footprint and less money. As has been discussed environmentalists are already trying to block large solar farms from being built in deserts. They’re the ones that want to get us off oil but they block every practical alternative that comes along so why should we try to please them at all by using solar when the only way to make it cost competitive is for the government block nuclear with excess regulations.

    Finally the article itself states “But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive.” How can any libertarian support that?

  • Kroneborge||

    I think the 420b is much smaller than the amount needed to ensure a stable supply of oil. IE wars in Iraq etc.

  • Just an Engineer||

    If you believe the wars are really about oil, but that sounds like a conspiracy theory to me. I'm against all energy subsidies and excessive regulations so if you can find a way to make solar cheaper and more practical than oil and or nuclear fine I’ll support it. I just highly doubt they’d be able to do it without intentionally nerfing the other energy industries.

  • ||

    If you believe that the wars are for Oil you should be for increased domestic production. The demand for Oil is rising and even if all cars were converted immediately to some other form of energy we still need it for Lubricants, plastics, and many other industrial sources. So...Oil is NOT going away. We should continue to invest in alternatives, but be realistic about this fact.

  • Doc S||

    Although I agree with your overall point Lubricants,plastics, and a number of other things can be made from biopolymers - although they aren't necessarily more environmentally positive or less energy intensive as that depends on a number of factors.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Big nuclear proponent myself. Uranium Oxides have more quads that twice our hydrocarbon reserves (or resouces, I can't remember at the moment). Plus thorium is way safer than uranium, and could be used in conjunction with uranium in relatively unmodified plants.

  • prolefeed||

    Solar energy in terms of low-tech, cost-effective rooftop solar hot water panels (NOT the insanely expensive solar electric panels) are an important niche for sunny climes, especially here in Hawaii.

    Installed some panels about 7 years ago, and it's been nothing but profit for several years now since the investment was paid off. Get to take long hot showers and I'm only paying for the water, not the heating of it.

  • DLM||

    I ran across mention of developments in adding solar electricity generation in window materials. I didn't look close and don't know how far it was, but it sounded interesting.

  • WhiskeyJim||

    This is NOT true. As illustrated in the data above, the issue is not storage.

    The issue is production. Wind and solar are not dense enough to produce energy in acceptable volume.

    Ergo: What good is a huge battery if the piddling amount of energy produced gets used immediately?

    Ignoring the phenomenal energy cost in the first place of course, which is also tied to unit per energy produced.

  • WhiskeyJim||

    This is NOT true. As illustrated in the data above, the issue is not storage.

    The issue is production. Wind and solar are not dense enough to produce energy in acceptable volume.

    Ergo: What good is a huge battery if the piddling amount of energy produced gets used immediately?

    Ignoring the phenomenal energy cost in the first place of course, which is also tied to unit per energy produced.

  • WhiskeyJim||

    This is NOT true. As illustrated in the data above, the issue is not storage.

    The issue is production. Wind and solar are not dense enough to produce energy in acceptable volume.

    Ergo: What good is a huge battery if the piddling amount of energy produced gets used immediately?

    Ignoring the phenomenal energy cost in the first place of course, which is also tied to unit per energy produced.

  • ||

    Head. Will. Explode.

    The U.S. uses nearly 4 terawatts of energy per year (a terawatt is 1 trillion watts). According to Reason magazine's science editor, Ronald Bailey, relying on the work of MIT's Daniel Nocera, putting a windmill on every available spot on the globe that has class 3 winds or higher—i.e., winds in excess of 11.5 mph—would produce 2.1 terawatts at best. And we're not going to be piping in wind energy from the Mongolian steppes. Biomass could produce 10 terawatts—if every person on the planet stopped eating, and we converted all of the world's crops into fuel for machines instead of people.

    It's bad enough when the greenies make this intentional mistake, conflating power with energy, but it's just plain stupid when somebody at Reason does it. Energy is not power, though this confusion often is used by "green" energy advocates to falsely advance the idea that somehow solar and wind can generate enough energy to power a modern industrial civilization. I have to assume the author here is talking about watt-hours (and their SI prefixed larger unit cousins) rather than kilo-/mega-/giga-/terawatts -- which are all units of power.

  • antiegg prochicken||

    Joules = kw-hours, right? This is a democracy, take your science degree somewhere else, we want facts! And stop killing Gaia!

  • DK||

    They mean to give the figure in average power. In 2010, the world energy usage was 474*10^18J. (474*10^18J/year)/(31556926s/year) = ~15TW. I guess the U.S. uses 4 of those 15TW.

  • DK||

    And I don't see how misusing energy vs. power is something the greenies are intentionally doing to skew the debate. We generally assume that any large scale power generator should produce the same instantaneous power at any given point in time. Under such assumptions, the use of energy is totally equivalent to the use of power.

  • proegg antichicken||

    unit wise - yes, but power as a rate is different than the power generation sense energy/time X time. It's stupid really how science and politic mix.

  • db||

    If you think that a generator's rated power output is attained 100% of the time you need to have a look at the load information on PJM's or another ISO's web site. The only generators that are consistently at full load are the nukes, followed at a distance by very large coal fired units. Most generators are run well below an 85% equivalent availability. It is a very bad idea to extrapolate world energy usage from generator nameplate capaciry.

  • Realist||

    "And I don't see how misusing energy vs. power is something the greenies are intentionally doing to skew the debate." No, it shows, as usual, how fucking stupid the greenies are.

  • ||

    And I don't see how misusing energy vs. power is something the greenies are intentionally doing to skew the debate.

    Here's one example, from the notorious lefty/green website grist.com: "Germany’s solar panels produce more power than Japan’s entire Fukushima complex". Sure. But how much energy did they produce? Oh, 0.6% in 2008. (To Grist's credit, they provide a link from the Breakthrough Institute that actually calculates energy -- and this heralded figure is actually false, and by quite a bit:


    In 2010, Germany's cumulative installed solar PV stood at 17.3 GW. In 2009, Germany's PV solar capacity factor--the ratio of actual energy output over the year and the energy the plant would have produced at full capacity--was 9.5%. This is quite low for solar PV, which typically has capacity factors around 15%, and is likely due to the fact that Germany doesn't actually get that much sun. If we assume the same 9.5% capacity factor for 2010, then Germany's 17.3 GW translates into about 14,397 GWh of actual annual electricity generation from solar cells.

    By comparison, in 2010, Fukushima's six Daiichi reactors--which have a nameplate capacity of 4.5 GW--produced 29,221 GWh of power generation.
  • ||

    Because Reason' nannybot won't let me put more than two links in one post, here's the link to The Breakthrough Institute's post.

  • ||

    "Joules = kw-hours, right?"

    WRONG. A Joule is a watt-second.

  • fish||

    (Conservatives, who like to think of themselves as hard-nosed realists, are going to have to stop denying the realities of climate change. True, not everything is known. But not everything is known about gravity, either, and it's still not safe to jump off a bridge.)

    Everything that we need to know about AGW is known......that it's the next bold frontier for government revenue.....and that's all you need to know!

  • Just an Engineer||

    "Unlike petroleum, solar power is not—at least for human purposes—finite. And unlike coal, oil and gas, it does not contribute to global warming."

    Someone failed physics.

    a.) While the sun may not run out of energy on a human time scale the amount of solar energy striking the planet at a given time is most definitely finite. Power = Energy/Time

    b.) Solar energy is the absolute driver of climate (global warming). If we managed to consume a measurable percentage of the solar output striking our planet that would have impacts on our climate the likes of which even the most apocalyptic global warming alarmist haven’t claimed is already happening. Solar energy drives the natural environment if we take that energy out of the environment what do you suppose will happen?

    The 300 ppb increase in the amount of CO2 is just a 0.00003% change in the composition of the atmosphere. If that has supposedly caused a measurable change in temperature then what would be the impact of removing 1 terawatt of solar energy from the environment be? Now I don’t have time to do the research so I’m going to go with the numbers from the article. If 4 terawatts is the yearly energy consumption of the US and that is 22% of world consumption, and the solar energy that hits the earth in one hour is enough to supply the world for a year then that means the current solar energy driving the environment for one year is 159381.8 terawatts. If the US were to get just 25% of its energy from solar that would be a reduction in the energy driving the climate of 1 terawatt or 0.0006%. No one really knows the exact formula describing the Earth’s temperature but take a wild guess as to which would have a more significant impact a 0.00003% change in atmospheric composition or a 0.0006% (that’s an order of magnitude higher) change in the actual energy of the system? If anyone tries to claim that greenhouse gases have more of an impact on temperature than the actual energy I might just explode.

  • Eric Johnson||

    I don't think you really thought through the physics. Remember Newtons laws?

    Energy can not be created or destroyed, it can only change forms.
    It doesn't matter if we "use" 1 terawatt of energy from the sun, because it really isn't used up. It's converted to heat. That's exactly what's happening to the solar energy that hitting our planet now that we're not "using". It's being converted to heat.

  • skr||

    True but it would be moved around and concentrated. But then you also wouldn't be pumping old locked away energy from fissile fuels into the system either so....hmmm

  • Eric Johnson||

    >>That's exactly what's happening to the solar energy that hitting our planet now that we're not "using". It's being converted to heat

    Actually this is not exactly true.
    Some of it is being converted to chemial energy in the form of biomass.

  • Howard Johnson||

    Eric Johnson is right

  • Skr||

    I just realized auto correct typed fissile instead of fossil which sort of works

  • OO||

    newtonian physics doesnt penetrate the black hole in DC. gotta go quantum babiee !

  • Just an Engineer||

    Someone who understands enough to actually be worth discussing it with. You caught me there and I started to type out a long response pointing out that due to the Earth's albedo roughly 30% of solar energy is naturally reflected back into space as long as you don’t absorb it with a solar panel and that climate patterns are driven by the energy distributions, so when you store energy in one location, transport it and release it at another location and a later time you're going to impact the weather patterns. I realized that if you knew enough to make your previous comment then you should already know enough to not buy into the whole AGW crap so there's no point debating it with you.

  • ||

    Nothing like a good scare story to fill the coffers. Unfortunately, since the US trails most of the world in Science education our population is ripe for the picking. All schemes to control nature are doomed to fail. Take a look at our long running battle with the Mississipi river. For every act man performs, nature will seek balance. So it has been, and so it will always be. If the Global Warming alarmists really believed their own propaganda they would be selling their beach front properties, moving to higher ground, and consuming less energy. They do none of these things, yet expect us to contribute our tax dollars to all sorts of Climate Control schemes. Sorry, I'm not buying what you're selling. The day I see Al Gore riding a bike to work is the day I take him at his word, and not a day sooner.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "...those who want more domestic oil exploration to the exclusion of other power sources"

    Exclusion by what means Bart? If people are trying to get government to give oil an unnatural advantage then you are right to criticize them. I think if you leave the energy markets free of force, oil would be preferred over other sources just by being better. Or maybe another source would surprise everyone and out-compete oil. Either way, I don't care if some energy sources are being "excluded". Just keep the damn force out of it.

  • Kroneborge||

    I think the biggest problem with this is that the market, and price mechanism is to focused on the short term.

    Thus when oil jumps to $200 a barrel, you have huge economic shocks.

    Far better to use the price mechanism to encourage a gradual transition.

    For example, with a net zero carbon tax

  • prolefeed||

    Far better to use the actual price mechanism -- the market -- and live with some variability of energy prices.

    Siphoning off money via taxes is immoral theft, and only results in the average price going up.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    If people will benefit from longer range planning, some financier will find a way to do it and become wealthy as a result, and everyone else will benefit from the lack of economic shocks. This can't happen until the government gets all their carrots and sticks out of the market. It's impossible to plan long term precisely because people like you are falling all over eachother trying to pass laws and manipulate the market all the time. You people make it impossible to plan long range.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    When the price of oil is $200 a barrel, then maybe someone will start looking at something practical, like nuclear* or geothermal.

    *Ginormous startup costs partially attributed to being the most regulated industry in the country. Plus, true free market conditions would a. bring down price via competiton and b. allow for longer-term investments.

  • ||

    Oil at $200/bbl would only be a temporary price swing. When oil reached $146 a few years ago, it precipitated a global recession and an oil glut that took three years to work off. The market is self-regulating in this sense.

    Geothermal energy is a great idea, but unfortunately it's only practical in certain locations, generally volcanic areas like Japan. It's also very tricky and expensive to do the drilling correctly. If someone could improve the drilling technology, a big expansion of geothermal would be possible.

  • jacob||

    Bart's thinking in this is akin to Democrats calling a freeze in spending a cut. I thought the name of this site was 'reason', not msnbs

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Barton's an odd duck. He's either right on or way the fuck off.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This column originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    Though they *did* choose to post him.

  • sarcasmic||

    between those who want more domestic oil exploration to the exclusion of other power sources, and those who want the U.S. to kick its petroleum habit entirely.

    Talk about false dichotomy.

    Not wanting to subsidize something is not the same as wanting to exclude it.

  • Tony||

    How about we stop giving our nonrenewable natural resources away to be profited from by private corporations.

    As these companies' CEOs put it, it's unAmerican not to have our energy policy be directed solely toward making profits for their businesses. Clearly, they have this country's best interests in mind.

  • Tman||

    Tony, I think you and Minge should go see a tractor pull together. Then you two can wallow in self-righteousness together as you make fun of all the dumb Walmart shopping rednecks who simply aren't smart enough to realize your genius.

  • ||

    Out of curiosity, has anyone here actually seen a tractor pull? What are they like? What exactly is the draw?

  • OO||

    big honkin fire-spittin monsters machines...and beer!

  • ||

    I usually go for the free meth.

  • DLM||

    Out of curiosity, has anyone here actually seen a tractor pull? What are they like? What exactly is the draw?

    About the same draw as weight lifting. If you more into machines than muscles, then a tractor pull would be more interesting on an intellectual level. However, it's also more entertaining.

  • sarcasmic||

    Last I checked these private corporations make seven cents per gallon of fuel, a fraction of what the government takes in between direct taxes on fuel, taxes on those corporate profits, taxes on the shareholder's dividends, taxes on the corporate employees income...

    I'd say those private corporations are getting the shitty end of the stick compared to the government.

  • MNG||

    "Last I checked these private corporations make seven cents per gallon of fuel"

    Boy, those executive bonuses take a bite, don't they!

  • sarcasmic||

    Not nearly as much as the 18.4 cents per gallon that the fed takes and the 23.5 cent that the state takes.

  • sevo||

    Yep. Probably $0.00000001/gal.

  • ||

    How about we stop giving our nonrenewable natural resources away to be profited from by private corporations.

    How about you familiarize yourself with the leases under which federal and state lands are opened up for production?

    If you're arguing that they are commercially unreasonable and the lease rates should be higher, fine. Show your work. But I'm not aware of anything being given away.

  • Kroneborge||

    See the cocaine and hooker scandal.

  • MNG||

    I'm suspicious of the idea of "energy policy" as it sounds like a way to provide government support to selected private enterprises.

    Having said that as the government has given massive assistance to building a culture and infrastructure which now heavily favors certain enterpises over others I'm less satisfied with just embracing laissez-faire on the issue now.

    I guess what I would do is try to encourage energy forms that are desirable via the least intrusive methods such as tax breaks and call it a day.

  • sarcasmic||

    encourage energy forms that are desirable

    How do you define "desirable"?

    Is "desirable" anything other than "that which people desire"?

    How do people show what they desire other than by purchasing it with their own money?

    Wait a minute!

    By "desirable" you mean what you think people should purchase, not what they think they should purchase.

    I get it.

  • MNG||

    How do people show what they desire other than by purchasing it with their own money?

    Voting?

  • sarcasmic||

    What is purchasing other than voting with your money?

  • MNG||

    What is voting other than expressing a preference without exchanging money?

    And actually most voters know they will have to pay for what they vote for.

  • ||

    You need to study up on the difference between stated preference and revealed preference.

  • MNG||

    Is it some idea that when people pay for something they are really indicating what they want but when they vote they somehow are not? I don't buy that.

  • sarcasmic||

    When people purchase something they show that they want it enough to work for it, when they vote for something they show that they want it enough to forcibly take it from someone else, but since forcible taking is against the law they have the government do it for them.

  • MNG||

    Oh nonsense, when people vote they know they will pay for it and have to abide by the rules it makes.

  • sarcasmic||

    No they don't. When people vote they know someone else will pay for it.
    Tax the smokers, tax the rich, tax the other guy and give something to me.
    Tax the oil companies and give me "green" energy.
    Tax the guy in the SUV and give me a hybrid.
    You're being dishonest.

  • T||

    You are desperately, gloriously, and completely confused about how most people in this country regard voting.

    Or being a smartass. I can't tell.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's funny.

    Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
    -Bastiat
  • ||

    Especially true when @ of the US population pays no tax at all. Of course they vote Democrat, it has no impact whatsoever on their income.

  • DLM||

    What is voting other than expressing a preference without exchanging money?

    Remember that before you can vote, you need something to vote on. This requires someone else choosing what possible items to allow on the 'ballot'. This all takes time to organize, then the votes must be processed until you finally get some result by which time everyone has already changed their minds.

  • Skr||

    "And actually most voters know they will have to pay for what they vote for."

    :citation required:

    That has not been my experience.

  • ||

    Yeah Mingo, Gaia forbid that there ever be "government support to selected private enterprises". Drive a GM car lately?

  • MNG||

    I totally LOL'ed at the Gaia thing because liberals worship Earth Goddesses.

    Well done!

  • DLM||

    I totally LOL'ed at the Gaia thing because liberals worship Earth Goddesses.

    To be fair, liberals don't really *worship* the Earth Goddess. They just make sacrifices.

  • prolefeed||

    How do people show what they desire other than by purchasing it with their own money?

    Voting?

    Well, no, voting shows what people like to say to briefly feel good about themselves after (usually) giving the subject the most cursory thought. Their actual revealed preferences -- the purchases they make -- show what they actually desire.

    I thought you were some sort of poly-sci whiz -- do you really think that voting reveals people's real preferences?

  • prolefeed||

    Hate to Godwin the thread, but fuck, MNG is full of Teh Stoopid here -- when Hitler got 36.8% of the vote in the second round of balloting in 1932, is it your contention that over a third of the German voters wanted the nasty consequences that ensued?

    Voting doesn't reveal what people actually want, it mainly reveals their ignorance of the consequences of their vote for a politician or a policy.

    The choices people actually make in their personal life, rather than their stated goals -- their "revealed preference" -- is the best guide to what people actually want.

  • ||

    I dunno. Voting reveals SOME kind of preference. It's just so fucking crude in comparison to the market.

    One vote every X years vs. thousands of purchases per year. No bloody comparison.

  • ||

    So the solution to

    "the government has given massive assistance to building a culture and infrastructure which now heavily favors certain enterpises over others"

    is

    "the government has given massive assistance to building a culture and infrastructure which now heavily favors certain enterpises over others"

    Have I got that right?

  • MNG||

    Your solution reminds me of the kid on the playground who goes around taking everyone's lunch money and then when the other kids catch him and threaten to take his money he screams "hey, ok, stealing lunch money is wrong, let's say no more of that starting right now"

  • ||

    Well, your solution sounds like a kid on the playground who sees somebody else taking lunch money, and thinks that since the precedent has been set, he might as well get in on the racket.

    At least under my approach, the whole stealing lunch money thing stops.

  • MNG||

    After one party has been placed in a significant advantage, yes it does.

  • ||

    How about I don't concede that the advantage is significant enough to survive a transition to the free market? Remove the impediments to fair competition and the results will converge to the most efficient energy source in fairly rapid fashion.

    Plus, how do we *tell* when the advantage has been adequately compensated for? What? By measuring their market share and saying "oh that's how much wind is SUPPOSED to have"?

    The only way you can get any kind of objective measure of what the most efficient result is is by observing the results of a pure free makret. So at some point you have to get out of the way. And there's no point when you can TELL when to get out of the way, except by prejudicing the results.

  • mgd||

    I'm also not conceding that the government has given "massive assistance to building a culture and infrastructure" that favors one form of energy over another--not in the direction you seem to be implying, at any rate.

  • Ventifact||

    On the other hand, when you've got the tiger by the tail, you don't solve that dilemma by just letting go.

  • MNG||

    Libertarians say let the tiger go, and quickly make a contract with him not to maul you.

  • Ventifact||

    Very quickly. But since letting go is the easy part, and the (analogical) contract is the hard part, it would be wiser to prepare a resolution before letting go.

    (And just to clarify, in case it wasn't clear-- my comment was meant as a response to R C.)

  • Ventifact||

    the government has given massive assistance to building a culture and infrastructure which now heavily favors certain enterpises over others I'm less satisfied with just embracing laissez-faire on the issue now.


    I agree. Imagine if the government had spent the last century building a massive and intricate canal network making all our cities into caricatures of Venice. It would be absurd for anyone to suppose the society/economy could subsequently become effectively neutral simply by the state becoming nominally neutral. Boat manufacturers would continue to enjoy an unfair advantage into the foreseeable future.

  • MNG||

    But you don't get it, anyone would be free to develop jet packs and fly over the canals, so there is no advantage.

  • DK||

    But the fact that canals constituted the main transportation source means that the technologies necessary for jet packs would never have been developed. So the jet packs would have a massive disadvantage and, under your terms, need lots of government funding to become an established technology and displace canal transportation.

    This is an exact analogy.

  • ||

    Unlike a jet pack, I'm pretty sure I can go to the store and buy a solar panel.

    Your analogy sucks.

  • prolefeed||

    I agree. Imagine if the government had spent the last century building a massive and intricate canal network making all our cities into caricatures of Venice. It would be absurd for anyone to suppose the society/economy could subsequently become effectively neutral simply by the state becoming nominally neutral. Boat manufacturers would continue to enjoy an unfair advantage into the foreseeable future.

    A better example would be the actual situation we have, where some subsidized forms of power have been built, such as government dams and nuclear energy subsidies and subsidies to everything else.

    You have to deal with sunk costs. Would it make sense to dynamite the power-generating facilities that would not have been built under laissez-faire and make everyone poorer?

    But, under laissez-faire, the state would quit subsidizing the ridiculously unprofitable forms of energy, the power infrastructure would suffer the usual entropy and the existing power plants would one by one fail, they would be replaced by the forms of energy production that made economic sense under an unsubsidized laissez-faire regime, and fairly soon the transitional period would be over and we'd have a rational distribution of power sources based on what people actually demanded in terms of costs and pollution mitigation and whatnot.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Break those windows! Now we can replace the older, weaker glass with super insulating glass.

  • mgd||

    That gives boats as a mode of transportation a distinct advantage, yes. But the discussion at hand is what powers the boats--hydrocarbons, electricity generated from "renewables", or unicorn farts?

  • MNG||

    "The federal government will devolve authorization for mining and drilling to the state where the project is located, as well jurisdiction over environmental regulation of the project."

    And states surrounding states with lax environmental standards/enforcement can just hope the wind don't blow and water don't flow!

  • ||

    Are you complaining that

    (a) sovereignty is limited?

    or

    (b) sovereighty isn't limited?

  • MNG||

    If you damage the air or water you can harm your neighbors so you're not just risking your own welfare.

    If there was some way where only the person who chose the lax regulation would be the only ones that suffer from any later problems from it I'd be more for it. But wind blows, and water flows.

  • sevo||

    MNG|5.13.11 @ 1:15PM|#
    "If........."

    Hypotheticals are such fun!
    Look! I can make up new laws all day long!

  • MNG||

    Yeah, where could I get such fantastic ideas as an environmental disaster which impacts more than one state?

    Where indeed, such fantastic imagination!

  • ||

    So states should be able to extend their sovereignty over their neighbors, is that it?

    Perhaps we could avoid that muddle if we only had some mechanism whereby two parties could resolve their disputes. I know, call me crazy.

  • MNG||

    "Perhaps we could avoid that muddle if we only had some mechanism whereby two parties could resolve their disputes."

    Like a federal government which provides either one standard under either courts or regulations?

  • DK||

    I've gotta agree with MNG here. I don't see why Hinkle has a problem with federal court jurisdiction over interstate environmental disasters.

  • mgd||

    I must have missed Hinkle's objection to such a scenario being resolved in federal court.

    If my neighbor cuts down his tree and it falls on my house, he will pay for the damage. If he doesn't, I'll see him in court. There's no need for the city to have the tree removed a priori to prevent a possible dispute--or for the city to pass an ordinance prohibiting the planting of trees.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    It's called a neighborhood effect. Milton Friedman considered it one of two possible reasons for government intervention (past preventing the use of force).

  • ||

    FTA those who want more domestic oil exploration to the exclusion of other power sources

    Funny but I don't recall anyone ever saying that. Perhaps Mr. Hinkle could provide a link.

    I am also in favor of developing all forms of energy/power production but I am not willing to shovel the snow off of a bunch of solar panels to get it. There need to be improvements in reliability and cost for alternatives to be reasonable.

  • ||

    Also, the "realities" of climate change are that the "anthropogenic" part of "anthropogenic global warming" are based on some of the shoddiest computer modeling imaginable. When the "scientists" behind it consistently hide data and code, and play tricks with the statistical modeling to achieve their desired results, we rightly should be skeptical of their claims.

  • MNG||

    Right, because the only evidence supporting AGW comes from climate model work by a handful of scientists that work at East Anglia.

    If you only browse through something like the report that shared the Nobel you see citations of literally hundred's of authors different work. Are they all part of the cabal?

  • ||

    Well, the data used by a great many of those other authors was the cooked data from East Anglia, so there's that.

  • MNG||

    " the data used by a great many of those other authors was the cooked data from East Anglia"

    Really? The work on sea levels rising, the geological and paleogeological work, the biological work, all of that relied on that?

    Do tell.

  • ||

    You're confusing "things that are happening" with "man-made". The science behind the latter is the big problem.

  • Tony||

    Your talking points are stale.

  • ||

    And yet, still just as true. Wake me when the UEA people stop refusing FOIA requests, or that investigations into the Climategate trove don't have conflicts of interest and actual coaching from the people being investigated.

    Publicly funded research data should be publicly visible and archived, period. Anybody claiming otherwise has something to sell.

  • SFC B||

    I recall recently reading an article concerning a study which discovered that glaciers don't behave the way we thought and it opened the possibility that glacier cores weren't the snapshots of the past we've been treating them as.

  • Just an Engineer||

    Sea levels rising and a lot of that other work demonstrates that temperatures are increasing. They in no way show that the temperature increase is due predominately to CO2 levels increasing. Correlation does not equal causation no matter how many scientists you hire to say otherwise.

  • Realist||

    "Correlation does not equal causation no matter how many scientists you hire to say otherwise."
    This is correct.
    "Sea levels rising and a lot of that other work demonstrates that temperatures are increasing."
    There is plenty of evidence that sea levels are not rising, nor are temperatures.

  • mgd||

    Which is why the acolytes stopped using the phrase "global warming" and began shrieking about "global climate change".

  • ||

    AGW advocates, particularly scientists who should know better, have always neglected the "correlation doesn't equal causation" principle. Just as they promote the idea that modeling is a form of proof, which it isn't.

  • Realist||

    Excellent points. Their models don't even predict the past accurately.

  • ||

    Right, because the only evidence supporting AGW comes from climate model work by a handful of scientists that work at East Anglia.


    Actually, it is an academic circle jerk, most especially in the modeling parts of it.

  • Kroneborge||

    Overall a pretty good article.

    I think the most important point is that it will take decades to switch over. BUT, due to oil price volatility, and increasing demand from China etc, we might get much higher oil prices before we can put that infrastructure in place.

    That's one of the reasons I support a net zero carbon tax.

  • Bob Dole||

    Bob Dole loves the middle ground. Compromising your principles got Bob Dole elected President.
    Remember if you have a great idea and the other guy has a really fucking stupid idea, meet him at the middle ground that way the result will only be half fucking stupid.
    Bob and Barney like "it" in the ass!

  • ||

    Perhaps we could avoid that muddle if we only had some mechanism whereby two parties could resolve their disputes."

    Like a federal government which provides either one standard under either courts or regulations?

    The regulatory arm of the federal government doesn't resolve disputes, really. I would have no problem with two states taking a dispute over a particular energy project to federal court. But you realize this would be a complete change from the way we do things now, yes?

  • ||

    the data used by a great many of those other authors was the cooked data from East Anglia"

    Really? The work on sea levels rising, the geological and paleogeological work, the biological work, all of that relied on that?

    To the extent any of that work relied on climate data or modelling (and if it didn't, then it wasn't really about global warming, was it?), they had to get their climate data somewhere. Lots of them got it from East Anglia.

  • DLM||

    Of course, solar power presents challenges of its own—e.g., nightfall.

    Given the sun only shines during the day and that electric generating plants don't produce electricity at exactly the time when it's used, so we end up wasting much of it, we need more effective methods of *storing* energy. We also need to focus on more efficent ways of using energy. It's stupid to reject use of one source or another altogether. Personally, I'm more interested in saving money.

  • Realist||

    Let's remove all energy subsidies, and needless regulations, and may the best energy win. Of course the removal of needless regulations will never happen...you're fucking with gevernment power!

  • Realist||

    should read "government".

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    No, you meant "gevernment". Don't try to deny it. I'm on to you.

  • Neal||

    Isn't the sun just a giant nuclear reactor?

  • Just an Engineer||

    Yes and oil is stored solar power.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    The winds are powered by the sun...

    Geothermal is 20% accreation heat...

    And nuclear fission uses isotopes that were formed in supernovas.

    I think that tide and hydroelectric are the only non-star-derived power sources.

  • Realist||

    Wrong, hydroelectric is star power.

  • Skr||

    I'm guessing because it is falling water and it got to that higher elevation through precipitation which is driven by the sun.

  • Realist||

    Of course.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Reason.com lurches back in the leftward direction in the hopes of enticing a few lefties to its "third way" vision. When Obama wins reelection and the debt is twice its present size they'll do a 3 point turn towards the right. Lather, rinse, repeat. Will all this change the direction of the country or increase Reason's readership? Doubt it.

  • ||

    Because everything is really left or right, and there's never any other possible alternative...

  • ||

    It looks to me like we'll continue to muddle along with what we currently have, while steadily increasing efficiency until a black swan like fusion or lightning capture becoming viable.

  • ||

    In the meantime then....we drill here, now.....right?

  • ||

    But not everything is known about gravity, either...
    The person that composed that sentence is too stupid to air his opinions publicly.

  • jthmcomics||

    future of US not so good

  • Jailbait with 34DD||

    I'll have hot sex with you if you vote for Ron Paul.

  • ||

    The problem with this whole debate is that the people who :"back" alternative energy do not in fact back anything. They are all for speculative forms of energy generation up until the point that there is a real possibility that they will be implemented. Then, suddenly, the Liberals, Greens, and such are protesting any and all sites proposed for the actual generation of power.

    I have watched this process since the middle 1970's, and it is as reliable as the turning of the seasons. The "alternative energy" crowd MUST be discounted and ignored, because they are impossible to please. That doesn't mean that none of their (currently) favored solutions are worth pursuing on their own merits. But the environmentalists want electrical power that is magically produced without ANY adverse effects on the ecosystem, which is flat out impossible.

  • WhiskeyJim||

    Here is the energy middle ground.

    Drill, baby drill.

    1. USA has highest oil reserves in the world at $80-100 / barrel. It is also a stable country.
    2. Energy jobs are 'good' jobs.
    3. Oil consumption is hundreds of times cleaner than 50 years ago; our air pollution has fallen near 100% in the last 50 years. When is the last time LA had a smog alert?

    4. Since up to 4/5ths of nuclear cost is safety and meltdown exposure prevention, which prices it out of the market, new technologies should address those concerns, which they are doing.

    Nuclear, natural gas, and oil, in descending order, are the densest and therefore most inexpensive sources of energy. That is the essence of any energy meme. As usual, the Looney Left believes it can engineer Mother Nature.

  • ||

    "between those who want more domestic oil exploration to the exclusion of other power sources"

    I hang around a lot of cultural conservative sites and never heard any group of commentators seriously espouse this point of view. What, I do hear all the time, is a trademark conservative stubbornness and a cynicism against the fad of the week tax funded smoke and mirror energy boondoggles. They aren't real good at communicating it but, they're cynicism is fairly justified.

    If their was a real alternative that did not seriously inconvenience them, dropped per mile driving price, and bankrupted the middle east, Russia, and Venezuala. Conservatives would come on board and be big cheerleaders. Just like the left did with ethanol, I expect they will champion and push using legal and cultural blunt force some future energy options and then turn around and demonize them "as right wing plots" once they get off the ground.

    I think the future of vehicle energy, if no serious battery revolution happens, will be more localized based on local resources. Don't think governments will be exporting energy as freely as they do now.

    In one place most cars maybe natural gas another hybrids of ethanol (based off some GE weed)-diesel and in a wealthier area hydrogen may appear. The most common will probably be coal made diesel running generators for electric cars. (like trains)

    The future gas station may have 3 or 4 different types of fuel for sale.

    Conservatives do tend to bristle at such a description since it sounds like a weak or incoherent system. Like with school choice once it lands and they get a feel of the power of choice they will become its biggest cheerleaders.

    -side note- I also think that all electricity based cars will come with a coat of solar film on at least the top that will trickle charge the batteries.

  • ||

    My assumptions I am basing conservative enthusiasm on are that oil will be 6-10$ a gallon at that point. If you have ever lived in a small town you know on weekends rednecks like to drive around in circles as a social thing. Current gas prices curb that and those future higher gas prices will all but kill it off. A substitute that re-enables that affordable freedom driving, I guarantee they will get on board with.

  • sevo||

    "If you have ever lived in a small town you know on weekends rednecks like to drive around in circles as a social thing."

    So in big cities, liberal elites drive in straight lines?
    What ever point you were attempting to make just nosed-in.

  • ||

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  • ||

    With the numbers Bailey has provided, I feel more research should be done on solar energy. Energy demanded is only going to grow exponentially and since solar, as Baily stated, is infinite in supply, then that should be the alternative politicians look into. Curbing our demand for oil will take time and the alternatives we invest in should be able to realistically meet our energy needs. With oil prices and its scarcity our resources should be committed to renewable energy. Not tapping into another limited resource.

  • Skeptic||

    When Hinkle says "we should be developing them all," I'd like to know who the "we" is. If the "we" is voluntary associations such as angels investors, corporations, wealthy benefactors, or techie consumers, by all means invest in these technologies. If it's relatively involuntary associations such as federal R&D which is directed by politicians and their appointees, this is not something "we" should be doing. This incentive system has a long history of failures and glaring inefficiencies. The DARPA / X-Prize incentive schemes seems to have worked well, but that's rarely what is proposed because it's also difficult to guarantee jobs with that method.

  • Jeff||

    Way to cherrypick your data, Bailey. The DOE's NREL reports that there are potentially 4150 GW off the US shore, which is four times that of current supply. That's plenty to account for electric cars. You and your foundation are simply shills for Big Oil and Business as Usual energy.

  • sevo||

    Jeff|5.16.11 @ 7:51PM|#
    ..."You and your foundation are simply shills for Big Oil and Business as Usual energy."

    As opposed to an ignoramus such as Jeff, shilling for stupidity.

  • ||

    We could save $17 billion by abolishing the department of Energy. And still have $10 billion left for nuclear security.....

  • M. Simon||

    Uh. If Alternative Energy is ever going to work storage is the key. Very little effort is going into storage.

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