Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nukes and Wind

I know the Republicans think we should be putting everything into nuclear. No greenhouse gasses and all that makes it sound appealing. Not that they mention what we do with all that nuclear waster - which was my main concern till I read this from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
“Our ongoing assessment of nuclear power plant performance is at the heart of the agency’s mission of protecting people and the environment,” said Eric Leeds, director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “The 2008 year-end results show that about 83 percent of the plants are performing strongly enough that
we’re satisfied with our basic level of inspections at those sites.”

Something about that bureaucratic babble alarms me.

Speaking of wind power, The Washington Post looks at T. Boone Pickens in The Beautiful Wind of T. Boone Pickens:

But while there are quibbles over the particulars, parts of
the Pickens Plan are -- or should be -- uncontroversial: a new transmission grid to move renewable power, better energy efficiency, and using natural gas as a "bridge" fuel to power trucks and fleet vehicles until alternatives become more plentiful.

With Pickens, the controversy rests more in the salesman than in the product. Pickens didn't mention global warming in his 45-minute talk
at the Mayflower yesterday. In fact, he dismissed the "greenies," as in: "You don't want to turn it over to the greenies, or what'll happen is they'll want to shut down every coal plant . . . for power generation and our utility bills will go through the ceiling."
Rather, Pickens is all about national security, or, as he puts it: "People around the world think we're stupid to import as much oil as we do from people who don't like us. . . . We need to get on our own resources, sit on our own bottom."
Pickens has this to say about the President:
"If we have the leader that I think we've got," Pickens said, "it's going to be a huge boost for the economy. There are going to be more ideas that are going to show up once the administration says we're going to do this. . . . Entrepreneurs will come up with ideas we never thought of."

Let's hope he's not just talking out of his bottom.

Actually, I like the way Pickens talks. I think a whole lot of people out here think the same way. He does takes wind energy away from the "greenies" and they should let him. He makes it sound a whole lot more practical than another more acceptable, less uninhibited spokesperson would to the general public. How he might sound in Washington might be different.

I think the entrepreneur remark hits close to the mark. Alternative energy has as much to do with economic development and national security as it does with environmentalism. This comes from Stimulus Dollars Energize Efforts To Smarten Up the Electric Power Grid:
To accomplish the vast national upgrade will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and require what one utility regulator called a "major paradigm shift" in the way people understand and use electricity.

"Changing light bulbs and caulking are going to be very primitive compared to what we're going to end up doing," Duke Energy President James E. Rogers said here.

But first, the infrastructure must be installed. When Obama promises "a better, smarter electricity grid," he is talking about overhauling a network that resembles your grandmother's patchwork quilt, and is about as frayed.

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