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A U.S. Energy Policy

March 15, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Fred Brown for sending me his proposed energy plan. Fred would welcome your feedback at w6hph@yahoo.es.
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A U.S. ENERGY POLICY
A realistic way for the United States to meet its global obligation toward greenhouse gas reduction.

The United States has been surpassed by many other countries when it should be the leader in green energy. We have gone through 8 years of zero or negative progress during the do-nothing Bush years.

President Obama

President Obama has proposed that 25% of our electrical energy be from renewable sources by 2025. Obviously this is completely inadequate. We need at least 75% in 8 years, and this is quite doable. Nationwide peak summertime electrical consumption is now 783,000 megawatts. 75% of this would be 587,000 megawatts. So we would need 587,000 one-megawatt wind generators by 2017. Certainly no great problem for a nation that produces ten million cars per year.

President Obama also proposes “clean coal technology”. Although you can make coal cleaner, the term “clean coal” is an oxymoron. There is no way to burn coal without producing greenhouse gases. Coal is mostly carbon and carbon is the problem, not the solution.

The Pickens Plan

T. Boone Pickens has proposed a massive increase in wind generators to replace natural-gas-burning power plants with the resulting natural gas savings to be diverted to fuel for cars and trucks. CNG or compressed natural gas is already a well developed technology. His plan is quite feasible and would reduce air pollution.

But if we are going to run our vehicles on compressed gas it should be hydrogen, not natural gas. The conversion to a hydrogen economy is long overdue. No new technology is needed, Honda is already manufacturing hydrogen powered cars. Hydrogen can be produced from water by electrolysis. And whereas electrical energy can be economically transmitted only about 300 miles, hydrogen can be sent thousands of miles through pipelines. And, of course, unlike natural gas hydrogen burns with zero pollution.

Revenue

The best way to finance the conversion to a wind power/hydrogen economy is to raise the federal gasoline tax to a dollar a gallon. The federal gas tax is now a ridiculous 15 cents a gallon. The European countries have had a much higher tax for many years. And only a few months ago we were paying more than a dollar a gallon above today’s price.

A raise in the gas tax would require political courage but would have many beneficial side effects such as encouraging conservation, alternative and public transportation, reduction of pollution and traffic congestion, and the saving of lives.


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