Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oil and Wind

The Beer: The Saison is bottled and ready to drink. It came out better than expected.

The Bicycle: Still "cooler near the Lake", but the weather has become nice enough to ride. Today, I plan to bundle up nice and warm, ride west, toward the kettles and ride 30-40 miles.

The VRWC: How quickly things change. When oil was $150 a barrel, Americans were screaming bloody murder. "Drill Here, Drill Now". Washington listened (kind of). Oil is running about $50 a barrel now and gasoline is commensurately less expensive. The silence of the consumer is deafening. Policy is returning to the anti-oil rhetoric.

The panacea of wind and solar will only impoverish the consumer further and widen the "rich-poor gap" (I'm not certain how much of that gap really exists, but TCO's policies will ensure it comes to its' full fruition). The unreliabilty of wind and the facts of Earth's rotation will make these no more than bit players.

(Alleged) AGW hype and "The Precautionary Principle" are driving energy policy. This is not good.


Ordinary Jill said...

Remember that our over-reliance on oil also enriches authoritarian regimes that do not have our best interests at heart. True, wind and solar will never be 24-7 solutions, but they are valuable supplements to generation that burns fossil fuels. To say otherwise is like keeping the curtains closed and the lights on all the time because, after all, the sun doesn't shine at night, so it isn't a viable source of light inside the house.

And wind energy is quite viable financially. All the investment is up-front, with no fuel costs afterward. That is why, even without government subsidies and renewable energy requirements, utilities started building wind farms in the Midwest years ago. They can't be sited everywhere, and they don't always run at full capacity, but over time they save a lot of natural gas (which lowers the price for everyone).

Deekaman said...

Which is why we should be tapping our own resources.

There are other problems with wind energy. Maintenance costs may be problematic (altho the only citations I can find are from wind energy advocates) as they were with combined-cycle fossil-fired plants. Certainly first-generation wind farms like the one in Palm Springs. Europe has also experienced catastrophic failures in the blades. All that said, reliability of the wind will keep this source from being any more than a bit player.