Switchgrass, OK, but Let’s Seek Energy Balance

By January 9, 2007Energy

Following up on the energy-related post below, we note the valuable on-line column in yesterday’s Opinionjournal.com by John Fund, who cautions against the siren calls of switchgrass and other alternative fuels. Fund worries that the Bush Adminisration is becoming “fixated” on alternative energies, with all their excitement and political attraction.

Ethanol, wind, etc. are useful supplements and full of potential, but they are certainly not the basis of a sound energy policy, he argues:

It’s a foregone conclusion that Mr. Bush’s State of the Union speech will be full of paeans to the prospects for switchgrass, solar panels and the conversion of turkey waste into diesel fuel. Some of these ideas are genuinely exciting and indeed hold promise to achieve greater energy independence. But here’s hoping in his fervor for alternative energy, Mr. Bush doesn’t forget that he should also press for fewer restrictions on nuclear power–a remarkably safe and clean energy source–as well as more ways to safely explore for oil and gas in Alaska and off the coasts of states that welcome offshore energy development.

Alternative energy is an ever-expanding fad right now, but Mr. Bush should remember that fads pass. When that happens, the country will be better off with a balanced approach that combines excitement for the new with sober reliance on tried-and-true sources that keep today’s economy humming. Such an approach would also help Mr. Bush meet another of his self-proclaimed major goals: “making sure the federal government prudently spends tax dollars and restrains wasteful spending.”

A balanced approach…sober reliance on tried-and-true sources? Maybe not politically sexy, but it’s the right way to go for the U.S. economy. Good advice, Mr. President.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Jay Draiman says:

    MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY – THE ENERGY EVOLUTION –R5

    In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
    “Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. “Let’s face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy.” The American way of life is not negotiable.
    Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

    The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

    The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

    In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

    A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

    This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (this will also creat a substantial amount of new jobs) It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

    Jay Draiman
    Northridge, CA. 91325
    1-9-2007

    P.S. I have a very deep belief in America’s capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
    I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis–the one in 1942–President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
    The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

    Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs)the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

    Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X’s 5 hrs per day X’s 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

    Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.