Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

T. Boone Pickens and Buckminster Fuller

Dear Editor,
It was good to read Jay Ambrose acknowledge the “400 percent increase in using wind energy during the Bush years”. That’s an annual average 50 percent increase for his Administration and could be one of the more positive and lasting legacies of Bush’s otherwise disappointing Presidency.
And, as Ambrose points out in “Wind beneath our wings?” (Jan 25, 2009) wind power won’t yield enough electricity to wean us entirely from oil, but no one I know, not even “T. Boone Pickens” suggest it could or should.
Ambrose unfortunately exaggerates the down sides of the large and wise investments proposed by the likes of Obama and Mr. Pickens in future wind farms. Building hundreds of windmills may cost about the same as a nuclear power plant but they will be far less of a burden to the environment, the scenery and our nation’s security than any nuclear facility. And, erecting them far from population centers isn’t really a problem. According to Michael Powers, spokesman for Global Energy Network Institute, southern California gets a hefty portion of its electricity from 1,000 miles away via a single high voltage direct current line connecting it to hydro power from Oregon. Enough to run 2-3 million homes. He assures us that “distance is not a barrier.” Our nation needs a new and comprehensive national electric energy grid that will ultimately serve domestically generated electricity to every square mile of our nation from a variety of alternative energy sources. Investing now in more wind only speeds us to that glorious day.
In the 1970s Buckminster Fuller proposed a global electric supply grid as a means of addressing many of our global problems. Any such grid would rid ourselves from the tyranny of oil dependence. If we had listened to Dr. Fuller back then and invested the trillions of dollars we gave to OPEC nations over the last 40 years into alternative energy sources our economy, our climate and our national security situations would be far better off today.
Ambrose says he believes that wind energy “may play an increasingly important role in our energy future”. It’s too bad he spent so much time hyping its minor drawbacks instead of documenting the astronomical costs to our future from our continuing dependence on burning foreign oil.

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