Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Is Wind Power the Answer?

Texas billionaire and oilman T. Boone Pickens thinks that answer is a resounding yes. On his site today, he writes an impassioned call for the United States to develop facilities to capture wind power across the United States. Regarding the potential of wind power, Pickens writes,
Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains states are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world — by far.

The Department of Energy reports that 20% of America's electricity can come from wind. North Dakota alone has the potential to provide power for more than a quarter of the country.

And Pickens pulls no punches in describing the amount of money that importing foreign oil costs the United States every year. He writes,
As imports grow and world prices rise, the amount of money we send to foreign nations every year is soaring. At current oil prices, we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone — that's four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion — it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.

In contrast, he concedes that creating the facilities to capture wind power would require a large amount of start-up capital, but he argues that the overall cost would be quite small when compared to the constant expenditures we require now for our energy supplies.

Mr. Pickens has some excellent points. However, I am not entirely sold on wind power as being The Answer for America's energy needs. While I certainly agree that wind power could help, I do not believe that it is reliable enough- I have been becalmed too many times at sea. However, there is no question that the United States needs to break its dependency on foreign oil- for us to be giving our sworn enemies millions of dollars is worse than insane- it's simply suicidal.

Personally, I believe that the only real long-term answer is nuclear power, coupled with a nation-wide network for electric cars. However, if wind power can assist in producing some of the power necessary, I am certainly not against it, as it is both cleaner and safer than nuclear plants. So Mr. Pickens' plan is something I would definitely support.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is in power, and their answer to the energy problem seems to be the same as it was during Jimmy Carter's Administration- drive smaller cars and wear more sweaters. And allow the government to tell us how and when we are allowed to use energy, of course. More government power is the Democrats' answer to everything- just one more reason not to vote for them, at least in my books.

UPDATE: Forgot to include the link to Mr. Pickens' plan. Fixed. In addition, as was pointed out by commentator Juan, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have adequately dealt with our energy issues. However, I believe that as the Democrats have been more recalcitrant in refusing to tap our own energy reserves and are currently in power, they are slightly more culpable, thus my specific reference to them in the post.


juan said...

"Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is in power, and their answer to the energy problem seems.."

According to a mutual Dem friend, "When the dems took over congress in January, Pelosi said she would make getting off of foreign oil a number one priority."

Instead we hear a lot about copyright and FISA / telco idiocy.

Just my 2 yen, but the Repubs and Dems are equally guilty of hardly doing squat for the American people.

Instead they seem to be devoting large blocks of time to reducing our rights.

がんこもん said...

I could not agree more. Both parties have fallen on heir faces in this regard for a very long time. However, it does seem that at least some Republicans understand the need for energy reform, and it is presently the Democrats who are blocking every attempt to wean ourselves off foreign oil.