T Nation

Energy Politics

I am an independent and undecided. The coin toss of the two party system means I place very little concern on who wins and may just use a random action to dictate who I vote for on election day.

That said, my primary issue is who will increase domestic energy infrastructure the most.

At the end of eight years one of our two choices will have us with not just more energy but more local, sustainable, and dependable energy.

But the question is who?

I want to see us at the fore of the wide scale electric transportation revolution and also a great increase in our domestic coal as well as renewable electrical capacity.

Why should we have any higher priority of an issue than domestic energy and pioneering the electrical transportation revolution that is surely coming?

Amazingly even existing technology could supply our entire nations energy by tapping the electrical solar power of our wasteland South Western dessert.

Don’t believe the uninformed doubters; the solar potential of the North American Desert, even with existing technology, is the wind fall of dreams.

Shouldn’t we have the most incredible coal industry on the planet with the absolute cleanest, safest, and most abundant coal fired electricity on Earth? We are the Saudi Arabia of coal.

Shouldn’t we retrofit Detroit to build electric planes, trains, and automobiles and solar collectors and windmills as well? God knows GM hasn’t turned a profit in over a decade.

Shouldn’t we be the first nation to exploit the solar energy potential of a great continental desert? Doing so could even strengthen our presence and awareness on our border.

Bottom line is I want to see a dynamic creative approach to getting America motivated and at the front of the electrical transportation revolution and the race to see who will be the first to exploit a great continental desert for its solar potential.

If we seize these new markets and become the model of an electrical and locally sustainable energy economy we will be far more likely to maintain our position as the greatest economy on Earth.

New industry leads to new advantages for the friends of America and exporting these types of corporate infrastructures will likely carry strong economic and political leverage.

Of course other issues matter but that’s only because we have enough energy to think that they matter. On that note I ask again.

Would McCain or Obama be the one to bring the most growth in our local energy infrastructure?

You have Obama a full believer in the environmental movement. There is nothing wrong with caring about the environment as long as it isn’t taken to extremes, and I see him taking it too the extreme.

And that in a negative on the energy front. He doesn’t really want any pumping of oil, no extraction of the shale, nor of the coal you speak of.

McCain is unfortunately taken in by the environmentalists too, but not barely as extreme, and at least he has the republicans to push him in the opposite direction, whereas Obama wants to cater to the environmentalists of the left.

Solar is nice, and I do believe it should be expanded, but it is still not there. If anything I can see solar panels being placed all over the place in inconspicuous places. The idea wouldn’t be to replace the power plants, but to complement them.

In fact most alternate energy sources are only of benefit for complementing current sources of energy. The only thing that seems to have the potential of replacing the power plants are the wind turbines.

But there are many people who complain that they do not look good. (I actually think they look kind of cool myself.) I have actually wondered why they haven’t covered them with solar panels though, adding to the energy output.

Anyway while all of this discussion is nice, there is only one solution. New-q-Ler. (Are people getting tired of me mentioning this?) Fission plants were supposed to be the next step in our energy evolution, and that has been delayed by the environmentalists putting us about 30 years behind the curve.

In this case it sounds like McCain is on board. And again I cannot see Obama doing anything to support Nuke power in support of the environmental left.

Regardless, there are technologies and advances that are just becoming viable, and we need to be aware that whoever becomes President will most likely take credit for those advances. Obama is better situated to accept credit.

Not only will the environmentalists give him credit, (that they would never give McCain,) the way his plan is set up will make it look like any advance is a result of his plan.

Because McCain would support more sources of energy, that immediately makes it superior.

And then Obama’s idea of giving $1,000 to most Americans from the pockets of oil companies. Who in their right mind thinks this is a good idea? Who does not expect the price at the pump to rise enough for them to make that money back in a year? (And stay there ala cigarette companies.)

[quote]Heliotrope wrote:
I am an independent and undecided. The coin toss of the two party system means I place very little concern on who wins and may just use a random action to dictate who I vote for on election day.

That said, my primary issue is who will increase domestic energy infrastructure the most.

At the end of eight years one of our two choices will have us with not just more energy but more local, sustainable, and dependable energy.

But the question is who?

I want to see us at the fore of the wide scale electric transportation revolution and also a great increase in our domestic coal as well as renewable electrical capacity.

Why should we have any higher priority of an issue than domestic energy and pioneering the electrical transportation revolution that is surely coming?

Amazingly even existing technology could supply our entire nations energy by tapping the electrical solar power of our wasteland South Western dessert.
[/quote]There are reasons we have localized power generation. Harnessing energy in unpopulated areas and trying to get it to populated areas is the issue.

[quote]
Don’t believe the uninformed doubters; the solar potential of the North American Desert, even with existing technology, is the wind fall of dreams.
[/quote] if this is true, we don’t need the POTUS to do anything.

[quote]
Shouldn’t we have the most incredible coal industry on the planet with the absolute cleanest, safest, and most abundant coal fired electricity on Earth? We are the Saudi Arabia of coal.
[/quote]Blame the environmentalists and state gov’t for this. MN won’t allow any more coal or nuclear. we are now building inefficient and and incredibly expensive natural gas. This doesn’t appear to be a fed issue. If you want coal and/or nuclear look no further than your local municipality and state gov’t.

[quote]
Shouldn’t we retrofit Detroit to build electric planes, trains, and automobiles and solar collectors and windmills as well? God knows GM hasn’t turned a profit in over a decade.
[/quote] they are all working on crazy shit already. no need to retrofit, just be patient.

[quote]
Shouldn’t we be the first nation to exploit the solar energy potential of a great continental desert? Doing so could even strengthen our presence and awareness on our border.

Bottom line is I want to see a dynamic creative approach to getting America motivated and at the front of the electrical transportation revolution and the race to see who will be the first to exploit a great continental desert for its solar potential.
[/quote] other problem with solar is storage. so storage and transportation are big issues to overcome. physics are not on our side on this one.

My opinion is that really all we need the fed to do is free up natural resourses, get rid of capital gains tax, and get rid of corporate tax. This alone would put us well on our way to alternative energy. Any other gov’t programs or subsidies will just be a disaster and put us even further behind. One look no further than ethenol.

Free up natural resourses - Hmmm…tax payer funding research for alternatives or the oil and gas we have in the ground funding research for alternatives? All of the oil companies have research programs that are already working on alternatives, including battery and electric for the auto industry. Some profit goes to research, some goes to investors that can or already are diversified in alternatives.

Get rid of capital gains tax - ok, this is a stretch. How about just get rid of capital gains tax for clean engery industries. Incent investors to invest in clean energy technologies. Again, doesn’t involve stealing from tax payers. Key here is not to cherry pick certain technologies.

Get rid of corporate tax - ok, even bigger stretch. Again, maybe just tax right off for research in alternatives or profits on alternatives. The best thing they could do is free up the entire economy but this is not going to happen.

Solar power on a mass generation scale is pissing in the ocean. It is much better suited for individual use such as water heaters and such.

Wind power is not as inefficient, but close.

A major problem with both is transmitting the power from the source to the end user.

I live in the center of the largest proposed wind turbine farms in the world. We can make the shit out of wind generated electricity, but there is no means by which to deliver the electricity to populated areas.

The State of Texas has just recently approved a massive transmission line from the the wind farms to the populated areas such as Dallas, Houston, and San Antone - but in doing so had to cut the proposed number of total wind turbines by about 30%.

Why? They can’t build a transmission line heavy enough to carry the loads that will be put on it by the power generated.

Solar would be even worse because of the massive amounts of land required for the panels.

The only viable alternative is nuclear. Period. Europe has been doing it for decades. Why is it safe for the French, but too risky for the US?

And no one has even mentioned compressed NG. You think coal is plentiful here? Do a little reading on just how massive our nat gas reserves are. If we could convert our IC engines to run on compressed NG - we would be 100% energy self sufficient. That means no imported oil. Period.

Solar is a feel good alternative, but will never be efficient enough to be practical, at least not in our life times.

Wind sounds really cool, but until there is some sort of technological break through - there is no way to store the power generated from wind turbines: you have to use the power as you make it because you can’t store it.

Nuclear and compressed NG are the answers if the real question is sustainable, efficient energy sources.

Heliotrope:

We MUST be long lost Brothers.

Also Independent and BECOMING decided with each passing day.

The biggest issue to me?

#1) ALSO energy independence

Let me throw this out. I think that EI is as much a National Security issue as it is Environmental.

Agree or disagree?

  1. Governmental Waste and Over Taxation

  2. Litigation Reform

  3. Health Care reform (that doesn’t leave out the opinions of those delivering the Healthcare).

RJ:

You didn’t mention electric transportation.

While an infrastructure will need to come on line to support it all, the technology, (as Heliotrope pointed out) is well within the grasp of American know how.

Is it a question of POLITICAL will now?

(THESE are the types of tough decisions that need to be made).

Mufasa

I’m not sure what to think about this issue. What’s Matt Damon’s take on it?

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I’m not sure what to think about this issue. What’s Matt Damon’s take on it?[/quote]

Well, I believe he mentioned a bad Disney movie, though Lion King was awesome. Hence, Matt Damon fully supports Mufasa’s view.

[quote]SouthernGypsy wrote:
Sloth wrote:
I’m not sure what to think about this issue. What’s Matt Damon’s take on it?

Well, I believe he mentioned a bad Disney movie, though Lion King was awesome. Hence, Matt Damon fully supports Mufasa’s view.[/quote]

A well reasoned arguement.

[quote]rainjack wrote:

Wind sounds really cool, but until there is some sort of technological break through - there is no way to store the power generated from wind turbines: you have to use the power as you make it because you can’t store it.

Nuclear and compressed NG are the answers if the real question is sustainable, efficient energy sources.
[/quote]

Technology break throughs for wind or solar is going to be tough, fighting against physics and all. Storage break-throughs are quite possible as we have already seen in battery technology, but transmission is bugger.

I really don’t see much that the fed can do outside of getting out of the way on alternatives. What really gets me is poeple (libs) thinking that we need comprehensive energy bills or policy. Sort of an all or nothing approach. First step is to free up natural resources and technology we have now. Alternatives are a completely different discussion and should be on a seperate bill.

I truly beleive the greatest efficiencies and opportunities are local. Home storage systems would be incredibly simple and the technology exists today. Home generation with solar is quite simple as well.

Either change or get rid of regulation of the ways energy companies can provide us energy. I can see one rate for off peak consumption and one for peak consumption. With intellegent home storage I can charge up during off peak and run off that storage during peak. This evens out and minimizes peak consumption and reduces my energy bill.

Generation and transmission are built (most of the time) to handle peak consumption. Most of the time the capacity in not needed, ie very innefficient. If you cut down the peaks and fill in the vallies you gain tremendous efficeincy

it also removes the obstical of storage for power companies wanting to use solar or wind.

I am really wanting to look into home storage technology and would probably invest significant amount of money in a company that had their shit together.

Coal-to-liquid is a good alternative to. You can turn coal into various liquids like gasoline and petroleum. The coal can actually be heated to the proper temperature by a nuclear reactor without any excess pollution. It’s still in its infancy though.

[quote]ab_power wrote:
Coal-to-liquid is a good alternative to. You can turn coal into various liquids like gasoline and petroleum. The coal can actually be heated to the proper temperature by a nuclear reactor without any excess pollution. It’s still in its infancy though. [/quote]

coal to oil is OLD technology. Sasol in South Africa has been doing it for decades. The problem is it hasn’t been cost effective to deploy on a wide scale. With gas prices sitting steadily above $3 though, you will see it increase.

A thread that has yet to fall into a screaming match? Both sides coming together?

Are you guys sure you’re all on the right site?

Regardless, I don’t know a lot about the subject so keep those opinions coming. This thread is gravy-research to me :smiley:

[quote]Ren wrote:
ab_power wrote:
Coal-to-liquid is a good alternative to. You can turn coal into various liquids like gasoline and petroleum. The coal can actually be heated to the proper temperature by a nuclear reactor without any excess pollution. It’s still in its infancy though.

coal to oil is OLD technology. Sasol in South Africa has been doing it for decades. The problem is it hasn’t been cost effective to deploy on a wide scale. With gas prices sitting steadily above $3 though, you will see it increase.[/quote]

I forgot about south africa. By infancy, I mean’t that not a lot of people seem to know/understand what it is and how it could work.

This is an awesome thread idea.

Also, an awesome possible discussion without crazy insults, ad hominems, and whining. That can’t be allowed to last.

Beowolf–

Fuck you you fucking fucker.

On a serious note, I really like this subject.

Wind-- I’m actually somewhat curious as to why they haven’t fitted the turbines with solar panels as well, but I think the transmission problem is a large part of that. If you have trouble transmitting the power, there’s no point in generating more of it if your lines can’t handle it.

On a related note, I was talking with my uncle a couple days ago. he’s a rancher, and knows some of the people pushing wind power in the great plains personally. Turns out that, at least in this area, transmission lines cost 1 million dollars a mile for wind power. The only way you can effectively pull wind power is if you’re near already present transmission lines because the cost gets prohibitive. This info is from a rancher he knows personally who leased his land out for turbines.

Anyway, I’m all for wind and solar power, but not until the technology is able to fix the storage problem. I view this as a fixable problem though. However, to do it we need incentives for companies to go for it. That I think works best if the gov’t DOESN’T start a regulated comprehensive energy policy but instead gives them tax incentives or other things to make them actually want to pour money into R&D.

Obama has the more sweeping ideas, McCain may end up not doing enough, but IMO I see Obama adding more red tape and wasting more money in the process of trying to get this end goal. I think less direct gov’t involvement is key here. Let the energy companies do their jobs in R&D through economic based incentives rather than direct gov’t meddling. This IMO McCain is better suited to do. Or at least mot meddle as MUCH as Obama would.

R&D is not something the gov’t does well. It works much better when they give incentives to other people to do it–look at the exploding biomedical field (not clinical, I’m talking basic biochem research). Competition is good for progress.

[quote]rainjack wrote:

And no one has even mentioned compressed NG…

[/quote]

RJ, I live in Colombia (South America) and a LOT of people here have converted their cars/trucks to Natural Gas. It’s about 1/3 the cost of gas here.

The only drawback to NG is that fuel efficiency is horrible in cold weather. Not sure if that problem can be fixed cheaply or soon.

Tell me if I’m mistaken; (Hell…this is the “Political” Forum! I’d be told I was wrong even if I was RIGHT!)

Anyway…

Isn’t McCain sort of following the “Picken’s Doctrine” in that he feels that there needs to be things done “transitionally” as we work toward newer technologies and ultimately energy independence?

Also; where does T. Boone fit politically in all this?

Mufasa

[quote]rainjack wrote:
Solar power on a mass generation scale is pissing in the ocean. It is much better suited for individual use such as water heaters and such.

Wind power is not as inefficient, but close.

A major problem with both is transmitting the power from the source to the end user.

I live in the center of the largest proposed wind turbine farms in the world. We can make the shit out of wind generated electricity, but there is no means by which to deliver the electricity to populated areas.

The State of Texas has just recently approved a massive transmission line from the the wind farms to the populated areas such as Dallas, Houston, and San Antone - but in doing so had to cut the proposed number of total wind turbines by about 30%.

Why? They can’t build a transmission line heavy enough to carry the loads that will be put on it by the power generated.

Solar would be even worse because of the massive amounts of land required for the panels.

The only viable alternative is nuclear. Period. Europe has been doing it for decades. Why is it safe for the French, but too risky for the US?

And no one has even mentioned compressed NG. You think coal is plentiful here? Do a little reading on just how massive our nat gas reserves are. If we could convert our IC engines to run on compressed NG - we would be 100% energy self sufficient. That means no imported oil. Period.

Solar is a feel good alternative, but will never be efficient enough to be practical, at least not in our life times.

Wind sounds really cool, but until there is some sort of technological break through - there is no way to store the power generated from wind turbines: you have to use the power as you make it because you can’t store it.

Nuclear and compressed NG are the answers if the real question is sustainable, efficient energy sources.
[/quote]

That sums it up.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
Tell me if I’m mistaken; (Hell…this is the “Political” Forum! I’d be told I was wrong even if I was RIGHT!)

Anyway…

Isn’t McCain sort of following the “Picken’s Doctrine” in that he feels that there needs to be things done “transitionally” as we work toward newer technologies and ultimately energy independence?

Also; where does T. Boone fit politically in all this?

Mufasa[/quote]

T.Boone is a greedy, self-serving piece of shit, who has done more to harm the energy situation in this country than he has to help it.

I’m not going to go into it to much, as I have posted about my opinion of that SOB in another thread - but he never says shit unless he is going to make money from it.

McCain on energy - http://www.ontheissues.org/John_McCain.htm#Energy_+_Oil

Obama on energy - http://www.ontheissues.org/Barack_Obama.htm#Energy_+_Oil

This site is a freakin’ politics gold mine!