According to the 2009 Energy Information Agency Report on Electricity Generation, wind power provided 70.8 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) out of the U.S. total of 3,953 billion kWh. Why, it must be asked, does wind power equal only 1.79 percent of the generated power when over the past 30 years seemingly every political speech has contained the phrase “wind, solar, or other renewables” as the solution to our energy problems?
As America struggles with expensive energy provided by foreign nations without our best interests at heart, West Virginians must wonder why. America is rich in coal, a resource that could supply our nation’s energy needs for the foreseeable future. West Virginia, in particular, has a vast abundance of this safe and proven energy source. Moreover, West Virginians, who face serious problems with unemployment, are ready to do the productive and important work of bringing that coal to market in America.
Interview of Art Crino by Rebecca Terrell
Controversy over rising demands for “clean energy” and costs associated with it has made finding “alternative energy sources” a priority on Capitol Hill. The New American sat down with an expert in power-generation technology to discuss why nuclear is the safest, most efficient answer to the so-called “energy crisis.”
Last month, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) unveiled their “American Power Act,” custom-tailored to President Obama’s plans to set up quotas for industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with total allowable emissions reduced over time. Better known as cap and trade, the bill is an updated version of S. 1733, companion legislation to the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill, H.R. 2454. Kerry’s official home page brags that the new bill “puts America back in control of our own power generation, starts to clean up the carbon pollution that threatens our climate stability, and puts us on the path to a new, cleaner and more prosperous economy for the 21st Century.”
Hardly a stump speech goes by without a political candidate calling for “more renewable sources of energy such as wind or solar” to either stop our dependence on foreign oil or to slow the CO2 emissions that mean certain doom for our planet. The politicians are doing what most politicians do: spewing rhetoric that they know voters want to hear; proposing programs they know little or nothing about.
At the site of the worst oil rig disaster in almost a decade, oil continued leaking nearly a mile underwater as of April 25. The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast as it was capping a discovery well pending production, company officials said. Eleven workers on board at the time remain missing and are presumed dead; 115 were rescued.
Polls consistently show that Americans think well of obtaining electrical power from the sun. It’s free, and there’s so much of it. All we have to do is capture a tiny fraction of what falls on Earth, and our energy needs are met. Or so the story goes.
President Obama is opening limited areas on the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Alaska to offshore drilling in a supposed effort to help end the nation's dependence on foreign oil. So why aren't drilling proponents excited about it? It seems it amounts to more of a slap in the face than a positive step forward.
I was there. I ought to know. I served as editor-in-chief of NASA’s newspaper at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, for two critical years — my “reward,” as it were, for having researched and penned what turned out to be a definitive paper entitled “Alternatives to an Energy Crisis” at the height of our nation’s first energy crisis during the Carter Administration in 1976. Long gas lines, shortages and a newly invoked “oil weapon” generated by the twelve (mainly hostile) nations that constitute the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), were the opening salvos in a war against the free world, announcing to the United States, in particular, that henceforth it would be entities in the Middle East and South America that determined whether everybody’s toast popped up in the morning and whether the oven came on at dinnertime.
Klamath Falls, Oregon, uses geothermal power to meet many of the needs of the town. Hot rocks and geysers keep the sidewalks warm in winter, heat downtown buildings, light the college campus, and warm greenhouses. On the surface, it sounds like a perfect example of how geothermal power — and perhaps other green power sources — can power America.
Could you imagine a laptop battery that lasted for 500 hours? How about an electric car that boasts a range many times that of a gasoline vehicle? For that matter, think about environmental sensors that could be scattered into the air like dust and collect data. While the last thing might not exactly be what you want for Christmas, a breakthrough in energy production made by MIT researchers could make such technology a reality during the next few years.