Major media outlets report Japan is facing a nuclear disaster after last Friday's earthquake and tsunami damaged its Fukushima power plant in the town of Okuma. "Japan's nuclear situation nearing severity of Chernobyl," shrieks a CNN headline on Tuesday. Reuters warns, "Greed in the nuclear industry and corporate influence over the U.N. watchdog for atomic energy may doom Japan to a spreading nuclear disaster." Yet government officials and press releases from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) insist the situation is under control and poses no significant threat to public health.
Last May, as the president was trying to find any jobs saved or created by the hundreds of billions spent as part of the so-called Recovery act, Mr. Obama pointed to a solar panel production company in California as one of his “success” stories. In fact, Obama described Solyndra as a model for the whole future of the “green economy”: “The promise of clean energy isn’t just an article of faith... It’s not just some abstract possibility for science fiction movies or a distant future or 10 years down the road or 20 years, it’s happening right now. The future is here.”
On February 8 Vice President Joe Biden unveiled an Obama administration plan to spend $53 billion over the next six years to develop a high-speed passenger rail system that would link the nation’s larger cities. The proposed spending would be added to the $10.5 billion the administration has already spent on high-speed rail since Obama took office, including $8 billion poured into his 2009 “economic stimulus package.”
The federal policy of trying to reduce energy dependence through the use of ethanol runs counter to free-market economics. Increasing the use of ethanol will not reduce dependence upon foreign energy sources, according to a research paper published by the National Academy of Science, which concluded this about ethanol: "Neither can [it] replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies."
In yet another effort to “go green," a number of businesses in Orlando, Florida, have assigned priority parking — similar to handicapped parking – to drivers of hybrid vehicles.
Two summers ago, Americans were reeling over the exorbitant gas prices that averaged $4.50 per gallon. As gas prices are once again beginning to inch their way back to those numbers, former president of Shell oil John Hofmeister predicts that America will witness a continued rise to well over $5 per gallon in two years.
BrightSource Energy, headquartered in Oakland, California, is developing the $2 billion Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in the Mojave Desert — the first large-scale solar thermal project built in the Golden State in nearly two decades. Once constructed, it will be the largest in the world, possibly doubling the amount of U.S.-produced commercial solar thermal electricity.
Those of us who drive in the Midwest or Southwest are often startled to see a plethora of wind turbines sprouting like overnight mushrooms in an area we remember as farms or grazing lands. But unlike the fragile mushrooms that we kicked over when walking to school on spring mornings, these mushrooms have 700-ton concrete bases, are nearly 30 stories tall, and cost upwards of $3,570,000 each. What caused all this to happen since our last trip to the area? Who is footing the bill? And why?
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.”