All the News That's Fit to be Tied

I have an axe to grind, but unlike the New York Times, I freely admit it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot Air from Boone Pickens

Boone Pickens the wealthy, self-proclaimed "oil man" is now claiming that we must switch from oil and use natural gas and wind power in order to be free from the our addiction to fossil fuel. His TV ad that features his down-to-earth Texas drawl and the implication that he has a solution is pleasant, reassuring, dishonest and absolute hogwash. Here's why. Natural gas is a by-product of oil and coal exploration and drilling. Except for cow farts and swamp gas, neither of which can be captured or harnessed in enough quantities to create an assured energy supply, the presence of natural gas occurs where there is oil or coal. So it seems rather silly to explore for oil and coal and then only use the smallest portion of the energy that is discovered in this process. Oil and coal are far more efficient than any alternative so far developed and that includes all bio-fuels including ethanol, switch grass, and whatever other crops can be converted into fuel. And while Pickens touts wind-power as an alternative he fails to say that all wind fields must be backed up by a fossil fuel facility equal to 90-percent of its electrical output to make up for the time when there is no wind, which is 70-percent of the time in most places on the earth. And finally, aside from the fact that pure battery power is not up to the task of providing the kind of output required for all our vehicles, charging those batteries will be done on the electrical grid, which will increase the output requirement of all of our electrical plants. In almost every case the use of fossil fuel is required to backup the alternative fuel silver bullet. We will not escape our need for oil and coal no matter what kind of advances we make in alternative fuel research. We will be using oil for at least the next fifty years, so the alternative fuel, anti-oil crowd has to get over itself and let America drill and produce oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear energy or we will find ourselves as destitute as a third world nation, while China and India pass us by using the same energy we disdain. Wake up or walk and be cold.