Wednesday, May 5, 2010

William Tucker Reviews "Power Hungry"

William Tucker writing at The American Spectator has produced a useful review of Robert Bryce's book Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. Here's a sample of the many gems in this fact-filled work that show how so-called Green energy is wasteful and inefficient.
    • The concrete and steel requirements for windmills are 9.6 and 11.5 times as great as nuclear reactors and 32 and 139 times greater as natural gas plants. That is what makes wind so expensive.

    • Gasoline has eighty times the energy density of the lithium-ion battery, the latest in battery technology. Even old newspapers have thirty times the energy density of batteries. This makes the widespread use of electric vehicles unlikely.

    • Although Texas now leads the country in wind production, engineers at ERCOT, the state's grid operator, estimate windmill electricity is available only 9 percent of the time.

    • When measured on per-output basis, wind and solar energy get 15 times as much in federal subsidies as nuclear power.

    • A 1000-MW nuclear reactor produces only 20 cubic meters of waste annually, while in one year the U.S. coal industry produces 2,200 times as much solid waste as our nuclear fleet has produced in the last four decades. Yet nuclear waste considered the bigger problem.

The entire review is highly recommended, as is the article that brought it to my attention, Peter Ferrara's Keep the Lights On. [Update:] From Ferrara's article, just as one stellar example:
The South Texas Project nuclear plant produces 300 horsepower per acre of land used, about the same as natural gas, with oil close behind. Wind power produces 6.4 horsepower per acre, solar photovoltaic 36 hp per acre, biomass 2.1. Corn ethanol requires about 1,150 times as much land as nuclear to produce the same horsepower.
The conclusion is obvious: oil powers civilization in a cost-effective way. Might that not be the reason the Anti(s) oppose it?

[Update 2:] Vulcan's Hammer has an excellent post on the subject of the recent BP Oil Spill, keyed off a recent WSJ editorial and focusing on the issues of safety. Here's a sample:
When an airliner tragically crashes and kills everyone aboard, does anyone suggest that society should revert back to ocean liners to get from, let’s say, Boston to London? No. When there is a pile up of cars where passengers are killed, does anyone suggest that society revert to the alternative of horse and buggy? No. Accidents happen even in a perfect world and no reasonable person is going to revert to a lower standard of living because of the threat of the odd incident. So why is oil held to a different standard than other technologies?


VH said...

Hey Jeff,
Thanks for the plug:) I just got Bryce's book on my Kindle on Thursday and I'm already 1/3 of the way through it. It is a real eye-opener regarding "green" energy.

Ted Amadeus said...

Probably held to a different standard - or aught to be - because every million barrels we import from terrorism-sponsoring Saudi Arabia means American money in the hands of our enemies...
Or to bring it home for you, money in the hands of Israel's enemies!
With 500 years' supply of the stuff under our own soil, this makes all the sense of fried snowballs..."global(ist) economy" be damned.