Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nuclear Leaves Wind Power in the Dust?

clipped from

[T. Boone Pickens} tells us we now import almost 70% of our oil…that is costing us $700 billion a year, $7 trillion over the next ten years…World oil production has peaked at 85 million barrels a day while demand is still growing. Output may never go up again.” Sounds good but here comes the very simplistic part:

“We now produce 22% of our electricity with natural gas. I want to replace that 22% with wind energy and move the natural gas over to the transport sector where compressed natural gas can replace oil. That will lower our oil imports by 38%. The federal government says it’s possible. It’s right here in this study--`20% Wind Energy by 2030’ put out by the Department of Energy…”

The question I have is this: why isn’t he supporting nuclear power? Well, he tells us he is not happy about uranium supplies and costs. But he’s spending $10 billion on his 4,000 megawatt wind farm about the same as it would cost to build 4,000 MW of nuclear capacity. But when you bring windmills online it will mean building a entirely new cross-country transmission system,; transmitting electricity across the country or even halfway will mean we invest in a totally new infrastructure of 765 k V liknes to cover long distances without losing power. 8/12/2008


Curt said...

New infrastructure to transport electricity would be required whether we use nuclear or wind power, right? We would not build nuclear power plants near the markets, so they too would need to transport over long distances. Your argument against wind power is not valid.

Denis Drew said...

I don't know who is right or by how much. I just cut and pasted Tom's view as an interesting caveat -- in my experience so much what-should-be-obvious info never reaches the public. This therefore becomes another area to (slowly) explore.

I just got a Rand report on oil shale from Amazon in order to begin looking into that issue. I wonder why -- if our shale oil turns out to be reasonably accessible and our reserves supposedly out do Saudi Arabia -- why do projections run only 2-3 million barrels a day when in full swing? We really need a lot more that that if we are going to stop shipping container ships full of dollars overseas, at least by sometime a decade from now.