Picking at Pickens’ Plan

Have you heard? Oilman T Boone Pickens is not only committed to planting the world’s largest wind farm in the fertile soil of Texas. He is not only committed to working to stringing a meaningful electrical grid to move electricity from that wind farm to lush markets for harvesting serious profits. T Boone has a plan to save America (while making a bundle) and has committed some serious dough to convincing Americans that his plan is the path to a better future. T Boone restates forcefully what George W Bush said in the 2006 State of the Union address about America’s oil addiction. According to T Boone,

America is addicted to foreign oil.

It’s an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our daily lives and ties our hands as a nation and a people.

The addiction has worsened for decades and now it’s reached a point of crisis.

Here is one of the nation’s leading oil men, a fossil fuel fortune-maker, laying out quite clearly that America’s oil habit is centerpiece of risk for the nation in the years ahead. Is the addiction’s solution to be found in Newt’s Drill Here! Drill Now! Pay Less (a decade from now … maybe)? Not according to T Boone:

Can’t we just produce more oil?

World oil production peaked in 2005. Despite growing demand and an unprecedented increase in prices, oil production has fallen over the last three years. Oil is getting more expensive to produce, harder to find and there just isn’t enough of it to keep up with demand.

The simple truth is that cheap and easy oil is gone.

Maybe Newt and the Republicans should be listening to people who actually know at least something about energy?

Let us be absolutely clear: Legendary conservative oilman T. Boone Pickens says oil is a dead end!

Oil is dead, T Boone tells us (the US), what should we do?

T Boone Pickens isn’t stopping with defining a problem, he is outlining (forcefully) a proposed solution path. ThePickensPlan is a concept for reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, to carve into the $700 billion+ per year heading out of the United States to ensure top-offed McSUVs. As T Boone expresses it, “the largest transfer of wealth in human history.” The PickensPlan has a mixture of extremely good and important elements, and concepts that simply don’t comport with energy reality. Let’s take a brief look at some of this.

Centerpiece of this effort is green power and green jobs: a drive for moving wind from roughly 1% of the US electrical supply to 22% by 2020. Construction and maintenance jobs for rural America with cleaner electricity for all Americans. Connect this wind produced in the center of the nation to major urban markets with HVDC cables (much like the European TREC concept). What would it take to do this?

Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.

That’s a lot of money, but it’s a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it’s a bargain.

A true bargain and a vision which this author can share with T Boone.

The next stage of the vision, however, is more troubling.

T Boone makes a direct relationship between reaching 22% wind electricity with the 22% of electricity currently produced with natural gas turbines. For T Boone, the goal is to use the wind electricity to displace natural gas electricity to free up that natural gas for displacing petroleum currently used for transport. What’s the problem here? On first brush, multiple items jump out:

  • Natural gas is already a tight resource, already “peaked” like oil, which we could well likely have supply problems in the years ahead. Should we create / foster a new demand?
  • Natural gas and wind power are, in fact, complementary electricity sources at this time. Unless there is a major storage system (such as hydro storage), wind’s challenge is its intermittentcy, that the wind isn’t always blowing. Natural gas turbines can be turned on / off quickly to work as a partner with wind to support electrical demand.
  • This plan seems to ignore one of the most fruitful paths to cut into America’s oil addiction: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and moving transport to electricity. Why not use that wind generated electricity to directly fuel America’s ever-more electrified transport sector?
  • Natural gas is simply too useful and expensive to squander [in transport].

Okay, T Boone, I’m ready for this conversation. I can go a long with you in defining the problem. I see the value and importance of planting turbines and harvesting the wind for decades to come. But, you’ve lost me when it comes to natural gas.

With all of your investment in outreach, advertising and fancy website, something is truly impressive on first brush: the Forum looks truly open to real conversations, supportive and critical of your ideas. Eric raises the question of your role in the Swift Boating of John Kerry (with 94 comments last that I checked). Tim Martin demonstrates how partisanship can led to denial of reality as he calls on T Boone to Quit Drinking the Kool Aid from the Liberal Media spinning many of the classic fantasies and truthiness of those caught within the first stage of denial. And, so on … Over 160 posts, many with 10s and some with 100s of comments, as of this writing. A hat tip, Mr Pickens, for embracing the new media to such a degree that you’ve opened your website to such an open and strong debate.

To return to T Boone’s own words

I’m T Boone Pickens. I’ve been an oilman all my life. But this is one emergency that we can’t drill our way out of.

This is a serious problem that requires serious solutions. While not in accord with the natural gas portion of T Boone’s vision, he is bringing much of value to national attention. And, I fully agree with him:

It’s our crisis. And, we can solve it.

15 responses to “Picking at Pickens’ Plan

  1. T. Boone Pickens is in the wind industry for one reason. Cash
    Your cash-taxpayer cash. Out of your pocket and into his.

    Google Enron,Al Gore,Maurice Strong and Bill Clinton to get a better handle on the scam.

    Enron is gone but the scam just keeps on rolling along.

    What is your reward?
    High energy prices and jobs headed to China and India.
    Oil and electrical energy are two different subjects.
    Oil delivers the products, electricity produces them.

    T. Boone Pickens was just on a TV ad. He says he has a plan.
    Picken your pockets. He just found a way to make money that’s easier than oil. lol

    http://www.windfarms.wordpress.com

    Enjoy the day

  2. AtomCat — Your anti-wind, global warming denying, diatribes are getting more than tiresome …

    By the way, electrification of transport is to give that option to move away from oil. Or, are you happy exporting $100s of billions every year to fill gas tanks. (And, don’t tell me “drill” — that won’t touch the problem for a decade.)

  3. Maybe you should try and find someone other than assholes to run the country.
    How did this oil problem steak up and bite you on the ass without anyone noticing.

    The only thing I’m anti- is Stupidity

    I swear the public wakes up each morning and enjoys a big bowl of Stupid.

  4. There is a new world wide web emerging right before our eyes. It is a global energy network and, like the internet, it will change our culture, society and how we do business. More importantly, it will alter how we use, transform and exchange energy. If you don’t believe it, check this out: http://www.terrawatts.com/azeri.html

  5. John W. Stone

    Dear Sir

    I do like your plan fir the use of wind power, I hope the next President of American backs it.

    I would like to know if it is feasible for me to try to install and operate windmills on and around my property?

    Thanks you for assistant.

    John W. Stone

  6. Arthur A. Nussberger

    The following is information for T Boone Pickings to consider in his energy plan. More information on the subject can be found in my book Solar “Energy Systems” www. Xlibris.com. I would be happy to provide a copy upon request. Thank you for your concern about our energy crisis.

    Aggressive Use of Technology 2,074 Gigawatt Solar Array Power Plant
    By
    Arthur A. Nussberger
    MSME USC
    Retired Aerospace Engineer

    There was a time when we believed that our country could accomplish most anything. After all, we completed construction of the Panama Canal, built the Hoover Dam and we landed men on the moon. The “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” taken by Neil Armstrong in July 1969, helped convince us that nothing is impossible. In 1968 Dr. Peter Glaser, (Arthur D. Little, Inc) described a concept for a series of Solar Power Satellites (SPS) each delivering 5 Gigawatts at the utility interface over twice the power output of the Hoover Dam. A satellite located in a 24-hour geosynchronous orbit (GEO) collects solar energy and converts the solar energy to electrical power using large photovoltaic arrays. The electrical power is transformed to microwave RF energy and beamed to a receiving antenna (rectenna) on the ground. The ground rectenna converts the RF energy to electrical power and the power is fed into the utility grid for distribution. In the 1970’s many believed that a significant amount of the world’s electrical power demand could be met by power generated in space. The international community was excited about the prospects of a new clean non-polluting electrical power plant of the SPS size. Many experts in the United States seriously believed it possible to build 30 Solar Power Satellites in space by the year 2005 and deliver 150 Gigawatts (150, 000 megawatts) to the ground.

    From 1976 to 1980, a study program was funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) to evaluate the technical and economical feasibility of building such large satellites in space. NASA was responsible for the technical effort and funded studies by both Rockwell International and Boeing. Preliminary design concepts of large solar cell arrays in GEO were fully evaluated. In late 1980, after a National Academy of Science (NAS) review the SPS program was shelved because of technical and economic uncertainties. However, a NASA sponsored “peer” group of experts concluded that the solar array and power management portions of the SPS concept were feasible and they found no major problems that couldn’t be solved.

    Why not develop the SPS solar array design and install it here on earth on desert property where sunlight is plentiful? Modularity of design would permit it to be duplicated anywhere in the world. Many potential sites exist including our southwestern states. Development and construction of such a large solar array for terrestrial use would create thousands of needed jobs, e.g., design and development, material mining, construction, qualification testing, quality assurance, installation, operations, maintenance, and power distribution. An end result would be continued technical superiority for the United States.

    The SPS solar array design is an advanced concept consisting of an inverted Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)/sapphire configuration solar cell. The active GaAs cell region (n and p) is designed to be only 5 microns in thickness and mass manufactured by chemically depositing gallium arsenide onto a thin 20-micron transparent single crystal sapphire ribbon as both substrate and cover glass. The cell stack is then mounted on a 25-micron kapton blanket. Replacing silicon solar cells with gallium arsenide cells significantly improves the efficiency of the system and permits higher operating temperatures favoring the use of low cost reflectors to reduce the requirements for expensive solar cells. In the initial solar array design-sacrificing performance would permit the use of conventional silicon solar cells. The concentration ratio in the SPS design is a geometric ratio of 2:1 with the potential of increasing to 8:1.

    Design trade studies, cost estimates, preliminary design concepts, and a ground based exploratory development (GBED) plan exist including specific tasks for development of the GaAs solar cell. A ground operating SPS solar array power plant would validate the solar array design and make it likely that a space system could be achieved in GEO. Sunlight is available continuously in GEO and about 75% more available then the highest average daily solar insolation on the earth (32.76 kwhrs/sq/meter/day compared to 7.66 kwhrs/sq.meter/day). A portion of the array power could be used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis for mass distribution, a first step towards a hydrogen economy.

    Past achievements of the United States are nearly endless giving us a reason to be proud of our country and resulting in tremendous benefits to the United States and all mankind. The United States finished building the Panama Canal in 1914, one of the largest construction projects in history. The Panama Canal was built in 34 years from initial effort in 1880.The canal is 51 miles in length and required over 80,000 persons working on its construction and 4,535,000 Kg of dynamite every year with peak excavation in the first 3 months of 1907 exceeding 512,000 cubic meters of rock and soil. The United States expended a total of $353 million. The canal has been profitable and successful for over 100 years. More than 800,000 ships have used the canal.

    The Hoover Dam construction started in 1933 and was completed in 1936. Hoover Dam is one of the largest in the world and measures a height of 726.4 feet and a thickness of 660 feet at its base and required 4.36 million yards of concrete. The Hoover Dam cost the U. S. government $44 million (adjusted for inflation $676 million). For over 70 years it has delivered approximately 2,074 megawatts of continuous power with about 56% of the power transmitted to California a distance of about 266 miles. Power from the dam sustains Las Vegas as one of the most exciting cities in the world.

    The Apollo objective of safely landing a man on the moon was accomplished in 8 years (President Kennedy’s announcement on May 25 1961 to Neil Armstrong’s setting foot on the moon July 20, 1969). For eight years the Apollo Program required 500,000 workers directly and another 2.5 million in support jobs. The Untied States spent 6% of its yearly national budget to accomplish the moon program. As a result the United States is the uncontested technological leader of the world in a technology revolution that we are still witnessing.

    Drawing a comparison to the Hoover Dam project, the mass of an SPS solar cell array (to deliver 5,000 megawatts) was calculated to be 8.08 million kilograms (8,080 metric tons). The SPS system required about 6500 acres of solar cells and a projected total planar area of 15,590 acres. Capital investment costs for an SPS were estimated to range from $1458 to $3000 per kilowatt of delivered power. The solar array was estimated to be 43.4% of the total SPS cost and for a comparable size to the Hoover Dam (2074 megawatts) cost estimates range between $3.02 billion and $6.2 billion. It is expected that the Government would fund the advanced technology and development and that the Utility companies would fund recurring capital costs. Utility companies would recover their investment costs from electric power users. The space solar array power system once built and operating as a ground power plant could provide electrical power for 70 years or more, duplicating the Hoover Dam lifetime.

    If we want to seriously consider building 5 Gigawatt (5,000 megawatts) SPS systems in space why not start by building large SPS type solar arrays (non-polluting renewable energy) for use in ground power generating plants?

    The End

  7. There is a public Forum for discussions about Pickens plan :
    http://www.pickensenergyplan.com
    Cheers.

  8. Scotty — It looks to me that you didn’t bother to read the post as I explicitly discuss (and praise) the existence of the forum.

  9. My June 12 blog commentary discussed the Pickens Pampa Wind Project … and I am glad that Pickens has taken to radio, TV etc. to educate people and promote his investment. ATOMCAT should note that Pickens has already placed his money into the project even though the Senate has not addressed whether it will renew the existing renewable energy tax credit. All it will take is one more vote to end the cloture … and if John McCain would show up (he hasn’t voted since April 8th missing 78 votes) and tell voters how he feels. After all, on May 12th , he spoke at Vestas Wind Technology wind power will bring America closer to energy independence . Right now, the wind energy business is standing still — orders pending but waiting to hear what the tax rules will be.
    But that really is the problem, too many politicians are jumping on the drill bandwagon, without telling voters that it will be a decade before some of that oil is extracted and refined … and then those wells will run dry. Drilling may be a short term band-aid but a long term solution has to include more efficient products producing an overall reduction in consumption.

  10. arthur a. nussberger

    The following concept is a suggested step in Pickens1 plan.

    Aggressive Use of Technology 2,074 Gigawatt Solar Array Power Plant
    By
    Arthur A. Nussberger
    MSME USC
    Retired Aerospace Engineer

    There was a time when we believed that our country could accomplish most anything. After all, we completed construction of the Panama Canal, built the Hoover Dam and we landed men on the moon. The “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” taken by Neil Armstrong in July 1969, helped convince us that nothing is impossible. In 1968 Dr. Peter Glaser, (Arthur D. Little, Inc) described a concept for a series of Solar Power Satellites (SPS) each delivering 5 Gigawatts at the utility interface over twice the power output of the Hoover Dam. A satellite located in a 24-hour geosynchronous orbit (GEO) collects solar energy and converts the solar energy to electrical power using large photovoltaic arrays. The electrical power is transformed to microwave RF energy and beamed to a receiving antenna (rectenna) on the ground. The ground rectenna converts the RF energy to electrical power and the power is fed into the utility grid for distribution. In the 1970’s many believed that a significant amount of the world’s electrical power demand could be met by power generated in space. The international community was excited about the prospects of a new clean non-polluting electrical power plant of the SPS size. Many experts in the United States seriously believed it possible to build 30 Solar Power Satellites in space by the year 2005 and deliver 150 Gigawatts (150, 000 megawatts) to the ground.

    From 1976 to 1980, a study program was funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) to evaluate the technical and economical feasibility of building such large satellites in space. NASA was responsible for the technical effort and funded studies by both Rockwell International and Boeing. Preliminary design concepts of large solar cell arrays in GEO were fully evaluated. In late 1980, after a National Academy of Science (NAS) review the SPS program was shelved because of technical and economic uncertainties. However, a NASA sponsored “peer” group of experts concluded that the solar array and power management portions of the SPS concept were feasible and they found no major problems that couldn’t be solved.

    Why not develop the SPS solar array design and install it here on earth on desert property where sunlight is plentiful? Modularity of design would permit it to be duplicated anywhere in the world. Many potential sites exist including our southwestern states. Development and construction of such a large solar array for terrestrial use would create thousands of needed jobs, e.g., design and development, material mining, construction, qualification testing, quality assurance, installation, operations, maintenance, and power distribution. An end result would be continued technical superiority for the United States.

    The SPS solar array design is an advanced concept consisting of an inverted Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)/sapphire configuration solar cell. The active GaAs cell region (n and p) is designed to be only 5 microns in thickness and mass manufactured by chemically depositing gallium arsenide onto a thin 20-micron transparent single crystal sapphire ribbon as both substrate and cover glass. The cell stack is then mounted on a 25-micron kapton blanket. Replacing silicon solar cells with gallium arsenide cells significantly improves the efficiency of the system and permits higher operating temperatures favoring the use of low cost reflectors to reduce the requirements for expensive solar cells. In the initial solar array design-sacrificing performance would permit the use of conventional silicon solar cells. The concentration ratio in the SPS design is a geometric ratio of 2:1 with the potential of increasing to 8:1.

    Design trade studies, cost estimates, preliminary design concepts, and a ground based exploratory development (GBED) plan exist including specific tasks for development of the GaAs solar cell. A ground operating SPS solar array power plant would validate the solar array design and make it likely that a space system could be achieved in GEO. Sunlight is available continuously in GEO and about 75% more available then the highest average daily solar insolation on the earth (32.76 kwhrs/sq/meter/day compared to 7.66 kwhrs/sq.meter/day). A portion of the array power could be used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis for mass distribution, a first step towards a hydrogen economy.

    Past achievements of the United States are nearly endless giving us a reason to be proud of our country and resulting in tremendous benefits to the United States and all mankind. The United States finished building the Panama Canal in 1914, one of the largest construction projects in history. The Panama Canal was built in 34 years from initial effort in 1880.The canal is 51 miles in length and required over 80,000 persons working on its construction and 4,535,000 Kg of dynamite every year with peak excavation in the first 3 months of 1907 exceeding 512,000 cubic meters of rock and soil. The United States expended a total of $353 million. The canal has been profitable and successful for over 100 years. More than 800,000 ships have used the canal.

    The Hoover Dam construction started in 1933 and was completed in 1936. Hoover Dam is one of the largest in the world and measures a height of 726.4 feet and a thickness of 660 feet at its base and required 4.36 million yards of concrete. The Hoover Dam cost the U. S. government $44 million (adjusted for inflation $676 million). For over 70 years it has delivered approximately 2,074 megawatts of continuous power with about 56% of the power transmitted to California a distance of about 266 miles. Power from the dam sustains Las Vegas as one of the most exciting cities in the world.

    The Apollo objective of safely landing a man on the moon was accomplished in 8 years (President Kennedy’s announcement on May 25 1961 to Neil Armstrong’s setting foot on the moon July 20, 1969). For eight years the Apollo Program required 500,000 workers directly and another 2.5 million in support jobs. The Untied States spent 6% of its yearly national budget to accomplish the moon program. As a result the United States is the uncontested technological leader of the world in a technology revolution that we are still witnessing.

    Drawing a comparison to the Hoover Dam project, the mass of an SPS solar cell array (to deliver 5,000 megawatts) was calculated to be 8.08 million kilograms (8,080 metric tons). The SPS system required about 6500 acres of solar cells and a projected total planar area of 15,590 acres. Capital investment costs for an SPS were estimated to range from $1458 to $3000 per kilowatt of delivered power. The solar array was estimated to be 43.4% of the total SPS cost and for a comparable size to the Hoover Dam (2074 megawatts) cost estimates range between $3.02 billion and $6.2 billion. It is expected that the Government would fund the advanced technology and development and that the Utility companies would fund recurring capital costs. Utility companies would recover their investment costs from electric power users. The space solar array power system once built and operating as a ground power plant could provide electrical power for 70 years or more, duplicating the Hoover Dam lifetime.

    If we want to seriously consider building 5 Gigawatt (5,000 megawatts) SPS systems in space why not start by building large SPS type solar arrays (non-polluting renewable energy) for use in ground power generating plants?

    The End

  11. FYI : July 13 : “Fox News Sunday” features T. Boone Pickens to discuss his new plan for energy independence.
    Shown on local television at various times and repeated on Fox News Channel.

  12. Even if we can produce the power, how do we transmit it over our existing, worn-out, AC grid? There are serious problems with line resistance in transmitting DC power. This is why the original grid was established as high voltage AC with step-up transformers at generating stations and step-down transformers at usage points. Any system that produces power, whether it be natural gas, photovoltaic or wind, must be adaptable to the AC grid.

    However, if we make the choice to convert our railroads over to DC overhead catenary power, we could use the new power sources to run our trains and use whatever is left over to charge batteries for commuter vehicles.

  13. arthur a. nussberger

    STIMULUS BILL

    It doesn’t take a brilliant President/Congress to spend billions or trillions of dollars but can it be spent wisely? This huge deficient spending will seriously affect the future of the United States. The money must be paid back at some future date and it is imperative that the money be spent on programs that both create jobs and returns money to the economy. We should examine past government investments that worked. For example, the government funded the development of the Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). These satellites were designed in 1974 and the U. S. Air Force officially declared GPS satellite constellation full operational capability as of April 27, 1995.Over the years many applications were found for the navigation data resulting in commercial ventures that created thousands of jobs and provided benefits to millions of people and in the process poured billions of dollars back into our economy.
    The United States has one major resource left and that is its abundant source of energy. The United States has in excess of 100 billion barrels of oil located offshore and in the Artic National Wild Life Refuge In addition it has about 2 trillion barrels of oil shell (70% of the world’s oil shell) and about 270 billion short tons of coal (27% of the world’s coal reserves). The United States also has an estimated 200,000 trillion cubit feet of methane hydrate in its ocean bottoms waiting to be developed. Note: methane makes up 70-90% of natural gas. Even at today’s prices these resources are worth upwards of 150 trillion dollars. Many experts predict that today’s oil price of $50 a barrel will be back to $140-$150 a barrel by next year. We need this energy money to be brought into our economy, create jobs and help fund our long term government commitments.
    An Apollo Program approach to developing these resources has been talked about. The United States committed 6% of its national budget for eight years to accomplish the moon landing The funding accomplished far more than landing men on the moon. As a result of money invested in the Apollo Program our space program’s infrastructure was developed. The money spent paid for the development not only of the space craft and booster hardware but for the launch facilities, command and control centers, ground handling and operations support, system engineering tools, spacecraft system technologies, test and verification hardware, trajectory analysis, recovery systems, etc. These developments permitted and accelerated advancements in other areas of space effort such as communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, etc. Without the infra structure the remaining space elements might not have been developed and it is doubtful that we would be enjoying today’s benefits of our technology revolution, e.g. , cell phones, internet services, personal computers, direct television channels, digital cameras, and DVD’s
    A government energy plan has to look further than solar, wind, nuclear, and bio mass. It needs to include adequate funding to develop oil and natural gas energy reserves. An Apollo Program approach would mean committing 6% of the stimulus package money to energy development , i.e., about $60 billion dollars. Road and infra structure projects are important but can wait if necessary but achieving energy independence is a matter of national security and it can not wait.

  14. Arthur,

    Your comment is a mix of fantasy and reckless endangerment.

    “The United States has one major resource left and that is its abundant source of energy. ” Okay, when it comes to oil, the US has about 2-3% of the world’s reserves and uses over 20% of world demand. If we could, magically, pump it all up at once, how long does it last? … That’s a trick question, answer should be in 10s of months, not 10s of years. E.g., it doesn’t last long.

    Second, you obviously don’t count breathable air and a livable planet among items worth paying attention to. Digging up & burning all that coal (along with thus encouraging Chinese to do same) dooms the livability of the planet for any semblance of ‘civilization as we know it’.

    Third, you are not concerned about resource constraints — breathable air and otherwise. Where does all the water come from for oil shale / oil sands?

    Etc …

    “A government energy plan [certainly needs] to look further than solar, wind, nuclear, and biomass.” There is geothermal, ocean (tidal, wave, OTEC), hydro (of all types), kinectic … More importantly, it must work on energy efficiency, as the nega-gallons and nega-watts are the energy resource that we can develop fastest, at lowest cost, and with indefinite value.

    Again, your paragraphs lay out an inane concept of where our energy policy should go … a siren’s call for disaster.

    For discussion of stimulus requirements, see: http://getenergysmartnow.com

  15. arthur a. nussberger

    To A Siegal Sorry for delay ….

    Your reply to my comments show either a lack of understanding or a simplistic and obtuse interpretation. Let me answer your reply point by point.

    1. How long will our reserves of oil last? Indefinitely if we use a common sense system approach.
    2. Digging up and burning coal will affect breathable air quality. My proposals will not pose a problem to breathable air quality since it is to develop clean coal technology to produce high temperature gases for use in doubling electric power plant conversion efficiency and thereby improve breathable air quality.
    3. Encouraging China to burn more coal by our example is a simplistic idea. President Carter tried something similar by setting an example by reducing our arms, it only encouraged the Soviets to take advantage and speed up their arms buildup. China doesn’t appear to be influenced or give a dam by any example we set!
    5. Water resources are scarce but only because of the lack of a nation wide water distribution system. We are committed to a $780 billion dollar stimulus that appears to be going no where, why not use part of that money to build a national water distribution network and help solve our water problem?

    The United States oil reserves:

    We have an abundance of energy supplies consisting of oil. natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, coal, nuclear, etc. The question is how to best explore and develop these sources of energy? Consider the following:

    Off Shore Drilling: The federal government estimates that the U.S. continental shelf holds 85.9 billion barrels of crude oil including 10.13 billion barrels off California. Using these reserves at a conservative two million barrels per day these reserves would last 117.5 years.

    Artic National Wild Life Refuge: Department of Energy estimates ANWR contains up to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil and that there exists the potential for a major oil find. Exploring and using this reserve at a conservative one million barrels per day, these reserves would last 43.8 years.

    Oil Shale: The Department of Energy estimates oil shale reserves beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are 2 trillion barrels of oil, an estimated 70% of the world’s known oil reserves. The potential exists for oil extraction of one billion barrels per square mile. Production at a conservative rate of two million barrels per day, these reserves would last 2739.5 years. Canada already produces over one million barrels of oil per day from its tar oil reserves.

    The Use of Clean Coal:

    Coal gasification: The U.S. has 27% of the world’s coal reserves, 270 billion short tons of recoverable coal. The current production is about 1,123 million short tons of coal mined each year. By mining an additional 120 million short tons we could produce 1 million barrel of synthetic oil per day. At this rate our coal reserves would last over 200 years.

    Coal fired electric power plants: Typical coal fired power plants, 51% of our electricity generated, operate at about 33% efficiency. One of the most viable and clean ways to convert coal into electricity is to combine the hot gases resulting from clean coal gasification with a low temperature steam Rankine cycle. The waste heat from the high temperature cycle would be used to power a conventional low temperature steam cycle to double the overall conversion efficiency. If all current coal fired power plants were retrofitted the U.S. could save the equivalent of 4.85 million barrels of oil per day. This is not a new or revolutionary energy conversion concept, all commercial airplanes use an open cycle Brayton jet engine and the cascaded conversion concept was proposed in 1972 for potential use in our permanently manned space station.

    Bio fuel and natural gas:

    Bio fuel: The potential exists for bio fuel to displace 30% of current U.S. petroleum consumption. Switch grass can be converted to ethanol at a production rate of 540% more energy extracted than needed to grow, harvest and process according to researchers at University of Nebraska.

    Natural gas: There is about1485 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the U.S> known reserves. The recent Louisiana discovered deposit added an additional 250 trillion cubit feet. Federal government estimates that the sea floor in the continental shelf holds an additional 4199 trillion cubit feet. The current U.S. consumes is about 24 trillion cubit feet each year. Substituting 5.6 trillion cubit feet of natural gas as fuel for automobiles could save one million barrel of oil each day. Advanced technology is needed to tap into an estimated 200,000 trillion cubic feet of methane hydride deposits in our ocean floors. Methane is the primary component of natural gas, making up 70% to 90% of natural gas.

    Improving Energy Efficiency:

    Passenger cars in the U.S. consume at least 5 million barrels of oil daily. The thermodynamic efficiency limit for current automobile engines is about 37% and most engines achieve 20 to 25% efficiency. To conserve oil usage it is obvious that we need a greater efficiency engine. A hydrogen fuel cell operating efficiency is as high as 60%, and a fuel cell hydrogen engine offers 35 to 50% conversion efficiency. Fuel cells are proven and are used in our manned space program. The astronauts (Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle) relied on fuel cells to power their spacecraft and provide water for drinking and thermal control. Improving automobile engine efficiency has the potential to save over 2 million barrels of oil each day.

    Solar and Renewable Energy:

    The most efficient use of solar energy is to generate electrical power in space and beam it down to earth. The benefits from space is that the sun’s energy is available continuously and greater than 4 times more abundant than the highest average daily solar insolation on earth (32.76 Kwhrs/sq.meter/day compared to 7.6 Kwhrs/sq.meter/day). Satellite Power System concepts to generate about 25% of our electricity have been evaluated by NASA and industry. A major industry peer group review (August 1978) concluded that there was no identifiable insurmountable power conversion barriers that should deter or delay early verification of Satellite Power Systems for future production of electrical power.

    Most of the electrical power generated in this country is by coal (51%), natural gas (17%), nuclear (21%), hydroelectric and renewable energy (9%), and oil (2%). A way to use solar and wind energy to reduce oil consumption is to use of renewable energy in place of natural gas in electrical power generation and use the replaced natural gas as fuel for automobiles. A more direct use of solar energy is in residential end commercial buildings providing heating, cooling, and hot water. These requirements accounts for about 10% of our total energy consumption.

    Summary

    The United States consumes about 20 million barrels of oil each day and imports roughly 70% of its oil at a cost of billions of dollars. These dollars would be better spent in the United States to create jobs and rescue our economy. It is obvious that burning our own oil will not make things worst for the environment than burning imported oil. No one expects, in the near term, that the United States will be able to replace all its imported oil. But it is feasible that a major portion of imported oil could be replaced with oil produced in this country by drilling and application of advanced developments and new technology. The government objects to offshore drilling but is currently providing billions of dollars to the Brazilians government to drill and explore their recently discovered off shore oil deposits. We encourage Brazil to explore offshore oil drilling and gain the economic advantages for their economy but discourage off shore drilling in this country which could help restore a sick economy.

    A realistic system engineered energy plan for the nation could easily have the potential to replace 7 million barrels of imported oil daily and save another 8 million barrels of oil from being consumed by use of advanced developments and new technology. The potential also exists for generating 25% of our electrical power in space and beaming it down to earth and integrating into our power grid.

    The Science and Astronomic committee in the United States House of Representatives (!972) stated that “ the ,most promising area for the application of solar energy within the next 10-15 years, on a scale sufficient to yield measurable relief from the increasing demands upon fossil fuels and other conventional energy sources, is the use of solar energy for space heating, air conditioning, and water heating in buildings”.

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