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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Enviromental Idiots

Anne Applebaum has a great column today on the enviromental movement, and a group that a power company exec called the "BANANAism" movement.

BANANA is short for "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything", and really is becoming the actual cause for many of our energy problems. Congress and the President can talk about anything they'd like, from Alaskan oil drilling, to new, more efficient nuclear power plants, but the BANANA crowd, along with their cousins, the NIMBY family will prevent it.

A good example, a few years back when WE Energy was trying to get two new clean coal plants licensed near Milwaukee, all the enviromental groups were out screaming about black lung disease and acid rain. They wanted WE to build natural gas fired plants instead.

Economically it would have been a non-starter, for the size of the plants natural gas isn't efficient enough a heat source. It's great for small peaker plants, but for major plants it's a problem, but that isn't my point.

At the same time these groups were showing up at public hearing to demand WE Energy use natural gas, other chapters were suing to stop a new natural gas pipeline, and a LNG (liquified natural gas) terminal. The ultimate in wanting it both ways.

That's the problem with the environmental movement, they want cleaner energy, but they want it free, and that's not going to happen. To make ethanol, switchgrass, corn or sugar beets are going to have to be grown. To reduce coal use efficiently will require more nuclear power plants, or other electric generating facilities that are efficient enough to make it economically feasible.

When we talk about a "hydrogen based economy" the hydrogen has to come from somewhere. Hydrogen is a naturally occuring substance, number 1 on the periodic table, but not available alone, it has to be broken free from other elements.

Right now about 90% of it from natural gas, which we don't want anymore pipelines or terminals to deliver. Water can be a great source of hydrogen through electrolysis, using electricity to split the hydrogen from the oxygen. The only problem is it's a net energy loser, costing more to make that you recover from the process, in fact the best efficiency rating for the process is 45%, at an experimental Dept. of Energy plant that uses a nuclear reactor to heat the water, and provide the electricity.

One of the big "green ideas" for producing hydrogen is using wind and solar to provide heat and electricity to more efficiently "crack" seawater for the process. Just imagine that you want to buy some land on one of our coastal areas to build a 100 acre solar and wind plant. Since you'd need a lot of sunshine, southern California would be the logical place. Any bets on that happening without a lawsuit?

So here we sit, complaining about coal, $3 gasoline, and what to do with nuclear waste. And at the same time suing to prevent distribution methods for natural gas, and the building of windmills because they might whack a bat. Maybe we are getting what we deserve.

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Blogger Lone Pony said...

Great post CP. You explain things so well. "wack a bat" *LAUGHING* Nuclear power plants are the way to go.

6:34 AM  
Blogger ablur said...

The problem comes down to know one wants it in their back yard. It isn't about pollution. Kennedy won't even let them put a wind farm in Mass. Not pleasing to the eye he says.
As long as no one will take responsibility for a solution we won't have one.
Here in the NW we have Hydroelectric. Except we can't run the generators because it might hurt the fish. The environmental wackos are everywhere.
Wait till someone puts in a big public solar array. We will see those complaining that the sun isn't allowed to hit the ground.

9:10 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

This bunch won't be happy until we are all living in caves, gathering food (not allowed to hunt) and the lucky ones get to live to 30. On the upside, they wouldn't live a whole lot longer.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

LP, glad to give you a giggle.

Ablur, you are right, the nimby's and bananas are keeping us from building what we need. Fredericksburg had to blow out their old hydro dam because no one could afford the court costs they would have to pay prior to refurbing it for use. Now we'll get another oil or gas fired generator.

Shoprat, I say we confiscate the car keys from everyone in the Sierra Club, and cut off their electricity so they can "do their part".

7:01 PM  

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