June 17, 2007

Energy Dilettantes

One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes storms out of lab 4 and right off the smoke free wagon....Why so glum you ask?

Well, according to James Fraser's blog , the senate has nixed Senastor Pete Dominici's National Renewable energy portfolio, which would have increased nuclear power and clean coal, in addition to wind, solar, tidal, geothermal and biomass....

Fraser seems fairly sanguine about this but the "Clean Coal" tech, despite its oxymoronic name, is quite valuable in that it sets prizes and research grants for  developing exhaust scrubbers and CO2 sequestration techniques that are vital for coal burning even if we suddenly got no electricity from coal. ( coal is  a vital feedstock for several processes....including steel production) . The nuclear option is the only long term effective solution to our energy needs, and it can make some of the marginal biofuel processes viable or vastly more productive. The other initiatives that weren't nixed all have some potential in limited geographical areas, but aside from wind and, possibly, geothermal have fairly serious environmental impacts of their own, and are simply feel good ticket punching for greens...right up until said greens sue to keep them from being built. A few might be developed into nontrivial energy sources, particularly for small scale applications, but the aggregate of all of the favored technologies will make a very small dent in our total energy needs.

By nixing nuclear power, this congress has proven that energy policy, the environment and pollution are not serious considerations to them.


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