Week in Review
The Boeing 747-8 is the latest derivative of the 747 family. It can seat up to 465 people. And has a gross takeoff weight of 975,000 pounds. It’s cruising speed is 570 mph. And has a range of 9,210 miles at maximum take-off weight. Which means it could fly between California and New York in about 4 and a half hours. The Boeing 747-8 is truly a remarkable aircraft. But how does it measure up to other aircraft? Well, here’s one with a similar wingspan (see Solar-Powered Plane To Make Cross-U.S. Flight by Jesse Emspak posted 3/4/2013 on Discovery News).
A plane that can fly on solar power, day or night, will make its way across the United States this summer — the first time the plane has attempted a cross-continental flight.
Wow. Can it be the environmentalist were right all along? That we can replace fossil fuels with solar power? Well, this appears to be the proof. A plane that can fly cross-continental. Day or night. Why, this can revolutionize air travel. And put a serious crimp in global warming. For as great as the 747-8 is it still burns a heck of a lot of jet fuel. Putting a lot of emissions into the air. Perhaps this is the future of aviation. Clean solar power. Perhaps with some minor adjustments required in our travel plans. But if it saves the planet perhaps those minor adjustments will be worth it.
The Solar Impulse — built as a project of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the brainchild of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg — has the wingspan of a 747 but only weighs as much a Honda Prius. It flies thanks to four turboprop engines powered entirely by batteries and solar panels.
Borschberg told Discovery News that the although the plane could make the whole trip from California to New York in one go, the pilot cannot. The plane travels at 40 to 50 miles per hour, so a cross-country flight would take days. And since there’s only room for a single person in the cockpit, in part to save weight, and no autopilot, the trip will have to be broke up into five legs…
The solar panels are conventional silicon, with an efficiency of about 25 percent. While there are more efficient solar panels such as those used in the satellite industry, those designs are often too heavy, Borschberg said, as they tend to be encased in glass. And although the power is stored in batteries, the engines can run directly from the energy collected by the solar panels. In fact, the plane could be flown on an empty battery.
A 747-8 at maximum take-off weight weighs the same as about 321 Honda Prius hybrids. And it includes galleys. And toilets. So it can stay in the air and fly almost anywhere in the world nonstop. While the Solar Impulse currently can’t carry any passengers, has no galley and no toilets. Which may allow about three flights of 4-5 hours a day. Allowing it to arrive in New York after leaving California some 6 days earlier.
So solar power is not a viable alternative to fossil fuel if we want to fly anywhere. As remarkable as the Solar Impulse is, and it is truly remarkable, it is only an engineering marvel. For there is no way that solar power can provide sufficient thrust to carry great weights into the air. Solar power can work in weightless space for they only have to power electric loads. They don’t have to provide any thrust to move a heavy mass.
This is a large-scale example showing the limitations of electric-powered transportation. For transportation to be useful it must be able to move heavy weights. But the more useful the transport vehicle (the greater the weight it can move) the more battery charge is used for motive power. Drawing down the battery charge faster (which is drawn down even faster if lights, heat, radio and other electric accessories are used). Reducing range. And usefulness. Leaving the fossil fuel-powered vehicle the only viable vehicle in the foreseeable future.
Tags: batteries, battery charge, Boeing 747-8, fossil fuels, Global Warming, range, Solar Impulse, solar power
Week in Review
The UN is still trying to impose a carbon trading scheme on the world. To fight global warming. Perhaps by 2015. To make people pay them (or their governments that fund the UN) for burning carbon. To create an egalitarian world. With them sitting at the top. More equal than others (see U.S. affirms support for U.N. climate goal after criticism by Alister Doyle posted 8/8/2012 on Reuters).
Almost 200 nations, including the United States, have agreed to limit rising temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times to avoid dangerous changes such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
The EU Commission, small island states and environmental activists urged the world to stick to the target on Tuesday, fearing that Washington was withdrawing support. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degree C…
Many scientists say the 2 degrees target is getting out of reach because of rising emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.
Emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, rose 3.1 percent in 2011 to a record high. The decade ending in 2010 was the warmest since records began in the mid-19th century, U.N. data show.
Anyone else see the fatal flaw in this plan? It assumes man alone controls global temperatures. Which we don’t. We had the Little Ice Age following the Medieval Warm Period. It wasn’t glaciers reaching halfway down North America but cool, wet growing seasons reduced harvests. And caused some famine. And this was before we burned gasoline in our cars. And coal in our steam engines during the Industrial Revolution. Man didn’t cause these global changes. Man just suffered through them.
And speaking of the Ice Ages, what about the Ice Ages? Just what made the glaciers advance then recede? These even preceded man’s use of fire. So it clearly was something else cooling and warming the planet. Unless we were a far gassier people back then. (If so lucky for them there were no open flames.)
The planet warms and cools. It did so before man burned fossil fuels with a vengeance. And after man burned fossil fuels with a vengeance. If the temperature moves a degree in one direction or the other there is absolutely no way to know if that was just a natural change (like through 99.9% of the planet’s existence – including those ice ages) or if it was caused by man (whose been around approximately 0.1% of the planet’s existence).
This isn’t science. This is politics. A way for the anti-Capitalists to turn back the hands of time. And make life truly unpleasant for the masses. As they produce an egalitarian world. Where everyone suffers equally. Except those sitting at the top ensuring the world is fair and just. As they determine what fair and just to be. The UN. The world’s overlords. Once they control the world’s economies, that is.
Tags: Carbon, carbon trading scheme, egalitarian, fossil fuels, glaciers, global temperatures, Global Warming, ice age, planet, rising temperatures, temperatures, UN
Week in Review
The search for global warming fossil fuels is delayed due to unusually cooler temperatures that have caused thicker ice than usual (see Ice, logistics delay Shell Alaska drilling plans by Yereth Rosen posted 7/6/2012 on Reuters).
Heavier than expected ice in Arctic waters off Alaska will likely delay until August Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSa.L) long-anticipated exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, a company spokesman said on Friday…
Sea ice is “the number one reason we won’t be drilling in July,” Smith told Reuters. “At this point, we’re looking at the first week of August.”
While sea ice cover is sparse in most of the Arctic, ice off Alaska is thicker than in recent years, and that ice is melting fast, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Interesting. Ice is thicker than in recent years. And this all the while global warming has been melting Arctic ice. So I guess global warming can both melt ice and freeze water. Much like the U.S. can suffer a heat wave while Britain suffers the coldest and wettest winter on record. All because of global warming. It makes one wonder if there’s anything global warming can’t do?
Tags: Arctic, Arctic ice, fossil fuels, Global Warming, thicker ice
Week in Review
A ship drifts towards Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Adrift due to a broken engine. And those on the Left want to use this opportunity to attack fossil fuels (see Troubled Freighter Drifts Toward Great Barrier Reef posted 5/19/2012 on Discovery News).
A broken-down cargo ship was drifting towards Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Saturday, with fears of major damage if it were to run aground at the World Heritage-listed site…
Simon Meyers from Australian Reef Pilots, a company which provides aerial surveillance of shipping channels around the reef, said it was hard to tell whether the ship would run aground.
“It is not certain at this stage whether the ship is at risk of hitting those isolated outer reefs,” he told ABC Radio.
But the ship’s owner, Hong Kong-based ID Wallem said it looked likely to pass over the reef without incident.
“On its present course, the vessel will drift over Shark Reef but is not in danger of grounding as the ship has sufficient clearance to pass over the reef,” ID Wallem said in a statement cited by Australian Associated Press…
Senator Larissa Waters from the environmentally-driven Greens party said Saturday’s breakdown was a reminder of the dangers of turning the reef into a “coal and gas superhighway” to Asia.
“While we all wait and hope that this ship can be rescued before it creates a disastrous spill, the Australian government should now take responsibility for the Great Barrier Reef and stop this headlong rush to boost fossil fuels exports at the expense of the climate and the environment,” she said.
Fossil fuels are not the only thing they put on ships. They also ship clothing, plasma televisions, smartphones, beer, wine, liquor, medicine, espresso, etc. They even ship food on these ships. And people. For many Australians today are descended from people who came to Australia by ship. Like the U.S., Canada, etc., Australia started out as a jewel of the British Empire. Brought into this world by the great international trade networks Britain built. Trade that continues today. Which is why the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc., are some of the best countries to live in today. As least based on the flow of refugees to these countries.
There’s probably a lot she and her fellow Greens use in everyday life that found its way over on a ship. A ship that used diesel fuel to get it there. Does she want to get rid of all of these ships? Or just the ones carrying fossil fuels. Or, in this case, an empty ship?
International trade is good. It creates economic activity. It increases the standard of living. It makes our children healthier. Yes, we have accidents along the way. But no accident yet has destroyed the world. For it turns out the environment is very resilient. Unlike a child wanting for food or medicine. Or the energy of fossil fuels used to power their schools, hospitals, grocery stores, etc.
Tags: Australia/New Zealand, energy, environment, fossil fuels, Great Barrier Reef, grounding, reef, ships
Week in Review
Global warming alarmists and environmentalists have a friend in President Obama. They represent a large swathe of the voting electorate. Including some very high profile names in the entertainment industry. Whose expertise in energy policy is nonexistent but persuasive nonetheless. Because of an unwritten law in society. If you sound and look good you are a de facto expert on the subject. Which comes in very handy in making bad policy popular. As demonstrated by the high price at the pump (see The 3 biggest benefits of producing more oil by Shawn Tully posted 5/3/2012 on Fortune CNNMoney).
President Obama argues that a campaign to substantially raise domestic crude oil production would provide miniscule benefits in lower prices and enhanced growth…
In fact, tapping the potential gusher within reach would enrich our future in three ways. First, despite the President’s declarations to the contrary, the extra output could be large enough to lower world prices by several dollars a barrel, chiefly through exploiting the enormous promise of shale oil. Second, adding to capacity would provide a sort of catastrophic insurance policy by cushioning shocks in supply that are especially damaging in the kind of tight, vulnerable market we’re experiencing today. And third, raising production means lowering our oil imports, and hence greatly improving our balance of trade. By pure GDP math, shrinking “net imports” would lift America’s growth trajectory…
Tight capacity means that almost all wells are pumping full tilt. To bring on more oil, producers that could react quickly may choose not to. A country like Saudi Arabia would need to spend lots of money uncapping old wells, and upgrading old fields, investments it’s now unwilling to make, in part from fears these high prices are temporary.
That leaves oil-hungry consumers to bid for the fixed number of barrels entering the market each day. In effect, someone commuting by car in London outbids a Chicago driver for scarce gasoline, and the Chicago driver saves by taking the train. That bidding is now driving the price far above the cost for the producer drilling the world’s most expensive oil, creating what’s called in economics a “scarcity premium.” And it’s why Exxon Mobil (XOM) and other oil giants are generating such huge profits.
How did the market reach this bind? From 2003 to 2008, demand for oil rose sharply, driven primarily by rapid industrialization in China and India. “The oil rich nations matched the rise in demand by producing more until around 2006,” says Lutz Kilian, professor of economics at the University of Michigan. “Then, production went flat, and even when demand started increasing again after the recovery began, production didn’t keep up…”
Well, there you have it. Oil is expensive because demand is greater than supply. So to reduce the cost of oil all we have to do is bring up supply to match or exceed demand. And down goes the price of gasoline. Elementary, really. So why aren’t we doing this already?
Because of the global warming alarmists and environmentalists who simply hate fossil fuels. And the current president is appealing to these demographics for campaign funding. And votes. Neither of which he will win if he stops attacking Big Oil. So he continues to attack Big Oil. Buying campaign funding and votes. All paid for by everyday Americans at the pump. Who are cutting back everywhere in their lives to afford the high cost of gasoline the president is using as vehicle to reelection.
Tags: Big Oil, crude oil, demand, environmentalists, fossil fuels, gasoline, Global Warming, global warming alarmists, oil, price at the pump, price of gasoline, supply
Week in Review
Global warming is real. So says all the global warming climate scientists’ science. With some interesting qualifiers. Where they explain drops in global temperatures. Which are caused by the very things that are causing global warming. Man putting smoke, soot and ash into the atmosphere from our fossil fuels (see Climate Canard No. 2: ‘Warming Has Stopped’ — A Very Temporary Duck by Bill Blackmore posted 4/29/2012 on ABC News).
The slight dip in the 1950s is believed by climate scientists to have been caused at least partly by the post-World War II economic boom, which produced great amounts of industrial smog whose tiny particles reflect warming sunlight back into outer space — as does the thick smoke from volcanoes.
Now see, this is the reason why there are climate skeptics. There is no science that explains this dip in temperature. Just anti-science. Hunches. And guesses. If smog and smoke lowered temperatures why didn’t they lower temperatures during World War II? For American industry was humming during the war, too. Not to mention all those trucks, tanks, jeeps, ships and airplanes pumping all of that pollution into the atmosphere. None of which had any emission controls. Then add in all those fires from the destruction of oil refineries. Ships. Planes. Tanks. And the burning down of cities. Like Dresden. And Tokyo. Throw in a couple of mushroom clouds. You add all of this up and it should at least equal the pollution we were throwing up into the atmosphere during the Fifties. Yet this same chart shows higher temperatures during the war. Which would make sense if pollution caused global warming. Instead of preventing it. As they claim happened during the Fifties.
If you back up one decade to the Thirties, it appears there was no change in global temperatures. Again, this would make sense if man was causing all of the warming. Because man wasn’t doing much during the Great Depression. But then even this logic fails if you back up one more decade to the Twenties. To the Roaring Twenties. When the world was modernizing. The new electric power supported a manufacturing boom. Included in that boom was the new automobile. That jammed our city streets. Filling them with raw emissions. While steam locomotives puffed soot, smoke and ash into our cities and across the country. And what did all of this manmade pollution do? It lowered temperatures. Which supports their original claim that air pollution prevents global warming. But then this doesn’t agree with the data from the Forties. When air pollution caused global warming. And to confuse us a little more they have another chart that shows temperatures fell during the Forties.
The dip in the global temperature from about 1942 to 1970 is believed by climate scientists to be due partly to the intense industrial activity of World War Two and the economic boom that followed.
The gray and black particles in the smoky emissions from factories actually help cool the earth by reflecting some of the warming sunlight back into outer space, thus preventing it from hitting the earth where it changes into the invisible infrared light that is trapped by greenhouse gasses, warming the air.
So what are they telling us? Are we causing global warming by cutting emissions from fossil fuels? Should we create more electricity from coal? And should we let those plants belch pollution into the atmosphere? To save us from the perils of global warming? For if there is any correlation between the rise in global temperatures and manmade activity it is this. Global temperatures took off when we started reducing manmade polluting emissions. The data absolutely supports this. And no one can deny it. Not even the most respective global warming climate scientists.
Again, this is the reason why there are climate skeptics. Because global warming climate scientists make it so easy to be skeptical.
Tags: air pollution, ash, atmosphere, climate data, climate scientist, climate skeptics, emissions, fossil fuels, global temperatures, Global Warming, industrial smog, manmade pollution, pollution, smog, smoke, soot
Week in Review
Solyndra failed because of the Chinese. Solyndra was working on a tubular technology to avoid using a silicon-based flat panel design. At the time of product launch silicon was a costly commodity giving Solyndra a cost advantage. And that cost advantage lasted until the Chinese brought so much silicon to market that the price for silicon imploded. As did the price of flat-panel solar panels. Which the Chinese also flooded the market with. Good for people wanting to install solar panels. Bad for people wanting to manufacture solar panels. And now it’s happening with wind turbines (see Wind power market to lose puff this year by Liu Yiyu posted 4/5/2012 on China Daily USA).
China’s wind market bubble will deflate as the industry enters the worst year in its history, said the Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa.
“The first half of 2012 is the worst time in the last four years, triggering a faster industry consolidation,” said Jorge Calvet, chairman of the company…
China’s wind industry has excessive capacity, going from 10 to 12 manufacturers in 2005 to more than 85 in 2011, according to Calvet.
Jobs of the future? I think not. Installing them, perhaps. But this technology won’t do a thing for our manufacturing base. What President Obama was going to revitalize with the technology of the future. Green technology. Smart technology. Instead of those high-paying jobs of the past in the oil industry. Which, incidentally, is something the Chinese can’t take away from us. Only our president can. By pursuing his jobs of the future. Those manufacturing jobs the Chinese are taking away from us left and right.
Perhaps it would be better to pursue those jobs of the past. There is a demand for fossil fuels. We have fossil fuels buried within our American borders. Which means only Americans can bring these fossil fuels to market. And build and maintain the infrastructure that bring these fossil fuels to market. All of those good, high-paying, benefit-laden jobs of the past. In other words, the jobs people want. The kind that don’t disappear when the Chinese ramp up protection. The kind that will improve the employment picture. Bring the cost of gasoline down. And make America more energy independent. All good things for the American people. And things we should do for the American people. Especially when it’s your job to look out for the American people.
Tags: American People, Chinese, fossil fuels, jobs, jobs of the future, jobs of the past, manufacturing, silicon, solar panels, Solyndra, wind turbines
Week in Review
The environmentalists have finally got something they wanted. Private businesses choosing a cleaner fuel because they want to. Not because they were forced to. Or because they were bribed to. But because these greedy little bastards can make more money by going green. They hate the profit motive. But at least these profits come with a cleaner environment. You’d think they’d be happy. But, of course, they’re not. Because for this cleaner world they’d have to accept something they just hate too much (see Natural-Gas Vehicles Will Run Best Without Subsidies by the Editors posted 3/29/2012 on Bloomberg).
Few areas of American governance have been as incoherent in recent decades as energy policy, which is saying something. But lately, we keep seeing reasons for optimism.
Almost miraculously, the U.S. is both reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions and becoming increasingly energy independent. As Bloomberg News recently reported, the share of U.S. energy demand met by domestic sources increased to 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011 — the highest level in 20 years — and emissions are expected to decline 12 percent by 2020.
A major factor in both trends is increased use of natural gas, a cleaner-burning fossil fuel now being extracted in abundance across the country. Hydraulic fracturing, a new production technology also known as fracking, has helped push prices for the fuel to a decade low, and has created plenty of jobs in the process…
Natural gas has many advantages — which is exactly why the industry doesn’t need more government help.
Proponents of federal aid argue that the costs of switching to natural gas on a large scale are prohibitive for trucking companies and consumers. But as Bloomberg News has reported, trucking companies are already buying more long-haul natural-gas trucks simply because the fuel is so cheap. Annual savings over diesel can add up to $20,000 for a single truck — so a company can recoup the extra cost of the new technology in about two years…
To meet increased demand, companies are building infrastructure on their own: Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which provides natural gas fuel for transportation, plans to build 70 liquefied natural-gas stations by the end of the year. General Electric Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. have formed an alliance to help make compressed natural gas available at more filling stations. Honda plans to install fueling stations at some of its dealerships. Fleets of taxis, trucks and buses across the country are using the fuel in growing numbers.
In other words, market forces are working. It’s not yet clear what will be the most efficient means to get natural gas to power vehicles — many options are on the table — but the private sector is the best place to experiment. Billions of dollars in government subsidies will only further distort the energy sector, threaten to create another industry reliant on Washington’s largesse and drive up prices by artificially boosting demand.
No trucking firms are buying any electric long-haul trucks and installing recharging stations across the country. For that would be too costly. And waste too much time. But time is money for a trucker. They don’t have time to wait for a battery to recharge every time they need to’re-fuel’. That’s why they stick to fossil fuels. Even the change to a cleaner and cheaper fuel is still a change to fossil fuel. Because there’s no other fuel source outside of science fiction that can do what fossil fuels can do.
Because there is a market for natural gas-powered trucks the private sector is providing the infrastructure for it. Without any ‘Solyndra’ subsidies or loan guarantees. There’s money to make so private capital is flowing to where it needs to be to make this a reality. Without any help from the government. The way it should be in a free market economy.
This is everything the Obama administration could ask for. Less fuel emissions. Less dependence on foreign oil. And they don’t have to use the power of government to make anyone adopt this technology. There’s no downside. Except, of course, the environmentalists. Who hate hydraulic fracturing. AKA fracking. (And basically any fossil fuel in general.) They say it contaminates the ground water. So they don’t want it. Just as they don’t want oil. Or coal. Or nuclear. Or hydroelectric power. Which basically leaves out every way to generate electricity except solar and wind. Which can’t come close to producing the amount of electricity the other sources of electricity-generation can. Which will be a big problem for the environmentalists. Who want everyone to drive an emissions-free electric car. Cars that will be very difficult to charge if the environmentalists don’t let us produce any electricity. And the only things that’ll let us do this are the fossil fuels. Or hydroelectric power.
There’s no pleasing some people. Unless we all go back to the horse and buggy days. Maybe that would make the environmentalists happy. Having the air thick with horse manure. With our streets covered in horse poop, pee and swarms of flies. Maybe that would make them happy. As it would all be natural. Then again, this may be a problem with PETA. Who would rather have the pollution if the alternative meant violating animal rights. Which we would be violating if we enslaved horses to work for us.
You know who’s not having silly debates like this? Brazil. Russia. India. China. And South Africa. The BRICS emerging economies. And the reason why they’re emerging and we’re wallowing in recession is that they don’t let their environmentalists sit at the big table with the grownups.
Tags: cleaner fuel, electric car, electricity, emissions, energy, environmentalists, fossil fuels, fracking, fuel, fuel emissions, government subsidies, hydraulic fracturing, natural gas, natural-gas trucks, private sector, trucking companies, trucks
Week in Review
Volkswagen is testing the American market for an electric car. They will lease 20 electric Golfs for a nine month period to determine that there is no market for electric cars in America (see Volkswagen to test electric Golf in U.S. by Chris Woodyard posted 3/23/2012 on USA Today).
Volkswagen, which has scored big with diesels in the U.S., is about to expand its horizons. It’s going to field about 20 Golf electric vehicles in a test, Automotive News reports.
It’s only a nine-month test, but it should be at least a start in trying to see how owners will deal with the notion of having to plug in their car every day and other issues. It’s a prelude to the e-Golf, which will arrive in showrooms sometime next year, the News says.
Diesel cars are successful for one simple reason. They still use fossil fuels. Just like gasoline cars. So there is really no changing of one’s driving habits to go diesel. For pretty much every gas station in America has diesel fuel. Which means if you’re cruising down the highway enjoying a great American past time you can pull in any number of convenient gas stations. Fuel up. And get right back out on the open road. Americans like that. The freedom of fossil fuels. Going wherever the road takes you. Secure in knowing that you’ll always be able to get back home.
Contrast that with an electric car. That won’t let you do any of those things. Cruising the open highway. Or going wherever the road takes you. Instead you’ll be sweating bullets on the drive back home after work. Praying you have enough charge to make it. As you squint and shiver, driving in the dark with the headlights and the heater off. To conserve what electricity you have left in your battery to make it home. And heaven help you if you run out of electricity on that drive home. Because you can’t walk to the gas station, borrow their gas can, fill it up with electricity and pour it into your battery. Instead you’ll either have to tow your car home to an electrical outlet. Or run one long-ass extension cord to your car and let it charge overnight. So you can drive it home the next morning after the battery recharges.
Tags: battery, charge, diesel, electric car, electricity, fossil fuels, gas station, golf, open highway, Volkswagen
Week in Review
The two oil crises in the Seventies hurt Japan’s economy. Because the Japanese have little domestic energy sources. Which means they have to import most of their energy. Coal. Natural gas. And, of course, oil. After suffering the economic fallout of two oil crises in one decade they made a decision to prevent that from happening a third time. By diversifying their energy industry. And going nuclear. Increasing the amount of electricity produced by nuclear power to almost 25%. Which helped to insulate them from another economic shock. But that all changed with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster (see Japan reports record current account deficit posted 3/7/2012 on BBC News Business).
Japan has reported a record current account deficit because of rising energy imports, as the country’s economic recovery remains fragile…
In the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 tsunami and earthquake that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, Japan shut 52 out of 54 reactors.
This led to shortages of fuel for generating electricity, which meant more of it had to be imported…
The yen slipped to trade at 81.26 to the US dollar, as the trade deficit raised fears about how long Japan would be able to manage its large public debt.
The massive earthquake created the massive tsunami. The tidal surge of the tsunami caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster. An extremely rare event. It has only happened once in the era of nuclear power. In fact, the nuclear part of the reactor survived all of this. It was the old technology that didn’t. The electrical distribution equipment. Because it was located in the basement. Which became flooded with sea water. Which disabled the electrically driven cooling pumps from operating. Despite backup generator power being available.
The technology exists to move electrical distribution equipment to higher ground. And to waterproof it. There exists power cables rated for underwater use even. There is no technological hurdle preventing the kind of electrical updates to prevent another extremely rare event causing another electrical failure like at Fukushima again. And they’re simple projects, really. Build new distribution equipment on high ground where a tidal surge can’t reach it. And rerouting critical systems to this new distribution equipment. You could do this. Or you could shut down 52 of your 54 reactors for political reasons. And import more fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) to make up for the energy shortfall. Increasing your trade deficit. And risking your ability to pay one of the highest debt loads of any state (as a percentage of GDP).
One thing you can’t do, though, is make up this energy shortfall with solar or wind power. Because the cost of building the infrastructure to produce that much energy is prohibitive. And the power it produces is too unreliable. For sometimes the sun doesn’t shine. And sometimes the wind doesn’t blow. So to please the antinuclear environmentalists who fear another extremely rare event from happening they have to replace clean energy (nuclear generated) with dirty energy (fossil fuel-generated). Which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Then again, political decisions rarely do.
To put this into perspective consider this. Your odds of lightning striking you are greater than you winning the lotto. Yet your chances of winning the lotto are greater than another Fukushima from happening. And people will buy lotto tickets. But they shun nuclear programs. Unless, that is, a rogue regime is using it to enrich uranium that could also be used to make a nuclear bomb. And that regime is Islamist. Which wants to conquer the world. Strange how Japan has to shut down their nuclear program while Iran doesn’t. A country, incidentally, that sits on huge petroleum reserves. And doesn’t need nuclear power.
Tags: Coal, domestic energy sources, Earthquake, electricity, energy, energy imports, energy industry, fossil fuels, Fukushima, Fukushima nuclear disaster, import, Japan, natural gas, nuclear, nuclear disaster, nuclear power, nuclear programs, nuclear reactor, oil, oil crises, trade deficit, Tsunami
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