987Re: [renewable-energy] today's capecodonline.com wind news
- Aug 1, 2003I make less distinction than you between oil energy and electric power
energy perhaps because I follow Battery Electric Vehicle Efforts a
lot, and I follow the different ways of converting forms of energy to
Oil may be imported at present mostly for use in transportation and
heating. As we go forward, there will, I think, be some flexibility
as to what are generally seen as primary energy sources (wind, solar,
geothermal, coal, oil, etc.) and how they are used "secondarily".
Part of the reason for the focus on Hydrogen is that it would allow
this flexibility, this de-coupling of the primary energy source and
how it is ultimately used. I think this is a critical point in
overall energy policy issues that is under-discussed.
Now, I realize that, for right or wrong, anyone who dares speak of
Battery Electric Vehicles or solar energy or the like is stigmatized
as out-of-touch and so forth, but so be it. Even if we momentarily
dismissed that BEVs could ever work out, we still have the
President-Bush-sanctioned push for Hydrogen-powered vehicles and the
very public and open question of "Where does the energy or electricity
come from to make the Hydrogen?". So the issue of the decoupling of
thinking as to primary and secondary energy conversion is still there
(I don't have better words for this at present).
In this instance, as to Cape Cod, it occurs to me to add that since
the area is partly populated by retirees (I'm told it's becoming sort
of Florida-ish in that respect), I wonder as to the use of NEVs in the
area. While NEVs, as I see them, are sort of a ploy by the Auto
Industry to avoid building the real highway capable EVS that they
could build, that doesn't mean they are unpopular or without their
uses. I've spoken to folks who are very satisfied with theirs, and
retirement communities and golf-oriented areas would fit the
demographics for sales of such vehicles. Cape Cod increasingly fits
the bill of having a lot of retirees.
I didn't know that Oil was used for electricity in the Northeast. I
did know that it's basically not used very much at all for electricity
production, and that it's used for electricity in Hawaii (about 90% I
think) and maybe the Caribean. Also, you'll hear about it sometimes
in diesel generator backup use, such as in the California crisis.
As to Natural Gas, I don't know percentage imports, but I think we're
up against such shortages (as discussed prominently by Greenspan and
others) and such a huge price-spike, that the claimed need for
massively increased imports is a daily story and a looming problem for
this winter. We have committed to something like 20% of the nation's
electricity derived from NG, so that makes our need for NG less
Furthermore, when something is a commodity and traded worldwide, when
we drive the price up with our use, it helps make producers on the
other side of the world money, even when we do not buy directly from
them. An illustration of this is the money Iran is able to get for
their Oil. We have not bought any from them for years, but they are
able to sell their oil at the going worldwide rate to such nations as
Japan (it had spiked to 800,000 barrels per day to Japan last I
So, there are two issues here that I have struggled with, both in
trying to figure out for myself, and in trying to explain my thoughts
The first is the decoupling of primary and secondary power source
The second is that, whether one likes it or not, when we participate
in a world economy and trade, then this trade includes everyone except
those completely excluded by everyone else, even when we the U.S.
boycott a given group. So, there's only so much effect we can have by
boycotting a group or product. But I think it's still worthwhile to
try to keep such matters in mind and to use boycotting or diminished
product use as a partial tool, if possible, in trying to define how
our country should "behave" in the world marketplace, for its own
interests, however we may sloppily define them.
Getting back to the issue of wind on Cape Cod, while I do agree with
you that the immediate selling points and issues have not seemed to
involve much of this concern over diminishing Middle East imports,
personally I see a connection to 9-11 type issues, and I intend to
continue to try to make my case to folks, selectively. Those of us
who do think there is a connection have been somewhat reserved, since
it's hard to introduce or discuss this type of topic without
inadvertently saying things that irritate or step on toes. But a
reason to discuss the matter sometimes is that I think it would be a
good thing if we could do everything humanly possible to diminish
imports from the country that sent us 15 out of the 19, and from
related nations. I"m not saying this reduction should be done for
vindictive reasons or religious reasons or racist reasons. I 'm
saying that it's been a good idea for decades, and it would be a good
idea now, for a variety of good reasons, such as reducing the trade
defificit (thus helping jobs stay in the country) and putting us on a
sounder strategic footing, and yes, because there's a war on and we
need to acknowledge how our oil import activity helps fund some of the
actions against us. Better late than never, that we should
acknowledge and fix this.
Maybe I"m wrong and it wouldn't be a good thing to reduce M.E.
imports, or maybe I'm wrong and building more Wind Energy wouldn't
On Thu, 31 Jul 2003 21:12:58 -0400, you wrote:
>A few items that need to be clarified here:
>- Very little U.S. electricity (~3%, as I recall) is generated with oil.
>So there is not a very direct connection between putting in a wind
>farm and reducing oil imports. (On the other hand, most of the
>oil-fired electricity IS located in the northeastern U.S., and 3% is
>about 7 times as much as is currently being generated by wind.)
>- Very little, if any, of the natural gas burned in the U.S. is
>imported from the Middle East. Most is produced domestically,
>and a modest portion is imported from Canada.
>I think the case for Cape Wind rests more on a variety of other
>issues: self-reliance/energy independence, protection against
>volatility in fuel prices, inexhaustible "fuel" supply, and
>environmental and health benefits resulting from displacing
>other energy sources and their attendant emissions and
>other impacts (extraction, transportation).
>>I have to say this, because I think it's relevant. I will try to put
>>it in a balanced way:
>>The rich folks, whether in New York or Mass., must have some clue that
>>when they fill up a tank of gas, or heat their homes with oil or
>>natural gas, that they are sending some money, directly or indirectly,
>>to Saudi Arabia and Iran and Yemen, etc.. And they must know folks
>>who died in 9-11.
>>Now, let me quickly add that I am not interested, at all, in looking
>>for some pretext to be anti-Saudi or anti-Persian or anti-Arab or
>>anti-Muslim. I'm sure there are many fine people and efforts and
>>ideas in those countries. But at present we can't seem to stop the
>>flow of funds to those doing violence with the funds, and an obvious
>>way to mitigate that has been, and will continue to be, to decrease
>>fossil fuel imports.
>>Maybe the rich folks in NY get this a little better than the shameful
>>Nimbys in Mass., I don't know.