A remarkable possibility is within this nation’s grasp: the possibility of depending on no other country for the energy needed here – energy independence. The Energy Information Agency recently reported that domestic energy production accounted for about 84% of total U.S. energy consumption for 2013 and it may well be higher now. (http://tinyurl.com/84-energy). Try to get your head around this: The real possibility of energy independence, a feat some say is impossible, means the U.S. would import no energy from other countries. To not actively target the other 16% would be like winning a lottery and then not claiming the prize. As you’d expect, there is not a peep on this development from the mainstream media most likely because it does not understand its significance.
A diagram in the EIA report shows the energy flow into and out of the country. A surprising tidbit from the diagram is that renewable energy produced 9.29 quads, more than nuclear energy which lags at 8.27 quads. (1 quad, a quadrillion = 1,015 BTUs)
The next step should be obvious: Go for it! Convert coal fired plants to natural gas, allow hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands, adjust taxes so all energy industries are on the same level playing field, renew the PTC with a phase out at the end of the decade, and build out the wind industry with the goal of energy independence no later than 2020.
Another curious EIA table (www.tinyurl.com/petroleum-use) shows that the U.S. imports a total of 7,719,000 barrels per day (bpd) from many other countries. Subtracting the amount from Canada, 2,569,000 bpd leaves 5,150,000 bpd from other countries. (We can trust Canada). Oil is a world commodity selling for about $100/barrel, which means imported oil costs the U.S. about $515 million/day or $188 billion/yr. That sum would do a lot for the U.S. economy if it stayed here.
Take this idea a step forward and make energy independence for all nations a part of U.S. foreign policy. The hazard of not being energy independent or working toward such a condition was demonstrated by the recent turmoil in the Ukraine and East Europe. To depend on Russia for heat in the winter is asking for trouble.
And talk about extortion. The new Russia, which is difficult to distinguish from the old USSR, sells its natural gas for $11/million BTUs. British citizens buy natural gas from North Sea sources at about $8/million BTUs. Meanwhile, in the country that invented hydraulic fracturing, the cost, at this writing, is about $3.79. Who does not see a business opportunity here?
Energy may not be a weapon, but it is certainly a lever that can pry good countries away from bad ideas, such as depending on Russia for anything.
What does this have to do with the wind industry? Everything. Every BTU produced in this country is one that need not be imported but could be sold to someone who could benefit from it.
A country with sufficient inexpensive energy can clean its water and air, provide comfortable, clean, well-lit schools for students, and power to run hospitals and a thousand other businesses that would let third-world countries climb a ladder to first world status. And why wind power and not nuclear? Because wind turbines can be erected more quickly, less expensively, and are easier to maintain than a nuclear plant. To ignore wind power’s role and value in this endeavor will only prolong the journey and delay success. WPE
Filed Under: News, Policy