$3,200,000,000,000 for an Oil-Free Future

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Well, you can't accuse either side of the political spectrum of hanging around while gas prices have opened-up the debate on America's energy policy, or lack thereof. While President Bush has removed the executive order against off-shore drilling (over to you congress), former Vice President Al Gore has asked Americans to help foot the bill for a ten-year, three trillion dollar "moon shot" effort to switch to "clean" electricity from solar, wind and geothermal power. While this is an extremely inconvenient solution for coal mining states that leaves pro-nuclear partisans in the cold, I mention Al's plan here because it's implicit that the transition would enable a nation of plug-in hybrids or pure EVs. Hey, what about hydrogen? Big Al made no mention of water vaporware. But The Boston Herald reports that a group of scientists have priced-out a U.S. switch to hydrogen-powered vehicles at $200b. No mention was made of the energy source for the fuel, but apparently the the Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies have bigger fish to fry (deep freeze?). "The cost of platinum is approximately 57 percent of the fuel-cell stack costs and represents the greatest challenge to further cost reductions," the study said. "Future platinum supply is a critical issue in forward projections of fuel-cell costs." If it's not one thing, it's another.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Kevin Kevin on Jul 18, 2008

    Sure jpc, as soon as you get the rock in orbit the protesters will say you're raping its ecosystem, and Congress would enact a mining moratorium -- and they'll all be funded by the Platinum mine-owners lobby.

  • 50merc 50merc on Jul 18, 2008

    WildBill said "The moon-battery on this issue is legion!" My gosh, you've accidentally revealed the solution: turn the moon into a gigantic storage battery! Just haul the needed lead and acid to the moon, inject it into the core, and use radio waves to beam the resulting electrical energy back to Earth. (Use a secure frequency to prevent other nations from stealing electricity, unless it turns out to be "too cheap to meter.") For those who want to get real about alternative energy sources, Stephen Den Beste's old posts are good, concise analyses. But even he couldn't get the truly devout to put aside the religion: http://chizumatic.mee.nu/ghosts_of_my_past

  • 97escort 97escort on Jul 18, 2008

    While Peak Oil is here, there is no need to try to completely eliminate the use of oil. There will always be some oil available albeit at a very high price. The important concept is that we can no longer expand, let alone maintain, current consumption patterns as oil production gradually declines year after year in the face of rising world demand due to ever increasing population. Some changes have to be made or they will be forced by the Peak Oil situation. Ignoring Peak Oil or refusing to appreciate it's implications are not options.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jul 18, 2008

    Kevin, You're just a realist! Your ideology is blinding you from seeing the truth. You realists should just go back to your caves. Nobody likes you so you must be wrong! Hehe, seriously though, you nailed it. 97escort, Let's assume that we are at peak oil. What course do the peak oil folks then recommend? I say use the oil to make multipliers like solar, wind, nuclear, etc. Build the infrastructure while we still have oil. I don't see Gore's proposal getting us anywhere. Begging people to conform just doesn't work, and he knows it.