Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The President's Energy Plan

This is what George W. Bush promised in the State of the Union address, when he promised to work towards oil independence.
Coal. $281 million to develop clean coal technologies.
Solar power. $148 million to research solar power technology.
Wind power. $44 million for wind energy research.
Ethanol. $150 million for research into ethanol powered cars.
Plug-in hybrids. $30 million, to research vehicles that will use virtually no gasoline.
Hydrogen. $289 million, to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

A few observations.
1) Notice that all of this money is for research. They don't have to produce a single new invention; they just have to do the research.
2) Most of this money is to go into the auto industry - the industry that produces cars, be they ethanol, hydrogen, or treadmill powered. A total of $469 million to revitalize the Big Three, who have been shutting down plants because they can't compete with Toyota. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.
3) The second biggest morsel went to the coal industry. Whatever happened to the Power of the Free Marketplace, which Rewards good businesses, Punishes bad businesses, and Can Monitor Itself? Apparently, if you control enough political clout, you don't have to worry about things like fair competition.

I wonder - has anyone told the President about Tidal Generators? Little turbines placed in a row offshore that are turned by the movement of the tides? Has anyone told the President about Ocean Thermal systems? Deep water is colder than surface water. You take a long pipe and warm the water down there, which rises. Put a turbine in the shaft, and you get electricity. Power the heater at the top with solar power, and you're in business.
Are any of these ideas getting funding?
Or is it all pork?

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