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October 22, 2009 – Comments (17)

Environmental policy has to be good business policy," Graham insisted. "What would happen in this country if you build a hundred nuclear power plants in the next thirty years? It would create millions of jobs. And we need to use the coal that God has given us."

"If we can do that," conceded Graham, "I'm also willing to help the planet be a cleaner, safer place by controlling carbon in a way that doesn't put us in the dark or out of business. ... There's a lot of money to be made from green technology ... but we need also to explore for fossil fuels that we're going to need for generations until we get to a carbon-free economy. So I'm trying to combine concepts. ... I'm trying to create a good business opportunity out of environmental policy."

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC)...

Determined to use the products making the world a dirtier place, in order to clean it up.


17 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 22, 2009 at 11:58 PM, Donnernv (< 20) wrote:


You just don't understand the realities.  Read up.  Educate yourself.  Do you think anything will replace coal as our #1 fuel in the near future?  Do you think there is any reasonable alternative for the future other than nuclear?

Spend an hour on Google.  Then come back with your "moron" comment.

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#2) On October 23, 2009 at 12:06 AM, rofgile (99.57) wrote:

God gave us this horrible polluting rock to burn up, so we had better do it.

God gave us all these huge whales so we better kill them for their oil.

God gave us all these trees, so we better burn them for warmth and fill the air with particulates such that every house is black.

What else did "God give us?"...

Oh yeah, idiots like Mr. Graham.  Since he gave us Mr. Grahams, we better elect them to run our country into the ground. 

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#3) On October 23, 2009 at 12:10 AM, rofgile (99.57) wrote:


 Solar power alone could provide multiples (100X) over the total world power consumption as exists today.  What this problem requires is research and development.  

 We put air filters on the coal plants, cleaning up the air - and now that has resulted in a water-waste product which is contaminating our rivers with heavy metals.  There is no clean coal, nor clean coal technology.  It pollutes from the harvesting of the coal (strip mining) to the transportation across the country to the burning in a plant.  There is a reason my state of Alabama has such terrible air quality.  Its all the damned coal plants.


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#4) On October 23, 2009 at 12:11 AM, ease1 (96.76) wrote:

The concept is not that moronic actually.  There is a nugget of truth to her idea.  This quote sums up that truth pretty well

"There's a lot of money to be made from green technology" 

Let me paraphrase; There is a lot of money (i.e. taxes, regulations) that we can stuff in our pockets if we think green here.  We can squeeze the people even more than we do now.

What she means by green (and this applies to most of congress and the ENV movement generally speaking), is not what you think it means.  Her green lines the pocket in the thinly disguised veneer of "good business policy".


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#5) On October 23, 2009 at 12:19 AM, Donnernv (< 20) wrote:



Learn something real.

It won't take long.  It's all in English.  Next time you comment, at least you'll know something relevant.

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#6) On October 23, 2009 at 12:52 AM, ease1 (96.76) wrote:

I stand by my earlier comments.  Regardless of what energy source eventually replaces oil, our government will make sure to pad their accounts, in whatever currency is popular by then.

 The article is somewhat fair but with lots of estimates.  One estimate I found missing in the theory was the electrical grid discussion.  Our grid generally is not up to current task, so what's adding 40% on top of it going to do?  Those costs could be staggering.  Secondly, there was no discussion of full synthetics, which could replace several applications currently being derived from natural oil. 

In the end, we'll continue to use oil until there is none left which won't be for a long time.  I wonder what opec will export if not oil? 

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#7) On October 23, 2009 at 1:12 AM, Donnernv (< 20) wrote:


"Our government will make sure to pad their accounts"  How does this impact on the fundamental conversation?  What prognostications or remedial actions would your words imply?

We know how to build electrical grids.  It's been going on for 150 years.  How "staggering" would the costs be?  Care to put that into numbers?

How long do YOU think before Peak Oil is reached?  A "long time"?  How long do YOU estimate?  Read the article again so you understand what Peak Oil really is.  You obviously have no clue.

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#8) On October 23, 2009 at 2:08 AM, ease1 (96.76) wrote:

I estimate that we'll continue at our current consumption rate for at leat the next 20 years.  But that's not the point of the article now is it.  The point is if we're running out of oil based on the estimates of the author and his facts, then who cares.  The objective is to find a replacement right?  The gest of the article is this:  1)  we will run out of oil eventually 2) Lets use electricity to replace it.

The rest of the discussion is about how we do that using the most obvious solution, according to the author, of neculear energy production.  Your right, we do know how to build grids.  But can we afford the expense of replacing a grid that is old and that can keep pace with a 40% increase? 

Good point, I don't have numbers and generally speaking I don't really need them to make this conclusion.  If 40% of our energy comes from oil in some form or another as the author explains, and we replace that with electrical we will find out rather quickly that infrastructure may not be up to the task.  How do hurricanes like Ike impact our grid?  Power outages for a month just don't cut it.  

I'm not suggesting that we are going to replace it overnight, but the cost of such a replacement over time should be included in his analysis and well I didn't see it.

The original post was about environmental policy and good business policy.  The article your pimped was about oil running out and neculear replacement as an alternative.  My comments about our trustworthy government are directly relevant to both.  Fundamentally, what we (US) choose as an energy source to replace oil may not be directly dictated by demand, natural forces (other than lack of oil), or even good will and environmentally sound principals.  It will however, most likely be dictated by who is in power and who stands to gain the most, and of course how globally integrated we become in the next 3 year.  Lindsay Graham does not really care if neculear will replace 40% oil consumption, but she does care about the lobby that fills her pockets.  Remember the goal of the government is to; tax the people, regulate the people, and when that fails, to subsidize the people.  The same can be applied to ____ fill in the blank.  Of course I'm paraphrasing Regan there. 

Google US government corruption for starters. 

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#9) On October 23, 2009 at 2:48 AM, buildgreen (< 20) wrote:

Problem with current renewables- especially traditional solar and wind- is that they are not baseload. Due to that they cannot be relied to produce more than a tiny fraction of our energy.

 The clean techs that are being developed are not even close to being able to replace a single fossil fuel power plant at this time. Were in a tough pickle for energy.. then there is the cost.. Love to get someone with some exp on that side to discuss the kw costs of various forms of enregy currently. Its tough to make a buck in green without uncle sam paying up big time. 



On a side note.. I see people on here constantly mis useing energy as a umbrella term... No electricity is produced from petro... Petro is transportation energy... Everything else is air conditioning electricity.  Vastly different arguments apply to the different forms; obviously.

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#10) On October 23, 2009 at 7:57 AM, devoish (86.34) wrote:


You once sent me a report on nuclear power by e-mail. I read it and responded. At the time nuclear power cost much more that concentrated solar. It still does. 

Here is an article about the loan guarantees needed before anyone will finance nuclear power. 


Baseload is approximately 35-40% of our power needs and are not able to increase and decrease output easily. They are constantly running whether the electricity is needed or not. "Peakers" are power sources that can start up quickly and adjust output on a minute by minute basis. They are smaller than baseload plants (coal/nuclear/hydro) and are typically nat gas with a small amount of oil burners. Intermediate sources fill a space between baseload and peakers. The demand is easily predictable by time of day.

A nat gas "peaker" could run all night long to add to baseload supply if neccessary, but it is more expensive than running coal plants. 

The true cost of nuclear is much higher than its advocates estimate because all the costs of the promises are not factored into their estimates. And they have never come in at the estimated price.

The true cost of coal is much higher because the health costs of asthma, lung disease, heart disease and climate change are not factored in. The economic loss from water pollution is not factored in, We have recently learned that coal ash storage leaves a lot to be desired and will cost more to do it safely. And the massive amounts of land area for coal are rarely considered, including the leveling of 450 appalachian mountains, and miles of midwest strip mining.

Coal should be thought of as the cheap clunker you bought for your first car. It only cost $200 dollars, to get it, but then its oil leaks ruined your driveway, and it only got 8 miles to the gallon. The true cost was much higher than the purchase price and it turned out to not be all that cheap after all.

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#11) On October 23, 2009 at 8:47 AM, rofgile (99.57) wrote:

I don't take issue with nuclear power - I wish we were building more plants across the US.  However, even uranium is a finite resource, and if we greatly increase the rate of use of uranium by focusing on nuclear fission for power - we'll eventually have problems too.

Concentrating solar is a great solution - and they have been developing ways to store energy from the day by heating salt, and then using the heat trapped in the salt at night to continue producing power after dark.  Concentrating solar is nice to me as well, in that we can build it now fairly well, and don't need to rely upon future developments in PV to make it attractive.  I wish I could invest in a good concentrating solar maker like Acciona.

Wind power is also amazing -  I've bought shares of Vestas already.

Here's a link to a blog I wrote as a review of the current renewable technologies and future possible production levels - the data in this comes from a great National Geographic article that came out this year that examined renewable energy companies.  Solar power has just so much potential, past our current levels of energy use.

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#12) On October 23, 2009 at 10:18 AM, devoish (86.34) wrote:



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#13) On October 23, 2009 at 12:18 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

Wind turbines are not all that efficient.  I work in the industry, and most of the wind farms being built right now are being built by owners of fossil plants because of renewable energy mandates.  Wind energy is good business, but it will never contribute a significant portion of our energy.  We could fill every usable piece of land (and build offshore farms) in the country with wind turbines, and it still wouldn't change the industry all that much.  Without new nuclear plants, coal will clearly continue to lead the way in the near/intermediate term.  Many gas turbine plants were built not that long ago, but as gas prices have been more volatile, construction has fallen back...there are still more gas plants being built.  There is probably more potential for solar farms, and solar powered turbine generators than there is for wind power.  There is probably even more potential for personal property (off-grid) solar technology...although it could take decades for this to take a decent chunk of energy demand away from the grid due to costs, etc...

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#14) On October 23, 2009 at 12:46 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

Also, there have been studies that suggest that large wind farms can change local environments.  Whether the power source is coal or wind, energy is not created out of nothing.  The wind can't turn a turbine and continued uninterupted.  While this is probably still preferable to carbon emissions, solar would still be more environmentally friendly.

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#15) On October 23, 2009 at 1:11 PM, buildgreen (< 20) wrote:

The thing your not addressing is simply that wihtout a form of energy storage (resivoures alone will not suffice) we cannot operate witout baseload power.  The current slew of clean techs do not meet the requirements of base load power. In fact if one of you had a chart or matrix to tell what form of power falls in what category it would assist the discussion greatly.. baseload "for most of the world" is nuclear, hydro, or coal.

Note baseload is actually much more then 45% of total energy we use.. the quote you mentioned states that it is 45% of total energy demand... we design the system for the 1second of the 1 day of the year when we are at maximum system kw usage. The baseload portion on a pure kw number is way north of 45%. Splitting hairs but important.

The part that is important here.. is that there is no technology that meets the clean tech requirments that is poised to make a huge dent on our power system. (look into hollands example of 20 yrs of wind farms- then find an example of a baseload plant they have shut down) good luck. 

 If you want to get a true storage system and the whole equation change. Until then we will be using coal and our nuclear plants. I dont like it but its a fact for now.

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#16) On October 23, 2009 at 4:34 PM, devoish (86.34) wrote:


Baseload plus intermediate plus peak = the 1 second of 1 day that we are at maximum kw usage.

Coal supplies most of our power because it is on all the time, and capable of supplying the first 45% of that maximum kw usage at 3:00pm on a hot sunny afternoon with all the ac's on. At 3:00 the other sources are turned on and supply the rest.

What needs to be done is to cut down on the coal powered usage during off peak times using wind/solar/wave/cogeneration/ etc. Sadly coal power does not lend itself to being cranked up or down depending upon intermittent supplies and intermittent demands. Or so I am told. Unfortunately nuclear power is still ridiculously expensive which FPL proved with their cost of building solar vs nuclear.

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#17) On October 23, 2009 at 6:00 PM, buildgreen (< 20) wrote:

I understand.. I said the system. That means all the electricity production. I should have been more clear. Point is that base load on a per kw used makes up way more than 45%. I will get a statistic and get back to you on this.


Baseload techs, like coal have very long start up times (like 8 hours). This is why a matrix of what techs are used for what portion of energy would be so valuable. I think I might have to build one myself if no one bites. Hydro or hydro kinetic actually is by far the best form of enregy we have... it can be turned on instantly, it is predictable (for the most part), its clean. Unfortunatly traditional forms of hydro are tapped out. However there are some serious strides being made on new forms of hydro. Disclamer here.. im involved in such an entity. 

My vote is that hydro is a primary main stream tech that can be clean and can make a major dent into our system today and tomorrow. Without storgage wind and solar will always be tiny percentages of our mix.


However some one raised a good point about large wind farms changing the local weather. I would like to hear more on that discussion.. Earth is a big energy equation, take enough away from some source and it will always have effects no matter what.. I wonder what the effects of generating all of our energy from the ocean would be on tides, currents and such. 

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