We should thank the Lord that George W Bush kept this goofball out of the White House!

Gore Calls for Carbon-Free Electric PowerBy DAVID STOUT, The New York Times WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts. “The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”

More below the fold.We should thank the Lord that George W Bush kept this goofball out of the White House!

Gore Calls for Carbon-Free Electric PowerBy DAVID STOUT, The New York Times WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts. “The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in his remarks at the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life — to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”

Yeah, I’d say that it does. From the site Generating Units in the United States, 2006, (a Microsoft Excel worksheet), there are 16,925 individual electric power generation units in the country, of all types. If you sort by column N, you will be sorting via type of fuel. Assuming that the data are correct, there are 4,138 generation units (individual generation units, not power plants) which use water as a “fuel,” almost all in hydroelectric generators. That’s good; no fossil fuel use there. And there are 104 nuclear reactors providing electricity for the general public. There are 18 plants which use the sun for energy, and our friends at the Delaware Liberal will be happy to know that there are 337 wind-powered generators. There are a lot of plants which burn various forms of trash.

But by far the largest choice of fuel, powering 5461 generators for electricity is natural gas. Coal is the primary fuel at 1,493 generators, while 3,447 burn diesel fuel oil.

Sort the data further, by column J (Summer capacity in megawatts) and you’ll find as number one the huge huge Robert Moses Niagara hydroelectric plant. But nuclear power plants dominate the top generation capacity list, followed by bituminous coal burning plants and natural gas facilities. Solar and wind power, which Mr Gore believes can power the whole country, simply don’t produce the power needed.

Yet our former Vice President and Nobel Laureate thinks that we ought to be able to replace every fossil-fuel burning power plant by 2018!

He compared it to President Kennedy’s commitment to landing men on the moon within a decade, but that’s just a way, way, way poor comparison. Some infrastructure had to be built for the space program, but in relatively small areas; it was a huge engineering and scientific project to be sure, but it was nothing like replacing the majority of electric power generation capacity for the entire country! Does Mr Gore, the man who thought that he was bright enough to be president, really think that we can replace over 10,000 electric power generation facilities, well over half the total in the country, in ten years? That’s just plain nuts!

And it’s even nuttier than it would seem at first glance. Mr Gore cited:

some scientists’ estimates that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth in 40 minutes to meet the world’s energy needs for a year, and that the winds that blow across the Midwest every day could meet the country’s daily electricity needs.

Perhaps so, if you are simply calculating raw energy. But the wind-turbines we have generate far less electricity than fossil fuel plants, and solar power with existing or even reasonably foreseeable technology being able to replace the 1441 MW Fort Myers natural gas facility, even in a place as sunny as Florida is a dream that will get you a visit from the recreational pharmaceuticals testing lady.

You know, I love Star Trek, and my older daughter — the one joining the Army! — and I often say, “Star Trek is real!” But we know, of course, that it isn’t, and that the pie-in-the-sky science-fiction notion of limitless, completely clean power that seems to consume nothing (anti-matter, maybe?) is a dream of the distant future, at best. Our former Vice President and Nobel Laureate, on the other hand, does seem to think that Star Trek is real — and he’s trying to sell his fantasies not as science-fiction television shows, but as formal, government policies.

We should thank God that he got no closer to the presidency than he did!