Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bush administration energy agenda

This is a White House press release from April 27, 2005, giving a speech GW made giving the energy agenda: President Discusses Energy at National Small Business Conference

We're doing everything we can to make sure our consumers are treated fairly, that there is no price gouging. Yet, the most important thing we can do today is to address the fundamental problem of our energy situation. That's the most important thing we can do. And the fundamental problem is this: Our supply of energy is not growing fast enough to meet the demands of our growing economy.

Over the past decade our energy consumption has increased by more than 12 percent, while our domestic production has increased by less than one-half of 1 percent. A growing economy causes us to consume more energy. And, yet, we're not producing energy here at home, which means we're reliant upon foreign nations. And at the same time we've become more reliant upon foreign nations, the global demand for energy is growing faster than the growing supply. Other people are using more energy, as well. And that's contributed to a rise in prices.

Because of our foreign energy dependence, our ability to take actions at home that will lower prices for American families is diminishing. Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American people. It's a tax our citizens pay every day in higher gasoline prices and higher costs to heat and cool their homes. It's a tax on jobs and it's a tax that is increasing every year.

The problem is clear. This problem did not develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight. But it's now time to fix it. See, we got a fundamental question we got to face here in America: Do we want to continue to grow more dependent on other nations to meet our energy needs, or do we want to do what is necessary to achieve greater control of our economic destiny?

He's got the right viewpoint, and the right question. It's great that he's making the public aware that the foreign energy dependance is a "tax" on the U.S. and that it puts the country further and further under the control of foreign powers.

The first essential step toward greater energy independence is to apply technology to increase domestic production from existing energy resources. And one of the most promising sources of energy is nuclear power. (Applause.) Today's technology has made nuclear power safer, cleaner, and more efficient than ever before. Nuclear power is now providing about 20 percent of America's electricity, with no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power is one of the safest, cleanest sources of power in the world, and we need more of it here in America.

Unfortunately, America has not ordered a new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. France, by contrast, has built 58 plants in the same period. And today, France gets more than 78 percent of its electricity from safe, clean nuclear power.

Hmm, I thought France was the traitor state, and now he wants to emulate them?

Anyway ... Obviously anything that's done is going to require increasing domestically owned sources of power. Yes? The question is, where will the emphasis be placed. There's a whole range of power sources we could choose from, so why choose nuclear power? Who knows.

I've already examined the nuclear angle here: Examining nukes to replace oil

Since the 1970s, more than 35 plants were stopped at various stages of planning and construction because of bureaucratic obstacles. No wonder -- no wonder -- the industry is hesitant to start building again. We must provide greater certainty to those who risk capital if we want to expand a safe, clean source of energy that will make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

One of those plants is in California, and was discovered to be on top of a previously undiscovered fault zone. This is California, and the ground has cracks all over the place. Obviously, even someone as dense as GW ought to be able to figure this out, a fault zone is the last place you want a nuclear power plant. Yes? That's hardly a bureaucratic obstacle is it? I wonder what reason the other plants were stopped for?

Somehow I think that a company that's willing to invest the $billions to build a nuclear plant isn't going to be stopped by a little paperwork.

Further, that something as serious as a nuclear power plant had better be qualified for safety a zillion different ways.

If it takes a bureaurocracy to do that, then so be it. Nuclear power is so dangerous that the "we" the people, for whom GW works, need this level of assurance.

A secure energy future for America also means building and expanding American oil refineries. Technology has allowed us to better control emissions and improve the efficiency and environmental performance of our existing refineries. Yet there have been no new oil refineries built in the United States since 1976. And existing refineries are running at nearly full capacity. Our demand for gasoline grows, which means we're relying more on foreign imports of refined product.

Uhm, if the oil supply has peaked, then why build new refineries? Won't the new refineries just be boondoggles to the cost of $billions?

To encourage the expansion of existing facilities, the EPA is simplifying rules and regulations. I will direct federal agencies to work with states to encourage the building of new refineries -- on closed military facilities, for example -- and to simplify the permitting process for such construction. By easing the regulatory burden, we can refine more gasoline for our citizens here at home. That will help assure supply and reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Meaning, we can expect to see even more ecological disasters such as the huge cancer rates in Richmond CA (which is bracketed by two major oil refineries).

But, oh, that presumes the oil will be available to send to these new refineries.

...Arctic National Wildlife Refuge....Technology now makes it possible to reach ANWR's hydrocarbons by drilling on just 2,000 acres of the 19 million acres of land. That's just one-tenth of 1 percent of ANWR's total area. Because of the advances in technology, we can reach the oil deposits with almost no impact on land or local wildlife. ... Developing this tiny section of ANWR could eventually yield up to a million barrels of oil per day.

Sigh. What part of "Wildlife Refuge" does he not understand? Also, 1 million barrels per day is less than 5% of the daily oil needs, hence would contribute little to the problem. Also I've seen claimed that the reserves there are minor in size, hence would run out pretty quickly.

Technology is allowing us to make better use of natural gas. Natural gas is an important source of energy for industries like agriculture or manufacturing or power production. The United States is the sixth-largest proven reserves of natural gas in the world, and we'll do more to develop this vital resource. That's why I signed into law a tax credit to encourage a new pipeline to bring Alaskan natural gas to the rest of the United States. (Applause.)

Technology is also helping us to get at reserves of natural gas that cannot be reached -- easily reached by pipelines. Today, we're able to super cool natural gas into liquid form so it can be transported on tankers and stored more easily. Thanks to this technology, our imports of liquefied natural gas nearly doubled in 2003. Last year, imports rose another 29 percent. But our ability to expand our use of liquefied natural gas is limited, because today we have just five receiving terminals and storage facilities around the United States.

To take advantage of this new -- this technology, federal agencies must expedite the review of the 32 proposed new projects that will either expand or build new liquefied natural gas terminals. In other words, there's projects on the books, and we're going to get after the review process. Congress should make it clear to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission its authority to choose sites for new terminals, so we can expand our use of liquefied natural gas.

Okay, I've seen a few news articles going by about reducing regulatory burden for building LNG terminals. Of course that probably will mean a commensurate increase in environmental disasters.

Fortunately Natural Gas is not on the same oil peak scenario as Oil has. Natural Gas's peak is after 2100. Natural gas is cleaner, etc. Perhaps this is a decent idea?

America as enough coal to last for 250 years. But coal presents an environmental challenge. To make cleaner use of this resource, I have asked Congress for more than $2 billion over 10 years for my coal research initiative. It's a program that will encourage new technologies that remove virtually all pollutants from coal-fired power plants. My Clear Skies initiative will result in more than $52 billion in investment in clean coal technologies by the private sector. To achieve greater energy dependence, we must put technology to work so we can harness the power of clean coal.

Yup, dirty old Coal. Sigh. It will be an interesting trick to make it clean.

Oh, and the more work you do to these fuels, the less gain you derive from using them. For example to liquify natural gas you spend a lot of energy cooling it until it turns from gas to liquid. Then you spend more energy keeping it cool during transport.

To clean up coal would require spending some energy on some process that does something to it.

The second essential step toward greater energy independence is to harness technology to create new sources of energy. Hydrogen is one of the most promising of these new sources of energy. Two years ago my administration launched a crash program called the Hydrogen Fuel initiative. We've already dedicated $1.2 billion over five years to this effort to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells. We know that when hydrogen is used in the fuel cell it has the power to -- potential to power anything from a cell phone to a computer to an automobile; that it emits pure water, instead of exhaust fumes.

I've asked Congress for an additional $500 million over five years to help move advanced technology vehicles from the research lab to the dealership lot. See, I want the children here in America to be able to take your driver's test in a completely pollution-free car that will make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy. To help produce fuel for these cars, my administration has also launched a Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative, an effort to develop advanced nuclear technologies that can produce hydrogen fuels for cars and trucks. My budgets have dedicated $35 million over the past three years and will continue this effort.

In other words, we're developing new technologies that will change the way we drive. See, I know what we're going to need to do for a generation to come. We need to get on a path away from the fossil fuel economy. If we want to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy, we must develop new ways to power automobiles. My administration is committed to finding those news ways, and we're working with industry to do so.

Hydrogen is not a source of energy, it is a way to store energy.

What "crash program" did they launch?

We could have pollution free cars today, without hydrogen. We can have electrically driven cars today, all that's required is to increase the investment in lithium battery development. Lithium batteries in an EV car can give it the speed and range desired for daily use, even for long-range trips, and can be quickly recharged. All that's required is to R&D our way to having the batteries be safer and cheaper.

Ethanol is another promising source of energy. I like the idea of people growing corn that gets converted into fuel for cars and trucks. Our farmers can help us become less dependent on foreign oil. Technology is now under development that may one day allow us to get ethanol from agricultural and industrial waste.

Why ethanol? Why not biodiesel? Is it the corn lobby at work? Either fuel would assist in the way he describes, plus either fuel would decrease the ecological problem.

The way that works is that by decreasing the use of fossil fuels, it would decrease the amount of carbon being added to the ecosphere. Every time we use fossil fuels that is reintroducing carbon sequestered millions of years ago, putting it back into the atmosphere. On the flip side, deriving a fuel from a modern plant is carbon that is presently in use in the ecosphere. For either ethanol or biodiesel there is no new carbon introduced, the carbon that's involved is already present in the ecosphere.

We can produce another renewable fuel, bodies, from leftover fats and vegetable oils. I mean, we're exploring a lot of alternatives. Ethanol and biodiesel have got great potential. And that's why I've supported a flexible, cost-effective renewable fuel standard as part of the energy bill. This proposal would require fuel producers to include a certain percentage of ethanol and biodiesel in their fuel and would increase the amount of these renewables in our nation's fuel supply. Listen, more corn means more ethanol, which means less imported oil.

Oh, well, okay, he did give the B-word an airing.

Technology can also help us tap into a vital source that flows around us all the time and that is wind. That's why I've asked Congress to provide $1.9 billion over 10 years for tax incentives for renewable energy technologies like wind, as well as residential solar heating systems and energy produced from landfill gas and biomass.

Why is wind mentioned last, and in the same breath as passive solar or biomass? Why are solar panels ignored? Wind energy is a big bright promising technology, and should have been mentioned first, before nuclear power, just as in various European countries wind energy is getting prominent attention.

A third essential step toward greater energy independence is to harness the power of technology so we can continue to become better conservers of energy. Already, technology is helping us grow our economy while using less energy. For example, in 1997, the U.S. steel industry used 45 percent less energy to produce a ton of steel than it did in 1975. The forest and paper industry used 21 percent less energy to produce a ton of paper. In other words, we're making advances in conservation. And in the years ahead, if we're smart about what we do, we can become even more productive while conserving even more energy.

Technological advances are helping develop new products that give our consumers the same and even better performance at lower cost by using less energy. Think about this, you can buy a refrigerator that uses the same amount of power as a 75-watt light bulb. It's a remarkable advance when it comes to helping consumers save money on energy. Advances in energy-efficient windows keep hot and cold air in and prevent your dollars from flowing out. High efficiency light bulbs last longer than traditional ones, while requiring less electricity.

Good, he's mentioning the negawatt idea.

However, during the California energy crisis in 2001, Cheney derided California for conserving their way out of the problem. We launched a comprehensive conservation education program and got a lot of peoples attention, gaining some power capacity back through the negawatt idea. And California made it through that crisis with little problem, well, other than the loss of Governor Davis to getting the Gropenator as governor.

We're encouraging automakers to produce a new generation of modern, clean diesel cars and trucks. My administration has issued new rules that will remove more than 90 percent of the sulfur in diesel fuel by 2010. Clean diesel technology will allow consumers to travel much farther on each gallon of fuel, without the smoke and pollution of past diesel engines. We've proposed $2.5 billion over 10 years in tax credits that will encourage consumers to buy energy-efficient hybrid cars and trucks, and we need to expand these incentives to include clean diesel vehicles, as well.

This diesel, clean or not, is still coming from fossil sources, and is hence going to come from other countries. On the one hand he earlier decried how that's a foreign tax on America, and now he wants to enshrine diesel as a solution? That's preposterous.

What would work along these lines is biodiesel. Biodiesel doesn't have the sulfur problem fossil diesel has, doesn't introduce new carbon into the atmosphere, and doesn't represent a foreign tax on America.

New technologies such as superconducting power lines can help us bring our electrical grid into the 21st century, and protect American families and businesses from damaging power outages. Some of you who live in the Midwest and on the East Coast know what I'm talking about -- damaging power outages. We have modern interstate grids for our phone lines and our highways. It's time for America to build a modern electricity grid. The electricity title is an important part of the energy bill. As a matter of fact, a lot of which I've discussed so far is an important part of the energy bill that needs to get passed by the United States Congress before August of this year.

Uhm, okay, superconductors? I suppose such a technology would decrease transmission losses. I don't know enough about that technology to say more.

This does smack of trying to enable the energy trading idea that his buddy Ken Lay wanted. And look where that led Ken Lay, to the fraudulent fiasco that is Enron.

And it's interesting that he left out the West Coast in talking about power outages. It was the West Coast, California anyway, that was subject to the illegal manipulation by his buddy Ken Lay that led to the power crisis we had here.

The fourth essential step toward greater energy independence is to make sure other nations can take advantage in advances -- take advantage of the advances in technology to reduce their own demand. Listen, we need to remember that the market for energy is a global one, and we're not the only large consumer. Much of the current projected rise in energy prices is due to rising energy consumption in Asia. As Asian economies grow, their demand for energy is growing. And the demand for energy is growing faster than the supply of energy is increasing. ...Our costs -- our prices are going up. It is in our interest to help these countries become more energy self-sufficient; that will help reduce demand, which will help take pressure off price, and at the same time help protect the environment.

Interesting view ... that it's a global market. In talking this way he's obviously equating "energy" with "oil" or "natural gas" because that's the only energy source that's a global market in the way he describes.

As well, we will explore ways we can work with like-minded countries to develop advance nuclear technologies that are safe, clean and protect against proliferation. With these technologies, with the expansion of nuclear power, we can relieve stress on the environment and reduce global demand for fossil fuels. That would be good for the world, and that would be good for American consumers, as well.

I've seen some information on this. The project is SSTAR, the small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor. It's a sealed reactor that's designed to be safe enough to even deploy into hostile terroritory and "know" the people won't be able to tamper with it.