Thursday, April 22, 2010

Power for my computer

I usually find George Will's columns in Newsweek to lean way too far to the Right. But this one isn't about politics and he has a good point.

Obama wants 20% of America's power generated by wind. That would require 186,000 turbines, which would cover an area the size of West Virginia (having just crossed the state twice, that's a big area). Our existing 25,000 turbines kill at least 75K and maybe 275K birds a year. What would 186K turbines do?

Solar? It's contribution now is tiny and needs lots of surface area to be meaningful.

Biomass? Its advantages disappear if the stuff has to be hauled to the plant.

In the meantime electricity consumption has been going up (5% now powers computers).

What does that leave? Nuclear. We all get nervous at the word. But how many Americans have died in the 55 years of using nuclear to generate electricity? Zero. Deaths from coal? Just check news reports for the last month, which is far from an isolated incident.

That's why we should support Lamar Alexander's campaign to build 100 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years.


  1. To a great extent I agree with the "nuclear option". However, the caveat for that option has always been what to do with the waste. Every technologist I've met believes that we'll eventually come up with a solution, but no one can accurately predict when plus the question remains whether or not these folks are the modern day versions of those who believed that we'd all be wearing jet packs by this age.

  2. I don't get why we aren't installing solar panels on top of most structures. I mean, I actually don't understand why not. Require that all new free standing structures have a source of energy...offer an incentive for already standing structures. This could be a really important step...