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April 02, 2013

Mind the [Energy] Gap

Via Betsy Newmark, a chilling (pun fully intended) example of the unintended (and deadly) consequences that result when progressive political ideology trumps reality:

As freezing temperatures, gales and blizzards of deadly "100-year, record-smashing" spring storms battered Europe this past month, the energy gap I've warned about for years hit the headlines: "It's payback time for our insane energy policy," snarled London's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Hypothermia has killed thousands, losses to the economy have soared into the billions, and the wintry spring has wrought mayhem on the roads, closed businesses and smashed power lines.

Last weekend, the head of the United Kingdom's second-largest energy supplier announced that the nation had barely 48 hours' worth of stored natural gas left to keep the population warm. "Our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time."

Why? Because instead of developing its vast natural gas resources to fuel gas-fired generators, Britain has been building wind turbines, which provide almost no electricity during frigid weather.

What's an "energy gap"? (the Editorial Staff had never heard the term)

The "energy gap" is the amount of "green energy" we actually produce, compared with how much more we would need to produce to replace energy from fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power that greens and bureaucrats want to shut down. It's a reality check.

Every year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration provides a simple chart useful for calculating America's energy gap. EIA's website calls it "Total Energy Supply and Disposition." It lists all energy sources and the number of BTUs each contributed. (A British thermal unit is a standard measuring unit for energy.) The EIA chart shows BTUs in quadrillions. Here's how America's energy sources and use stacked up in 2012.

Liquid fuels and other petroleum: 36.74 quadrillion BTUs; natural gas: 25.80; coal: 19.46; nuclear: 8.50; hydropower: 2.67; biomass: 2.73; other renewable energy: 1.77 (includes grid-connected electricity from landfill gas, biogenic municipal waste, wind, photovoltaic and solar thermal sources, and nonelectric energy from renewable sources, such as active and passive solar systems); other: 0.38. Total U.S. energy for 2012: 97.93 quadrillion BTUs.

Fossil fuels alone -- oil, gas and coal -- contributed 82 percent of this total. Wind and solar provided a mere 3.32 percent of our overall needs in 2012. America therefore had an energy gap of 96.7 percent last year.

Oh well, surely the investment in green energy is worth a few human lives. If it saves just one bird....

A few months ago, the Justice Department brought charges against Oklahoma oil company Continental Resources as well as six others in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds in violation of the Bird Treaty Act.

...Continental was accused of killing one bird “the size of a sparrow” in its oil pits. “It’s not even a rare bird. There’re jillions of them,” Hamm said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Yet in central California, 70 golden eagles were killed by wind turbines at Altamont Pass, without prosecution. The findings follow a 2008 study by the Fish and Wildlife Service that estimates wind farms kill nearly a half million birds per year in the United States.


Posted by Cassandra at April 2, 2013 08:34 AM

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Comments

I thought the "Energy Gap" was the difference between young and old. Or is that some other Gap that I can't bridge anymore either? In any event, I think that its perfectly reasonable that old and sick people should freeze to death in order to save the planet for young and healthy people to despoil with newer, cleaner, destructive energy sources, such as Lady Gaga.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 3, 2013 11:19 AM

In any event, I think that its perfectly reasonable that old and sick people should freeze to death in order to save the planet for young and healthy people to despoil with newer, cleaner, destructive energy sources, such as Lady Gaga.

That's how they're planning to get us back for leaving them with all this debt :p

Posted by: *Brrrrrrrr!!!* at April 3, 2013 11:45 AM