By Alan Caruba
You may have seen the television commercials with T. Boone Pickens, a multi-millionaire who made his money in oil and is now trying to double up selling wind. That is wind as in wind power—as in hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines to generate electricity.
That’s why I find it more than strange that Picken’s television and print ads all start off talking about oil. In the current edition of Business Week magazine he has a full-page ad with a headline that says “It’s time to stop America’s addiction to foreign oil.”
Well, first of all, we are not “addicted.” We buy foreign oil because, back in the 1980s the White House and Congress set out to reduce domestic oil exploration and drilling. It was and it is a deliberate policy in which the U.S. guarantees the security of Middle Eastern nations so they can sell us their oil instead of our being able to compete with them in the global marketplace with our own extensive reserves of oil.
So, no, we are not “addicted.” It turns out that virtually every car, truck, and other vehicle on the roads and highways of America uses gasoline or diesel. That’s not addiction. That’s internal combustion. We don’t drive vehicles that run on lemonade or beer.
Virtually all of the oil we import goes to use for transportation and that includes, of course, aircraft, boats, tractors, off-road and recreational vehicles. There is nothing inherently wrong or sinful in this. It’s the way they’re made.
So why does T. Boone’s ad then go on to say “In 1970, we imported 24% of our oil. Today, it’s 70% and climbing”? Is this some kind of revelation he’s sharing with us? Is there anyone left in America that doesn’t know our politicians won’t let our oil companies drill for our own oil (while blaming them for not doing so)?
Here’s where it gets weird. T. Boone isn’t even interested in oil. What he’s really selling is wind power. If it weren’t for the photo of a wind turbine, you might not know that from his advertisement.
And, guess what? Vehicles, unless they have a big sail attached to their roof, don’t run on wind power.
Wind power is about electricity and, except for limited, small projects like running a farm off of a wind turbine or some other small usage application, wind power is just about the dumbest way to generate large amounts of electricity you can name.
My friend, Robert Bryce, an authority on energy and the author of “Gusher of Lies”, points out that, “even in the best locations, wind turbines produce power only about one-third of the time. And many produce at lower rates.” There is no comparison between the kilowatts generated by wind power and the billions from America’s nuclear or coal-fired power plants.
It’s not like it’s a secret that wind turbines are an unreliable source of electrical power. Bryce points out that, “In July 2006, for example, wind turbines in California produced power at only about 10 percent of their capacity; in Texas, one of the most promising states for wind energy, the windmills produced electricity at about 17 percent of their rated capacity.”
That means that there has to be nuclear, coal-fired or natural gas power plants functioning fulltime as a backup to the pathetically unreliable and inefficient wind farms. Moreover, what electricity they do generate is lost to some degree in the process of transmitting it over long distances to distribution facilities.
No one wants to live near a wind farm. You could have a nuclear power plant in your backyard and not know it was there unless you looked out the window. Wind farms are noisy neighbors and can make people crazy listening to them. Legislatures have to pass laws to exempt them from law suits identifying them as a public nuisance.
I do not fault T. Boone for wanting to make more millions, but his advertisements and public relations campaign talks about oil to divert people’s attention and awareness from what he really wants to do and that is build lots of wind farms and sell electricity. That’s deceptive.
Are we running out of coal in America? Not for hundreds of years. Can we build more nuclear power plants? You bet.
Like all the other hoaxes perpetrated by the environmental movement, “clean energy” is just another way for a few folks to get rich while the rest of us get screwed.