July 24, 2007

Rudy: Energy Independence Vital

Rudy Giuliani, who has spent the summer hiring an impressive roster of experts on foreign policy and the judiciary, has turned his attention to energy policy as well. In a campaign stop in San Francisco, Giuliani gave his views on energy independence, although the California audience may not have received some of his platform with great enthusiasm. And therein lies the rub.

It's safe to say that everyone knows what it will take to achieve energy independence It’s just that almost no one likes the solutions as a whole. At Heading Right, I review the path to energy independence, and ask whether America can unite for another "moon shot" scientific quest -- and whether Rudy is the leader who can bring us together for it.

Tomorrow on CQ Radio, I'll speak with Rudy's energy advisor, Thomas Gaskill, to find out more.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (12)

Posted by quickjustice | July 24, 2007 12:03 PM

Nuclear fusion, use of new technology to reduce resistance on high voltage transmission lines, and enabling internet transmission over power lines.

'Nuff said.

Posted by quickjustice | July 24, 2007 12:05 PM

Nuclear fusion, use of new technology to reduce resistance on high voltage transmission lines, and enabling internet transmission over power lines.

'Nuff said.

Posted by quickjustice | July 24, 2007 12:21 PM

Based upon your Heading Right article, I should add that corn ethanol production is a massive subsidy for corn farmers that takes more energy to produce than the ethanol it produces. In other words, subsidies for corn ethanol are a huge waste of tax dollars.

The real payoff in this area is biomass conversion to ethanol-- conversion of organic trash, for example, to ethanol. We lack reliable technologies to do that right now. Developing such technologies would be a genuine breakthrough. Those would be worth subsidies.

Posted by CA civvy | July 24, 2007 1:04 PM

The "Moon Shot" or "Manhattan project" comparison is a poor one. In those cases you had one customer (the feds) with an unlimited budget and very limited competition, trying to accomplish one fairly specific thing. In the case of energy, you have a nearly infinite number of customers and applications, with numerous low-cost competitors in the market. If you want "Manhattan Project" type performance from the feds, I would say you need to give them a more specific goal than "energy independence".

Posted by Rob | July 24, 2007 1:08 PM

We have a enough oil and shale in this country to last about 130 years using current technology. It would be much cleaner for us to use now since most of our oil & gas infrastructure is based on technology that is at least thirty years old and dates from the 1970's oil boom. Developing our oil, gas, and shale resources would provide jobs for Americans. It would keep our energy dollars in America. It would be dependable and uneffected by political instability. Americans and not Jihadis would get the royalities. And It is available NOW!

Posted by Larry J | July 24, 2007 1:39 PM

Another weakness of the "Moon Shot" style of the government is that the waste and inefficiency is terrible. NASA's unofficial motto during the 1960s was "Waste anything but time." Massive overruns and several dead astronauts were the result (the Apollo 1 crew plus others killed in aircraft accidents).

Subsidizies can be useful while helping a new technology get on its feet. However, subsidizies distort the marketplace and pass the true costs from the consumers to the taxpayers at large. Any subsidizy should have a definite phase out period, say 5-10 years. After that time, if the technology can't compete on its own, it deserves to fail.

I believe achieving energy independence requires a three-pronged approach:

1. Improved conservation to reduce the rate of growth in energy consumption. Conservation on its own isn't going to allow us to be self-sufficient. However, reducing the rate of growth would amount to a large savings over time.

2. Increase domestic energy production by allowing oil and gas drilling at some of the places that are currently off limits.

3. Implement alternative technologies where possible and practical. One size does not fit all. Wind power can be practical in some areas but is completely useless in others. The same applies to solar and other alternative technologies. Increase nuclear electric production and work to increase cleaner burning coal powerplants.

Posted by exDemo | July 24, 2007 2:11 PM

The Bush administration successes at energy field have never been reported widely.

From longterm to short term perspective let us look at what Mr. bush has accomplished.

First the Bush Administration in one of its unheralded diplomatic triumphs recreated a international organization to fund and build the last Physics experiment on Fusion and simultaneously the first Engineering experiment to build a large power reactor sized Fusion reactor. ITER under construction in France is being built and paid for by the EU Russia, Japan, S Korea, China, India, Brazil, and the USA. Canada will rejoin soon. That solves energy problem from 2035 onward and permanently.

For the intermediate term, Bush has worked to reform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's red tape and NIMBY obstructionism by:

a) First he worked in creating a Combined Construction and Operating License that will allow predictable and controllable costs in Building a nuclear fission power plant. The environmentally; clean and economic fission plants are fine, after the concerns and disruption of erecting them are solved.

B) Secondly he has enlisted the Nuke builders to invest billions of dollars to upgrade proven designs, increase Passive safety systems. In addition he go them to agree to pre-certify "standard designs" that have orders of magnitude safer systems than the present generation of current production Power plants.

c) As a result the pipeline in filling; 29 power plants are seeking approvals for construction in the USA. And many more applications are lining up will follow. These Generation III+ group of fission plants will power the country until Fusion is ready to take over. These Plants will simultaneously help clean the air and reduce fossil emissions.
d) These new plants will be are providing the electrical power the country needs. It also relieves the pressure on fossil supplies that would have come by building fossil power plants instead.

For the short term, Bush has been unsuccessful in opening the East and West coasts and Alaska to drilling. He has been unsuccessful in allowing the licensing and erection of more petroleum refineries as well,.

But short term, many bio replacements for fossil fuels are being constructed to tide the country over for the next decade or two. Ethanol and Bio diesel manufacturing efforts can't replace much more than 10-15% of demand,. But it eases supply and price pressures. Taken together with the substitution of power from the new Nukes displacing other fossil demand, can reduce fossil demand significantly.

Petroleum has a very concentrated market . Over 80% goes to but a single application; that application is transport. Ground transport accounts for 70+% of total petroleum demand and 85+%% of all transport demand. Another 10-12 % goes to provide chemical feed stocks. The rest is space heating or industrial uses. In all these other uses, their are substitutes that can be readily used. these range from coal for feedstock, to electricity for space heating and industrial power use.

Substitutes continue to penetrate in these markets. Most steel making now uses electricity to make most US steel, for example. Industry uses no wmoire fossil energy today than it did twenty years ago.

Electric substitution experiments in ground transport , subsidized by government funding, appears to be making progress. Soon battery dependent HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs will populate the roads in numbers swelling as we speak.

In summary, Bush has addressed and solve the energy problem. Now we merely have to wait and watch the solutions work out over the short term of the next decade or decade and a half.

Posted by amr | July 24, 2007 2:13 PM

I agree with Mr. Giuliani about energy independence. However I do know from a recent visit to Fort Yukon, Alaska which is in the ANWR region that the local Native Americans are against drilling in that area or offshore in the Arctic Ocean. That sentiment will be hard to overcome just as Mr. Kennedy’s opinion that his view will be impacted during his sailing has almost shutdown the development of off shore wind power in his state. And drilling off Florida is off limits; however the Cubans have contracted the Chinese to do so in their portion of the sea off of the Keys. Don’t even talk about drilling off the California coast. But there are 30 new nuclear power plants being proposed. Mostly on existing sites that are licensed for additional units. And I can’t wait for the environmental impact discussions for recovering oil from our shale deposits.

One possible policy change could help in the short term alleviate the shortage of refining capability, possibly lower the price of gasoline by easing distribution. We reportedly have 42 or more blends of gasoline being produced in this country to satisfy environmental concerns. Seemingly the GAO can’t determine the actual number. If my information is correct, the California blend is the most environmentally sound, but possibly the most expensive based on the net cost to produce on a limited scale. We now have a system with built-in supply shortages because of limited refining capability, refinery outages, shutdowns and/or breakdowns which all keep the price higher than necessary assuming all other costs/taxes are constant. The Chicago area BP proposed refinery shows the problems associated with constructing new facilities.

Presently refineries have to switch processes to produce other blends and pipe lines are dedicated to a certain blend at any one time. Highway tanker or railway transport from other refineries from greater distance after shutdowns would also increase costs. After Katrina, when one pipe line to the east coast was shutdown, the necessity to produce these different blends was suspended and there was minimal disruption of the supplies of fuel. I certainly don’t remember any rationing, although some media reports indicated that filling stations did run out of gasoline; possibly due to panic buying based on hyping by the media of the future uncertainty of gasoline supplies.

A free market price is a reflection of supply and demand. We now have an artificial government mandated market which should be modified to allow one blend for the nation.

Posted by Project Vote Smart | July 24, 2007 5:08 PM

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s history of speeches on energy issues can be found at: http://www.votesmart.org/speech.php?keyword=energy&daterange=&begin=&end=&phrase=&contain=&without=&type=search&can_id=15784&go2.x=0&go2.y=0#Results

For more information on Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s position on energy issues please visit http://www.vote-smart.org or call our hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART.

Posted by abw | July 24, 2007 7:41 PM

Capt, two questions for Rudy's energy guy:

According to this story:

In this fiscal year, the Energy Department plans to spend $159 million on solar research and development. It will spend nearly double, $303 million, on nuclear energy research and development, and nearly triple, $427 million, on coal, as well as $167 million on other fossil fuel research and development.

How would Rudy propose changing these current efforts? (ie, would he double everything, increase solar and decrease nuclear, etc)

Also, does he support the current ethonal policy and what does he think of criticism that food prices are rising unnecessarily because of this use.

Posted by M. Simon | July 24, 2007 11:06 PM

It appears that the Republican Governor of Calif. may be backing Fusion Energy

California to Fund Bussard Fusion

Posted by M. Simon | July 24, 2007 11:14 PM

ITER is never going to be economically viable. Its cost will be 30X that of an equivalent fission plant.

It is a boondoggle for physicists.