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T. Boone Pickens Discusses The Future of Energy
Oklahoma Horizon via Energy Policy TV.
T. Boone Pickens, Chairman, BP Capital Management, discusses the future of energy in the United States and the importance of the emergence of alternative fuels.
(25 May 2008)

Do We Need an Energy “Manhattan Project”?

James Pethokoukis, US News & World Report
Can Big Government really solve the energy crisis? It would be nice to believe that. While America has a much-deserved reputation as the land of free-market-loving entrepreneurs, that doesn’t mean Uncle Sam can’t occasionally take the lead and achieve some pretty impressive results. Two that quickly come to mind are the Manhattan Project ($20 billion in today’s dollars), which developed the atomic bomb, and the Apollo space program ($100 billion in today’s dollars), which eventually put 12 men on the surface of the moon. And it’s those two examples of successful collective action that many people think should serve as the models for how we deal with our current power problems, whether it’s slowing climate change or achieving energy security.

… My take:

1) You say “Manhattan Project” or “Apollo,” I say “Project Independence” or “synfuel”-two failed 1970s attempts to break us from our “addiction to foreign oil,” the latter of which blew $60 billion in four years (in today’s dollars) with nothing to show for the effort.

. …Alternative energy is more amorphous. Solar, wind, next-generation nuclear, and clean coal may all have varying roles to play, but how exactly? Superefficient, nanotech solar cells? Genetically engineered trees that breathe in carbon and turn it into fuel? Who knows? But I am pretty sure government planners and bureaucrats have lousy crystal balls.

4) Despite all of the above, it is unlikely that Uncle Sam will just sit back and let the markets handle things. So here is one smart and effective path. First, focus any new spending on helping to push existing technologies to market, such as through government purchases of civilian and military vehicles. Second, set prices for carbon through a tax or a cap-and-auction system-with revenue rebated to taxpayers-then cut subsidies, with the money again returned to taxpayers. Third, create innovation prizes for key technological breakthroughs and let the best idea win, as with private prizes such as the Ansari X Prize for space flight.

Of course, a crash government program might be easily justified if the planet’s climate was about to take a terrible turn for the worse or the most frightening of the “peak oil” projections looked to be coming true. But if that’s the case, we just might need aliens to sends us some blueprints.
(30 May 2008)

Drill now solution to soaring gas prices: Westmoreland

Winston Skinner, Newnan Times (Georgia)
Drill now.

That was the simple solution U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland offered for high gasoline prices on Thursday morning. Westmoreland, a Republican who lives near Grantville, told members of White Oak Golden K that America has sufficient oil and shale resources but must exert the political will to use them.

“We are going to have to step up to the plate and make some hard political decisions,” Westmoreland said.

… Westmoreland gave the example of Norway — a nation that relies on its natural environment for many of its major industries, including fishing and tourism. Twenty years ago, Norway was completely dependent upon foreign oil.

Today, Norway produces its own oil and exports more oil than any other nation, except Saudi Arabia. “They made a decision that they were not going to be dependent on” other countries for their petroleum needs, he said.
(30 May 2008)
Contributed by EB reader who notes:
Here in the rural South our political leaders, even our Congressmen, appear to get their information on energy issues from right-wing talk radio. Math illiteracy in the US contributes to a failed understanding of how little recoverable oil is in the US, and how much of our water resource that an attempt at shale oil recovery will require. Efficiency, solar, renewables and other real solutions like trains aren’t understood by the drilling advocates. Hasn’t Norway peaked, Mr. Congressman?