Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama's Good statements

President Obama’s address to the Nation was telling. Some parts I agreed with and others I found discouraging. Let’s start out positive. He says we as a nation must be energy independent and that for decades we have failed to make this happen. His proposal includes renewable energy such as wind, solar and bio. Energy initiatives will also include clean coal. Obama also included plug in cars which is not an energy source but a consumer of energy. I agree with wind power, but this has a serious problem. General Electric is the largest producer of wind turbines. They have a significant back log. A back log means they have more orders than they can ship at the current time. I am sure they are doing everything they can to meet this new increased demand. They are in the business to sell and make money.

GE’s sales in wind power increased 11% over last quarter which in this economy is very good. The blades used in wind turbines are precision composite blades. They are machined using machines, I am told supplied, from two companies. The companies making the blades have significant backlog themselves as do the companies who make the machines to make the blades which are used in wind generators. The blade companies would like to make more, but they need more machines. Therefore, it is not simply enough to throw money at wind power to make it happen, but the need to first make the machines that make the blades. It is not something that can be done in two years, but I am sure with such a demand, there will be more incentive to expand production of these machines. Can wind power be a major player in the production of electricity, YES! Will it make difference in two years, probably not. However, if we never start, it will never be.

As for as clean coal technology, what is it? First it does not exist yet. It is a concept with an initial $4 billion price tag for research into how it might be practical and implemented. It will then cost billions more to implement in power plants, ultimately driving up electrical costs. Instead of spending tens of billions on clean coal technology, would it not be better to build machines to make the blades for wind turbines which would ultimately produce electricity at 1/3 the cost of clean coal? The lead time to develop clean coal is a decade away and to implement it even further.

I liked his statement that everyone must complete high school and that when they do not, they are not productive citizens. This is a true statement I agree with.


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