Obama’s energy secretary surprised to learn he’s in charge of oil policy

posted at 7:11 pm on February 20, 2009 by Allahpundit

Like Treacher says, the difference between Obama and Jesus is that Jesus knew how to assemble a cabinet.

At a forum with reporters on Thursday, the head of the department that has traditionally taken the lead on global oil-market policy, was asked what message the Obama administration had for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at its meeting next month.

“I’m not the administration,” the Cabinet secretary replied. “I will be speaking and learning more about this in order to figure out what the U.S. position should be and what the president’s position is.”…

The day before, reporters asked him about OPEC output levels after a speech to a group of utility regulators. He responded that the issue was “not in my domain.”

He confessed later to, er, “naivete.” File this away in the “Confidence Boosters” drawer along with Krauthammer’s piece today on The One’s early foreign-policy wobbles and that WaPo story from a few days ago about how Geithner, given two months to prepare a financial rescue plan, had to scrap the whole thing at the last minute and go a different route. Exit question: At least the Transportation Department has its eye on the ball, right?


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Tyro Doofus, Esq.

His motto:

I screwed up.”

profitsbeard on February 20, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Chickens and rabbits are both fairly low maintenance, easy to care for, prolific reproducers and they’re tasty.

Oldnuke on February 20, 2009 at 8:59 PM

You like chickens? Maybe deep fried, but otherwise I don’t like them at all. Red meat may be bad for my arteries, but I will die a happier man :)

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:04 PM

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Just saw your screen name. Did you ever work for Stone and Webster?

Oldnuke on February 20, 2009 at 9:05 PM

I have some advice for Mr. Chu…. next time, call Sarah Palin.

BPD on February 20, 2009 at 9:13 PM

Just saw your screen name. Did you ever work for Stone and Webster?

Oldnuke on February 20, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Hush – don’t let them hear you :)

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:14 PM

Just saw your screen name. Did you ever work for Stone and Webster?

Oldnuke on February 20, 2009 at 9:05 PM

No, I didn’t. I am an engineer by profession, though

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:16 PM

Holy Crap… If this had been in a skit on some right wing version of SNL no one would have believed it.

Didn’t he at least get the Cliff’s Notes version of his own responsibilities?

darkpixel on February 20, 2009 at 9:17 PM

this guys a friggin moron..

And it figures obama hired him..
ASSHATS

jcila on February 20, 2009 at 9:22 PM

Is this “Duh” or “Duh Duh”?

Coronagold on February 20, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Holy Crap… If this had been in a skit on some right wing version of SNL no one would have believed it.

Didn’t he at least get the Cliff’s Notes version of his own responsibilities?

darkpixel on February 20, 2009 at 9:17 PM

He forgot to ask Carol Browner what the policy is before he opened his mouth.

Y’all don’t really think this guy is actually in charge of energy policy do you?

rockmom on February 20, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Boy king with children court…

Pic of King BO

http://www.cuial.com/kingbo.jpg

izoneguy on February 20, 2009 at 9:33 PM

There is valid criticism that can be levied on the Secretary for not having an answer to the questions given but I am certain President Obama didn’t solicit Steven Chu to strictly play the political games of posturing in Washington, DC.

I find it rather reassuring that in the choice of Energy Secretary he chose someone versed in a wide variety of ways to harness the different forms of energy available to the United States. Yes, he is new to Washington, but Steven Chu represents the serious commitment by President Barack Obama to further the goal of energy independence.

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

Wow, that sounds like making someone who headed made the Arabian Horses foundation the head of FEMA, which of course can’t ever happen. Oh wait …

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Fixed typo.

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Well, I guess you’d have a point there if they asked Brownie if he thought spurs should be outlawed and he had no idea what you were talking about.

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

No, I didn’t. I am an engineer by profession, though

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:16 PM

*snicker*

You’ve certainly engineered some fine things in here so far.

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 9:41 PM

Steven Chu represents the serious commitment by President Barack Obama to further the goal of energy independence.

With what? Unicorn farts?

No way the US can be energy independent with pushing solar & wind.
Obama will not do what is necessary to make America energy independent.
With his leftist eco-marxist viewpoint I would hope we make it though an
Obama presidency without having to resort to rubbing two sticks together to make a fire.

izoneguy on February 20, 2009 at 9:41 PM

Carbon dioxide is not a fuel, so he needs to shut the hell up about that.
What a useless idiot – he admits that the world is going to need more oil at an increase of up to 6% per year, but then he doesn’t want to drill in ANWR or anywhere else, for that matter.
Then he rambles on about spending hundreds of billions “upgrading the energy grid” – which is ridiculous, since we are the Saudi Arabia of coal – over 52% of our electrical generation -, and oil is not a major power generation fuel. Actually, we don’t to build a single nuclear plant, since we have trillions of tons of existing coal reserves. So, according to this ignorant fool, we need to spend many billions building uneconomical and energy-wasting wind turbines and additionally add many more billions to channel their small and ureliable energy contributions to our already-existing energy grid.

There are thousands of real energy people far more capable than this clown – whom I’m starting to suspect is just another one of Barackys’s affirmative action potted plants.

TexasJew on February 20, 2009 at 9:43 PM

above his pay grade, perhaps

ToddonCapeCod on February 20, 2009 at 9:46 PM

Steven Chu represents the serious commitment by President Barack Obama to further the goal of energy independence.

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

Energy independence requires us using our own energy sources.
Coal, gas and oil, as well as some nuclear are real energy sources. Crappy taxpayer-subsidized energy black holes like wind and solar are just pissing away real money and energy for nothing.

TexasJew on February 20, 2009 at 9:46 PM

It appears that President Obama is assembling a green cabinet………. O and I do not mean energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

scruplesrx on February 20, 2009 at 9:50 PM

***

Steven Chu represents the serious commitment by President Barack Obama to further the goal of energy independence.

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

Steven Chu: “What is this Black-Gold, Texas-Tea substance of which you speak?”

Hey, ckoeber, if Obama is so serious about energy policy, why is his silence on nuclear power so defeaning? Is Obama still renting The China Syndrome from Net Flix?

Obama is so FOS that he’s still sold on ethanol and now he’s on to heavily subsidizing ineffective energy sources being harnessed by 55 lazy-ass workers in Colorado.

McCain sucked, but at least we’d be moving forward with a realistic energy policy. With Obama, we’ll be left to rubbing two sticks within a year or two.

BuckeyeSam on February 20, 2009 at 9:51 PM

*snicker*

You’ve certainly engineered some fine things in here so far.

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 9:41 PM

Funny :). Well, my point is not to support the left or right, a virtue of being an engineer is that it makes you a pragmatist. Bush was berated by the liberals for whatever he did, Obama is berated by the conservatives for whatever he does. Neither of those *does* anything constructive – like saving the economy or building a solid future for our next generations. So, I just wish we talked and debated concrete plans and theories as opposed to just resorting to the usual left-right back-and-forth rhetoric.

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:54 PM

I thought Barry’s administration was going to be Carter II.

After 4 weeks, I think I owe former President Carter and his staff an apology. Barry’s Bozo are dumber than rocks… Billy Carter, in his current state, has a deeper capability for critical thinking…

phreshone on February 20, 2009 at 10:01 PM

izoneguy on February 20, 2009 at 9:41 PM

This is going to be long…ya hit a red button issue…

In a good way, of course.

What most of the new energy crowd fails to realize is that it will take time, lots of time, to invent, test, develop, produce and integrate “alternatives” into the massive massive power grid here in the United States. It will also cost money, too…lots of it.

Thus, for the near term…the next decade or two, oil and coal will (should) provide the basis for our major energy needs. Our being able to drill here/mine here for that necessary energy over the next ten or twenty years is essential.

To shut down coal as a major energy source, for example, requires an alternative that will fit the present mechanics of our energy production and distribution system. Not drilling here, now, or mining here, now, requires us to be totally dependent on a foreign oil source, and perhaps a foreign coal source…subject to not only the proclivities of the market but also the proclivities of those who control that foreign oil or coal.

One can easily envision a scenario over the next year or two or ten wherein foreign oil producers restrict production to such an extent as to make the price of oil reaching our shores well over $100 to $150 a barrel, if not more. Avarice rules the energy market.

Then what?

Funding that may have been desired to spend on “alternatives” and their development and production will be siphoned off or not available at all as we once again have to send those same billions to overseas producers to meet our “basic” energy needs.

Thus, all the rosy and wonderful “plans” to develop solar, wind, and unicorn farts, will come to nought. And we will be right back where we were last summer. Lots of complaining, lots of posturing, but damn little domestic production, and still ever more dependent on foreign sources for basic needs.

Had a couple of college students stop by the house yesterday with a petition to shut down coal plants in this state immediately. I asked them both what doing so would do to the average household’s ability to keep the lights on.

They started talking about the critical need to get coal, dirty nasty coal, shut down forever and embrace clean alternatives. I asked which alternatives? Again, they kept up the mantra but could not tell me how I would get low-cost electricity later this year or next or a few years from now, until there windmills and solar electric plants eventually came online.

This is the crux of it all.

Those making decisions as to our energy neeeds are dealing with wishes and hopes and dreams…while our Nation requires actual real and available sources of energy now…today…and for the near term.

Dr. Chu is of that camp, completely…willfully ignorant of that present,m near term and out years necessity.

At this rate, ten years from now when we have to shut down factories and businesses, shut down entire towns and cities with brown-outs or too costly energy…what then?

They have no answer. To them it is all or nothing.

None of the major advocates, most vocal advocates, for alternative energy have ever had real world experience in powering up a factory or a city…but they offer dreams, and hopes, and unicorn farts…and cite small scale lab experiments and such.

To date, no person in the “alternative energy” crowd has honestly admitted that ethanol, for example, is an overall energy waste and an environmental disaster in the making…as well as a major drain on food production.

I am all for alternatives…alternatives that are proven to work for a smaller cost per kilowatt hour…or can afford me the opportunity to travel, or go to work, or heat my home cheaply…but unless we are willing to admit that we need a measured transition period in that pursuit, then everything is hype, just words, just politics as usual…and in the end, our energy policy as our energy sources will be a bunch of smoke and mirrors and not one kilowatt hour not additional BTU for the average guy on the street.

Those from academia are least capable of translating lab work into practical solutions.

Again Dr. Chu is of this camp…unfortunately for us all.

coldwarrior on February 20, 2009 at 10:06 PM

There will be blood!

BPD on February 20, 2009 at 10:10 PM

So, I just wish we talked and debated concrete plans and theories as opposed to just resorting to the usual left-right back-and-forth rhetoric.

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:54 PM

Here’s a thermodynamic idea for you: if something costs more energy to construct and operate than it produces as useable energy over its lifetime, then that is not a viable energy source. That perfectly describes the money pit of wind turbines.
I’m a professional geologist, but I am also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and am close to getting my long-delayed MS from the top-rated PE department in the world, so you could say that I “play an engineer on TV”, as the saying goes.
And, most importantly, as my old former employer LBJ (I worked at KLBJ in Austin back in the day to pay for college) used to say: “Boys, I may not know much, but I know the difference between chickenshit and chicken salad.”

TexasJew on February 20, 2009 at 10:15 PM

Funny :). Well, my point is not to support the left or right, a virtue of being an engineer is that it makes you a pragmatist. Bush was berated by the liberals for whatever he did, Obama is berated by the conservatives for whatever he does. Neither of those *does* anything constructive – like saving the economy or building a solid future for our next generations. So, I just wish we talked and debated concrete plans and theories as opposed to just resorting to the usual left-right back-and-forth rhetoric.
peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 9:54 PM

Funny…you mean this kind of left-right back-and-forth rhetoric??

Wow, that sounds like making someone who headed the Arabian Horses foundation the head of FEMA, which of course can’t ever happen. Oh wait …
peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 8:55 PM

I see what you mean…

You Are an engineer!!!

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 10:23 PM

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM
There is valid criticism that can be levied on the Secretary for not hearing his alarm clock ring and rolling over and going back to sleep having an answer to the questions given but

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

TN Mom on February 20, 2009 at 10:24 PM

I see what you mean…

You Are an engineer!!!

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 10:23 PM

You missed the point – I wanted to inform you that both parties, both camps of politicians do the same stuff. I am frankly a bit tired of politicians in general.

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 10:27 PM

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 10:27 PM

Ok…I just must have missed that post where you ripped the DemoTards….

My bad…you win…

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 10:29 PM

Here’s a thermodynamic idea for you: if something costs more energy to construct and operate than it produces as useable energy over its lifetime, then that is not a viable energy source. That perfectly describes the money pit of wind turbines.
TexasJew on February 20, 2009 at 10:15 PM

+10

But when you’re talking to an audience who’s knowledge of energy is limited to flick switch light comes on you will never get through to them. Unfortunately that is most of the population of the United States. At our visitor center we had a small generator powered by a bicycle supplying power to a 100 watt light bulb. It’s sole purpose was to educate visitors as to how much energy it really took to power their homes. Lance Armstrong could not keep that bulb bright enough to read by for 10 minutes. Most people couldn’t even make it that bright to begin with.

Oldnuke on February 20, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Again, this sort of thing will happen when democrats win elections. Democrats as a party have not spent much time leading the country in the modern era, and as a result have a much smaller bureaucratic base from which to draw talent.

ernesto on February 20, 2009 at 7:16 PM

Ya know, 8 years ago wasn’t THAT freakin’ long ago. In most adults’ minds, that still kind of falls within the “modern era”.

Now, if you want to argue about whether Billy-Jeff Clinton led the country or not, that might be a discussion.

AZfederalist on February 20, 2009 at 10:32 PM

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 10:27 PM

And on a lighter note…I agree…Our government has become something it was never meant to be. It didn’t just happen, but it’s become something it was never meant to be. These pricks are all supposed to represent us. They don’t, and haven’t for many a moon….They are all beholden to bogus public opinion polls, lobbyists, and personal greed.

I got nothing…

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 10:40 PM

Steven Chu represents the serious commitment by President Barack Obama to further the goal of energy independence.

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

There are thousands of real energy people far more capable than this clown …

TexasJew on February 20, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Of course you’re both right ;-): Dr. Chu is Obama’s version of “serious”, and the fact that Chu’s a scientist with good potential as a national science advisor doesn’t have much to do with whether he’s prepared to be Energy secretary.

Speaking of Dr. Chu, here is a post from 2 mos. ago, from the Daily Kos, that contains a link to Chu’s Google talk (“The Energy Problem and what we can do to solve it”):

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/12/17/8289/3005

For those following the polywell fusion project, Chu’s comments in the Q&A are illuminating. From his tepid response to a question about the subject, I didn’t get the feeling he was all that that interested in polywell fusion (despite the comfort that commenters seemed to take in it — but you be the judge).

RD on February 20, 2009 at 10:47 PM

Sorry – here’s the direct link to the Google talk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=AU&hl=en-GB&v=JS17g47-SOk

As mentioned in the DKos article, the question about Polywell comes up about 1h 1m 20s into the clip.

The other interesting part is how credulously Dr. Chu treats the canon of Global Warming pseudo-science during his presentation: nary a whiff of doubt about ANY part of AGW tripe during the entire hour. Which makes him (IMO) either a rube or a master of manipulation.

P.S. Great posts, coldwarrior, TexasJew, Oldnuke, BigWyo and all! Just got to the computer late this evening; I need to go back & read pg. 1…

RD on February 20, 2009 at 11:04 PM

Of course you’re both right ;-): Dr. Chu is Obama’s version of “serious”, and the fact that Chu’s a scientist with good potential as a national science advisor doesn’t have much to do with whether he’s prepared to be Energy secretary.
RD on February 20, 2009 at 10:47 PM

Well that’s just great. Obama’s version of..’serious’ any thing is laughable….

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 11:15 PM

I find it rather reassuring that in the choice of Energy Secretary he chose someone versed in a wide variety of ways to harness the different forms of energy available to the United States.

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

It would be more reassuring if he realized that oil is among those forms of energy. This is pathetic.

ddrintn on February 20, 2009 at 11:18 PM

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 10:40 PM

Couldn’t agree more. Here is an outrageous idea : since all these pols look at our polls to figure out policy, why don’t we get rid of the government altogether and just have a giant computer network which decides on policies by getting online votes from people? Can’t be much worse than how Washington is now, and on the brighter side it will create jobs for programmers, chip designers and computer manufacturers!

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 11:25 PM

Looks like the inmates are running the asylum…

DL13 on February 20, 2009 at 11:30 PM

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 11:25 PM

Ok…one thing about polls. IMO they are all dog$hit..no matter what the results. Think about it…they have no standards, they have no one to answer to. Their only measurable worth comes around election time. And then they try to be accurate. But look at the weekly ones they do now. ‘How would you rate President Obama’s performance so far??’ They can take any kind of sampling they want…who’s gonna call em’ on it??? There’s money in them thar Unverifiable polls!!!!

The rest of yer post???

Really…I was waving the white flag….

just a little bit….

BigWyo on February 20, 2009 at 11:37 PM

I feel too lazy to respond now. After having worked all day to meet a deadline, and a few beers, I am ready to crash. Good night everyone!

peter_griffin on February 20, 2009 at 11:48 PM

I thought Barry’s administration was going to be Carter II.

After 4 weeks, I think I owe former President Carter and his staff an apology.

phreshone on February 20, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe we have a winner.

Jaibones on February 21, 2009 at 12:07 AM

Wow! This guy hasn’t got a clue, and as for his “taxation per miles driven” idea, how absolutely asinine can you get?!!

I mean there is no way!!!!! We live in the middle of the desert in far West Texas, in a city that is one of the top 25 largest cities in the US. We do not have any kind of mass transit except crappy buses that take 2 hours to go 10 miles because our city is so spread out and very property poor. If we were charged by the mile to drive, we would all be walking 30 miles a day, (some of us 50 depending on whether or not you work across town), because we could not afford the tax!

Granted, that is the idea, to cut back on vehicular usage, but the idiots that think this stuff up live in DC, NY City, Boston Mass or San Francisco. I’ve been to 3 of these cities, lived in 1 of them and they have great mass transit, but they are not; 1) on the border of Texas/Mexico, 2) surrounded by mountains that they have to drive around to get across town, 3) spread out in approx. 1,000 (yes,one thousand), sq. miles, 4) property poor (low property valuation compared to much of the rest of the Country, but with high prop. taxes regardless), etc,etc,….

Oh, but wait, I know, we could just ask the Feds for all the money, to build a transit system, kinda like Phoenix did, and still not be able to pay for it.

So, who wants to explain to me how the hell people where I live, are going to survive a tax like this? The answer: we are not.

Susanboo on February 21, 2009 at 12:12 AM

There is valid criticism that can be levied on the Secretary for not having an answer to the questions given but I am certain President Obama didn’t solicit Steven Chu to strictly play the political games of posturing in Washington, DC.

I find it rather reassuring that in the choice of Energy Secretary he chose someone versed in a wide variety of ways to harness the different forms of energy available to the United States. Yes, he is new to Washington, but Steven Chu represents the serious commitment by President Barack Obama to further the goal of energy independence.

ckoeber on February 20, 2009 at 9:38 PM

Did you cut and paste this from http://www.Hope/Change.org?

myrenovations on February 21, 2009 at 12:16 AM

I’m reminded of Ross Perot’s vice-presidental nominee Admiral Stockdale…

“Who am I? Why am I here?”

cnredd
Political Wrinkles
http://www.politicalwrinkles.com

cnredd on February 21, 2009 at 12:20 AM

Chu, who is still without a deputy, said he feels “like I’ve been dumped into the deep end of the pool” on oil policy.

Can anybody show me a similar quote from the past couple of decades where a new Cabinet appointee has so clearly demonstrated they are not qualified for their new position?

(BTW, FEMA is not a Cabinet-level agency and wasn’t under Brownie.)

cs89 on February 21, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Susanboo on February 21, 2009 at 12:12 AM

I’m right out here as well (in the Upper Valley), and I have to drive a thousand miles roundtrip to my work in the oilpatch of West Texas.
I don’t like the idea of Big Brother watching me and probably monitoring my drive speed, and every time that I stop by the side of the road and take a bathroom break.

I belive that on the reasons that Carter lost in 1980 was his insistance in extending the 55 mile per hour speed limit.

TexasJew on February 21, 2009 at 12:56 AM

That was actually Andrew Koenig’s line, I just punched it up a bit.

You know that dream where it’s finals week and you haven’t been to class all semester? Do you think Obama is having that dream these days? Assuming he’s been able to sleep.

Jim Treacher on February 21, 2009 at 12:58 AM

Did you see Obama signing the 800 billion dollar stimulus bill on that little desk, all by his lonesome?
That was a sad sight… he held that pen in his weak little left hand like he was signing a rubber check at a check-cashing kiosk.

TexasJew on February 21, 2009 at 1:09 AM

This is going to be long…ya hit a red button issue…

coldwarrior on February 20, 2009 at 10:06 PM

This is going to be short …

A battery powered car (it could have red buttons) in every garage and a nuclear power plant in every county.

MB4 on February 21, 2009 at 1:49 AM

Admiral Stockdale…

cnredd on February 21, 2009 at 12:20 AM

Stockdale could have crapped in my cornflakes and I still would have shook his hand.

Limerick on February 21, 2009 at 1:49 AM

This is like a gigolo being hired and not knowing he is supposed to not only squire her around but bed her as well.

technopeasant on February 21, 2009 at 2:29 AM

Energy=oil….whodathunkit?

milwife88 on February 20, 2009 at 7:42 PM

It doesn’t take a Nobel Laureate to.. Oh wait.

the_nile on February 21, 2009 at 4:36 AM

So Obama’s energy secretary is stupid and incompetent, but can you really expect more from a democrat.

darktood on February 21, 2009 at 4:55 AM

Freaking hell, Atlas Shrugs IS coming true. This guy is Dr.Robert Stradler.

promachus on February 21, 2009 at 5:21 AM

100 years from now, Obama will be a footnote in the history books “the most inexperienced and incompetent administration in US history.”

William Teach on February 21, 2009 at 8:07 AM

The left excuse is he doesn’t want to veer off message from Obama so he didn’t say anything…He is a smart man for that and he obviously isn’t in the pocket of Big oil.

tomas on February 21, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Jimmy Carter II has arrived. A movie about this administration could rival the laughs garnered by the hit movie “Airplane”.

It’s very unfortunate that we are all going to pay for this fro many years to come past the departure of his Holiness, The One.

The claim that we’r all racists for jumping on this clow will begin in…three, two, one….

larvcom on February 21, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Oil is energy? Who knew? Chu is still considering whether to regulate rickshaws and horse drawn carriages for their global warming effects.

eaglewingz08 on February 21, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Well, if these guys were competent, we would be socialistic in the first 100 days. Their “naivete” is about all we’ve got going for us.

“War, bombing…ask Gates what to do!”

PattyJ on February 21, 2009 at 11:42 AM

This guy is f**king joke. A total clown.

searcher484 on February 21, 2009 at 9:26 PM

This pick brought to you by the Obama vetting team.

OVT: “We brought you Joseph R. Biden.”

BKennedy on February 22, 2009 at 9:13 AM

Well, my point is not to support the left or right, a virtue of being an engineer is that it makes you a pragmatist.

I too am an engineer, and Obama and his neophyte Cabinet guys are NOT pragmatists!

We’ve got enough coal for about 400 years of our energy needs, and enough shale oil in the Rockies for over 100 years’ worth, if the Government will let us use them.

Instead we get Wacky Baracky standing in front of a dam telling us how to “store” wind power by using it to pump water up a dam, to be let back over the dam to generate electricity during a calm, dry spell. Any engineer knows that when you convert energy from one form to another (including a wind turbine, pump, or generator), you lose some to heat. Second Law of Thermodynamics, can’t get around it, and Congress can’t repeal it. So you get more energy out of a wind turbine without a dam than with one.

Plus, if you use a dam, you need another dam at the bottom to prevent the water from going down the river when you want to pump it. What happens to the darling little salmon and snail-darters and fishy-wishies downstream when their water is pumped the wrong way and their river dries up? They die…for a big bag of wind acting like a fish out of water.

Nothing wrong with wind power though–it just needs to be more efficient! I’ve seen a presentation by a company designing a wind turbine that runs like a jet engine in reverse, and uses an air-flow vortex to get the same power at half the diameter of a conventional three-bladed wind turbine, and can work at lower wind speeds. Shorter blades mean less stress and slower tip speeds, meaning less bird kill and batting the bats!

This company is still testing a prototype, but they’ve got millions in private venture-capital research funding. Did da gubmint help out? Naaaaaaah.

You want more energy, let the engineers do their work, and if it’s cost-competitive, they’ll find the money. Just keep the gubmint outta da way.

Steve Z on February 23, 2009 at 2:55 PM

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