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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pro-environment, Pro-human, Pro-nuclear

Wind or Nuclear? - from mises.org

Excerpt:

Energy is like a river; it exists in two ways: flows and stores.

When you store energy, you create a dam to capture it.

What environmentalists call "renewable energy" is really just the stored energy of the sun.

In actuality, there's no such thing as "renewable energy": all energy, even the sun, is limited.

Fossil fuels are energy stores as well — specifically, they are stored solar energy, a process that takes millions of years — and they are highly concentrated, ten times more so than, for instance, wood.

In terms of wind and raw solar energy, the flow is exceptionally diluted: solar is ten to fifty times less concentrated than fossil fuel. When you can't concentrate it, then the only way to harvest it is to use more and more land. That's the limiting factor for both sun and wind energy.

T. Boone Pickens's now-infamous plan would require 1,200 square miles for a single power plant.

Compare that to nuclear, which would require only one square mile.

Coal is extraordinarily abundant — we'll never run out — and pound-for-pound contains twice as much energy as wood. Coal is a concentrated storehouse of energy.

Octane molecules in gasoline, however, are even more concentrated. In fact, they're the densest store of carbon energy we've ever discovered. Pound-for-pound, gas possesses four times as much energy as coal. There's a popular misconception today that gasoline is inefficient and wasteful. Nothing could be more inaccurate.

Gas molecules are not only by far the densest form of carbon energy we've ever discovered; they're also easy to transfer because they're fluid. These are two of the greatest reasons we've adopted gasoline.

Nuclear, on the other hand, is something else entirely. The public hasn't even begun to grasp nuclear energy ...

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