The San Francisco Chronicle devoted their entire August 11, 2008 Op-Ed page to “T. Boone Pickens’ plan to break the stranglehold of foreign oil” (Jay Mandle, economics professor, Colgate Univ.) through replacing natural gas used to generate 22% of our electricity with wind power, and then diverting this natural gas to transportation needs to reduce our need for oil. I wasn’t surprised that Mr. Pickens avoided the “n” word – nuclear energy, which already generates 20% of our electrical requirements, is available 24/365, produces no Greenhouse gases, and has been and continues to be improved in terms of safety, cost, and reliability.
Mr. Pickens noted that Robert Kennedy Jr. is an enthusiastic supporter of wind power, although he didn’t mention that Uncle Ted and the Kennedys virulently opposed placing windmills off Hyannis Port. As Mr. Mandle mentioned, Mr. Pickens also avoided mentioning “the enormously expensive construction of new wind turbines and the vast extension of the national electrical grid that will be required.”
If we doubled the percent of electricity generated by nuclear to 40%, we would still be behind France at 78%, and Japan will be at 40% by 2013. In the European Union, nuclear power generates 30% of electricity.
Apparently Mr. Pickens, recently investing heavily in Texas wind power, sees no need to mention that nuclear can achieve his goal of reduced dependence on foreign oil much more effectively and less expensively.