The Personal Journal of POTUS

July 15, 2008

My Energy Policy

As I look out, one of the things that I will most regret is not being able to finish up the work on energy that I started. I told people that one of our greatest needs as a country is energy independence, and we started working on it. But the job takes longer than the two terms I have in office, I think if as a country we really worked on it, about two presidencies after Barack Obama, we should be in pretty decent shape.

Now, a lot of whiners have complained that the administration hasn’t done anything substantive, but that’s just pure nonsense. Cheney has been working on the problem around the clock since he got into office, yes, the meetings had to be secret, we don’t want a bunch of non-experts pitching in their two cents and then make a pigsty out of the whole thing. The plan that was put into place was simple, and elegant, but ultimately takes a long time because we’re a democracy, and everything in a democracy takes time.

So, first, we had to quantify the problem. We knew we were using too much oil, and it’s a resource we’ll run out of eventually, so we had to go find some alternatives. So, the first step is to come up with short term solution that can alleviate some of the problems. This is part of the reason why we had been pushing alternatives like nuclear and corn based ethanol from day one, not because it’s necessarily the cleanest technology or the most efficient, but it’s mature enough to be put on line quickly and can get the easiest backing from the slogs in Congress since it appealed to their basest interest, the farm subsidies.

The second step was to get some more oil exploration and drilling going on in this country. Why? Because it’s necessary, now most of the loonies would have you believe that oil is just used in transportation and energy generation, but that’s far from the truth, we have other products like plastics that require oil, there isn’t a way around that yet. So, we need to keep the oil supply stable as much as possible. Besides that, even if we drill for oil off the continental shelf and in Alaska, it takes about ten years or more to get that capacity on line. The capacity would serve as a nice stopgap to soften price shocks like the one we see now while we build up the infrastructure and technology for alternative energy, and would still be useful for other applications after we move our transportation and energy generation needs off to other sources. Yes, assholes, we need to build up infrastructure, the technology for efficient solar for example didn’t really start to happen until recently and still hasn’t reached pricing parity with oil and natural gas yet. Wind energy can’t be put in place tomorrow because both it and solar doesn’t have the infrastructure – the revamped power grid – to support it.

The last step is to build up infrastructure, both short term and long term. For the short term, we need more refining capacity of oil so we don’t get shocks at the gas pumps like what happened during Katrina. For the long term, we need to build up the infrastructure to support these alternative sources of energy so that it can get to the public quicker. But for that, we had to get the market involved, unlike a certain dictator in South America, we can’t just nationalize everything and mandate it, because it doesn’t work. This part would take private industry to make it work, and what motivates private industry? MONEY… that’s right, does anyone think T. Boone Pickens is running the ads on wind and natural gas because he wants to hug bunny rabbits? Do you think John Doerr and the Silicon Valley venture capitalists pigs that are backing alternative energy because they like throwing away their money? For that to happen, of course, oil prices had to go up, so then the alternatives would seem more attractive, and people can make money off of it.

Now there is energy efficiency. We can definitely do more there, but just like solar, you’d have to have the technology in place before we can do this stuff. In 2001, when I came into office, hybrid cars were barely starting up, and even then we couldn’t just mandate it because it would’ve wrecked the auto companies, and hurt the economy, and then we’d have no money to pay for alternative energy.

Last, but most important is psychology. Now, people might be wondering what does psychology have to do with energy efficiency or alternative energy. Well, it’s simple. Until the average joe sees the problem, i.e. get pinched in the pocket books with high gas prices, they aren’t going to want to change. If the public doesn’t support this, then it ain’t gonna fly. Until GM can make money on the mass market with plug ins and get the supporting infrastructure, people aren’t going to want to buy their electric cars, because they’ll feel too limited. Look at EV1, it doesn’t have the ability to go far without recharge, and there weren’t many places to recharge back then, so it flopped.

The visionaries are the people who know that change is needed, and how we can bring about change in a measured fashion that doesn’t wreck everything else. Lead by example, just look at my house in Crawford, a model design for energy efficiency if there ever was one. But to make everyone else think on the same lines, there has to be something in it for them, and that something is MONEY, just like the venture capitalists, people care about what value they can get for their buck. Now, because of the soaring gas prices, people are aware, and they’re willing to now buy more hybrids, use compact fluorescent bulbs, and invest in double pane windows. Why? Because they want to get more bang for the buck.

In the long run, when all of these things happen, we can be energy independent. The solution isn’t something of a short term fix, like the idiot Nancy Pelosi was suggesting… open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), hello, moron, that’s for national emergencies, like when nobody else ships us oil, and our own capacity isn’t online because you’ve blocked it, it’s not for lowering oil price for the short term. What would you like? To saddle the American people with even more debt when we have to fill it again later at even higher prices?

My biggest regret is that I can only start the job, and not finish it, this doesn’t sit too well with the Texan in me, but that’s the way it is. I couldn’t just go to Congress, because then, like my social security plan, nothing will come out of it, and this is too important. But like Cheney told me, we have to get the ball rolling even if it is uphill. The next guy in this chair is still going to have to push the ball uphill a bit more, but I think Obama will have an easier time once he does this for a bit, because the hard part is already done, now that the market is getting involved, things will start to happen faster. So, my part of the job is done, I’ve managed to generate interests and awareness, and it’s all downhill from here.



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    Pingback by My Energy Policy — July 15, 2008 @ 3:56 am | Reply

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