Drill for oil and natural gas in ANWR. Drill out on the continental shelves, even off Santa Barbara where the lefty locals would rather have Big Bad Oil carting the stuff off instead of it naturally leaking out through the earthquake-cracked seafloor and stinking up the place. Drill in the Great Lakes. Drill in Nancy Pelosi's front yard. Drill for these fuels wherever it is reasonable to do so and private investors are willing to put up the cash to get it done. In short, end the arbitrary restraints the Beltway crowd has imposed upon the development of domestic sources of oil and natural gas – at least by letting the off-shore drilling moratorium die a long overdue death come October 1st.
Wind, solar, and biomass are boondoggles, sustainable only by massive taxpayer subsidies, that can never provide a significant portion of the country’s energy needs. That’s because wind and solar are intermittent generators of energy that must be plugged into a national electrical grid to be of any real use. However, that energy cannot be sporadically dumped into the grid, because the supply and demand for electricity must be kept in constant balance or you get brown-outs and black-outs. While wind and solar can be backed up with quick-start fossil-fueled generators to fill in when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, there is a limit to the engineering practicality of this, let alone the cost, both financial and environmental. Usually overlooked by the alternative energy crowd are the great expanses of wilderness spoiled by wind farms and solar collection facilities.
As for biomass, it is a fuel that can be burned in a controlled manner to maintain a level output of energy, but it is inefficient as an energy source. For example, a gallon of ethanol delivers only 85% the energy a gallon of gasoline does. The inefficiency is even greater for the generation of electricity. Much worse, however, biomass leaves a huge footprint on the planet compared to fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas simply require far less of the environment for their extraction and refinement into usable fuels than biomass, which would require conversion of all our farmland (and then some) to its production – and we still have to eat. Even the greenest green who hasn’t lost his marbles can understand the environmental disaster of replacing fossil fuels with biomass.
But this is not to say all alternatives to fossil fuels are impractical and environmentally unsound. Nuclear power can realistically replace fossil fuels for the generation of electricity. Indeed, about twenty-five hundred plants, each costing about the same as one of T. Boone Picken’s wind farms, could entirely eliminate our use of coal, oil, and natural gas to produce electricity. Despite all of the NIMBY and environmentalist fear-monger, nuclear power is very safe and clean – and it can truly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. So let’s add nuclear power to the “Drill, baby, drill!” program to really gut the cost of energy and put the hurt on the petro-tyrants who wish us nothing but ill.