Geology And Geophysics

Energy Independence

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How American Energy Independence Was Won.

The Great American Story. Nevada as The New Frontier for Energy again to the rescue of America. The energy solution is not in the past by drilling a way out, or nuking a way out, or even driving less.

America currently consumes approximately 4 billion megawatts (4b = 4,000,000,000. 1mw = 1,000,000) of electricity a year according the US Department of Energy. The United States owns almost 87% of its State of Nevada because President Abraham Lincoln and the American Congress horse-traded Nevada's entry into the Union as a Free State in exchange for that 87% of Nevada land. Land that just happened to have the largest gold and silver deposits ever known. Deposits that Lincoln and the North immediately mined to convert into cash to finance the North's part in the American Civil War. Successfully as it turned out. Nevada, although it had financed the brutally forced and bloody reconciliation and saved the Union, and hence America, later felt it got a shotgun wedding. In An Exclusive Interview With William Kohlmoos, Bill says of Nevada's Sagebrush Rebellion ""It was a revolution against bureaucracy. Easterners didn't understand Western ways and imposed their impractical concepts of the control of natural resources on the West. Nevada State Senator Rick Blakemore was a friend of mine. He was part of the movement to get the Federal lands transferred to the state. When Nevada became the 36th state in the Union on October 31, 1854, the government kept 90 percent of the land. In the late 1906's I was part of a group that believed that government bureaus were running amok and squashing us under their big feet. That evolved into the Sagebrush Rebellion. The press though, the they think are the all-powerful creator of public opinion, was trying to ridicule us."

Nevada's vast mineral wealth is long gone. In today's world, Nevada has a new and different wealth. Like minerals, wealth there for the taking. The wealth of sun and wind. Wealth that can finance another war. Another American War for Independence. Independence from foreign dependence on energy because somehow those foreigners just don't always act in America's best interest. That's ;-) tongue-in-cheek for those that have previously missed it :-( in other of my stories.

Although nothing is more fleeting than military secrets, America's Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb resulted in America wining WWII. The American War for Energy Independence must be treated just like any American war. Such as WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, War on Poverty, War on Drugs, No Child Left Behind, War on Terrorism, Gulf War, Irac War, etc. Therefore, an infrastructure to generate 4 Quintillion watts of electricity a year requires a Federal program equal to the Manhattan Project. Hence the 87% of Nevada real estate owned 100% by the Fed with all that sun and wind for the taking.

The American space shuttle has a tried and true blue all-American solar panel program. An average vanilla solar panel, 14.4 square feet in size, costing approximately $850 (high side), generates 190 watts per hour. A square mile (5,280 feet times 5,280 feet) has 27,878,400 square feet. Subtract 15% for maintenance roads and use 23,696,540 square feet. Divide that by the 14.4 sf feet for one solar panel. That's 1,645,593 (rounding down) solar panels in that one square mile. Subtract 15% from the per solar power wattage for cloudy days and inefficiencies and use 161 watts rounding down. Multiple those 1,645,593 solar panels in that square mile by the 161 watts is 264,940,482 watts per hour generated per square mile.

I need to get to 4 billion megawatts a year. Watts now becomes too small so I'll move it up to by converting to megawatts (1 million or 1,000,000 watts at a time). Multiple by an average 12 hours a year round per day. 264,940,482 watts per hour divided by 1,000,000 is 264 megawatts, rounding down, per hour. Times that 12 hours is 3,168 megawatts per day. 3,168 megawatts per day times 365 days is 1,156,320 megawatts a year. Not enough.

I'll try 10 miles by 10 miles for The Nevada Solar Plant. 5,280 feet times 10 miles is 52,800 feet times itself (to square it) is 2,787,840,000 square feet/2.78 billion square feet. Subtract 15% for maintenance roads and use 2,369,664,000 square feet. Divide that by the 14.4 s.f. feet for one solar panel. That's 164,560,000 (rounding down) solar panels in that 100 square miles. Subtract 15% from the per solar power wattage for cloudy days and inefficiencies and use 161 watts rounding down. Multiple those 164,560,000 solar panels in that 100 square miles by the 161 watts is 26,494 megawatts per hour generated per 100 square miles.

Multiple by an average 12 hours a year round per day. 26,494 megawatts per hours times that 12 hours is 317,928 megawatts per day. 317,928 megawatts per day times 365 days is 116,043,720 megawatts a year. Still not enough.

I'll try 40 miles by 40 miles for The Nevada Solar Plant. That 1,600 square miles is a drop in the bucket of the 87% of Nevada's land that the Feds already own. 5,280 feet in a mile times 40 miles is 211,200 feet times itself (to square it) and so forth. Voila, 4,641,748,800 megawatts a year. America's heir and a spare to American energy independence. The Feds lease this land to U.S. Solar, Inc. (a strong, proud and patriotic USS for the stock exchange with We Love Sunlight Spills as its' slogan) for The Nevada Solar Plant. U.S. Solar, Inc. is a red-blooded true blue American capitalist mega-corporation. U.S. Solar, Inc., through it's Nevada division, Nevada Solar, Inc., gets the usual Federal and State tax subsides and contracts awarded to mega-corporations. A new breed of lobbyist is born, one driving electric cars with a solar panel on every roof. U.S. Solar, Inc. immediately pays it CEO $100 million a year plus perks and bonuses. U.S. Solar, Inc. hires illegals, has zero retirement and health care coverage, is non-union. It charges its' employees for plugging in their electric cars, and each car has a solar panel on its roof. Ownership of electric cars is a condition to employment and the power generated by the solar panel on each car's roof belongs to the U.S. Solar, Inc. electric grid. For those just not getting it :-( more ;-) tongue-in-cheek sarcasm going on here. Nevada Solar, Inc pays it CEO $50 million a year plus perks and bonuses. Within two years Nevada Solar, Inc., replicates itself in Montana and other American states, then goes global. It's Another Great American Story. Brings a tear of patriotic pride to my eye, cause boy, we really won that American War for Energy Independence.

Cost of those 1,645,593 solar panels in one square mile by assumed $850 per panel is $1,398,875,050, assuming labor, materials, etc., are all included. No land costs as already Federally owned.

Until cold fusion/hydrogen's costs drop more in relation to dams, nuclear, etc., how about also doing the math for wind power? The costs for solar and wind powers are way less than any current or proposed 1) dam construction, 2) the degradation to the environment from dams, 3) the environmental clean-up from inevitable oil spills, and 4) the astronomical costs of nuclear to construct, operate and then store its spent toxic fuel. Also damning to current American energy policy are: 1) the hourly escalating energy costs extracted from Americans by foreigners, 2) the escalating cost for American National Security, 3) the escalating costs of the wars such as Iraq currently at $12 billion a month, and escalating, and 3) the current half-trillion dollar American deficit, also escalating.

More about this author: Pamela Olson

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