So anyway, he proposes a crash course to replace fossil fuels. Sounds great. But what Al doesn't tell you or won't tell you is that we have to get rid of a lot of our baggage to hit that mark. Let's run down and take a look at this. Please criticize and correct any mistakes. This is just a back of the envelope look at the issue. I would genuinely like to refine this to come up with more accurate figures.
- To the best of my knowledge, 70% of all oil goes to fueling transportation.
- We currently import right around 20,000,000 barrels of oil a day.
- Now a barrel of oil yields about 20 gallons of gasoline (give or take) and
- a gallon of gasoline yields 36 kWH of power
The numbers to switch to Big Al's non-fossil fueled world looks something like this.
X 0.7 (percentage used in transportation)
X 20 gallons per barrel
X 36 kWH of power/gallon gas
10,080,000,000 kWH/day additional electrical generation capacity. or
3,679,200,000,000 kWH/Year additional electrical generation capacity.
Let's use nuclear for the sake of the heebie-jeebies that it gives environmental types. A pretty good sized plant is around 1,000 megawatts. A 1000 MW power plant, running at a 60% load factor, generates 5.3 x 10(9) KwH per year. So to replace all of our evil gas-guzzlers with happy-face wearing electrical vehicles would mean that we have to build a mere 693 one thousand megawatt nuclear power plants in the next ten years.
Now remember that we currently have 100 of these babies purring along. They provide right around 20% of our current electricity. So adding 700 more will more than double our current electrical output in this country. What will we have to pay for the distribution system to keep it going?
If you don't like nukes, do the math for wind power, or solar power, or any of them. If we get rid of fossil fuel, we simply go back to riding horses. The numbers just ain't there. What Big Al is saying is that we are really and truly fucked and we are going to have to scramble like hell to cobble together a system that will allow us a energy use 30% of our current levels.
When do we start?