We are witnessing the Fossil Fuel Trifecta of Disaster.
Dec. 22, 2008, the Kingston Steam Plant fly ash pond broke, releasing 1.2 Billion gallons of toxic sludge from a coal plant and flooding the Clinch and Emery Rivers and 3000 acres near Kingston, Tennessee.
April 5, 2010, an accident killed 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, W. Virginia.
Since April 20, for 56 Days and counting, 50,000 to 84,000 barrels per day, 2.8 Million to 4.7 Million barrels of oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. If it hits the Gulf Stream we can expect tarballs from the Deepwater Horizon to wash up on the beaches of Daytona, the Outer Banks, the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, The Rockaways, Jones Beach, Fire Island, Nantucket, Cape Cod, all the way up the coast to Maine, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland.
The questions are "When?" not "If?" and "How Much?"
Yet politicians like Jay Rockefeller, Lisa Murkowski, and Sarah Palin repeat that we must continue to burn oil, coal, and natural gas, and fission uranium. They say, "We can't do solar and wind." But they're wrong.
President Obama, too, had been talking about nuclear power and coal with carbon sequestration tho these are unproven, not safe, and disasters waiting to happen. The Purgen plant, proposed for Rahway, is a 562 megawatt plant that will cost $7 to $10 Billion - $12.5 billion per gigawatt. Solar is $6.3 billion per gigawatt at residential scale, and probably $3 to $4 Billion per gigawatt at utility scales. Offshore wind - and the shore is great for offshore wind - costs $3 billion per gigawatt.
If a wind turbine sinks into the ocean all you hear is a splash and all you see are ripples. We need to shift away from polluting sources of energy to the cold fuel-free fire of wind, solar, geothermal, marine current and 'negawatts'. Here's how:
Offshore Wind: 100 gigawatts: $300 Billion.
Landbased Wind: 100 gigawatts: $200 Billion.
PV Solar: 50 gigawatts: $250 Billion.
Marine Current: 50 Gigawatts: $200 Billion.
To paraphrase the commercial:
300 Gigawatts of clean, renewable, sustainable energy: $950 Billion. (Less than the war in Iraq.)
Save the world: Priceless.