Energy Master Plan
Is the promotion of wind mills in New Jersey Quixotic? I believe not. We need energy. Let’s obtain it in a safe and sustainable manner.
I am going to say, from start, that I am not an expert in energy not in the methods of generation. I am a chemist. However I do have a reasonably educated opinion on the matter at hand and I present it here:
1. The EMP promotes nuclear power. Unless we are ready to build the reactors below sea level so that they can be flooded by gravity in the event of a catastrophic accident – Fukushima style – I am inclined to disapprove of the method. I confess I did not think like that until Fukushima. I had always considered Chernobyl a Soviet problem. I supported nuclear. But Fukushima taught me otherwise. The foundation of most of my ideas today – in every field – is empirical. Experience should guide us on proven paths and inspiration should be explored with guarded caution, specially in public matters.
I am not sure that building nuclear reactors below sea level is feasible although I can not see why not. Sum pumps could be use to deal with groundwater seepage. Gated channels should connect the reactors to the open sea to be able to flood them if the cooling pumps fail.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the continental U.S. and perhaps in the entire country. A nuclear disaster would be terminal for the quality of life here.
2. Gas and fracking: Methane (natural gas) is a relatively clean fossil fuel although its combustion still generates CO2. But I have more problems with the methods used to obtain the methane: Hydraulic Fracking, for what I understand, involves the injection of chemicals at high pressure underground. There is no way that those chemicals will not reach at some point the aquifers from which New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania obtain large portions of their potable water. That is big trouble in the long run and I am determined that no hydraulic fracking will take place in New Jersey, if elected governor, and I would certainly not encourage it elsewhere.
Although the hydraulic fracturing fluid is between 98% and 99% water, the chemicals added to it can “release” and get into solution (dissolve and make fluid) other organic chemicals found in the subsoil. That includes the very hydrocarbons we look for.
Imagine for a moment the cost of building desalination plants in New Jersey because we have contaminated our aquifers. Or the human toll and monetary cost of increased number of cancers due to consumption of contaminated water.
3. I do support wind power for three reasons: a) It is clean and sustainable; b) It can be placed out of sight – at sea; c) It is labor-intensive so it would generate numerous skilled jobs with very good salaries.
Find an example in Germany, which is in the process of de-nuclearizing herself.
I can not make a representation of the short-term cost of wind. There is certainly a substantial capital investment at the start. I am much more confident that it would be cost effective long term. Above all, it does not risk our not-unlimited water supplies and when compared to oil in particular and fossil fuels in general, it makes New Jersey impervious to increasing oil prices or political problems in oil-producing regions.
4. I do support solar although that has been a somewhat convulsed industry lately.