Candidates on Wind Power and Renewable Energy

The candidates have touted their energy plans as the key to reducing our dependency on foreign oil. Both the McCain and Obama plans support the development of renewable energy sources and the expansion of conventional non-renewable energy from clean coal (is there really such a thing as clean coal?) and drilling. “Drill baby drill” has been the new Republican mantra; not exactly a kind environmental statement. Even the Democrats concede that drilling is necessary, though I disagree on this point vehemently. I believe we should simply reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. Global Warming is real. Even science skeptic S. Palin in her Interview with Charlie admitted that man is “potentially causing some of the changes in the climate” . If we do not become more responsible for the damage we continue to inflict on our planet, we will leave a global disaster for our children to solve, if we leave our children anything at all. But I fear shortsighted thinking will prevail. People seem to be more worried about their SUVs than the fate of our planet.

McCain’s record shows he has not been an ambassador for environmental concerns, even as he calls for credits for exploring renewable energy alternatives. In 2007, McCain earned a shocking 0 percent rating for his environmental record – missing every vote related to renewable energy and has an embarrassing 24% lifetime ranking from the League of Conservation Voters. And his energy plan does not specify any federal spending whatsoever on renewable energy, instead favoring a rationing of existing tax credits to provide incentives, whatever that means.  See Fact Check on Windpower.

Obama, on the other hand, would spend 150 billion on renewable energy. Not much, considering we spend up to 700 billion a year to import foreign oil according to an article in USA Today highlighting the T-Boone Pickens energy proposal. Though 150 billion is not much, it would be sufficient for modernizing the antiquated power grid to accept increased electrical generation estimated to cost 60 billion .

Plenty Magazine has a breakdown of the candidates’ positions on Energy and Cimate Issues.

I’ll leave you with this note. Wind Power is not a quick fix to our energy needs, but it won’t be a fix at all unless we make substantial investments in the technology. One turbine here and there ain’t gonna cut it. Take the example of the lone Wind turbine at Boston City Hall.  It cost $13,000 to install and creates a mere 1.9kw of electricity, enough to power 19 light bulbs.