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In the NY Times article J linked above, there's a commentary on the speech, which includes this:

The (Annotated) Gore Energy Speech - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog

[ Andy Revkin - There's no reason not to think big, although it might be harder for Mr. Gore to make this kind of statement if already in office, or seeking one, because it would be hard to find experts immersed in the challenges of generating, storing and distributing electricity at large scale who could chart an achievable or affordable 10-year path to doing this. Joe Romm at ClimateProgress.org said a more realistic ambitious goal would be 50-percent renewable electricity sources by 2020. And of course "affordable" is a word dependent entirely on public attitudes, so if the public can be energized sufficiently by leadership or circumstances, theoretically anything is possible. That remains a big "if." Here's some recent coverage of the limits and promise of wind power and solar power and ways of storing electricity for sunless, windless stretches.]

What J spelled out in his analysis is surrounded by experts who not only could chart out the necessary path, but already have the experience of putting it in place.  Let's not forget that a half dozen companies, primarily European, have already built turbine assembly facilities in the US these past few years.  They have established rotor blade and other component manfuacturing facilities as well.

It is just this type of investment which allowed the US to go from 2400 Megawatts in both 2005 and 2006, to 5200 Megawatts in 2007, and the projected 7-8,000 MWs this year.  Because of the industry's phenomenal growth, the kind of supply chain issues which would form the basis of an industrial plan are already being worked for the past four years.

Europe has already built the first generation infrastructure necessary to make an Apollo like program.  We already have the statistics of how many jobs the industry can provide with such a program.

At least a half dozen community colleges in windy areas from Oregon to Iowa have begun or accelerated wind technician programs, and more are coming online.  One wind company has a working agreement with a steelworkers union to use thier wrkforce to assemble turbines.  These will begin to provide the US with a level of service infrastructure now found only in Europe.

Watching the video, i didn't hear one thing that hadn't been said by many of us through the decades, including his key points.  But it certainly carries more weight coming from him.  Especially knowing that Wall Street is already onboard.

Aside to J:  many of the midwest resource areas have higher capacity factors than you ascribe in your diary, so to get the same TWhs you probably can drop your capacity estimates, perhaps even by 15-20%.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 17th, 2008 at 04:55:45 PM EST
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