July 23, 2008

Let's subsidize U.S. energy innovators

Ethanol for fuel is perhaps the biggest boondoggle in the history of our country and was given to us by Congress in their 2007 energy bill.

If they really had our nation's best interests at heart, they would have been looking into the following:

Subsidizing biomass fuel from algae efforts. While corn can provide 18 gallons of ethanol per acre per year, an algae factory can produce thousands of gallons per acre per year without taking food crops out of production.

Subsidizing photovoltaic power development. Today, a 20- by 40-foot solar panel can produce about half the electrical requirements for a typical Virginia home.

Subsidizing coal-to-fuel efforts. We have more energy stored in our coal fields than all the oil reserves on the planet.

Subsidizing oil shale conversion. About 800 billion barrels of oil under taxpayer-owned land await extraction.

Subsidizing deep drilling technology development. It is said that there are 500 billion barrels of oil under the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota, and 2 trillion barrels 10,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains.

To put that in perspective, total Middle East oil reserves are estimated to be about 700 billion barrels.

We are a nation with an economy built by innovators. Isn't it reasonable to expect that we can figure out how to exploit these natural resources without harming our planet?

Rex A. Hoover