Not a bad idea

Bush push on energy: Draft old military bases

Finally, Bush is saying something that I’m buying:

Confronting growing concerns over high energy prices, President Bush on Wednesday will unveil controversial plans to spur construction of new nuclear power plants, provide incentives to buy diesel vehicles and most novel of all: use some old military bases for oil refineries.

Around 20% of the electricity generated in the US comes from nuclear power. I think that number should be around 50%, or maybe even more. I’m not opposed to alternatives like wind and solar, but they don’t seem capable of getting us energy on the scale we need for a reasonable price.

The idea of using closed military bases for this sort of thing might help alleviate some of the economic trauma that accompanies a base closure.

One thing about Bush’s plan that I don’t particularly care for is his idea that the federal government should decide where terminals for liquefied natural gas should be located. Not really sure what the reasoning is, and unless there’s an overwhelming logic to it, I think less government control over something is better than more.

In related news: Wind Power Debuts at Gitmo:

Standing 275-foot tall, with blades spanning 177 feet, the Navy’s four new 3-blade wind turbines are among the most noticeable features at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Each of the four turbines will generate 950 kilowatts (kw) of electricity. Together, the four turbines will generate 3,800 kw, and in years of typical weather the wind turbines will produce almost 8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. They will reduce the consumption of 650,000 gallons of diesel fuel, reduce air pollution by 26 tons of sulfur dioxide and 15 tons of nitrous oxide, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13 million pounds each year.

The new wind turbines will provide as much as 25% of the base’s power generation during the high-wind months of late summer, and are expected to save taxpayers $1.2 million in annual energy costs.


  1. All these great ideas (which I mostly like), but what Bush will be remembered for as far as energy goes is the guy that started the draining of our ‘+

  2. What? You don’t think Bush can hold hands with a few more Saudis and then everything will be all right? You’ve mentioned that the ANWR is our biggest strategic reserve, and I don’t disagree. In fact, I made that point years ago when Clinton was pulling stocks from the SPR. Since then, I’ve changed my mind, at least in the sense that it should remain untouched. Now I’m not really sure what I think about it. I’m not militantly opposed to (like many) or militantly in favor of (like a few) drilling. If a serious, comprehensive plan to get us off our oil fix was tied to ANWR drilling, I’d be all for it. As it is, I’m skeptical but not totally against.

  3. Why shouldn’t it remain untouched? Just because Clinton may have touched it (can you post some info on this? I’d love to have that data handy.) only makes it a WORSE idea for us to be dipping in it.

  4. Nah, Clinton didn’t drill ANWR at all. They did pull some from the SPR, though, in 2000. Don’t recall that it did anything to gas prices, though.

  5. I thought about these proposals for a few days. Bush almost has a very good idea. I’m not that worried about refinery capacity. I believe that the market will take care of the shortfall in refining capacity. Reducing the number of special blends of gasoline would help with this problem also and not cost anything except political capital. Instead, why not lease old bases to owner / operators of nuclear power plants? Obviously the base location would be significant. The base would have to be fairly close to areas of significant demand and convenient to major transmission lines. Fort Devens in Massachusetts comes to mind as a possibility. Pros – Hopefully: -+ The bases are already at least somewhat secure which would help in the post 911 security environment. -+ Building a reactor on federal land would streamline the regulatory process. -+ The open space on and around some of these bases would simplify the evacuation plan necessary to start the reactor. It would also limit some of the ‘not in my backyard’ reaction from the locals. Cons: -+ Most old bases are in the middle of nowhere. -+ Building reactors on government land could make the whole issue even more political. A change in administration or control of Congress could derail a project and leave taxpayers with a huge liability – like the Shoreham Nuclear Plant on Long Island that Cuomo killed in the 80’s. Electing an ass like Nader could even result in the shutdown of an operating plant. -+ It would require too many politicians to think logically and act responsibly.