Hillary Clinton was in Casper, Wyoming (albiet one hour late) speaking at a rally. In between Bush-bashing and the obligatory health care jive, she squeezed in some talk on carbon sequestration and a renewable energy pipeline.
The new pipeline of transmission lines would transfer electricity generated by Wyoming's winds to California. While it seems logical to supply a huge state like California, I don't think that's going to work. Transmission takes a pretty good cut into the power running through it. It would make much more sense to keep that energy in Wyoming. Besides that, we all know that wind has severe limitations related to capacity and peak production times. The only way to make wind power a windfall of a energy solution is to develop new storage technology so that wind power can be used in times of need rather than the intermitant times it is actually produced. Senator Clinton should be talking about developing those kinds of technologies rather than installing these transmission lines (which would be a huge, energy-intensive task) in order to provide a variable amount of energy that lacks in reliability. Californians have probably had enough of the whole black-out stuff, and relying on this pipeline without storage is just going to increase those occurances.
Senator Clinton also touched on her proposed 10-site strong carbon sequestration plan. She claimed that of those 10 sites, Wyoming should be a host to the roar of the crowd. I've got a couple of issues with that. First, carbon sequestration is a very energy intensive process, so it really should only be implemented in areas where carbon emissions are a huge problem (because it invariably lead to emissions in its own right). Wyoming has some mining, but industrial emissions are nowhere near many other states. Capturing mining emissions would be pretty hard bordering on infeasable. Second, carbon sequestration is still in its theoretical stage. We need to be able to sit back and look at the numbers before we can commit to carbon sequestration as our answer to global warming, and that research is still ongoing.
Senator Clinton basically used energy as a political football (just like all the other candidates) in order to win favor from the most recent crowd she has talked in front of. She also pledged to stop "holding hands with the Saudis" just like every president since Nixon which makes me believe her administration will just continue the double-talk. I think it's still to risky to base an entire campaign on global warming (ask Mr. Nader), and I would argue that the environment is the most important issue we can choose a candidate on. We're all for better health care and better education, so those should go unspoken. Let's hear more serious talk about the environment and less politically-charged rhetoric designed to pump-up whichever audience the candidate happens to be talking to.