A college student came to our door tonight trying to recruit for Environment Colorado. Unfortunately his pre-canvassing education had been a bit lacking and somewhat one-sided. Had I answered the door he probably would've just been sent on his way, but he had the misfortune of talking to Wendy.
His opening was that oil companies want to drill on the Roan Plateau, and that shouldn't happen. Which seems reasonable, but begs the question of where that oil should then come from? The Middle East?
His answer was to not use oil at all, but instead build geothermal stations.
Geothermal, eh? Is that really a viable solution for 300 million citizens? He stated that it certainly is, but pretty much dropped the point there. I did a bit of research after the fact, and it doesn't seem feasible. Wikipedia says geothermal could generate about 100 GW/year in the US by 2050. Which is great, except that in 2007 the US generation capacity was 1 TW. So in 47 years geothermal could equal 10% of today's supply.
Regardless of economics, if your immediate concern is to avoid drilling then geothermal is an odd alternative, since it entails drilling deep wells to heat water. So what about that then?
Well, came the answer, look at this picture of an oil rig. Look how big it is, the size of a supermarket! Which didn't really answer the previous question, but no matter. Wendy's been educated a bit about oil & gas drilling, so she pointed some things, such as that the rig in his picture could manage 32 wells. Besides that, before they even started on that they had to file a reclamation plan for cleaning up the site & regrowing the plants, and set aside the funds for it too.
At this point he apparently decided that she was an irretrievable heathen, and had too many of those pesky facts besides, so he beat a retreat. She's still disappointed that he left before he could read Encana's Corporate Responsibility Report. Ah well, perhaps next time.
I should point out that neither of us is opposed to clean energy or environmental conservation. But slinging around propaganda for half-baked, unfeasible ideas doesn't help anyone.