Remember back in the summer of 2008 when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) falsely and repeatedly claimed natural gas was a “cheap alternative to fossil fuels”? Well Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did her one better this Monday when he told a public hearing in Atlantic City:

The idea that wind energy has the potential to replace most of our coal-burning power today is a very real possibility. It is not technology that is pie-in-the sky; it is here and now.

The AP goes on to report:

Salazar said ocean winds along the East Coast can generate 1 million megawatts of power, roughly the equivalent of 3,000 medium-sized coal-fired power plants, or nearly five times the number of coal plants now in the United States, according to the Energy Department.

Salazar could not estimate how many windmills might be needed to generate 1 million megawatts of power, saying it would depend on their size, and how near or far from the coast they were located.

There is a good reason Salazar “could not estimate how many windmills might be needed” to replace coal power production in the United States: such an idea is pure fantasy.

In 2007 the United States produced 23.48 quadrillion Btus of power from coal. Wind produced .319 quadrillion Btsus. President Barack Obama has an admittedly ambitious plan to double alternative energy production capacity in the next three years. Salazar wants the American people to believe we can increase our wind power production by 7,300%. That is insane.