DrumBeat: August 6, 2007

Peak Oil is Here

The world’s most respected journal of economics has now officially acknowledged the advent of peak oil, validating (finally!) what we’ve been saying for years.

In a July 19 article, the venerable Economist cut straight to the point:

“The world is consuming more oil than it is producing.” --The Economist, July 14-20 print edition.

...Some observers such as Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Matthew Simmons, and James Howard Kunstler believe that because of the high dependence of most modern industrial transport, agricultural and industrial systems on inexpensive oil, the post-peak production decline and possible resulting severe price increases will have negative implications for the global economy.

Talk about understatement!

Beijing hits oil lines

Rising global oil prices are straining relations between economic policymakers in Beijing and the nation's largest state-owned oil and gas companies as long queues for gasoline begin forming around the country.

The World Economy is Doing Well with the Rise in Oil Prices

A number of economic declarations have been issued recently by major countries indicating that the world economy is performing well with high oil prices, without any increase in inflation accompanying the rise, unlike in the past.

In search of safe nukes

The Idaho National Laboratory is at work on next generation reactors that promise to deliver more reliable energy.

Ukraine forgets about Chernobyl

The politicians, however, are not telling the whole story: the uranium problem is not quite so straightforward. What is surprising, though, is that the CANDU reactor, developed at the dawn of the nuclear energy era, is a "cousin" of the Chernobyl RBMK reactor that exploded 20 years ago. One would think Ukraine would have developed a distaste for anything associated with that past tragedy.

Businesses paid not to use power

When temperatures soared across Ontario this week, businesses like Magna, Royal Group, Canada's Wonderland and Lear Corp. in southern Ontario responded by cutting back on their power use.

It was a responsible thing to do and helped the York Region's hydro service deal with the exceptional demands of near-record temperatures.

But the companies, along with others in a pool managed by Rodan Energy, got more than the satisfaction of doing their part for the community good. They got paid for not using electricity.

World's first carbon-free city

It may seem strange that the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the planet's largest suppliers of oil, is planning to build the world's first carbon-neutral city.

But in fact, it makes a lot of financial sense. The 3.7-square-mile city, called Masdar, will cut its electricity bill by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy, while a total ban on cars within city walls should reduce the long-term health costs associated with smog.

Hybrid power served 5 ways

"Hybrid" doesn't mean just one thing. Cars and SUVs can be set up in different ways to meet different needs. Here's a look at the various systems.

National Express quits biofuel experiment

One of Britain's leading transport groups has cast doubt over the green credentials of biofuels after pulling out of a trial amid fears that it was doing more harm than good to the environment.

National Express has suspended a biodiesel trial at its UK bus operations after consulting green groups. Biofuel tests have been used by transport companies to highlight their environmental friendliness, with Virgin Trains and Virgin Atlantic among the most high-profile backers of the alternative energy source.

Richard Bowker, National Express chief executive, said the coach, bus and rail group would continue to look at such initiatives, but its biofuel study underlined that "what appears to be the green option may not actually be green after all".

BP will no longer offer its fuel in North Dakota

Mike Rud, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association, said it's a "huge loss" for the state.

"It's a sign of the times," Rud said. "If you don't have supply, you can't do your job. I think they saw the writing on the wall"

When Will the Next Bridge Collapse?

The US freeways got the miserable grade "D" from the ASCE. Around 332,000 kilometers of highways cross the US, most of them built in the 1950s. Hundreds of highways are maintained with the help of toll charges. Nevertheless bad road conditions, potholes, cracked asphalt and broken road surfaces cost US drivers a total of $54 billion each year -- $275 per motorist -- in terms of extra vehicle repairs and operating costs caused by driving on roads in need of repair.

...The ASCE's list of defects continues. The US's completely overloaded airports get a "D+" grade. The ramshackle drinking water system get the grade "D-" with the ASCE writing that "America faces a shortfall of $11 billion annually to replace aging facilities and comply with safe drinking water regulations." The electric power grid, which is "in urgent need of modernization," likewise gets a "D."

Blast in Bulgarian pipeline cuts supply

SOFIA, Bulgaria - An explosion ripped through a pipeline in Bulgaria on Monday, interrupting Russian gas supplies to Greece, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

The most likely cause of the blast was a gas leak, said Angel Semerdjiev, general manager of Bulgartransgas, an affiliate of state-owned gas company Bulgargaz.

China Southern Power Grid June electricity sales to Vietnam up 320% year-on-year

State-owned China Southern Power Grid said it sold 268 mln kWh of electricity to Vietnam in June, up 320.34 pct year-on-year.

China Southern Power realized sales revenue of 12.05 mln usd from Vietnam during the month, the company said in a statement.

India: Crude oil price rise matter of concern

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the surge in international oil prices is a matter of grave concern and it was for the Petroleum Ministry to take a call on retail pricing of petroleum products.

"Yes, rising crude prices is a matter of grave concern... it is entirely for the Ministry of Petroleum to propose that (an increase in domestic fuel prices) and seek a view on this," he told reporters here.

Pakistan: High fuel prices hit industrial consumers

The industrial consumers of the country are witnessing a significant increase in their cost of production due to skyrocketing prices of furnace oil in the global markets.

Thailand: No intervention in oil prices

Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand on Monday reiterated that Thailand's ministry would not intervene in the movement of oil prices, although that sector of the economy will continue to be volatile.

He said the fluctuation in fuel prices is a normal phenomenon. The best way to supervise the prices, he advised, is to allow them to move in accord with market mechanisms.

South Africa: New Wage Offer As Fuel Panic Mounts

AS PETROL distributors worked around the clock at the weekend to avert a crippling fuel shortage, employers tabled a new offer that could end the strike tonight if it is accepted by striking union members.

Petrol stations in Gauteng, where 60% of SA's fuel is sold, were hardest hit, but shortages have also been reported in Western and Eastern Cape. Stations in KwaZulu-Natal were also starting to feel the pinch yesterday.

Sri Lanka: Threats by private bus owners

Private bus owners have sought a permission from the government to increase the bus fares. they have warned the government that if permission is not granted before August 12th, they will suspend the bus services.

They have explained that the increase in the bus fare is necessary to cope up with the increase in the fuel prices. As an alternative, they have sought some relief. It must be noted that the annual increase in the bus fare was only last month. Within a period of a month, they demand another increase in the bus fares.

Kenya: Darkness in the Slums

Following reports that members of the outlawed Mungiki sect thrive in the slum by extorting money from residents in exchange for electricity supply, Kenya Power and Lighting Company sought the help of police in an operation that saw more than 100 persons arrested and charged with electricity-related offences.

Mexico, Brazil must co-operate on energy: Lula

Mexico and Brazil should co-operate in the development of technology for deep-sea oil and gas exploration and production, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.

Need of the hour is cooperation

Opec has tried its very best to find a sort of balance in global oil markets. But these efforts are not enough, neither in providing the world with its oil needs or in decreasing global warming.

The reasons behind this are several. The oil production rate has reached its maximum level for Opec countries, any increase in production will need huge investments. These oil producing countries do not need additional revenues currently.

Kunstler: The Open Ocean

By now, is there anyone over twelve in the USA who has not seen Jim Cramer's tantrum recorded late Friday afternoon on CNBC as the stock market took a 280 point swan dive off the rocky cliff of Hedge Fund Island? Cramer's histrionics were only a few clicks above his normal antics on the "Mad Money" show, but even so, they made a remarkable impression of someone in real, not mock, despair. He mentioned more than once during the tirade that he'd been on the phone all week with other interested parties who were begging him to do something about the rising bloodbath on Wall Street.

Iran Offers Aid to Nicaragua, in a Sign of Deepening Ties

Iran has promised to help finance a new $350 million ocean port and build 10,000 houses for the leftist Nicaraguan government, in a deepening of ties between the governments that has raised concern in the Bush administration.

Iran has also pledged to choose in November a site for a $120 million hydroelectric project, to help Nicaragua overcome a power crisis, which has confronted Nicaraguans with blackouts nearly every day.

Sri Lanka: Conserving energy

Therefore before any Act could be passed there is an immediate need for the Government to launch a campaign to prevail on the public the urgent need for energy conservation.

In this regard the State institutions are the biggest offenders. One has only to walk into a Government Department to witness this laid back approach to the energy crisis, where fans rotate idly, lights burn randomly and power guzzling air conditioners function at full throttle in empty spaces.

South Africa: Fuels industry avoids windfall tax

The government will not proceed with plans for a tax on the windfall profits earned by synthetic fuel producers such as Sasol, South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Monday.

He said the decision had been taken in the interest of a conducive environment for additional investments in domestic fuel security.

South Africa solar star in Germany

The electricity-producing panels are leading edge in terms of both the cost, reckoned to be about a quarter of existing technology, and efficiency.

These panels convert considerably more -- in excess of 16% -- of the sun’s rays to electricity than current offerings. As one observer says, “in solar anything above 10% is considered pretty good”.

A New Front for Campus Activism: Energy Efficiency

The lights in Michael Siminovitch's office at the U.C. Davis California Lighting Technology Center dim in response to daylight entering through the windows. These special lights are just one way that Siminovitch, the center's director, believes the university can slash much of its energy demand.

Why 'peak oil' may soon pique your interest

For years, many in the oil industry viewed the peak oil forecasts by Simmons as odd. Now his position has a lot of company. Several websites publish sophisticated material on the issue. There's the Oil Drum (www.theoildrum.com), featuring "Prof. Goose" and "Gail the Actuary." Those pseudonyms hide a full professor at Colorado State University and an actuary in an Atlanta suburb. There's also the Energy Bulletin (www.energybulletin.net). The site's coeditor, Bart Anderson, say it receives 11,000 visits a day. Peak oil enthusiasts, he says, have now divided into a majority seeing life after an oil crunch and those he calls "doomers."

In Britain, Douglas Low, director of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (www.odac-info.org), foresees a "crisis coming up" with a real shortage of oil. In June, he notes, the world used 1.5 MB/D more crude than it produced. He expects much higher oil prices in the future.

"It's not a very happy message," he says. "A lot of people want to slip it under the carpet."

The Truth About Denial

Sen. Barbara Boxer had been chair of the Senate's Environment Committee for less than a month when the verdict landed last February. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal," concluded a report by 600 scientists from governments, academia, green groups and businesses in 40 countries. Worse, there was now at least a 90 percent likelihood that the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels is causing longer droughts, more flood-causing downpours and worse heat waves, way up from earlier studies. Those who doubt the reality of human-caused climate change have spent decades disputing that. But Boxer figured that with "the overwhelming science out there, the deniers' days were numbered." As she left a meeting with the head of the international climate panel, however, a staffer had some news for her. A conservative think tank long funded by ExxonMobil, she told Boxer, had offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new report and the computer-based climate models it is based on. "I realized," says Boxer, "there was a movement behind this that just wasn't giving up."

Credit and growth fears hit stocks, dollar, oil

Fears of a global credit squeeze and jitters about U.S. economic strength swept across financial markets on Monday, shaking up stocks, knocking the dollar to a 15-year low and sending oil down more than $1.25 a barrel.

Opec July output rose 445,000 barrels, survey shows

Crude-oil production in July by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rose 445,000 barrels a day, led by gains in Iraq and Nigeria, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Output averaged 30.48mn barrels a day, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. It was the biggest gain since January, when Angola joined the producer group. Excluding Angola, it was the largest monthly rise since September 2004.

Peak Oil - less tourism?

The Government of T&T has chosen tourism as one of the economic pillars for the country's diversification away from energy. So much so that we are creating in Trinidad waterfront hotels and a conference centre with the hope also of attracting the business tourist, and the more general kind to Tobago.

These plans are consistent with current annual growth forecasts for tourism which, according to the UN Tourism Organisation, are 3.8 per cent for regional and 5.4 per cent for long haul traffic - i.e. by 2020 some 1.6 billion people will be involved in international travel. These figures unfortunately do not take into consideration the phenomenon of Peak Oil which is manifesting itself in escalating fuel prices due in general to reducing production and increasing demand for oil.

American company accused Lukoil of price collusion

Green Oil Company has charged Russian Lukoil, the second largest private oil Company worldwide by proven hydrocarbon reserves, and several other firms operating on the American market with price collusion aimed at overshooting of wholesale prices on oil products. Green Oil has filed a claim to the court demanding all U.S. subsidiaries of Lukoil to be sold.

Book Review: A Thousand Barrels a Second

In my opinion, Tertzakian can be classified as an Urgent Simonist.* The word "Urgent" is meant to distinguish from the "Pollyanna" Simonists -- those who believe technology will magically solve our energy problems with no real pain or discomfort.

On the emotional subject of peak oil, there are two extremes of debate. At one end you have those who think civilization is doomed no matter what (the viewpoint of cheery websites like dieoff.org). At the other end, you have those who think peak oil will be shaken off like a mild head cold.

Tertzakian helps bridge the gap between these extremes by explaining that yes, the challenge is serious, and gut-wrenching times are ahead... but we will ultimately see our way through. He is "urgent" in pointing out that the sooner we act the better, and pulls no punches in terms of what's at stake.

Towns prepare for 'peak oil' point

In this month's Investigation programme on BBC Radio Scotland, Mark Stephen visits Totnes, one of a growing number of transition towns south of the border.

There's an excellent article in the August 5, business section of the Houston Chronicle about sorgum for biofuels and some new varieties being developed at Texas A&M. and also an article on Wind. WWW.chron.com

Bob Ebersole

Is there a more direct link available? I am having trouble finding the articles.

Cool stuff. Combine that with A more efficient ways to process ethanol and I really think we have something.

.. and I really think we have something.



If you say so. I for one think that biofuels technology is still in its infancy stages. Only in the past few years have companys and scientist really started looking at ways to make biofuels more efficient and practical.

Wow, all that biofuel noise from the 1970s during the last oil crisis didn't happen? All that research that led to nothing just didn't occur?

Whatever you say, scout. Keep whistling past the graveyard.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Oh right, I forgot there has been no advances in biotechnology since the 1970's!!!!! my bad!

Here are some links, if you want to learn more about it.

I posted this story, which sounded hopeful, here, last year:

And this, is from the National Sorghum Producers (includes some good articles):

Ethanol plants can play an important role in increasing local competition for grain, potentially improving prices paid to farmers.
* Ethanol represents the single largest value-added market for grain sorghum producers in the U.S.
* Ethanol consumes about 15% of the U.S. sorghum crop each year.
* One bushel of grain sorghum produces as much ethanol as one bushel of corn.
* There are currently 8 ethanol plants in the U.S. that use grain sorghum.
* Sorghum's low-water-use characteristics enhance the conservation benefits of ethanol.
* Ethanol from sorghum can replace MTBE as an oxygenate in gasoline, providing a cleaner, safer environment.
* When sorghum is used, distillers grain (an ethanol co-product) is equal in nutritional value to distillers grain made from corn.

The key here, IMO, is "Ethanol from sorghum can replace MTBE as an oxygenate in gasoline, providing a cleaner, safer environment." In other words, it is being used to fulfill the mandate, same as corn ethanol.

If you read about the process, they tend to gloss over the energy intensive logistical problems, requiring more research. EROI? It requires less rainfall than corn--that is good. Also, note that there are different types of sorghum discussed in these articles, short-grain sorghum, and taller sorghum being bred with little grain.

This is nothing new. It's been around for decades.

Seriously this is goddamn plant and corn are pure bullshit.

One bushel of A produces as much as one bushel of B.

woo! woo!!!! .... boo.

You are just replacing corn with corn-lite. If this plant required much less nitrogen, then i would be happy(moderately so).

but still this entire line of thinking is a zombie, the walking dead, it is supported by gov mandate, and could not survive on it's own. Brazils ethanol infrastructure only survives because of manual slave labour (boost the eroei) and the fact they can grow sugarcane!

EROI, EROI, why hast thou forsaken us?

The ethanol sacred cow needs to be tipped ... into a wood chipper. Its a big, fat scam that wastes time, money, and energy.

Biofuels? Great! Biofuels that can't even break even? Not so great.

Seriously this is goddamn plant and corn are pure bullshit.

Not until properly processed by the aforementioned bull....

(Sorry. Couldn't resist. Won't happen again.)

the underlying physics will never change, the plants have not gotten more efficient, and our understanding of fluid dynamics is still very poor.

we still cannot come close to the entropic minimum of energy expenditure for converting sunlight into ethanol (put another way, the theoretical maximum efficiency)

the only thing that has changed in biotechnology is our ability to rapidly do automatic genetic tests such as PCR and other magnification/purfication. tell me how this helps, or better yet offer some advances which address the issues, ie potential solutions or methods of attack to the navier-stokes equations? How to best scale up small reactors to ponds? how about HTSC(High Temperature Superconductors)? The only real progress has happened in materials science(carbon fiber), and solid state device manufacturing (PV).

Our understanding of practical fluid dynamics has gotten significantly better since the 1970's and reasonably good realistic numerical modeling is possible in some regimes thanks to intense, slogging, difficult development.

Most of those regimes relate to military-like things.

Yes, Jay is ever the comedian.

I guess one of the fringe bennies of having essentially unlimited $$$ is that it allows you to disconnect from reality.

Oil shortages, warns Simmons, could lead to war.

The prospect of oil shortages has already lead to war.

The Christian Science Monitor article that your quite is from is one of the few US main street media (MSM) reports that lays out the issue pretty clearly, without lots of "balance" from CERA and the like. I wonder if we will be seeing more of this in the future.

Agreed, the "could lead to war" quote doesn't quite present where we are, but it is still represents a big step for MSM.

Fascinating information in that article. I may have to become more acquainted with Colorado State University. :P

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

"The company decided it cannot meet its goal of supply reliability from the terminals where it ended supply agreements. Truly, North Dakota terminals have seen better days, with shortages being relatively frequent, at least in the beginning of this summer.

These terminals, such as the Jamestown and Fargo terminals, are not owned, operated or supplied by BP and are located on the edges of the company's core fuel areas."

This is how it begins. Remote areas see reductions in supply, shortages, eventually severe shortages, as the far ends of the supply chain are severed.

Yeah, I get the feeling it's not going to be good to be at the end of a pipeline or other supply chain.

And nothing bad has happened yet. No Hurricanes, Wars, etc. If this can happen to North Dakota now just wait until something really bad happens. There will be alot of North Dakota out there. And no light rail is going to save them.

B-P says it will stop selling its branded gasoline and diesel in North Dakota and three other states by mid-2008.

Anybody know what the other three states are???

BP plans withdrawal

The BP announcement affects 11 jobbers, or suppliers, in North Dakota that serve 34 retail locations in the state. The other states affected were Texas, Louisiana and Wyoming; that's a total of 140 stations that may have to rebrand or go outside of the state to find BP-branded fuel.

Hello Korg,

With North Dakota and Minneapolis as US examples, along with numerous global examples, we should expect and plan for crumbling infrastructure of all types; the spiderwebs will inevitably shrink from entropic forces.

Hopefully, the ASPO Modeling Project in the other Keythread can accurately simulate the pace of decline so that it enables us to pre-emptively shutdown infrastructure with a minimum of deleterious effects.

This could prove very beneficial to avoid what I call the 'Zimbabwe Syndrome'. A brief example: If Mugabe understood that his country doesn't have the funds or energy [nor water from prolonged drought] to properly maintain the ill-positioned sewage plants, then he would have instituted early Humanure Recycling on a city-wide scale. This would have prevented the crumbling sewage plants from releasing the uncontrolled outflows into the city's freshwater reservoirs; making a bad situation much worse. Recall my earlier newslink posts on this subject.

Since there seems to be no desire for my massive energy saving dual-purpose SpiderWebRiding Proposal: I would like to see the US Southwest adopt a Humanure Strategy before the bad ramifications from crumbing infrastructure and continuing drought arise.

Please see my earlier speculative postings on how carefully directing gravity sewage flows to pre-identified, evacuated, and prepared neighborhoods before the spiderweb becomes non-functional can be a very energy-efficient method to jumpstart relocalized permaculture by this rapid topsoil rejuvenation method.

This should be much preferred to the alternatives of inhabited structures being flooded by crumbling infrastructure breakdown, or purposely set sewage valves to decimate a targeted neighborhood. Time will tell.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

A nice "I told you so" this morning.


Yes, Leanan linked to it above. This is Kunstler at his best. I just loved it.

Personally, I don't quite get how a financial industry based on bad loans would be helped by borrowing more money to bail out a hopelessly unwinding Ponzi loan racket of the type the industry had engineered for itself -- but maybe I'm lacking the gene for financial creativity that the Bear Stearns bonus babies were all born with.

Ron Patterson

Not an anti-kunstler rap - I usually enjoy his musings, though I frequently wish he'd clean up his language.

But - I thought his lead in demonstrated the danger of being too close to the subject you're writing on. CNBC? who cares what happens on CNBC? Anyone over twelve? As if the entire world waits with bated breath for what some talking head laments about wall street.

The truth is, most people don't pay any more than passing attention to what happens to the DJIA.

And peak oil followers would be wise to follow that lead. There is little connection between what goes on in the stock markets and the economy as a whole, even less when you move to longer term outlooks (i.e. more than 3 months out).

DJIA - Dow Jones Industrial (?) Average

That one may seem obvious to econ types, but took me a minute.. do please take a moment and clarify the acronyms.



You may want to look at the Great Crash of '29. At that time, the "real" economy had little to do with the stock markets. For some reason, and scratch my head and hope to know why, the "real" economy tanked with the stock market.

Right now, there are legions of market whisperers out there trying to soothe our jittery nerves, trying to convince the average investor to hang tight, to invest for the long term. Why? Because somebody has to be left holding the bag.

If anyone here believes that the underlying economy is just swell, I have a bridge in Minnesota I'd like to sell them.

As to language. Oh, if only our problems could be solved by the petty moralisms of the schoolmarm! If only we would quit that durned cussin'. Then we'd all be just hunky dory! Peachy keen!!



I could just as well hold up your first paragraph as if it were a mirror and encourage you to do the same.

And then, to add insult to your historical misinterpretation you assume that because I discourage market watching that I automatically must be a Pollyanna.

Worse, you further assume that because I dislike someone's foul language that it makes me a petty moralist. What I really was objecting to was the degrading of the intellect that goes along with such usage. Any one can toss about "shock" words, but repeat them enough and they no longer shock, they dull the argument. So, if I suggest that you take your assumptions and naive misinterpretations, mix them with some saline water and give yourself an enema with them, I can insult you just as well, if not better.

Hi shaman,

I must agree. Kunstler is not an economist nor is he a big time intellectual (like my personal hero Louis Althusser), nor is he a sociologist. But he is very funny at times. Unfortunately, this particular article was neither funny nor astute.

Kunstler's (and Mr. Cramer's audience too) are TV people. Even though Kunstler is essentially a writer, his style is clearly directed at modern audiences that prefer this sort of rhetoric.

It is interesting to note that this Cramer fellow (I saw the video, but I'm not really sure who or what he is) is acting suspiciously like the NASCAR "bubbas" that James so often ridicules. Why he has even has rolled up sleeves like a Peronist. Identification with the proles and their hardship no doubt!

Why does Kunstler not critically analyze the form of presentation of CNBC (jumpy camera, swishy pan graphics, etc), anaylze how industrial captialism "light" is being presented in such a cartoon like manner, meta critically look at how problems with housing and social conditions are being articulated.

I might very well be naive but I find it difficult to take seriously this sort of debate between "Cramers" and "Kunstlers."

Jim Cramer has always acted like that. He is the rolled up sleeves, yelling into the phone, junk bond trader of the 80s. At least, that seems to be the persona he wants to present. The video was kind of chilling because he usually has positive energy in his rants. The one on CNBC was anything but positive.

As to shaman's comment about the stock market not effecting the economy, I would generally have to agree, but in this case disagree. The problem is that an enormous amount of corporate debt is serviced by reissuing bonds. If companies can no longer issue bonds because nobody will buy them, then they can't service the original debt and go bankrupt. The stock market is an indicator of how investors feel about companies' ability to stay in business and thus may serve as a warning that the economy in generaly may be going in a bad direction.

- Scott
"Try sour grapes; you might like them."

I just have to say that I love you two just as you are - I'm getting this total mental image of Statler and Waldorf from the muppets, sitting in the upper deck at an energy conference, and abusing each other when the speaker doesn't have good heckle-fodder for them.

Mr f - what ever I thought about you I take back. BTW, how exactly are you using those shots? Fair use? news?

They're just hotlinked google image thumbnails. If Google can use them, hell, I can abuse them.

power to the people.

For some reason, and scratch my head and hope to know why, the "real" economy tanked with the stock market.

Protectionism (courtesy US Congress) + tight money (courtesy of the Fed). The stock market was essentially just a leading indicator.

In 1929, the economy essentially took down the stock market. There were basic problems with the loans to Germany for their war reparations and with the war loans given to the allies. A good book is "1929" by William Klingaman.

New Generation Applications in Texas

A very long lead time item for anyone planning a new power plant is access to the grid. So anyone thinking about a new power plant, files an application with ERCOT (the people in charge of the isolated grid over most of Texas; El Paso, part of the north panhandle and Beaumont not included).

An ERCOT application is NOT a commitment to build. None the less, it is interesting to note the recent applications.

There are more wind-power projects on the drawing board in Texas than from any other source: 28,269 megawatts of proposed wind projects have requests to tie into the ERCOT grid, followed by 18,786 megawatts of nuclear projects, 13,032 megawatts of natural gas and 8,271 megawatts of coal


But given the long lead times for new nuclear plants and the barriers for the large coal projects, such as the likelihood of some as-yet undefined greenhouse gas regulation from Congress, companies are more likely to go with natural gas projects


Best Hopes for non-GHG generation,


Out here in Del Rio TX it has become a daily occurrence to see trucks taking the large round bases for the wind generators west on hwy 90.

Not to be picky, but adjusted for availability nuclear beats them all and surpasses coal plus wind combined.

And one more quote explaining why the article concludes with NG, not wind:

But wind still isn't considered a reliable source of power during peak summer usage, so ERCOT discounts wind output heavily for planning and reliability purposes.

Which leaves me wondering where all this NG will come from?

ERCOT discounts wind output heavily for planning and reliability purposes

ERCOT uses 10% of nameplate, while average production in Texas (from memory) is 34% of nameplate. At the time (some years ago) many wanted a 12% or 15% nameplate factor in capacity calculations.

What Texas really needs is a HV DC line to the Ozarks and pumped storage unit(s) there. 7 GW of pumped storage would bring capacity in line with actual average generation for the proposed build out.

In reality, NG generation will fill the gaps in the next decade plus.

Best Hopes,


ERCOT uses 10% of nameplate, while average production in Texas (from memory) is 34% of nameplate

I would suggest that the best approach would be to vary the capacity factor with the amount of wind penetration and the available backup. It may very well start with 30% with 0% penetration and then go down with time.

BTW would you comment on the following statistics for wind power in Denmark:

Year Installed Wind
Capacity (MW)
2001 2,489
2002 2,889
2003 3,116
2004 3,118
2005 3,122
2006 3,136

In the last 4 years wind power is flat, even though it is booming everywhere else around the world. Why?

denmarks is making out like a bandit selling the turbines.

they should always be able to barter turbines for sercurity

To put 28.3 GW of wind "being thought about" in context; on June 30, 2007, the USA had 12.6 GW of wind installed, 3.35 GW in Texas (some small % outside of ERCOT).

If one applies a 3 MW of wind will generate as much power as 1 MW of nuke rule, this means that Texas alone can generate (if all applications are built) as much wind power as 10.55 GW of nukes. And we are unlikely to see a net new nuke increase of 10.55 GW for the entire USA much before 2020, if then.

Build the wind turbine factories, increase the price of natural gas, and wind can be built !

Best Hopes for Wind !


Hi Alan
- I'd say we need 5 units of WIND TO EQUAL(and even out) 1 unite of NUKE - AND that IF we can utilize the power ON-THE-FLY ..

A relatively new article on windturbine performance in Norwegian press claims ONLY 20% of the rated power is transferred to the grid. That means a 2,5 MW turbine will yield an annual-average of a mere 500 KW onto the grid.

And keep in mind – those first windturbine-farms in Norway are put up in the very best of assumed locations, those to come will be less windy ….

When thinking hard on the BASELOAD & DEPENDABLE mainstream-power production facilities of today (coal,gass,nuke) – AND than take one step back noticing the concept of WIND TURBINES are now actually going mainstream and taken as a serious future POWER-generator …. Wow …

This recognition is a dire signal – this is what we have to go after …. This and probable PV systems ARE gonna substitute “the CUBIC MILE and some – in 50 years” – BECAUSE any conservations are OUT OF QUESTION.... alongside a new and sustainable political thinking (-as in we have to rethink everything NOW and FAST..!)

When I see a windturbine I think of the medieval times, when they had to work when the wind was around .. Working hours “when the wind blows" – will come back.

Best hopes for prevailing and fixed windpatterns :)

OTOH, New Zealand wind farms generate 40% of nameplate.

I suspect that the first Norwegian wind turbines, if they only got a dismal 20%, were put where they were convenient. Close to a transformer station and easy road access.

West Texas is pretty uniform (miles and miles of miles and miles :-P and much (most ?) of it is pretty good for wind farming.

The average yield increase in the USA is due primarily to two factors IMO. Larger WTs (get them above the ground friction and into higher wind speeds) and a higher % of Texas & Great Plains WTs and a smaller % of California WTs in the aggregate total.

So the Norwegians should have let the Danes pick the location for their first wind farms :-) (I know that the Norsk are stubborn and have many other character faults. 5 Icelandic engineers told me all about their faults for over an hour one dinner :-P

All that Norsk Hydro has to do is slow down one or two hydropower plants when the wind is blowing and run them harder when the wind is calm. Problem solved.

Best Hopes fro Better Norwegian WTs,


Hehe yeah, I guess U have got hold of some inside info here ..

“I know that the Norsk are stubborn and have many other character faults”

The Danes have for sure been in on the planning – as most WTs are “made in Denmark” as well, so this is done by the book.

As for the impressive WT yield in NZ – I sense that to be due to prevailing and hard winds from the Southern Oceans – BUT such winds are rare and NOT to be planned for in most locations elsewhere - IMO

All that Norsk Hydro has to do is slow down one or two hydropower plants when the wind is blowing and run them harder when the wind is calm. Problem solved.

I was under the impression that Norse hydro is already acting as a backup for Danish wind and that Denmark can only achieve the wind penetration with this backup available. Maybe someone who knows the Scandinavian energy picture in some detail could enlighten us on this.

Hi ET – Bulls eye, I'm Norwegian and it's how it is done. There is a Scandinavian + Finland power pooling company called Nordpool who regulate those power-flows, as per changing winds.

study this chart !

Without Norwegian/Swedish hydropower balanced against Danish windpower – I don’t know how the Danes would act upon this power availability -

PS – The y-axis 0 level IS a 5 m/s windspeed …..

Thanks paal.
This raises the question of using nuclear power as a base-load to balance wind power in countries such as the US where the existing plus potential hydro power sites are a much smaller proportion of electric energy demand. My understanding is that hydro is relatively easy to switch as load balancing, whereas nuclear not so easy to switch. Any thoughts on this?

Why not use gigantic fans powered by solar power to blow on the wind turbines when its not windy? Then they can generate power all the time. When it's dark you can use jet engines to blow on the wind turbines.

You better use those little smiley sarcastic symbols so often used, and apparently needed on this site.

Currently NG is used both for peaking power and to balance wind in USA. Thus wind is effectively used to save NG fuel and hydro resources (where available). Consequently The recent boom in wind power generation is almost entirely due to high NG prices, which make a marginal kwth produced with NG more expensive than the cost of wind generation.

Fortunately there is a long way to go before wind becomes constrained by lack of NG backup capacity in US, because it is still a very low portion of US electricity (less than 1%).

Hi ET,

I recently discovered how those smart Danes keep their electricity system in perfect balance (no more worries about all that surplus wind energy).

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAV2Ft2w928

netop kidding


solar and wind will not save us. All of you who keep pushing them are misleading people IMHO. Joe Sixpack thinks everything's gonna be all right 'cause the Big Brains are going green and gonna make all the power we need from the sun and wind! We don't need dem der awfuuul smeelly koal plants!

Wrong. When the FF starts running out so will modern civilization's time on earth.

Sun and wind might survive as powerr sources for extremly well-armed and very wealthy islands of civilization.

Solar and Wind will Help provide energy, where depletable sources are clearly on thin ice.. That is all that can be said for them. They work, they can work Long-Term (decades and consist of recyclable materials), they are distributed (ie, heavily paralleled, so a few going down don't kill all the others) and so they continue to be worthy investments. Anybody who is misled to believe that any of our various 'silver-BB's' alone will save us will have their assumptions challenged soon enough, but the misinformation is not the blame of alt-energy advocates, who, by and large can tell you that all of these and more will probably not be enough to keep us soaking in the kind of energy-bath to which we have become accustomed.

I don't actually think that YOU know, and I certainly don't take responsibility myself for what 'Joe Sixpack' thinks.. as much as this Ivory-tower stereotype even exists. But I'm sure your caricature of them doesn't help anyone at all, and is as misled and misleading as all that you accuse the Alt-Energy community of being.

If you hope to say anything that will be regarded as intelligent, please don't invoke that Hillbilly thing, or whatever it was.. it makes you seem like the fool, and I know from other posts that you're not always that way.


Well, being how i work with the public every day i think i know what joe sixpack thinks. And yes, most of them are hilllbilies. They don't know crap about energy and believe that it will always be there, like magic. If it get expensive or rationed then they are going to blame "the arabs" just like Bush wants them to.

If you told Joe Sixer that in 5-10 yrs there wouldn't be anymore exported oil he would look at you as if you were a homeless madman and shake his head. And then go back to filling up his Hummer with the 22" rims.

"They don't know crap about energy and believe that it will always be there, like magic."

.. you are describing almost everyone, rich, poor, educated, uneducated. We have all been misinformed and underinformed, while some few of us seek out energy information that hasn't been offered broadly to people, most people have other things on their minds. Some people out there are working hard to promote literacy, to stop someone bleeding, keep addicts in recovery, provide parenting to their grandkids, keep volunteer fire departments running, some people are trying to just feed their families.. a lot of people have to do what they can with little more than the benefits that a strangled, public-school education system could offer them.. if a bunch of people have been played into getting their fix with hummers, and others with yachts, Lear Jets, video-games, pornography or Cocaine, so what? We are constantly enticed to take up every addiction that they put up on the shelves. This blindness is old news, though, and it costs us on every level of our society. The blindness I am objecting to is yours, where you have been convinced that it's some form of class-divide that you can point at, like Kunstler so reliably will, and say 'It's the dumbasses! If we could just get through to them, tho' we can't cause they're dumbasses.. then we might have a chance, but we don't'.. It's divide and conquor, and you play right into it. GWB & co is doing it beautifully with the Sunni and Shia, it was a prize tactic of Rome, and of the colonies to keep the poor whites and poor blacks from joining against their real opponents..

But no.. everyone flicks that switch, turns the ignition, runs the hot water tap, and simply expects the goods to come pouring out indefinitely.. and we've become so used to it, that we are completely paralyzed without it.

You're correct. They don't know, and for the most part, they aren't ready to hear it.. and so don't WANT to hear it .. you've just got the 'They' wrong.


Someone down thread quoted an opinion of some nut who was calling for nuking of Iran "before they do it first". Just an example of where the 'us' vs. 'them' game may lead us to.

Unfortunately I'm not an optimist - as a member of a troubled society (a post-socialistic one) I witnessed how the economic and social stress created divisions between people... rich vs poor, party X vs party Y, all the same crap. Even friends and families were breaking apart. And of course there were the "smart guys" that exploited this and made decent fortunes during that time. Now the same guys are practically ruling the country and there is hardly an way out of the mess that was created back then.

I could care less about class or divide. i'm just trying to point out that 99.999% of the people in this country don't have clue one about what is going to happen in the next 50 yrs. If they knew that FF would for all practical purposes be GONE FOREVER I think that would mean nothing to them. We'll go green and live like that they'll say. No clue about what runs this planet.

Why don't TPTB just let everyone know about this?? It wouldn't change anything at all. We are going to run out of FF, the world economic production is going to near zero, and billions are going to die. All this in the next 50-60 yrs. Now why would you want to scare the bejesus outta suburban mom when she can't do anything about it??

So we are freakin' doomed it seems.

99.999% of the people in this country don't have clue one about what is going to happen in the next 50 yrs.

Errr, most of us are here, exchanging ideas, trying to figure that out.

Anyone who says 'they know' is either John Titor or a liar.

Or both.

What 'we' who are on TOD "know" is that the end of cheap energy (via FF) is coming to an end. What "we" do not know is what the reactions of the "leadership" and "the rest" will be.

Why don't TPTB just let everyone know about this??

Knowledge is power. What you know and others do not means you have power.

Plays out every day in companies all across the globe.

It wouldn't change anything at all.

[masses]You were the leaders, you knew this was a problem and you took no action?!?
[group wanting to be the new leaders] Lynch 'em
[masses] *lynching noises* Now what?

[masses] we are doomed
[some asshole] well, if we are all doomed, we might as well burn the whole thing to ground and eat the rich. They taste like Bacon!
[part of the masses] *burning, looting noises*
[remaining rich] *masses killing noises*
[remaining threatened masses] *rich killing noises*

Release of the info sure could.

Sucks to be Robespierre though, dont'cha think?

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

The blindness I am objecting to is yours, where you have been convinced that it's some form of class-divide that you can point at, like Kunstler so reliably will, and say 'It's the dumbasses! If we could just get through to them, tho' we can't cause they're dumbasses.. then we might have a chance, but we don't'.. It's divide and conquor, and you play right into it.

Korg's (and Kunstler's) description of the "the dumbasses" and "Joe Sixpack" does not refer to any particular person or even a class of people, but instead refers to the population as one large crowd. Once you understand crowd behavior and its herding nature, you will see it includes intelligent and educated people as well as stupid or uneducated people.

Getting through to the crowd, in this case the American public, requires frequent repetition of information until it becomes ingrained into the collective mind. It doesn't have to be truthful information, or even factual, it just has to be frequently repeated. Also the crowd is highly subservient to strong authority figures. This is well understood by governments and corporate marketing departments, and is exploited constantly. Think about that when listening to MSM or messages coming from the Bush Administration.

Fighting crowd sentiment is futile, hence Kunstler's typical apparent frustration and cynicism. Surely most people on this blog have talked to intelligent people about Peak Oil or other ideas that aren't "mainstream" and marveled at the inability or refusal to understand.

I think you are essentially correct about Joe SixPack and his buddies, Chrystal and Dopey. They are going to have a real hard time seeing reality outside what they get from their satellite TV's. After all, something like 50% of the U.S. population takes the Bible as absolute truth, thus ignoring just about everything learned by scientists over tha past couple of hundred years. Unless, that is, they can figure a way to race it or screw it.

That said, I think you are under estimating the potential to produce energy from sources other than Fossil Fuels. My personal experience convinces me that I can live in a house that uses almost no fuel for heating and I can use PV or a small wind generator to give me enough electricity to run the essential electric needs of the house too. That does not imply that the same can be done in NYC or any other high density situation.

E. Swanson

Yes you can live in that house very nicely. Until that is, the angry mob shows up and evicts you, they being angry, armed, and a mob after all. What do you think NYC or LA will be like when the power starts going out every day? Or people don't have enough to eat. I know in LA the mob will just walk over to the rich areas and clean them out, cops be damned. Look at the 1992 riots for a preview.

In the 1992 riots, the cops protected the rich areas and left the rioting ones to roit and the rioters to loot from their own neighborhoods.

I don't think it is quite as bad as you think. There are two large subsets out there in the world. Subset A is not aware, does not want to be aware, and accuses you of lying if you try to make them aware. But there is a subset B that is aware but cannot see what they can do to really affect the problem.

We are caught between two very difficult scenarios. On the one hand we have to uproot our entire civilization and essentially rebuild it, in record time, to run on a different energy mix. And if we fail at that exercise, then the result is a descent into darkness which will probably make the last dark ages look like a picnic. And of those average guys who are aware of the issues, most just doesn't see what they can do about either of those things by themselves.

Now, if we had more statesmen with courage, we'd have had an endless string of Jimmy Carters telling us to get ready and to change our ways. Unfortunately, subset A is still larger than subset B, as Carter's tenure demonstrated. And given that subset A is larger than subset B, I think you have to accept that every other alternative, no matter how horrible, is going to be tried before subset B admits that we need to change because subset A is going to elect leaders that say what subset A wants to hear.

Now I want you to consider that in 35 years we have still not succeeded in altering the public opinion sufficiently to lead to change. Just what makes the cornucopians so sure that the next 35 years will magically result in public opinion conducive to their proposals?

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

GZ, nicely put.

Here's how it happens. Bird by bird. You shake your fear, you summon memory of courage upon which you trust and we all have, and then you go forward. Step by step.

Joe Sixpack just might be someone many who contribute here depend on and in tougher times will depend on. I would suggest all might consider taking his name in vain.

BTW, apart from Leanan and Gail, where is the other half of the human species at this site? Aniya? Questions?


Why do you assume that females must use female-sounding screen names? I think if you knew the gender of many of the regulars here, you might have a "Crying Game" moment. ;-)

Leanan - Good point and I accept your criticism. Can I say, when anyone that I have ever read here signs their first name at the bottom of their comment, it is always a male name. I've only been reading off and on for eight months, but the male-type "thinking" dominates (no pun).

Re Aniya, whoever that is, and I; we have shared comments. As Aniya, a member almost as long as you, is so inquisitive, I'm quite surprised if (s)he wasn't a woman, as only (in my dopey male thinking) someone that receptive, that open, who is not otherwise an academic, is likely to be a woman. (Wherein he himself is surprised how much of his foot he has gotten into his mouth).

I would love to experience a crying-game shock surprise - can you hint who you might be referring to.

This is a crowd that loves to figure things out.

I know a fireman whose last name is Darling.

Anyhow, if I wanted to elicit opinions from a probably male dominated blog I suspect that using a "female" alias would probably work better.

I just hate agreeing with this but I think Korg is right - when oil gets bad a lot of people are going to make the "oil is bad, Arabs produce oil, thusly Arabs are bad" jump. I hear that sort of sentiment already from People Who Ought To Know Better(tm)

Sounds idiotic to me. SCT - are you a woman?

Actually they do exist. They call Muslims "Ragheads" and "Camel Jockeys" and think George Bush is doing a good job. These people haven't got two brain cells to rub together, but they do exist.

Don't think SacredCowTipper is a woman. - What does that have to do with anything?

Cid is dead right on this one. I was in line at an airport recently and I naturally started grousing about what a joke TSA was with all of their non-secure security procedures. The guy behind me looked like someone of importance on business travel - well kept and nicely dressed. He responded with this unbelievable gem.

"It makes you want to kill an Arab, doesn't it?"

Me being me, I just couldn't resist.

"Not really, but I'd like to see Karl Rove hung by the neck until dead."

I was bloodthirsty, or at least I managed to sound that way, and I wasn't a conservative. He slunk away before I started getting ideas about other Republicans.

Cid and SCT - I apologize that my comment ("sounds idiotic") didn't covey what I intended.

SCT wrote "when oil gets bad a lot of people are going to make the "oil is bad, Arabs produce oil, thusly Arabs are bad" jump. I hear that sort of sentiment already from People Who Ought To Know Better(tm)".

To me, those people are idiotic, but it reads like I'm saying SCT's comment is idiotic. It's not.

Re asking whether you were a woman had nothing to do with your comment but followed my (somewhat deranged) thinking from a thread above.

On comments from strangers on a line - I'm with ya. Was in Newark in a State building the day after the Fort Dix terror plot broke. Security was really slow, and the guy behind me, well-dressed and otherwise businesslike - made a really nasty comment regarding middle Easterns. I simply scowled as best I could like 'why the f are you talking to me?' Didn't have the presence of mind to retort something on K Rove, but then that may be in my mind there are so so many asshats to hang, starting with the gang from Project for a New American Century and working right up to POTUS.

Actually, Norway is a lot windier than Denmark.

I know that they put them in one of the best spots as I saw a 5 of them around 14 years ago on the island of Vikna in Nord Trondelag.

This place is so windy that the villages are built on the Eastern side of the island so as to hide from the prevailing winds. I mean, you almost get blown away in the summer, let alone the winter. There is nothing like that in Denmark.

I guess the reason these windmills seem to be so inefficient is that they were built in 1991 - things have move on since.

No Alfred!
- I'm referring to brand new WT-arrays put up in recent years, 2002 – present – and rated 2 MW and above….. this latest rating-info is not reflected at this Statkraft-homepage though.

The survey pointed out an average yield of 20% of rated power – ALL OVER NORWAY – FROM NORTH TO SOUTH. Some places were really bad – way below this 20% average. And yes Norway “is” suited for WTs as per windspeeds …COMPARED TO Denmark, but still …

I’m not against them – BUT give them their deserved and proper reputation in the media.


When I see a windturbine I think of the medieval times, when they had to work when the wind was around .. Working hours “when the wind blows" – will come back.

Yup. Now, "society" can do some 'load juggling' things like:
Electric freight transport - it moves when there is excess power
Compost processes like at http://www.magicsoil.com/
Some physical processes can be started/stopped based on 'excess power that should be dumped to' (Grinding processes or oil pressing comes to mind)
"internet traffic" could go in bursts - the old UUCP networking shows how. (Still a part of FreeBSD)

But such will require "modern man" to re-think how we relate to "work". And how will the 'present economic model' handle such?

mmm good luck with your freight scheduling, Eric!

That's not a variable you can usefully adjust with. Networks have mixed passenger and freight traffic, and run at high traffic densities if they are correctly sized. You can't start and stop freight convoys in a discretionary manner, even if the customer isn't in a hurry to get his goods, because it disrupts all the traffic. Increasingly, to take traffic from trucks, rail freight will have to operate in a just-in-time mode, increasing these constraints... I would guess that energy use would peak at night, with fewer passengers and therefore more freight on the lines.

But in general, yes, the economy ought to be geared to energy availability times. Economic incentives can go a long way in this respect : offer cheap power on windy days, or expensive power on windless days, and let the industrialists work out how to concentrate their use there.

(though this can cause perverse effects like smog-inducing diesel generators on windless days)

Iowa had for years one funny wind turbine right along I-80 west of Des Moines, either just before or just after the town that painted a big smiley face on the water tower.

Fast forward to 2007 - the community college just up the road from me offers a "wind energy" associate degree. You can turn north off highway 175 near highway 71 and drive for an hour with platoons of turbines on either side of you. New units sit in pieces by the side of the road - the bases are there, bits are missing, and the install crews are busy. We have enough for 192k households and there are only three million people (one million households?) statewide.

I truly hope a lot of ethanol dollars are somehow being directed into this. The ethanol initiative is not reality based and will crater eventually, but wind is going to be a good thing for as long as the bearings hold out in those machines.

Why are they all built in Denmark? Don't we have manufacturing here any more?

Why are they all built in Denmark ?

The Danes, in strong active competition among themselves, developed a wind turbine that works. The "Danish Model" is 3 blades upwind horizontal axis, with a generator undersized to the maximum blade power available and usually passive stall characteristics at higher wind speeds.

They did this with strong gov't support

1. A carbon tax on the competition
2. A legal from that allowed co-ops of people (always including at least one farmer) to own & operate wind turbine(s)
3. A Gov't reporting system on operational results (down time, , maintenance costs, etc.) so that good models got more orders, and bad ones did not.


At one time just a few years ago, the Danes built over 80% of the world's WT. Unfortunately, new competitors are reduign their market share.

Enron bought the last USA & last German WT makers, merged them and starting selling a few WTs. When Enron went belly up, GE bought the division and has expanded it dramatically.

The Germans went north and bought all or part of soem Danish WT makers.

Don't we have manufacturing here any more ?

Cheap American labor and closeness to a major market is prompting some manufacture here.

Best Hopes for the Danes,


The reason so many wind turbines are built in Denmark is because Vestas is headquartered in Denmark. Vestas is one of the largest. if not largest, manufacturer of wind turbines. GE manufactures Wind turbines in the US as well as other countries.

but wind is going to be a good thing for as long as the bearings hold out in those machines

Or until wind patterns change.

It's a shame that the turbines turn physical energy into electricity which is then transmitted to the miller to convert it back into physical energy.

While an actual windmill could be used for both, or many other physical chores, as needed.

Then again, striving for greater efficiency means that we can grow more, and crash that much harder later on.

I would refer you to the excellent engineering text:

SORENSEN, B. (2003). Renewable Energy (3rd ed.)

It has a good discussion of how wind turbines have evolved since 1980 or so. The actual capacity in wind turbines is 0.55 or so, but electric grids will not take that load a majority of the time so turbines initiate breaking above windspeeds of 20m/s and stop producing power. Therefore the actual capacity is 0.35, capturing energy from winds between ~9m/s and 20m/s.

try page 448 and work forward from there

WTs are among the largest compromises on the planet – and hence hard to like for so many reasons.They have to withstand everything between wind-still and "an icy snowy hurricane-tornado baked in a scorching oven " .... but impressive they are !

BUT the reality of them actually gaining pace – tells me everything!

– there are ONLY SO MANY WAYS OF PRODUCING ELECTRIC POWER - and WTs would come online with or without GW – for the sole sake of mitigating for dwindling fossil fuels and beyond

Only very remotely on-topic, but when I picked up my wife from her flight to GSP this weekend, I noticed a big info display by Vestas, the Danish wind generator company. (The displays were built of Lego blocks, no less!) I had not realized that both they and GE have major wind generator manufacturing facilities in the Upstate SC area. That's good to know, espacially since we have some very good wind potential here in WNC -- IF we were willing to sacrifice a pristine view of our ridgetops. That will be a hard sell until energy prices go way up, and it will be sad to see the views go when it finally has to be done. All things considered, though, I'll take that over nukes in my area (though I realize that some other places might have to have them).

EDIT: On further research, I have discovered that Vestas has set up these info displays all over the place, apparently they do not have mfg facilities in the area after all -- but GE does.

When they start decomissioning coal plants, I will start cheering. The current level of co2 production is unacceptable. Any increases in fossil fueled power plants is unacceptable. If wind is just taking up part of the growth, we are not decreasing the amount of co2 produced.

Step one will be weekend shutdowns (a front is forecast to pass through Texas (good wind) and demand will be down for the weekend). Perhaps wait through till Tuesday before restarting.

Then seasonal shutdowns (all spring and fall).

Then mothballing (if some nukes go down unexpectedly in mid-summer, we can fire it up in a couple of hours as a reserve).

Lastly is decommissioning.

ANY non-GHG generation will offset CO2 emissions, even if it a minor pull back from 100% generation.


Bear Stearns Co-President Spector resigns. Bear Stearns seems to be trying to scapegoat someone for their messes but one guy cannot be solely responsible for that debacle.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

I live in the 14th Congressional District of Texas, Congressman's Ron Paul's District. He didn't vote yes or no on the Energy Bill and the Energy Tax Bill, he just plain didn't show up, in spite of the fact there are at least 15 Refineries and Petrochemical plants here. Energy isn't a priority for him, and neither is representing his District.

He's spent more time in Iowa than he has in Galveston in the three years since Galveston was added to his District.

I wrote him three Emails about the bills, and also called his office. His staff has not had the courtesey to even acknowledge recieving my Emails. Ron Paul loves to talk about his principles, but they don't include doing his job as a principle. He can sure count on my vote-its going to be for anyone who runs against him in the 14th District.
Bob Ebersole

He's doing exactly what he stands for, Bob - less government. In his opinion, the world probably didn't need that bill anyway. I've always seen Paul as consistent to his principles (a conservative's conservative), whether I agreed with him or not, much like I always saw the late Senator Paul Simon (a liberal's liberal if ever there was one) as very consistent, again even if I did not always agree with him.

That you choose to slur Paul on "principles" speaks more about you than him. If you want to cast aspersions, try casting them on the hypocrites like Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama. I'd rather have men like Ron Paul and Paul Simon (rest his soul) in office who really stood for something than the current crop of mealy mouthed liars and crooks.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

The title that Ron Paul filed for, and ran an election campaign for, was "Representative" in the United States House of Representatives.

Bob has rightfully complained that he is AWOL from his job of representing the people that elected him. A failure to debate and vote is a failure to represent, his stated job.


And yet not a word about Hillary's many absences or Obama's many absences. Oh, I forgot, they are Democrats so exempt from the double standard. Give me a break!

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

WTF? GreyZone -- Clinton and Obama (the next White House occupiers, I do believe) do not represent Bob's district; Ron Paul does. That was his complaint. I'd be pissed too if I had written to my rep. three times and not received even the lamest of canned responses acknowledging my correspondence.

WTF right back at you. It is normal and common for presidential candidates to be missing sessions in Congress. Even regular congresscritters miss sessions due to junkets, etc. For better or worse (mostly worse) this is how the system works. Does Bob think that electing someone else will ensure that this someone else is present for every vote on the House floor? If that is what he thinks then how did he get to be as old as he is without observing reality?

Quick, name 3 congressmen with perfect attendance records for 2006. Was yours one of them? There were 15. Just 15 out of 435 who were present for every one of 541 votes taken in the House last year.

So Bob is disgruntled about his representative? Whoopdeefreakingdoo! If he wants to do anything about it, he'd get active in his district instead of whining about it here. Instead, he is whining about Paul not being present for a vote on a bill that by any measure looks like a total disaster anyway. CAFE? What the hell is CAFE? Congress won't touch CAFE anyway. And tinkering with the investment rules for oil companies? Do they expect this to encourage investment? That energy bill is a frankenstein monster of everything you could possibly do wrong and almost nothing useful. Where's the electrified transit money? Where are the incentives to refine more product here in the US? Ace is documenting a 2% decline in oil production from last year alone already, for gosh sakes! And oil is up near $80 per barrel and we've not even hit crunch time yet, which according to the IEA is the 4th quarter this year.

And yet Bob is going to whine about his representative not being present, who by his political stance would not have voted for this boondoggle anyway? That's high comedy! That's absurdity! That's ridiculous!

And that is exactly why I expect no rational response from our nation or the world as a whole to these converging issues. Instead we'll get sideshows like this where Congress does nothing then people like Bob whine about nothing getting done.

If we're really lucky some catastrophic event will land in our laps this fall and make the entire world wake up. But who am I kidding? No, the world will still whine about whether a congresscritter was present for a vote on a boondoggle bill rather than actually do anything useful.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Never mind. You're right. Stupid whiney Bob and his whining. If only he would stop being all whiney here and go do some not-whining somewhere.

I think the point GreyZone is pointing out, is that Bob is bitching about a practice that is committed by just about all congressional members.

In otherwords if Bob doesn't like what his Rep is doing, then he shouldn't be complaining about the rep, but rather should be complaining about the process as a whole, or even better, perhaps he should try and run for the seat himself if he feels strong enough, and then he can try to become the representative he feels should be in that seat.

Afterall, Bob's campaign promise should be pretty easy to fulfill, and even better, it can be measurable! He can run on a platform of perfect attendence.

But generally most people just like to bitch, and rarely do they actually step up and try to get involved to the point where some sacrifice and risk would be required in order to make a difference in what one is bitching about.

You don't get it, do you? Your congressional representative is one of the people most susceptible to being replaced in the current system, if you really want to try. You can replace a congresscritter cheaper than you can change an oil company's policy, cheaper than you can get Congress itself to pass rational energy policy. Heck, a congresscritter can often be replaced for less than the cost of one of those fancy ethanol plants. So if you want change, start at the bottom and cause change. Getting Paul out of office is something that Bob himself can have a direct hand in doing. Instead though, he's here. And that's a demonstration of something said a few centuries ago - "accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed" - something that might jar your memory. Or maybe not.

Removing Ron Paul is something that Bob can do, in conjunction with his neighbors. If Bob does not believe that, then it is not rational for Bob to believe that government can produce a legitimate response to converging crises. In other words, if Bob cannot be bothered to shape the government then he cannot possibly expect that government to bear any resemblance to his ideals. If Bob wants change in regards to Ron Paul, TOD is not going to help him achieve that change. Bob and his neighbors need to do that.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone


Quick, name the last congressman to get elected to the Presidency.

It is an utter waste of time & money for anyone in the US House of Reps to run for President - their actually getting elected is so NOT going to happen.

The Senate is only a marginally better platform to launch a Presidential bid. Many will run, but few are chosen.

The people that have been elected to the White House have been vice presidents & governors, with an occasional general thrown in, and only very rarely a senator.

It is an utter waste of time & money for anyone in the US House of Reps to run for President

And yet, there he is...running.

If one has the POV that 'the only change you have is your money and you should just keep it in your pocket' Dr. Paul lacks big money backing.

If one thinks that there are PTB who'd kill Kennedy for getting rid of the Fed, who question the string of Executive Ordered that get approved 'automatically' by each new President, the *rambles on about whatever particular offensive thing done by the executive branch leadership* - why would Dr. Paul "get the nod" from the party apparatus?

But Dr. Paul has went from 200 to 1 to 15 to 1 to win. I look forward to a national discussion about the petrodollar, his lack of support on energy-issues, signing statements, or executive orders. I don't see such discussions unless Dr. Paul VS whomever the Democrats put up.

(and the Dr. Paul supports are STILL gonna be sad if he gets to occupy the office he now seeks - because many of the hopes they are investing in him won't happen)

There's no legitimate excuse for not being at least minimally responsive. OTOH, given someone who's responsive and in attendance but is going to go to vote the wrong way, I am gong to vote for the one who'll vote the right way what eve their other flaws.

E.g. I am old lefty, support choice, gay rights, and all that stuff. But if the choice were between a conservative or libertarian who says get out of Iraq today and no attack on Iran, but goes the wrong way on the other issues VS a "liberal" who goes my way on social issues but has hooked her(him)self to the war machine -- well guess who's gonna get my vote?

What I hope is that people will vote for their own self-interest, realizing that more than 90 percent of us are in one big boat. The other boat is much smaller, but it has the money.

Great point Dave, but I think it would be prudent to vote in to the next prez who is actually the most opposite to my views and interests. When was the last time we elected or selected a prez that actually did what they promised?



Yea, because Dr. Paul doesn't like executive orders, nor does Bob - so I'm sure Bob will be Vote'n for Dr. Paul for Pres - just to get him outta his district.

As I expected last week, the market led with an opening bell upward move that was then attacked by the bears. This was immediately followed by another downward correction to where the DOW is only up 30 points (noise essentially) at this point. The PPT is probably rethinking their next move.

Watching the ticker bounce minute-by-minute you can see the tug-of-war going on between bears and bulls today to set the tone of the week.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

"attacked by the bears"

The way you phrase a thing shapes it's perception and your relation to it. The market is not being "attacked" by anyone. These are just investors reducing their exposure, cutting their losses and taking THEIR OWN money off the table. Last Friday, Tom Pisani was talking like these people were terrorists. I took my money off the table a long time ago, and am thankful for it. The Markets are proving that people who have been denigrated as 'Doomers' have been correct and all the people blowing sunshine up people's anguses have been wrong.

"You've got to know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."

*shrug* It was just a phrase. English is an odd language, like many natural human languages. Should I have said the market was being defended by the bulls? When you say these are investors reducing their exposure, there has to be another investor on the other side of that transaction. These things don't occur in a vacuum.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

You are trapped by the language you use. Attack and defense. Not what is going on at all. People are taking their money out of the market so they don't lose it. People still taking risks in the hopes of making some, but fewer now.

Visual Aid to the Housing Market


It's a game of attack and defense for the PPT, trying to avert a meltdown. (If that is even what they are trying to do now that some others have pointed out that the SEC rescinded the Uptick rule.)

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Not Attack or Defence but Manipulation. To what end? To convince unwary investors that it's safe to stay in the market when it's not. That's what you mean by avert a meltdown. Provide fresh suckers to the meatgrinder. As you said two sides to a transaction. They need someone to buy THEIR worthless positions so THEY can get out.

They need to eat their own bad loans. The scammers need to pay, not unwary investors, not the taxpayer. Let them burn.

They also need to make the thing go back and forth (wasting everyones time) to squeeze a few more fees and commissions out of the Titanic.

My simple observation that stocks were up last Monday following a drop at the end of the previous week ended up being more valuable than all this crap about the PPT and conspiracies. The bottom line is that no one here is making intelligent predictions about the markets daily movements- some of us just have trouble admitting it.

Sometimes it seems like the ratio of the number of posts by people here is in inverse proportion to the amount of actual information they can contribute to a discussion.

OK, I give up, what is PPT?
I googled it and the best I got was Presidential Prayer Team.

plunge protection team

With the combined powers of both, the PO werewolf will surely be vanquished. The Oracle of Finance with the spiritual power of Executive prayer combined with the a Herculean effort to avert a market plunge, for the time being, is tranquilly coasting. Albeit, a war rages, but we cannot abandon the poor Iraqi people in this time of difficulty--even if at the same time we oddly criticize that the "Iraqi people" are not holding up their end of the bargain (a ghostly voice asks which was?)

their end of the bargain was to gently shower us with sweets and flowers while we steal their oil and blanket their country with permanent bases.

was that too much to ask? ingrates.

Same thing. :-)


"One theory regarding the Working Group refers to it as the Plunge Protection Team. This theory claims that the Working Group is a scheme to manipulate U.S. stock markets in the event of a market crash by using government funds to buy stocks, or other instruments such as stock index futures."


The PPT is not a Theory.

See CFO.com and MI-Implode.com for details.

Ex. How did Fannie Mae go from the DogHouse to the BigHouse
in one weekend!?

How does Bear Stearns go partially bankrupt in the Caymans!?

The Market moved on both at 9 AM C.

"attacked by bears"

Stephen Colbert warned us in the threatdown of the "Godless mindless killing machines that bears are... sadly nobody listened.

(Humor injection attempt)

Indeed. The resurgance of the grizzly, the most godless of these killing machines is largely responosible for the recent decline of the markets. The terrorists who created the endangered spieces act are largely responsible for this. I look forward to a new executive order to rectify this situation, so we can return to cornucopian times.

Also groundhogs --- not only did they decimatte my garden this year, but they are responsible for countless extended winters, and the accompanying extra energy use.

Best hopes for bear and groundhog elimination.

This bear is not happy with your hopes

I didn't ask this groundhog, but from the looks of it he is displeased as well

HAH! I love it :)

But hey this discussion makes as much sense as watching MSM these days eh?

Most of the US is facing a massive heat wave this week.

Best Hopes for the grid hangin' in there...

Here are the headlines from the Money and Investing Section of today's WSJ:

Braving the Subprime Storm

Complaceny, Panic Whipsaw Credit Markets

'Great Unwind' May Be Here

Here are the two cheerful ones:

Tech Industrial Shares Have Been Faring Best; Jitters Hit Every Sector

Insuring Against Credit Risk Can Carry Risk of Its Own

Is the WSJ already a tabloid or is there a
wee problem with the economy? Whaddaya think?

WSJ has some of the best investigative reporters in journalism and the most right wing editorials as well. Guess which department will take over the entire paper when Fox gets his hands on it?

Are there reports similar to the ASCE's national report card on the power grid for various regions? Are there parts of the country that have adequate fuel, generating capacity, and reasonable transmission capacity? Many tout the Northeast (eg, NYC) for its low per-capita energy use, but it seems to have more than its share of large-scale blackouts, and seems to be enormously dependent on Canadian hydro electricity, Midwest coal-fired electricity, and Gulf Coast natural gas for local generation.

Utah quake traps coal miners

A coal mine collapsed Monday in central Utah, trapping six miners, less than 20 miles from the epicenter of a 4.0 magnitude earthquake, authorities said.

Utah has a rich history of mining induced seismicity due to coal mining -- although the mechanism of today's quake and the seismicity history of the region around the epicenter suggest that mining was not to blame in this case. Coal mining remains a dirty, hazaradous occupation...

There was also a ~4.0 in south-eastern Nevada over the weekend and one in south-western Utah in June, both along the same seismicity trend as the quake today. This level of activity is elevated from the historical mean for the area, but is probably not significant beyond coincidence (disclaimer: IANAS).

Re: The Economist Magazine's comment that we are consuming (by drawing down inventories) more oil than we are producing, a Golden Oldie from one year ago, this month:

Economist Magazine (August, 2006) reports Saudi oil production can continue unabated

Wikinews, the free news source you can write
In its August 10 edition, The Economist magazine asserts that Saudi Arabia can continue producing oil at its current production levels for 70 years, without having to look for another drop. Further, the magazine claims that the nation could find "plenty more if they look", calling for privitisation of national oil companies to help increase oil production.

The language is provocative - the world has plenty of oil, and only requires sufficient investment and exploration to find it. This is a line that The Economist has held for some time, certainly since before its now infamous March 1999 issue proclaiming that we were "drowning in oil" and featuring a prediction of US$5 per barrel. That issue was followed by an embarrassing retraction in December of that year, as oil started its steady climb. It now sits above US$70 per barrel.

However, petroleum geologists and energy investment specialists maintain a different view of oil reserves. They say that there is a limit to what is in the ground, and further to that, a limit to how much of it we can retrieve even with advancing technology. Just how much is down there can't be said with any certainty, for a variety of reasons. A big one is the suspicious reserves figures given by producers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. Since OPEC starting using a quota system based on reserves, the estimated reserves for member nations has magically risen, and even continued rising in the face of increased extraction from those reserves.

Amongst those who deal with the physical realities of oil fields, forecasts of a peak in production vary between 30 years, as the USA's Energy Information Administration suggest, and now, as suggested by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas and other more pessimistic forecasters. A peak in production would then be followed by decline. Certainly, in the petroleum world, there is no serious suggestion of sustaining the current level of oil production for 70 years.
(14 Aug 2006)

The Economist in its current editions tries as best it can to forget about peak oil. When I tried to look up the quote given above ("The world is consuming more oil than it is producing") in this year's July 14 -20 issue, I found that the stories on the US energy legislation were discussed almost entirely in the context of global warming. The headline on the story on page 32 is "Congress debates climate change." The story about the US energy legislation on page 13 near the end says "Global warming is the problem, after all, and fuel economy just one part of the solution."

If I am understanding you correctly, Jeffrey, the Economist quote referred to in the Wealth Daily article by James West referenced by Leanan is really from a year ago, not from a month ago.

I was referencing the quote you linked.

The exact words quoted by "Wealthdaily" appear at the end of the first paragraph of The Visible hand on the tap / OPEC is back in charge of the oil price, which also claims to have been posted 7/19/2007. Note that as with many other newspapers, their views are not necessarily monolithic across all articles.

I followed your link and found it. The same article is not in the 7/19/2007 print edition. Perhaps it is from a different week.

The Economist website says that it's in the print edition, which it is not -- in the US one anyway. The article has a Brent crude chart, so perhaps it's in the European edition.


The Economist staff writers excel at refining words into 'finished products'. In their case there is an endless supply of 'finished product'. Unfortunately they seem to not to make a distinction between unlimited verbiage and limited hydrocarbons.

That 1999 oil story came out not long after the Scientific American article on "Preventing the Next Oil Crunch" by Colin Cambell and Jean Lahérrere. I remember the SciAmer article made my hair stand up and that's the one that I kept.

The classic, of course, was their 1999 cover story, Drowning in Oil.

Well, they got the drowning part right... we're drowning in something but it sure doesn't smell like oil:)

But it is unfortunate to headline Drumbeat with a story that seems clearly written by someone hocking investments (and I could be wrong and, if so, I apologize in advance) who then misleads with his proclamation as to the gist of what the Economist stated. All his cite states is that we are consuming more than we produce; to my understanding, that is not the definition of peak oil and thus does not act to validate the argument that peak has occurred or is occurring. But this "article" seems little better than The Natural Contrarian, an unsolicited copy of which I received today, touting "Huge Drilling News" and "Press-Time Profit Alert" because Marathon is drilling for gas near or on some company's property in the Anadarko Basin and the company has property in a California basin that will be "expanded to become America's largest oil source." I'm not sure articles like this are helpful.

Don't read too much into the "headlining." It's more a matter of when the article was posted than an endorsement by me or anyone else. The new stuff goes on top.

I know; it just turned out to be unfortunate timing for the placement. The comment was intended as a rail against those types of advertisements, not as a commentary on your work. You, and everyone else at The Oildrum, do all of us a tremendous service in making all of this information available and handy.

I think you meant "hawking", not "hocking", right? But with this market its hard to tell for sure ...

You're right; thanks. But as you point out, with this market, maybe the mistake was a freudian slip.

Israeli Intelligence warns of increased Syrian military activity, pending Fatah/Hamas civil war in West Bank.



"The IAEA found in Iran polonium-210, used almost exclusively for making A-bomb triggers. Since polonium-210 has a half-life of only 138 days, it is highly perishable and only made when use of an atom bomb is imminent. Iran is about to nuke Israel. Iran must be nuked first."


And there we go again. Right wing propaganda sounds the same whether in Israel or Austria, in 2007 or 70 years before.

I wish people here would refrain from posting the writings of psychopats.

Ya, it's funny. According to DEBKAfile we should've been embroiled in WW3 about 5 times so far.

polonium-210, used almost exclusively for making A-bomb triggers

...or for poisoning spies!


(takes a drink of sarconol)
Obviously, Iran has a large number of spies that it wants rid of ;-)


Nice catch, AKH. And just don't measure my cigarettes.

In regard to the oil price slide today, I wonder if part of this selling was in effect forced selling as some hedge funds and other investors and investment banks sold oil positions in order to raise desperately needed cash--perhaps thinking that it is better to sell oil positions at a profit rather than sell mortgage securities, and be forced to recognize huge losses.

Oil slides 5 percent on economy worries
Mon Aug 6, 2007 7:50 PM BST140
By Richard Valdmanis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell more than 5 percent on Monday, the biggest slide since December 2004, as concern about the U.S. economy rippled through financial and commodity markets.

The losses added to hefty losses Friday following a report showing weaker-than-expected job growth in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer, and another showing slowing growth in the service sector.

"The macro picture does not look good," said Nauman Barakat, senior vice president at Macquarie Futures USA. "The subprime crisis is also spilling over into the commodities sector, and in particular the energy."

U.S. crude fell $3.80, or just over 5 percent, to $71.68 a barrel by 2:45 p.m. EDT. London Brent lost $3.70 to $71.05 a barrel. . .

. . . Markets were being hit by the prospect that the borrowing that drives the financial system will either become prohibitively expensive or dry up completely as a result of risk repricing. . .

Net Oil Exports From Top 16 Net Oil Exporters (graph by "Mr. 5%"):

OECD Days of Supply Commercial Oil Stocks (inclusive of US):

I would think maybe it's a setup. Pundits have been predicting $100 bbl oil by the end of yr for a while now but in actuality it will be closer to $60 (temporarily), just like last yr. When the economic crash happens later this fall everyone will be pulling back on growth, hence fuel use, in reaction. So to make money you talk up the oil price while in the background you are buying oil short. Then this Dec. you buy it long while you talk it up short.

If you had bought oil options at $58 last Jan you would be a happy man now! You will have one more chance to do this this year. After this yr the oil shortage will be to great to ignore anymore and it will be perpetually long.

I would agree with your statement.

As the CDOs (pooled mortgage loans of various credit qualities) fall in price, investors are being hit with margin calls. Most CDOs are highly ill-liquid and if you can actually find a buyer, they will only be sold for pennies on the dollar. In addition, selling the CDOs would require the investor to recognize the loss (“mark-to-market”) and could potentially impact the investment results you are reporting if you are a fund manager. Consequently, many investors are selling everything else that they can get their hands on to raise cash and holding onto their CDO portfolio for now.

Thus… many asset classes, which are not normally correlated, are all declining at once.

Oil prices could be falling on expectation of falling demand with a bad economy. The undulating plateu arguement, only earlier.

A Modest Proposal to Revolutionize Oil Market

... the biggest surprise of the week was a bill introduced by Congressman Devin Nunes, a California Republican, that may, if enacted, lead to a dramatic improvement in U.S. energy policy. ...

Nunes, a third-generation farmer from the heavily agricultural San Joaquin Valley, has proposed a pilot futures market project that is a financial economist's dream come true. Clearly, he has put his graduate degree in agriculture to good use, since well-trained farmers are old hands working with futures markets.


The Nunes solution is to have the government create a market for long-run put options for alternative fuels. This would give those who have constructed qualifying facilities the right to sell (or ``put'') their product at a minimum price to the government should the actual price drop below that.

If you are planning to invest a couple of billion dollars in a coal-to-liquid plant, then you could purchase a U.S. government-backed option that would guarantee you a minimum price of, say, $70 a barrel. If the actual price is above that, you can sell your product for more than that. If the price drops below $70, the government pays you the difference between the market price and $70.

The price of these futures contracts would, under the Nunes bill, be set at auction. Accordingly, the policy would probably raise revenue in near-term forecasts. In the long run, taxpayers would be taking on a risk that oil prices will drop, but that risk is a natural one for them take.


The key term is "qualifying facilities." Although I understand the lofty goal, this also sounds like dream legislation for hare-brained alt-energy schemes that have no chance of making money.

What if I told you that, in the midst of the YearlyKos convention, John Edwards said, "We're about to enter the seventh year of this phony war ... and we're losing."

Or if Barack Obama noted that a black male in Detroit is more likely to go to prison than graduate from high school and asked: "How can we tolerate systems more likely to send young Americans to prison than college? ... Republicans have this maniacally dumb idea of Red versus Blue. They say, Detroit is a blue place, so we're not going to go there."

Or if Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to blast the Republican Party's basic approach to government. "Republican political doctrine has been a failure, ... Look at New Orleans. How can you say that was a success? Look at Baghdad... I don't think you can look around and say that was a great success."

Then what if I told you that all of these comments actually came from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, during a speech at the Young America's Foundation National Conservative Student Conference in DC?


I cut down the article for brevity. Sorry to get political, but it is rather ironic to hear these things from Gingrich. This comment under a source article struck me, too:

... The US Press will pick the next president. As they have for the past 30 years and will continue to do until the US Population frees itself from their TV sets and starts to think for themselves.

That president will not be Gingrich or Edwards. The press has already picked Hillary.

Of course the press does what it is told.

Talk about Armaggedon, the thought alone is enough to offshore one's residence. :-)

As if I need to link to this...


On Friday, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, closed a deal to buy Chrysler for $7.4 billion.

Mr. Nardelli, who stood in front of a backdrop reading “The New Team,” said he planned to stick with a restructuring plan, rolled out on Valentine’s Day, that called for Chrysler to shut an assembly plant in Newark, Del., and eliminate 13,000 jobs by 2009.

“They got it,” he said of the plan, but added he would work closely with Chrysler executives to carry it out. “If we can do it faster, if we can do it more efficiently, that’s what we want to do.”


For Mr. Nardelli, the appointment provides an opportunity to burnish his reputation, which was damaged by a contentious relationship with shareholders at Home Depot and his departure with a severance package worth $210 million, some of it to offset benefits lost when he was hired from General Electric.


Mr. Nardelli, ousted in January as chief executive of Home Depot amid shareholder discontent over his enormous pay package, added that his task was to prove that manufacturing, and the automobile industry “is part of America’s future, not its past.”


The appointment of Mr. Nardelli is a surprise both because of his lack of automotive experience and the circumstances under which he left Home Depot. Mr. Nardelli became chief executive at Home Depot in 2000.


More than any other Detroit company, Chrysler remained dependent for too long on big sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. Despite hit cars like the 300C and PT Cruiser, Chrysler’s sales plummeted as gas prices rose.

Though it has introduced new cars this year, Chrysler has been overshadowed by companies like Toyota and Honda that are building more fuel-efficient vehicles.


Mr. LaSorda’s job security appeared fragile last year, when Chrysler lost $1.5 billion and built 100,000 more vehicles than it had dealer orders for.

That keypost misses the mark:

The world’s most respected journal of economics has now officially acknowledged the advent of peak oil, validating (finally!) what we’ve been saying for years.
In a July 19 article, the venerable Economist cut straight to the point:

“The world is consuming more oil than it is producing

At the link, he writes Now there would appear to be a certain degree of confusion over exactly what is meant by “Peak Oil.”

Confusion indeed. The author misunderstands what Peak Oil is. Peak Oil is the point at which oil production goes into terminal decline. It is not when the world is consuming more oil than it is producing. That situation can happen now and again as inventories are being pulled down, but it can't happen for very long. But Peak Oil is forever. It just isn't what the author thinks it is.

The world's most respected journal of economics? There's a vast gulf in this case between being respected and being right. They don't and won't apologize for being wrong. It isn't about being right or wrong but whether they are saying the appropriate thing at the time for the audience that pays them.

About six years ago they published an article full of scurrilous and fatuous crap about Hugo Chavez. I told them so and cancelled the renewal of my subscription; they cut me off from internet access to the subsciber only sections of their publication which I had paid them for.

They have large egos and small minds. They are vindictive and will turn out to be sore losers - and lose they probably will. They are a very public example of the weakness of human nature in a collective capacity. There was a time when I read that thing cover to cover but I have advanced since then. Colonial and condescending. Too bad.

"respected journal of economics"

As I recall "The Economist" was wrong (too early?) about housing bubbles around the world affecting economies, and they were "for" the Iraq war. These two things and maybe one more that I cannot remember caused them to replace (fire?) their editor sometime last year. Since "The Economist" has a tradition of not using "bylines" (authors names) in their pieces, few people are aware of the editorial transformation.

In a July 19 article, the venerable Economist cut straight to the point:

“The world is consuming more oil than it is producing.” --The Economist, July 14-20 print edition.

You are exactly right (again, damm, you keep embarrassing us!), and I was surprized that no one jumped on the irony of the "consuming more than we're producing" remark....which would mean inventory dropping and us nearing the end of the production growth road....is that really happening? And if so, how fast and for how long? Inventories would now become the MOST IMPORTANT canary in the mine....

Gasoline today in central Kentucky, $2.65 to $2.69 per gallon at most outlets, Diesel now climbing a bit to $2.75 (I attribute the distillates going to heating oil), no other way to say it, ASTOUNDINGLY CHEAP, UNBELIEVABLY CHEAP, FOOLISHLY CHEAP. The U.S. currency decline and normal inflation would explain the runup in gasoline prices for this decade....

THINK about what the market has been through....9/11, multiple hurricane hits, pipeline breakdowns, the complete disabling of Iraqi production, the almost complete disabling of Iranian production, Saudi Arabia flat, North Sea down for almost half a decade, Mexico declining at this time, Nigeria in chaos, Angola showing signs of boiling over, Venezuala nationalization, plus the press and studies, Matt Simmons on major news outlets, T. Boone Pickens declaring allience to the peak oil idea, The Hirsch Report, the GAO Report, the recent admissions by the IEA, the NPC Report, PLUS the multiple refinery fires and breakdowns....and gasoline is $2.69 in much of the South! (!!!!) YOU HAVE NOW ENTERED THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

If we accept the idea of peak in our lifetime, we have to assume that price has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with warning of impending doom....

Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

If we accept the idea of peak in our lifetime, we have to assume that price has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with warning of impending doom....

No, we don't. It just doesn't work the way you seem to think it should.

Deffeyes predicted that the price volatility that comes with scarcity would disguise the peak oil pricing signal.

Call it a market failure.

But Leanan, even you have to admit that if I had predicted everything that was coming post 2000, I would have been called a mad doomer...and it all actually happened, and if I had asked almost anyone what the price of oil would have been after a period like that, they would have assumed $150 per barrel easily and $5 dollar gasoline at the pump, on the low side....really, if we look at the bigger picture, the so called price volatility has been a bit of wobbling around at the margin of error.....it's just these days we have the world media to scream like they've seen a murder at every one percent move....


The downside of diversity

IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

"The extent of the effect is shocking," says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.

"Diversity, at least in the short run," he writes, "seems to bring out the turtle in all of us."

Well, I don't doubt that there are levels of truth to these findings, but I don't buy that he is giving us universal truths. His study covers just Americans, during a period of reaction to the social advances of the 1960s, during a time of a highly charged political atmosphere, a notorious and over-hyped but unhealed shock from 9/11, a people lulled into isolation by increasingly crass and shallow TV/Cable programming and advertising.. media consolidation, etc etc..

Sure, we are less comfortable around groups we don't know well .. where with time and public effort, bridges will be built.. but with countless counterefforts, manufactured mistrust.. (Bad Boys, Bad Boys ..) no bridge is going to stand. 30 years of divisive underinvestment in civic commons has fed its share into this study.

Further, it ignores what the alternative means. Were we all to huddle together in our cloistered little ethno-genetic groupings, the level of social interaction within the groups may well be more calm and comfortable, but it seems inevitable that when the groups themselves need to interact with other groups, the outcome won't be nearly so pretty. After all, we spent a good portion of our evolutionary history engaged in tribal warfare (or as some posters like to call it, "raiding").

Having said that, I don't think too many people really want a world where we are so intermingled and assimilated that unique cultures and traditions become so diluted as to be lost forever. Like most things in life, there's almost certainly an ideal balance somewhere between total assimilation and ghetto-isation. After all, the black population of America and still has its own unique identity, even after several centuries of genetic and cultural mixing. That said, before the slave trade began, no doubt what we might see as a more-or-less homogeneous Afro-American "race" today presumably existed as a myriad of tribes with significant cultural and genetic differences (and indeed, as I understand it, there's still vastly more genetic variation among blacks in the U.S. than there is among whites). In another 400 years I suppose it's possible that the black-white division will have eroded more or less entirely, but none of us here are going to be around to find out, so who knows.

The article points out that there are advantages as well as disadvantages to diversity. It's also clear how difficult this was for Putnam, because his politics conflict with the results of his study.

But I suspect there's a deep truth here. Community is as much about who doesn't belong as about who does. Nobody can be "one of us" if nobody is "one of them."

It's like those old '50s SF stories, where the world doesn't unite until Martians or other aliens are discovered, then suddenly, all humans are "one of us."

What may be particularly American is that our divisions are racial. I suspect that that may not be the case everywhere.

In Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition, there's an account of a pair of sailors who were whipped for committing sodomy. They did the deed on deck, in view of everyone. And apparently, it wasn't the sodomy or the race issue that was the problem. (One man was English, the other from India.) The problem was that one was Christian, and one wasn't. Gay sex, no problem. Public sex, no problem. Interracial sex, no problem. Sex with heathens? Blasphemy!

"It's also clear how difficult this was for Putnam, because his politics conflict with the results of his study."

Yeah, I saw that, and I think I appreciate it.. maybe I'm just skeptical that what he concludes are the results of 'diversity' are coming from a time that has so many other factors going into it, in a culture with a certain set of experiences and assumptions.. I have to wonder how these studies would play out elsewhere. It's fine if he wants to call it 21st century American diversity.. but community is an evolving thing. A century ago, being Irish in Boston put you in a very particular place in society, and a WASP meeting up with a bunch of Southies put him in a very particular place that he might have wanted to get out of. All sorts of that dynamic are still around today, but a lot of it has changed, too. A melting pot grown out of a not-too-distant Jim Crow and Slave Nation has shown itself to have some massive scars to bump over, again and again, and yes, people continue to hide, get afraid, and refuse to connect as closely as neighbors should.. but then Listen to Alan Drake.. different localities have history that informs how folks handle each other, while the history of the country adds another strong fold to that behaviour..

I do know of the 'blasphemy' you speak. A Jewish friend and his Catholic fiance' already had their radical (Married) Priest signed on (and he was great, partied with us late into two nights), but the Rabbi was proving elusive.. finally, they called a group that helped with Gay Jewish Weddings, and said they had a 'situation'.. they asked 'Husband and Husband, or Wife and Wife?' He says, 'Husband and Wife, but she's Catholic'.. "Very sorry, sir, but we can't help you." alas!

I'm just imagining the difficulties if my girlfriend and I get married... we have four nationalities between us, but that's not the problem... she is a Muslim, Jewish and Catholic atheist, and I am... a Protestant atheist.

What may be particularly American is that our divisions are racial. I suspect that that may not be the case everywhere.

True. And IMO the study is absolutely correct. I have lived in several foreign societies and the problem does not exist to anywhere near the same extent.

Diversity that happens and where everyone competes on merit is one thing. Imposed diversity where merit is thrown out the window and quotas are enforced generate enormous blow back, and the scarcer resources get the worse it will get.

Mostly this is a question of class, education or economic comfort : people of different origins get on fine together when they are secure and confident, it's called cosmopolitanism. When the groups have different economic levels, or are all poor together, then people aren't really in a position to open up to people who are different to themselves. In these situations, it generally requires people and government from the host population actively reaching out to the "outsiders", finding common values, respecting and valuing differences. Canada and Australia both represent relatively successful examples of integrating immigrants.

Once an endemic under-class is constituted (Afro-Americans, "Arabs" in France) the problems get really tough.

The article mentions the positive correlation between diversity and (productivity & innovation). Can we see these two factors as the reason why we are being exhorted to embrace diversity, regardless of civic health?

Lanterne: The most useful side effect of diversity in all its forms falls under the banner "divide and conquer". In reality, in the USA of 2007, one is either inside (top 1% financially) or outside (bottom 99%).The bottom 99% cannot unify because of perceived and real "diversity". Street crime is just one example- a perennial major political topic yet something that almost never personally affects the top 1%. Look at health care- because the top 1% get great care it is not an issue. Has the Iraq war personally negatively affected even one member of the top 1%? If you are in the top 1% the USA is probably the best country in the world to live in. If you are in the bottom 99% it is questionable. It is my personal opinion that oil depletion will be seriously addressed in the USA when it begins to personally affect the top 1%. I expect this to be many years off- it is possible that the top 1% might never be negatively affected as the USA becomes Mexamerica.

I keep hearing this...but can democracy be truly that ineffective in the U.S.?
Certainly here, elections are very much decided by the lower-middle and middle-classes who make up the bulk of the "swinging voters". Which is not to say that the political parties genuinely have their best interests at heart, but if they want to stay in power, they have to at least look after basic interests like health and education.
It almost defies belief that the bulk of the U.S. population would keep voting for parties that weren't doing them any favours at all.

Wiz, the US Presidential elections have been reported by a private corporate media consortium (originally called VNS) since 1964. This corporate entity reports the outcome of elections based on their private computers. No American under aged 68 has ever voted in a pubicly counted Presidential election. It has been abundantly clear since 1968 that neither corporate party could care less about the public interest. (Of interest, the parties blowing off the public became blatant after the private media corporations began counting the vote.) Most Americans figured that out long ago and quit voting. Instead there are drugs, gambling, reality TV, and asset bubbles.

"No American under aged 68 has ever voted in a pubicly counted Presidential election"

Well, much as I can believe American presidents have been elected by counting pubes, I still take issue with this: if pre-election polls, taken by various independent bodies, consistently show that President X has Y% popularity, but wins (or less) the election with some radically different percentage 'Z%' of the vote, it would be clear evidence that something was very wrong with the system. But when has this ever occured?

And much as voter turnout might be relatively low, with a population of 300 million, you don't really need that big a sample size to get a reasonable approximation of how the populace as a whole would vote, if they had to (which we all do, here - generally without complaining about it).

If Americans are truly unhappy with the way their country is being run, they will vote accordingly. Now, you can fume about how idiotic "average Americans" are, and point to countless examples of them voting for things that ended up hurting their best interests all you like, but how else is anyone supposed to decide what's "best" anyway? Do you really think if every American on TOD formed a political party that somehow managed to force itself into power at every level of government, you could be so sure that party would actually make all the right decisions, and produce an America that everyone was much happier with?

It almost defies belief that the bulk of the U.S. population would keep voting for parties that weren't doing them any favours at all.

This, they do with great enthusiasm and diligence, usually by being enchanted and angered with carefully crafted emotional and religious distractions.

Appealing to prejudices is much more successful for a politician than educating about unpleasant facts and need to make tough choices.

The people who do realize there's something wrong give up on voting entirely as all choices appear similar.

but if they want to stay in power, they have to at least look after basic interests like health and education.

What bollocks. You're talking about a nation (Australia, for our US friends) that went from virtually free tertiary ('college') education to US-style user-pays fees in a little over a decade and a half. On top of that, a degredation of the health system to quasi-third world (or, hey, US) standards (a 24-hour wait in the emergency room for stitches, for example).

Sorry, but there is no way on earth you can hold up Australia as some sort of example of democracy in action. Australian 'democracy' is now every bit as dysfunctional as that in the US, and for very much the same reasons.

Not everybody believes that free tertiary education is necessarily optimal. I've seen perfectly good arguments that demonstrate the reverse, and to me the HECS/HELP* system seems like a very sensible compromise. As far as healthcare goes, personally I've never had an issue with it, and my wife, who moved here from U.S., regularly comments our lucky we are to have such widely available cheap healthcare. Again, there are arguments against a healthcare system entirely provided by the government that can't be dismissed out of hand.
The extent to which you believe the government should supply education and health-care is ultimately personal opinion (or political ideology). What we have now is what voters have voted for: note that health and education spending is primarily determined by the state government, and here in Victoria, we had 2 terms of Kennett reducing spending, after which the population decided that was enough, voted in the ALP, which increased the spending.
But if the ALP kept spending so much on health and education to the point that the economy stalled (which had arguably been happening pre-Kennett), they would get thrown out again and we'd be back to reduced spending.

A simplification for sure, but still democracy in action, if you ask me.

As far as tertiary funding goes, which is primarily determined at the federal level, we've have voted at several elections where there was a choice between increasing and reducing government funding. So to a large extent, what we have now is what's been voted for.
This election, both major parties seem to be on the "increase government-funding" side, partly because it's become obvious that our education system isn't currently producing enough graduates with the skills that are most needed, and partly because the current government realises that most voters don't want to see increased university fees. If Howard had his way entirely, he might well decide he was so sure that private enterprise was the best way to provide quality education that all tertiary education funding should be scrapped and universities privatised, with all students paying their own way entirely. But he knows perfectly well he'd never get elected on such a platform.

* HECS/HELP is a zero-down-payment zero-interest student loan, available to all undergraduates, which you only need to pay off once your income reaches a certain level. I think most students pay it off within 5 years. The loan by no means covers the full cost of providing the education, though I'm not sure what fraction it does cover.

the more we scratch the more we learn. Accept nothing. Just keep scratching. You know, the more you'll learn.

Us seniors continue to deny that we are having too much fun.

Oil depletion estimates based on knowledge of normal
distribution parameters µ and σ

August 6, 2007 09:20

Executive Summary

Hello TODers,

For your perusal and acronym contemplation, I selected from google 3 days of the Condor reports from Homeland Security:

CONDOR - DHS IAIP Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

CONDOR - Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source ...

CONDOR - Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source ...

Feel free to google condor + DHS as I did.

The Dept of Homeland Security doesn't appear to be calling it the Condor report anymore, and I couldn't find if Condor was an acronym.

The best I came up with was a speech by DHS Secretary Tom Ridge when I put condor into the DHS search engine:

We've set up several different clearance processes, and I'm not going to go into the details, unless you want me to, of the Condor program which checks for terrorist ties and other security violations, or the Mantis program, which screens for individuals who may seek to violate our export laws. Condor and Mantis, there's probably some kind of evolutionary meaning behind those acronyms, but I can't figure it out. I'll let you do that.


for current reports from DHS

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

In New Orleans, water system at risk

NEW ORLEANS - Deep underground, an unseen crisis is threatening New Orleans' already troubled recovery.

The city's 3,200-mile system of water and sewer lines — old, leaky and in need of improvements long before Hurricane Katrina — was damaged by the torrent of pipe-corroding salt water.

The city Sewerage & Water Board says at least 50 million gallons of water a day are now being lost to leaks, or 2 1/2 times pre-Katrina levels. S&WB officials also believe raw sewage is leaking out in places, though the extent of the problem is unclear.


I was working on a building in New Orleans with a local fire protection contractor. He says that 2/3rds of the water supply is leaking into the ground. I certainly believe him from the low water pressure we were getting.

This severely understates the problem.

Fire fighting is extraordinarily difficult. with increased losses, due to low water pressure. For a while FEMA was leasing some water drop helos, but those are long gone. They were also renting some water tankers, but that is over I think (vaguely think the broke city kept two).

We had four water pumps for the main city area. With good water pipes, one pump could maintain minimal pressure. But with the leaks, two are needed and two are all that are left operating. Again, FEMA refused to pay for expedited repairs and we are still some weeks away from the first of the two repaired pumps to arrive. If one of the two remaining pumps fail, we will need to evacuate the city (it has been this way for a couple of months). Both failed pumps should be repaired within a month and a half (I heard that the contractor is likely to deliver early, even without expedite fee, out of sympathy).

Around the corner, on my walk to Zara's, they are tearing up the street to replace a gas main (18" it looks like). Salt water damage to the pipes and a large gas leak was found. Same is true of many water & sewer pipes. FEMA is "debating" (now for almost two years) whether to pay for "delayed" damage due to salt water corrosion in water & sewer pipes. Two months ago FEMA commissioned an expensive ($20 million from memory) study on the issue. No doubt to a large R contributer.

Best Hopes for Luck, We Need It,


Seems like you need to figure out a way to completely rip out and replace the piping infrastructure in an efficient way. That requiers better technology and capital and capital requiers a way to pay the loans. What incomes generated by a populated New Orleans will continue during the peak oil downslope? Is there a way to tax or charge infrastructure use that gives inflation proof income?

Regarding technology there are good PEX plastic pipe systems that are corosion proof. For the long term it could make sense to not only have water, gas, sewage and storm drain but to add potable water if that is a limited resource, district cooling(two thick ones) and urine collection for phosphorus recovery. I guess that heating isent a problem. :-) And of course dry pipes for telecommunications and electricity.

But this feels like telling a starving man that dessert is a good thing. :-(

At home I try to encourage businesses that probably will be viable post peak oil to get resources to keep the society ticking and to be able to repay long term infrastructure investments.

add potable water if that is a limited resource

We drink filtered Mississippi River water. We have enough water to support the population of China flowing past us. A low energy resource (OTOH Phoenix uses 20% of their electricity to pump water).

The system (potable water + sewage) is sized to handle Mardi Gras, when we invite a million drunk strangers to our city every year. Without this oversizing for 360 days/year, we would be in worse shape.

We hope to use treated sewage to rebuild the marshes around us (in addition to diverted Mississippi River water in the spring floods), so no need to separate.

Before Katrina, the city was rehabbing old sewage pipes by injecting with a formed in place plastic liner. And also running fiber optic cables in the sewer pipes.

Salt water damage to sewer pipes makes the plastic liner solution uncertain. Repairs to the sewer lines are getting the lowest priority. Potable water and natural gas are the priorities. )I went almost a year without natural gas, no heat except one electric space heater and no hot water).

Other than a very few places in New Orleans, I do not see the advantage of district cooling.

And there was already a switch to plastic pipes for replacement before Katrina.

Best Hopes for our last two potable water pumps,


It is as you said, nobody will bail you out.

You got to turn the renewal of your infrastructure into an efficiently run "business idea" with income generated from the running of the systmes and/or taxing a working city.

Does anyone know anything about this technology for creating hydrogen from catalyst metals? Company is called Airgen and they have their patents online.


Come on back once you have data to show how Mr. Lancaster is wrong.

Given the patent description in this article press release (ellepsis mine, emphasis mine):

Several patents have been filed ... in three general applications – bulk hydrogen generation, metal reduction, and on-demand hydrogen generation.

I think they're just using the reaction of metal with water to produce metal oxide and hydrogen. What's new is the use of colloid catalysts, a salt solution, and varying electrical potential applied: I think these features are to allow the use of cheaper metals (they mention this), control the reaction rate, and allow all this to occur without needing controlled temperature.

Unfortunately they apparently have not released data on the cycle energy efficiency of their process (the reduction of metal oxide back to metal is particularly important in this regard). And they're betting on the availability of robust fuel cells at acceptable prices: non-fuel-cell applications for hydrogen tend to be stationary and probably can get lower cost storage in conventional pressurised tanks.

Hmm. Mexico will have to IMPORT fuel soon?
Looks like Export Land is gaining traction.

PEMEX Expects Oil Depletion in Seven Years

Carlin Lee submits: Recently PEMEX, Mexico's largest integrated oil producer informed the United States that "Supplies of its economically exploitable resource are running out."

The company estimated proven reserves near 9 billion barrels in December of 2005. With current production near 1.3 billion and demand stable, simple division extrapolates seven years as the target depletion date.


Mexico may have to import oil to satisfy its internal market." Jesus Reyes, director of PEMEX, attributed the current state of affairs to declining capacity in Cantarell, Mexico's largest oil field.


Check out the link. Graphs and Pictures.


Yes. Their production curve follows the worst-case scenario splendidly.

Well, it followed the official forecast, and now it's following the "worst-case" scenario, so should we project Cantarell's production to eventually fall somewhat below their "worst-case"?

What is surprising, though, is that the CANDU reactor, developed at the dawn of the nuclear energy era, is a "cousin" of the Chernobyl RBMK reactor that exploded 20 years ago.

The structure of both is similar (pressure-tube reactors). However, CANDU coolant is heavy water whereas RBMK coolant is light water. This greatly reduces the void coefficient since the coolant absorbs few neutrons (note that the Wikipedia article on void coefficient is self-contradictory: a CANDU, like a PWR, operates without voids). A rapid power surge, as occured at Chernobyl, is thus precluded.

That said, the primary advantage of the CANDU design is the ability to construct it without the industrial capacities (uranium enrichment, ultra-heavy forging) needed for most reactor designs. The capital cost of the CANDU may be higher even so, due to the large core and expensive heavy water. In addition, the consumption of fuel is rather greater.

I have trouble believing that Ukraine could not, if it wanted to, develop domestically the heavy industry needed to build and fuel clones of their existing VVER reactors. Perhaps CANDU is economically more favorable since Ukraine has a domestic uranium supply? Or the building process is faster? Do political concerns forbid an enrichment plant in Ukraine? Is this all a bluff to threaten Russia with the loss of a market for VVER parts and fuel?

I did find it amusing that the author is arguing that a reactor series begun c. fifty years ago is hopelessly obsolete versus a series begun c. forty years ago. Both have several models, the more recent correcting defficienies noted earlier. Both are considered Gen 2 designs whereas the most recent available now are Gen 3 (see also timeline).

Do political concerns forbid an enrichment plant in Ukraine?

Probably, and it might not be economically justifiable, and they want to stay out of trouble, as they can see the crap (some of it justified) that Iran is getting.

The natural seller of reactor uranium locally is Russia, but as they can see with Russia's dealing with Georgia and Belarus about energy stuff, they probably don't want to be too vulnerable.

It's probably just reasonably wise strategic diversification. If they have a base load of fission supply not strongly dependent on Russian technology or inputs, then Russia's leverage in potentially extorting outrageous prices or political demands for other things is diminished.

Hi Leanan,

ASPO Ireland August 2007 newsletter might be worth posting on the next drumbeat.


Item 850. on page 6 states that "The size of Kuwait’s reserves was discussed in Item 832 in Newsletter 79 prompting what can be described as a normally reliable source in the Middle East to pass on new information, reporting that the real reserves of Kuwait are 24 Gb Proved ; 51 Gb Proved & Probable ; and 101.5 Gb Proved, Probable & Possible."

However, the newsletter (Colin Campbell) thinks that these quoted reserves could be original! "The jury is out on the issue, but the balance of evidence begins to points at the lower numbers." The lower numbers would mean that Kuwait only has 19 Gb of oil left to produce. In contrast, BP Annual Statistics says that Kuwait has 101.5 Gb proven reserves as at end 2006. (coincidentally equal to the 101.5 Gb proved, probable and possible number from above)

There is also an updated production forecast on the last page which is resource based (not project based) until 2030.