DrumBeat: March 6, 2008

Kjell Aleklett: ASPO and Peak oil theorists challenge Saudi Arabia

In Paris, March 2, 2008, Ali al-Naimi, oil minister for the world's largest crude producer, Saudi Arabia, and one of the oil industry's most influential figures, has been discussing Peak Oil. He has stated that Saudi Arabia, which already has the world's biggest proven oil reserves, plans to add another 200 billion barrels of oil to its proven reserves. He said this was "to reassure the world that we are not going to run out of oil in the next five to ten years as peak oil theorists say."

So what are the facts behind this claim of an extra 200 billion barrels? According to a seminar given in Washington in 2004 representatives from Saudi Aramco reported that Saudi Arabia had an initial 700 Gb barrels in place. Today, with cumulative production from Saudi standing at 119 Gb and 260 Gb in reserves (but admitting to only 131 Gb in developed reserves), the Saudi’s claim a recovery factor of 54%.

Neil King on PBS: Falling Dollar Pushes Oil Prices Up, Weakening Economy (transcript, audio, and video)

...I would point to the concerns out there that are really growing about whether we're going to have proper supplies five, six years down the road. Will oil supplies continue to be able to meet demand? Or will there be a moment when demand might possibly exceed supply?

And this particular concern, which is a sort of peak-oil concern that some people are raising, is filtering into OPEC. The oil minister of Saudi Arabia yesterday was saying that this particular pessimism, which he calls "unfounded," is one of the reasons that's really driving oil up, as investors think, "Wow, this is a commodity that may become increasingly scarce down the road."

Lump sums

Oil production may soon 'peak', but what about coal? David Strahan reports on the recent figures that suggest global reserves may not be nearly as plentiful as the industry and governments have led us to believe.

The Bumpy Pathway to an Energy Breakthrough

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is one of the founders and, one might say, the lion of Congress's peak oil caucus, a group of lawmakers concerned about the world's oil supply running out. With leonine intensity, the Maryland Republican took on the Bush administration on its funding priorities for energy research and development.

Downward spiral

The government insists that the UK has "considerable" coal reserves, but declines to be more precise. However, reserves are clearly nothing like what they were believed to be less than 30 years ago.

U.S. coal power boom suddenly wanes

Concerns about global warming and rising building costs are blocking construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States and pushing utilities to turn to natural gas and renewable power instead.

Shell says settles U.S. reserves class action

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc. said on Thursday it had agreed in principle to settle a class action with U.S. investors arising from its 2004 restatement of oil reserves.

NAFTA's legacy: the worst agreement we ever signed

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada is an energy "superpower." But NAFTA virtually guaranteed that the U.S. would be the beneficiary of our energy, and it unleashed a massive increase in energy exports to the U.S.

Canada now exports 63 per cent of the oil it produces and 56 per cent of its natural gas to the U.S. And because of NAFTA's proportionality clause, Canada is legally obliged to continue exporting the same proportion of our oil and gas forever even if we face a shortage.

Next up is our water. The U.S. is already officially into its supply problems and it will, over the next 20 years, become a catastrophic crisis, outpacing even their predicted energy crisis.

NAFTA defines water as a good — meaning that, as soon as any provincial government signs a contract to export bulk water to the U.S. (by river diversion or tanker), nothing can stop further exports.

Fed helps fuel high gas prices

Under the forces of 2008, the nation has more gasoline in the tank than at any time since early 2002 - yet gas is $3.15 a gallon with no peak in sight.

Blame speculators, a falling dollar, the federal deficit and continued, breakneck growth by China and India. Spare a thought for Federal Reserve chief Ben S. Bernanke while you're at it. His main tools to forestall a recession are adding to the problem. Energy inflation is twice as bad in the United States as in Europe, thanks to the wimpy greenback. Since the beginning of 2006 oil is up 60 percent in dollars but only 30 percent in euros.

Drivers ponder soaring gas prices

San Rafael resident Eric Nelson didn't like the $3.49 price sign he saw when he pulled into the Shell gas station at Second and Irwin streets Wednesday, but filled up his tank anyway.

"You gotta go to work," said San Rafael resident Eric Nelson. "We took a 3,000-mile car trip three years ago and we were excited about doing it again - but we're not going to."

Vermonters Keep Driving Despite High Pump Prices

As gas prices have continued to rise over the last several years the majority of Americans haven't changed they way they drive.

"I look at the sign every time I pull in, but it's not like I stop and go, 'Oh I'm not going do this,' I mean, you have to fill the car up so that's what I do," says Matt Borick, a South Burlington resident.

Canada: Esso stations across the Prairies face fuel shortage

CALGARY - Esso stations across the Prairies are running low on gasoline and face rotating outages for the next few weeks, according owner Imperial Oil Ltd.

Operational issues have reduced output at the Strathcona refinery, forcing the company to ration supply to its stations in the Prairies and into British Columbia, Imperial said Wednesday.

European gasoline to fill Australian tanks

LONDON/SINGAPORE, March 6 (Reuters) - Australian motorists will burn Europe's excess gasoline in the coming months, including some shipped in from Russia the long way around, as Australia's own refineries stand idle, trade sources said.

Australia has been drawing gasoline from far afield to cover for the unplanned outage of Royal Dutch Shell's Clyde refinery in southeast Australia.

UK: Fuel Prices Set To Rocket

Household bills are set to soar by hundreds of pounds for people in the North-east.

Industry experts warned petrol could hit £1.50 a litre this year after crude oil prices reached a new record high.

Today an Aberdeen MSP called on the Government to scrap a planned fuel tax rise.

Karachi power cuts hit millions

Millions of people in Pakistan's largest city have been without electricity, following a power outage.

Pakistan's state-run utility said it had cut supplies to Karachi because the city's power company had not paid its bills. Outages occurred in the morning.

South Africa: Power problem to threaten manufacturing sector

Eskom says it will take up to six months to process applications needing more than 100 kilo volt amps of electricity. That includes any project larger than a small townhouse complex.

Trade unions and economists have lambasted the move, warning it will impact on job creation and threaten existing jobs.

China's Guangdong faces severe power shortage

BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - China's manufacturing hub, Guangdong province, will give heavy subsidies to small power producers and speed up the addition of new capacity to tackle a severe power crisis this year, an official said on Thursday.

Li Miaojuan, head of the Guangdong's Development & Reform Commission, said generating stations fuelled by oil and gas previously meant for closure due to their size and high costs would be allowed to operate to help plug an estimated 10 GW shortfall at the peak.

UAE: Profit-hit bakeries seek price rise

Costly inputs range from direct ingredients to fuel, electricity and water needed to run the bakeries. For example, Al Jadeed Bakery, which operates around 100 delivery vehicles, has said it is being hit hard by increased petrol prices. The price of cooking gas, another major cost for bakeries, has gone up from Dh140 for a 44kg cylinder to Dh190.

Saddam-Era $1.2B Oil Deal with China Seen Revived April

Iraq and China are close to wrapping up negotiations on a $1.2-billion oil contract that was originally agreed to in 1997 under Saddam Hussein's government, an Oil Ministry official said Thursday.

Opposition's Attack On Mexico Min Complicates Energy Reform

MEXICO CITY -(Dow Jones)- In January, Juan Camilo Mourino became Mexico's interior minister amid fanfare over how the former lawmaker would lead negotiations on key legislative reforms.

Six weeks later, President Felipe Calderon's point man for energy and labor reforms has a black eye: Mourino faces a congressional probe into alleged influence peddling.

Mourino's job doesn't appear to be at risk, but allegations he had helped a family-owned company secure contracts with the state oil company have eroded his negotiating strength, which impairs the Calderon government's push for energy reform.

Mexico Starts TV Campaign to Support Oil Bill

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon is using national television ads to overcome opposition to his plan to open the state oil monopoly to foreign investment, saying the nation needs outside help to get to crude in deep waters.

Reducing gas flaring to protect environment

Doha • Qatar may soon join the Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) partnership, a World Bank-led initiative to reduce the burning of natural gas, or flaring.

"We expect Qatar and Kuwait to join us soon. We have been in talk with them and started to work with them," GCFR partnership Manager, Bent Svensson told a news conference here yesterday.

The Importance of the Corn Economy

Our food supply depends to a large extent on corn. We feed corn to cattle and cows to provide meat on the table and milk in our glass. It is fed to chickens to provide a staple in our diet and eggs for our morning breakfast. Corn is used to make fructose which is a basic ingredient used to satisfy our "sweet tooth". And, unfortunately, it is now used as a tool by global warming zealots who want to change our way of life.

The growing craze to adapt ethanol to a transportation fuel has such far reaching consequences that our and the entire world's economy, and all our food sources, are disastrously affected.

Oil’s End

From the steps of the Supreme Court to the White House press room, from global trading exchanges to the snowy reaches of Alaska — over the last week, you could hear the creak of history as it began to pivot in a half-dozen locales.

The Age of Oil is at an end. Maybe not this year. Maybe not for five years. But signs of the coming collapse are evident.

Start at the White House. There, a week ago, President Bush touted tax breaks for oil companies that have just posted the largest profits in the history of American business. Yet he was dumbstruck when asked about the prospect of $4-a-gallon gasoline, a price that will force many families to choose between food and basic travel.

“Wait — what did you just say?”, the president asked after a reporter solicited his advice for Americans facing that price, which was predicted by many analysts.

“Oh, yeah?” Bush said. “That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.”

He doesn’t get out much, understandably. But had the president been in California over the weekend, he would have found consumers paying what he apparently has yet to fathom — more than $4 a gallon at some stations.

Saudi oil strategy stays on target

Saudi Aramco is aiming for sustainable oil production capacity of 12.5 million barrels-a-day by the end of 2009 from around 11 million b/d capacity at present as a result of the huge investment in exploration and field projects under way.

Two time zones 'to save SA power'

South Africa could be split into two time zones to ease a crippling energy crisis, a top official has said.

This would stagger peak demand across the country, the director of public enterprise told parliament.

Yergin: Renewables Moving Toward Competitive Role in Energy Markets

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--“Renewable energy is crossing the divide towards a competitive role in energy markets,” Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and executive vice president of IHS Inc., said today in Washington, D.C. “But there is still more terrain to cover among the different renewable energy sources in terms of economics, technology and scale.”

Gored: Why Skeptics Need Al

What is it about Al Gore?

The striking thing about the “Manhattan Declaration” that ended the Heartland Institute’s global-warming skeptics’ conference this week wasn’t its rejection of man-made global warming or the host of alternative scientific theories. No — the first recommendation the group made after days filled with scores of presentations and films was to take a shot at the Nobel prize winners:

Now, therefore, we recommend: That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Only with that out of the way did the conference get back to its roots and recommend that “all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.”

Oil price soars towards 106 dollars after New York explosion

LONDON (AFP) - Record-breaking oil prices spiked close to 106 dollars on Thursday after the market was rattled by news of a small explosion in New York and following a surprise fall in US crude stockpiles.

New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April hit 105.97 dollars per barrel, surging above 105 dollars after topping the previous record of 104.95 dollars set on Wednesday.

Brent North Sea crude for April jumped to 102.95 dollars, beating its previous all-time peak of 102.29 dollars set on Monday.

Oil speculators 'riding roughshod' over OPEC, say analysts

"Prices surged in the fallout from what was an absolute hysterical reaction to OPEC's decision" and news that US crude inventories had fallen last week, said the Schork Report, which provides analysis of energy markets.

"Thus, when OPEC tells us the (oil supply and demand) fundamentals have decoupled from prices and the speculators are running roughshod over the futures market, they have a point," it added.

OPEC – not as powerful as you might think: Brazil's oil may destabilize OPEC, but not the US.

Indianapolis - Brazil's recent announcement that it might join OPEC reportedly produced a lot of hand-wringing among the experts. According to CNN, "analysts" feared that putting Brazil's big new oil finds under the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' banner would mean higher oil prices.

Just who are these "analysts?" Either they need remedial economics training, or they are grossly misinformed about how OPEC works.

Boom in Asia means oil price will continue to rise above $100 a barrel

There is a further difference from previous cycles in that the world is quite close to its production limits. Non-Opec supply is running absolutely full bore. If the oil companies could crank more out of the North Sea, Alaska and so on, they would at these prices certainly do so. But Opec also seems to be quite close to its limits. Saudi Arabia has traditionally been the swing producer. We don't know whether it can produce any more. It says it can but there are reports that it is having difficulty maintaining production. We do know that neighbouring Kuwait has called in foreign experts to tackle a problem of declining output. You don't need to buy the "peak oil" thesis (that the world is close to its ultimate peak output) to appreciate that Opec countries cannot produce a lot more oil, even if they wanted to do so.

OPEC Output Decision Will Lead to Abnormal Build in Stockpiles

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC's decision to maintain production levels will lead to a bigger-than-average increase in oil inventories as demand weakens with the end of the Northern Hemisphere's winter, according to Dresdner Kleinwort.

Iraq Is in `Advanced' Talks With International Oil Companies

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq, holder of the world's third- largest crude oil reserves, is in ``advanced'' negotiations with international oil companies to develop five oil fields in the country.

``We hope to conclude a deal within weeks,'' Iraq Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad said today in a phone interview from Iraq. ``These deals will help us boost production by 500,000 barrels a day,'' he said.

UK: International Power plans 4-month plant outage

LONDON (Reuters) - International Power plans to close its 1,050 megawatt Rugeley power plant for up to four months from the end of March for an upgrade, Chief Executive Philip Cox said on Thursday.

During the 15-16 week outage, the company will fit Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) equipment to reduce sulphur emissions from the coal fired power plant. It expects the final commissioning in the third quarter of 2008, it said.

High Oil Squeezing British Airways Margins

LONDON - Oil prices are showing no signs of cooling, and airlines are not finding the struggle any easier-- British Airways has warned that it will miss operating margin targets for 2009, as higher costs eat into its bottom line.

"Fuel will become our single largest cost next year," Finance Director Keith Williams told reporters ahead of an investor day on Thursday.

Peak Oil - True or False

The arguments are so one-sided, it's practically a given that "peak oil" is real and threatening. Or is it? This article examines both sides. It lets readers decide and deals only with supply issues, not crucial environmental ones and the need to develop alternative energy sources. First some background.

Sustainable Settings proving unsustainable

Call it a failed experiment in Roaring Fork Valley sustainability, but officials at the Carbondale nonprofit Sustainable Settings are threatening to leave.

Despite growing from 5,700 visitors from area schools in 2006 to more than 9,000 in 2007, and a booming business in organic produce on the 244-acre ranch, local regulations and the high cost of operating in Pitkin County are driving him out, said Brook LeVan, the organization’s founder. Sustainable Settings is a nonprofit focused on education and building model, sustainable communities.

Chicken Wings and Peak Oil

Once we realize that there might be “only enough to go around”, could we become aware of all of the things that oil does for us, and stop taking it for granted? Won’t we savor every last drop and try not to waste a thing? Will we realize that there are generations to come after us, that will still need their share too? Will it help persuade us to look more seriously at alternatives?

Aussie brewery produces 'green' beer

SYDNEY (AFP) - Feeling green after drinking alcohol has taken on a new meaning in Australia with a brewer launching a beer that it says helps fight global warming.

All the greenhouse gases produced through the life of a Cascade Green, from the picking of the hops to the empty bottle landing in the recycling bin, have been offset, the company said.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Polity on trial

The coming storm will bring one of the most severe tests of the cohesiveness of governments and peoples that the world has known for a long time.

Over the last century, the industrial societies have built extremely complex and specialized civilizations. A simple example is that here in America only two percent of us now live on farms where they presumably are capable of readily producing their own food. Only 0.3 percent of Americans now claim to be farmers. The remaining 99+ percent of us are dependent on oil-based food processing, storage, and transport for our daily sustenance.

The fate of most of the world’s peoples is going to depend on how well we, as societies – here and around the world,- get our collective acts together over the coming decades and organize to survive the transition to a post-oil world.

Lake Lanier, Atlanta’s primary water supply has achieved a 1 meter rise in pool level and 100k acre feet of additional storage since it’s low point on 28 Dec. This is still 3.5 meters or 12 feet below the level of last July 1st. The lake is also 5 meters or 17 ft below the normal summertime pond level.

Lake Lanier is rather unique. It has a 1040 Sq mile watershed and a normal pond surface of 73 Sq miles. This provides a ratio of about 14 to 1, this is the probably the lowest ratio of any major water supply in the country. The watershed has an avg. annual rain fall of 60 to 80 inches, which is the highest of any area outside of the Northern Pacific coast. The Atlanta Metro area is 50 to 60 inches. The high annual rain fall is due to the rising elevation or steep gradient of the watershed terrain.

Since Dec 1st Buford Georgia, The dam site has received 12.2 inches of rain and Gainesville Georgia, on the southeast central coast of the lake has received 13.9 inches of rain. Gainesville received 31.7 inches of rain in 2007, 39.7 in 2006 and 52 in 2005. This amount of rain in any other watershed would be sufficient to maintain normal pond level for most any other lake. Perhaps future normal rain fall in the coming months can achieve last July’s pool level.




Atlanta Water Shortage is a wonderful web-site for those interested in this. They have a great graphic showing the lake level for the past couple of years:

That very, very steep decline from August to December of 2007 means that 2008 is going to be rough year for us here in Atlanta. They'll be lucky if they can keep generating power from the lake throughout this year, I doubt it myself. I bet we're going to hit dead pool at 1035 ft above sea level.

I'm a bit of a amateur weather buff, and have been looking at the 10 day weather models and Georgia to NC should receive more significant rainfall this week (3-5 inch range). While this will not end the drought now, it does indicate a significant change in the weather pattern. As I predicted many months ago these weather patterns have a way of balancing things out over time. Most importantly prediction made here of the Southeast US burning in flames and hoards of refugees moving north in Januaray never came true.

Nice. Two months rain and we're almost back, maybe to July 1, 07 levels.

And you call it over. A non event.

"these weather patterns have a way of balancing things out over time"

Yeah. Everything balances. And in the long run, we're all...

We in US agri need everything to be just right from now on.

We must have near record crops every year.

Whereas we only need one more drought year to bring us to our knees.

And Atlanta destroyed it's watershed to add insult to injury.

Maybe if I aspired to become an amateur weather buff, I would not be such a doomer...
but speculating about weather patterns based on 10 day weather models? that sounds pretty myopic

That's why I'm a climatologist on strategy,

a meteorologist tactically.

I believe that this means that Atlanta's golf courses and lawns will be safe for another year. Phew!

This year is starting out almost exactly like last year. If it continues, rainfall will be good till around April, then it will fall off a cliff.

Lets see what the rainfall looks like in early summer. If it doesn't continue to follow last years' pattern, and the SE gets some tropical moisture during hurricane season, then I'll be more optimistic.

I think that prediction was for next summer, and the summers to come. We'll see after La Nina goes away next year, but you must admit that the American Way of Life is creating water problems all over the continent, problems which impact tar sands production, ethanol production, the cooling of nuclear reactors, and of course hydroelectric power. Americans have to panic before they change.

Funny about that. Looking at the NCDC site Georgia has a total of 15" of rain this winter (Dec-Jan). it doesn't seem like much of a drought.

This plot shows actual Russian crude oil production, I believe through 2005. The red line is the HL projection, generated using production data through 1984 (the green data points). IMO, the red curve is a reasonably close approximation for cumulative Russian production from mature producing basins--those basins that were largely developed and in production in 1984. This would exclude areas like Sakhalin Island, which had been found, but which was not in production in the Eighties.

Note that excluding Sakhalin Island, Russian crude oil production has shown a year over year decline since May, 2007, and recent production numbers show declines in total crude oil production. This is significant because Russia basically has now produced about 100% of what the HL model predicted that their post-1984 cumulative production would be (using production data through 1984 to generate the model).

What is scary about this scenario is that the Russian production decline could be fairly severe.

In Defense of HL:

(As usual, Khebab did the outstanding math/graph work.)

Bad, bad news for Europe(and not just for Europe). This should be submitted to Andris Piebalgs' blog. Do I have your permission?

Sure, the link is shown above. You can find most of our export related stuff by doing a Google Seach for Jeffrey Brown + Net Oil Exports.

I feel the HL analysis is quite tricky for Russia because their production has been modulated by severe political forces during the timeframe of analysis.

Given the HL analysis shown, it looks as if future production is assumed zero ( mathematically: the integral of the difference between HL model and actual production over the range of 1900 to 2006 is set to zero, logistic parameters adjusted to fit for minimal deviation ).

What would the HL curve look like if we estimated Russia's production to 2050, considering whats known to this time, then run HL over the interval 1900 to 2050.

Yeh, I know its still a WildAssGuess (WAG). None of us seem to have a crystal ball.

I love the work you are sharing with us in the true spirit of a concerned scientist. A lot of it has gone unappreciated and unrecognized. I feel the world will soon be quite aware of your Export Land Model.

As for now, we can still throw dollars at the market and get increasing inventories. I fear this will soon no longer be the case. Yours and other's mathematical analyses of this gives me at least the comfort of having reasonable expectations of whats coming at me.

If there is anything that makes me uneasy, its a bunch of newsheads hocking up unsubstantiated commentary. Like most of us here at TOD, I am a "show me" person.

I highly appreciate the efforts you, the OilDrum staff, and board members are contributing to this forum to hold intelligent TECHNICAL discussions on this topic.


I feel the HL analysis is quite tricky for Russia because their production has been modulated by severe political forces during the timeframe of analysis.

That's why we cut off the model in 1984 (prior to the post-Soviet collapse) and used that data set to predict future production. My premise is that the mature basins in Russia are similar to the Lower 48 and that the frontier basins in Russia are analogous to Alaska.

As I said, I think that this HL plot gives us a reasonable approximation for URR from mature Russian basins. If that is the case, Russia is probably going to show a sharp production decline.

BTW, if you click on the above In Defense Of article, we did the same exercise for the Lower 48, cutting off the model in 1970. Basically post-1970 Lower 48 and post-1984 Russian cumulative production has pretty much been what the HL models predicted.

CNBC just flashed the following graphic regarding a discussion of retail sales:

"Cheap is chic right now."

WT, You've got them rollin' your way. Hit em again.

Prices are rising in thrift stores -- I don't have a graphic, only personal experience. Any corroboration out there?

Interesting observation. No empirical data here but I'm seeing that too.
The estate sales and yard bargins feeding thrift stores will have to attract more interest now. In addition Ebay/craigslist have tended to level the playing field because values can be so easily checked against a 'market' for just about anything being turned in. Tight budgets mean the tendency for 'consumption throughput' is curbed as people think twice about discarding and acquiring at quite so frantic a pace.

My sense is that the value shopping the cheap-chic crowd has always done will still work. They'll be competing with a growing crowd of well dressed newbies when they shop now, however. The hunting will intensify and items will not necessarily be a 'steal' just because it says thrift, yard or dollar sale on the billboard.

This means I'd better plan on doing a good clear out as soon as I've got the garden in so I'm ready to unload all the accumulated junk during peak yard sale time.

Yeh, Hey it could be a new ETF. (junk bonds)

I can verify your observation, at least here in North Iowa. I shop at three thrift stores and have noticed price increases especially at one of them. I have also noticed an increase in shoppers when I visit. Locally Winnebago Industries is laying off workers big time, but the farm economy is booming. The thrift store with the biggest price increases is located in Winnebago's home town. Might be coincidence but maybe not.

The public is awakening.

Anecdotal evidence of bulk food shortage and rationing in Springfield, Mass:

Courtesy of www.survivalblog.com, March 6, 2008.
Letter Re: Spot Shortages at a COSTCO Store a Portent of Things to Come?

I stopped by COSTCO tonight to pick up some items and they had signs limiting people to two containers of soybean oil and two bags of flour. They were completely out of flour. And they had no 50lb sacks of rice either. So its starting to hit home. This was the case in the West Springfield, Massachusetts store anyway. - John E.

Many of CostCo's customers are small business owners. We've already heard that there are flour shortages affecting restaurants and bakeries. Yes, it's interesting, but I'm not sure it's a sign that the general public is awakening. More like the local restaurants got the notice from Sysco saying they were rationing flour.

I agree that it's likely not consumers who have become aware, but simply supply problems. Considering that, it's all the more reason to stock up. If there are supply problems WITHOUT panic, imagine what it will be like WITH panic. I plan on doing a nice $1,000 grocery run on dry goods this month, as soon as I get paid for last month's work. Also on the list are rubbermaid containers and silica gel cartridges.

Our local Costco remains well-stocked for items like rice, beans, flour.

I didn't check wheat flour because really doesn't last that long. Also there remain places to buy packed winter wheat by the pail or bag, and at least a couple of weeks ago were still shipping. It looked like Walton's was affected the most of all the places I checked.

Now is a great time to keep adding to your food storage, rotate stock, check your lists, get O2 absorbers, pails (food grade with metal-plastic liners). Anyone who hasn't considered storage, please do. And you don't have to add wheat in any case, a lot of people are sensitive to it. And don't forget water.

We may be past peak but for now Disneyland remains open across large parts of the world.

Time to get ready to plant some veggies.

Exactly Rex. The typical consumer may not be awake yet but there is a growing segment of the market, that is wide awake and quietly buying while there is yet time. When the bulk of consumers wake up it will be too late. Essentials will fly off the shelves and be gone for who knows how long if not forever. Those warehouses full of food don't exist to the extent they used to thanks to just-in-time inventory policies. Inventories in the supply chain now are constantly rolling in those diesel-loving sixteen wheelers.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis I was working at a research lab in Dallas. All the supermarkets in the city were stripped in less than 24 hours when the public awoke en-mass to the news that Dallas was in range of the Cuban missiles. More recently, the lessons of Katrina and Rita are quite instructive.

I have heard from good authority that a number of the major bulk suppliers that cater to the preparedness trade are now quoting two month delivery on new orders.

I am so glad I got this done last year before health troubles beset me. I did notice last fall that 50# rice bags went for $27.99 to $34.99 in one big jump ...

Brother-in-law runs a restaurant and saw that price of cooking oil at the CostCo near us had not gone up as much as his other sources so he bought 50 gallons on Friday. Told a couple of friends with restaurants, they did the same. Guess word got around because by Sunday afternoon there was a 5 gallon max in effect, but that store was out of stock anyway. Monday found some oil back on the shelves, but at a higher price.

just back from sam's.

no selling of pallets of oil.overheard a manager talking to a couple of customers.. i saw 3 carts of[ 2 to 5] 5gal. boxes of cooking oils.

Stopped in on way home from work and there was about the normal amount of oil on shelves. But, price was almost $1 a gallon higher than when brother-in-law bought. Only saved $50 or so, but in restaurant business, every buck saved counts.

Winnebago is salvageable - their fiberglass handling skills are transferable to blade manufacture and I know there is a 1,000+ job employer on the hunt in the area. We got passed by due to lack of labor pool but if they take it upon themselves to change I think there is an opening for them.

As a point of pride, I scavenge the marked-down produce, bread, etc to enable our family to live on a lot less $$ than other folks around my family do. In the last month, I've noted a large increase in the "day old" prices; cooked chickens up from $2.49 to $4.49, bread & bagels up from $.79 to $1.59, bruised fruits & veggies about double. Guess this means 'competition' from others who aren't picky; the stores have found that they can charge more for the older food and dented cans and still move 'em. This is a highly unscientific sampling, of course, but I'd say it's true for my town. Since it's unlikely others have decided to enjoy shopping this way like I do, it may be because others 'have to' buy the day-old stuff. Notably, all these prices have been pretty stable for years prior to this.

Here in Canada there is a chain of thrift stores called Ex-Toggery. I've been shopping there for clothing for the last few years. I used to be able to find lots of designer labels (Armani, Hugo Boss) at very cheap prices. They used to use a pricing strategy where the price tag would have 5 different prices with a date when each lower price would come into effect. If you waited and the item didn't get sold then you could buy it for about 25% of the first price. Just this past January they abandoned this pricing system and now they just show one price. I also am finding less and less quality stuff and designer labels. I've vowed to stop buying new clothing except shoes and underwear! Not sure what I'll do if good used clothing gets hard to find.

Shop used. There are still shopaholics with bulging closets full of high end clothes purchased solely for entertainment and never worn. How much longer these clowns will drop 10 or 20 grand at Neimann-Marcus just 'cause they had nothing else to do with the afternoon is an open question.

I just bought a previously owned but never worn (spare buttons, fabric, paperwork in pockets) Valentino gabardine handsewn suit for $40. And would have passed on it if it wasn't a perfect fit with no alterations. For the moment plenty more to choose from.

Hey oldhippie, I'm just wondering if that was you, christmas of '69 on Ibiza, with the flute and box of brownies?

Anyway, while dragging or being dragged by the beagle, I frequently stop in at a 'charity' store on the lookout for useful items. As you say, good clothes can be had, but my best deals have involved solid wood (usually maple, but also birch, pine and oak) cabinets, tables and whatnot. I've actually met people who will toss a good piece with a few scratches or some other minor problem and then buy some Chinese-made glue and sawdust replacement, because it's shiny and/or they prefer the colour. Our house is full of charity shop, and curbside retrieved, 'junk', which will still be servicing someone centuries ahead, barring the conflagration various species of world-enders anticipate.

Brownies, yes. Flute was someone else.

Some parts of economic survival are just tough. Filling your house with 'things' has always been cheap to free the past 50 years. That may change.
My two best thrift shop finds were an Aubrey Beardsley print for 50 cents and a Louis Comfort Tiffany window for $20. Each was allowed to the lady of the moment. Oh well. I do have a Thor #1 I got for 3 cents.

I think the thrift stores have gotten hip to eBay, so there are fewer steals than there used to be. Same with old bicycles. I used to get most of my clothing from thrift stores, but the good stuff/junk ratio has gone down enough that I don't go out of my way.

Good middle-range clothing can last 10-20 years, so paying a little more upfront if you can can make sense.

Ah, finally, something I know something about after months of lurking: Yes, at least the thrift store I frequent has raised prices, well not actually, what they've done is decrease parts per dollar...What just a couple weeks ago were 4 or 5 for a dollar (like onions) are now 3; some thing were 2 for a dollar are now one per dollar. I keep track of my expenditures (I'm a retiree) and I've noticed a 25 percent increase in basics months to month.

WT, was the 'cheap is chic right now' because of the bright spot in stocks this morning caused by higher than expected earnings by Wal Mart? Interestingly, Wal Mart said that their higher earnings were due to 'sales across the spectrum of their retail offerings, including big screen TVs, clothing, etc.' (paraphrase) while many other large retail outlets without attached groceries, gas and auto parts, suffered set backs.

Perhaps this explains Wal Marts good fortune...

'Wal-Mart marked down prices on groceries, medicine, fitness equipment and electronics by as much as 30 PERCENT to attract customers squeezed by the worst housing recession in a quarter century. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said March same-store sales may climb as much as 2 percent.'


Just remember that you need to take off the 4% increase in the CPI from all of the retail numbers. They then look pretty anemic.

Thought you might like this SCT:

Whale-Inspired Windmills


Marine scientists have long suspected that humpback whales' incredible agility comes from the bumps on the leading edges of their flippers. Now Harvard University researchers have come up with a mathematical model that helps explain this hydrodynamic edge. The work gives theoretical weight to a growing body of empirical evidence that similar bumps could lead to more-stable airplane designs, submarines with greater agility, and turbine blades that can capture more energy from the wind and water.

More efficient blades kind of changes the game not in just wind turbines but in pretty much anything that uses blades. even ceiling fans can benefit because they'd use less energy. the doomers are on the run!

The doomers are always on the run.. but I think you're confused about how to interpret that charge.

And a couple of 'potential' improvements in aerodynamics/hydrodynamics haven't taken us off the thin ice.

Keep the chin up, John, but try not to strain anything..


Did up a little post on it - gear box durability is a huge issue and if they can change blade shapes to smooth operations the O&M costs plummet. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a blade designer to interview and I'll bring this up if I get the chance.


Re: Yergin: Renewables Moving Toward Competitive Role in Energy Markets

Worrying, does this mean I should now sell my renewable energy holdings? Or does the 'assume the opposite' criteria only applies to Yergin's assertions on oil?

It's always difficult to interpret the "Yergin Indicator" when Yergin deviates from his traditional "OIl Prices Will Fall" position. Last year, when he talked about $100 oil if we saw a geopolitical event, I interpreted it to mean that a true geopolitical event would result in $200 oil.

In any case, if we pass Yergin's comments through the Yergin Indicator Filter, this is what I get (edited portion in bold):

“Renewables are already a significant business in terms of tens of billions of dollars in investment per year,” he continued. “But the scale of the existing energy business is enormous, and we’ll start to see the real impact in terms of market share in the next five to 10 months as growing renewable energy supplies represent an ever greater share of our energy supply, as conventional energy supplies, especially exported conventional energy supplies, decline."

BTW, several people have noted that some prices, e.g. Tapis, are very close to the Triple Yergin range (one "Yergin" = $38). In any case, if WTI starts closing in on $114, you might want to start making plans for Triple Yergin Parties, so you can "celebrate" Daniel Yergin's uncanny record of unfailingly (so far at least) being wrong regarding oil production and prices. Hopefully, you will be hosting your party in your small rented housing unit along a mass transit line, having long since sold your SUV and suburban housing unit in a soon to be ghetto to a member of the Yerginite Community.

small rented housing

Why rented? If you are a true believer that these are the places to live, why not buy there? If you are right, the prices of these homes will go through the roof, while suburban homes will plummet.

If I were to buy, it might be in a New Urbanism community along a mass transit line, or in a small town in an agricultural area. However, for the time being, just about the only real estate I would buy right now would be agricultural land.

The basic problem with renting is that if you don't own it, you can't change it. The renter usually gets stuck with the utility bills and the owner isn't really concerned with issues such as energy efficiency or renewable supply. The landlord doesn't really care if the tenant starves or freezes, as long as the rent keeps coming in. When the economy is not doing so well, the landlord will have no problem finding new tenants. If you own the property, you can make the investment yourself and reap the financial reward as energy prices climb.

I'm a prime example, I'm sorry to say. I bought a foreclosed single wide trailer several years ago after a young couple moved to Florida and left it for the repo man. I rent it to one person and it's way too big for him, since it is a 14x80 ft which has 3 BR and 2 Baths. The heat pump struggles to keep it cool in summer and in winter, it's mostly running on resistance heat strips. In winter, he spends a couple of hundred bucks a month for his electric bill, which is almost as much as his rent. We put a propane heater in, but he can't pay to fill the tank, which is a big one time hit, especially after the price of propane jumped. I could add more insulation to the 2x4 walls and blow in some additional cellulose insulation under the roof or I could put in a high efficiency heat pump or even a ground source system to reduce his bills, but it would probably cost more than a year's rent and I would never see any return on the investment, unless I increased the rent.

In short, both of us are caught in the rent trap. I'm sure this isn't an unusual situation.

E. Swanson

renting residential real estate is a competitive business. if a landlord intends to find good long term renters, he will need to make the units energy efficient(prospective tennents are wise to the high cost of heating and cooling).
i have three units which i rent, and as time and budget allows, i am slowly adding insulation, tightening up the windows and doors(the low hanging fruit things).
i have a neighbor(lets call him gerald because that is his real name) who has a drafty old slum of a house which he rents to anybody with an apparent pulse. i have heard from his last two tennents that the heating bills run $600/mo and that they are moving out asap. i wonder why ? gerald is a slum lord. he attracts the kind of renters he deserves.

If the landlord won't accept receipts for energy improvements that you're doing you need to find a new landlord. Its just that simple.

my leases specifically prohibit the tennants from making "improvements", and for good reason. if a renter came to me with a proposal for such, i would probably tell him: yes that is a good idea, let me help you with it.

I feel insulation standards in rental property is an area where legislation should be used - in the UK housing associations have standards set, but unfortunately private landlords are set much laxer standards.

I'm planning to use available cash in bank to pay off my home mortgage. Stupid idea?

I don't have a lot of confidence that 0's and 1's on a hard drive someplace that stand for money in the bank will really be available to me in a year. On the other hand, the house will always be here, and if the government holds together even a little bit, I will continue to own it until they tax me out.

Great Idea. Get the book called Debt is Slavery. You will never look at debt the same way again.

Stupid idea. Well, no, but maybe less optimal than what I describe below.

A woman I dated last year had this situation. We started talking in December and she finally completed converting her house size nest egg into precious metals earlier today. Had she done as I suggested 12/1/2007 the price increase over that time would have paid a quarter of the debt. I suspect as the dollar tanks and metals retain value she'll get to the point where the house debt is 50% of the value of the metals ... then 25% ... then ... well, we'll just have to see how low that dollar goes, eh?

Not advice for everyone and I'm no expert, but I feel good about having pressed her on this, as she had it wrapped up in an interest bearing account provided by the life insurance company. We had to have a number of heart to heart talks about how 5.75% interest on something of declining value wasn't a good deal for her. At least that is one person that won't get caught up in the financial poo hurricane that is about to descend on us.

I rather like that idea -- but over several decades I have watched acquaintances taken to the cleaners by gold bugs. It's not that gold isn't a stable investment, it's that you have to figure out how to get into it without paying huge fees, how to store it if you really get the metal, what kind of gold-backed paper to buy if you go that route, and when and how to redeem it without being smothered in fees on the way out. At the moment, I don't trust any bankers or brokers -- I think they are all in the same boat, and trying to cover their own behinds.

We got the cheapest stuff on the list at http://apmex.com, took the hit for buying coins since that is "money", and in a matter of weeks the value exceeded the cost and then kept on going. I got into the silver I have at $14 and its over $20 now ...

If you've got half a million that is one thing, 10% of that? The safe deposit box isn't that big of an expense. Long term I expect people are going to start taking old silver and gold coins, avoiding the paper route all together, so most of those concerns seem to me to be something associated with a vanishing age.

I'm going to cut my consulting rate to $10/hour ... as long as its Morgan silver dollars :-)

When they confiscate gold the second thing they do is pass a law or regulation or decree that safe deposit boxes can only be opened in the presence of a government agent. It was that way when Roosevelt took us off the gold standard, though not when Nixon did.

you tend to forget about expenses when you started buying silver in early 2004.

In case you hadn't noticed, the price of even small urban units are still very high-in-bubble prices, and mortgage qualification has become harder even for careful people. People on relatively modest wages generally currently can't buy places, regardless of belief about where prices might be going.

as conventional energy supplies, especially exported conventional energy supplies, decline.

westexas, is Yergin admitting to ELM?

Also, I thought CERA were confident of expanding future world crude production (and low prices) because only they have good data - now he seems to imply growth will come from renewables?

Or am I missing something?

Parody Alert: I ran Yergin's comments through the "Yergin Indicator Filter" in order to get a more accurate assessment.

Regarding Yergin's oil price predictions, the Yergin Indicator suggests that one should generally expect oil prices to trade around twice Yergin's predicted index price, within one to two years of his prediction. I issued the following Red Alert for oil trader types, in June, 2007, when CNBC quoted Yergin as saying that 2008 oil prices would be back to the $60 range:

June 28, 2007

To: Interested Parties

From: Jeffrey J. Brown


CNBC just quoted Daniel Yergin as saying that, without the "fear premium," oil prices next year should be down to $60.

Several people have suggested starting a mutual fund of sorts, whose business plan is to place bets taking the opposite of what Yergin predicts.

BTW, a historical footnote of sorts. Since it looks like WTI closed over $105, oil prices are now $100 more than what the Economist Magazine, in 1999, predicted for a long term index price--$5 per barrel.

Will the FED signal rising interest rates to control inflation?

Did auto sales increase or decrease in China, India, OPEC-11, Brazil, and Russia over the past 12 months?

Did the government pass emergency measures to reduce the deficit, or where they more likely to pass emergency measures to increase the Federal budget deficit?

Are laws requiring increased conversion of grains to ethanol likely to add pasta and rice to the shelves of the supermarkets or cause rising prices and shortages?

Were increased taxes and regulation of oil companies around the world likely to bring greater supplies of oil and natural gas or less?

Total U.S. oil stocks (crude + products) are similar to last years levels. U.S. demand seems to be stable. Crude production has dropped slightly while NGL production has risen. Supplies of reformulated gasoline were dropping rapidly. Am not sure why. Total gasoline supplies were 9% above last year's levels, yet we have not reached the summer driving season and last May=June people were worried we would not have enough gasoline to keep the gas pipelines flowing.

Why were some nations using much more oil this year than last year?

What are the global inventory levels?

Like real estate rising 20% per year eventually collapsed, will an oil bubble collapse? Why were natural gas inventories dropping more than usual? Why were spot LNG prices breaking records this winter? Why did coal reach $300. a ton in one market? Why did the dollar fall 18% in less than one year? Why did uranium spike to almost $150 a pound last summer then drop to $75 within a year?

Hi crowbar assuming you are not merely applying your tongue firmly to the cheek but pondering your financial future?

Worrying, does this mean I should now sell my renewable energy holdings? Or does the 'assume the opposite' criteria only applies to Yergin's assertions on oil?

If I wasn't expecting bad in the market to follow bad in the economy I would be buying renewable. Not that that will do any real good but I think it possibly could put a dollar in my jeans, as I expect a bubble to be attempted here. Big question, in my mind, is will the downturn in economy suck the wind out of that bubble as it attempts lift-off. (Go not to former acid freaks as they will tell you both to go and to stay! ... my apologies to Tolkien ... and then anyway you didn't go there, just got stuck with:))

Hope no one minds a bit of anti alternative propaganda here but face it we won't be replacing FF with the nice and clean any time soon enough to head off real bad stuff. In fact we won't be replacing just adding you know 1 plus .0003 = 1.0003 and not 1 minus .ooo3 = .9997 (this higher mathematics for illustrative purposes only and not to be construed with anything strikingly real, if there is any of that out there) Therefore one should only consider alternative in the light of money-for-jam and a strictly capitalistic economy venture and not to be confused with aiding that greater economy of the earth as described by the school of Lovelock Wendell Berry and all.

In the Oil Drum collaborative there is significant insight. Would it be possible to add three persistent areas to the normal daily flow of ideas and discussion:
1. Forecast report card. List of forecasts and their accuracy for both price and supply
2. Energy policy recommendation.
3. Possible solutions.

The March ASPO Newsletter is showing projections that line up much better with actual production amounts (same definitions perhaps?) than the old ones. It would seem like these would be much easier to present to outsiders.

The new projection is showing a peak of 2010. On an all liquids basis, the production in million barrels per day is


If that forecast is even remotely accurate, I am sorry but we are fu$#ed. There is just no way around those kinds of numbers.

I'm going to start finding my 1,000 square foot palace on four or five acres of land, somewhere far far away from any city.


I'm currently hunting for 20-40 acres to build a 600 sq ft house on.

Tis a bit too small, even for me. 600sq ft allows me to possibly add a person in case I feel like having a relationship again, without us both going bananas from over-exposure to each other. I can cordon off portions of it that won't require as much heating/cooling.

Lots of good ideas for owner/builder homes
on this site ..


Triff ..

If you are looking long term, plan a house with no stairs. We all get old and there will be more old people as a percentage of the population.

If that forecast is even remotely accurate, I am sorry but we are fu$#ed.

Of course, thing look far worse for net oil importers. Our middle case is that the top five net exporters approach zero net exports around 2031. My guess is that total world net oil exports in 2031 will be down by at least 75% from the 2005 peak.

Why would you say we're in trouble with those numbers? If that's what everyone is getting upset about then you're all paranoid.

Consider this:

In response to high oil prices, residents of California have been reducing their overall oil consumption (despite an increasing population) by about 2% per year for the past 3 years. If oil consumption continues to drop at that rate then the state's share of world oil production will remain more or less constant. So this scenario suggests that oil will be expensive enough that prices will be annoying but not really a problem. I don't think moving to a shack in the woods is justified unless you're really into that kind of thing.

Your argument would make more sense if the decrease in oil consumption was accompanied by a strong and growing economy-the decrease in Cal's oil consumption will definitely pick up pace but "not really a problem" depends on how much money one has.

California's economy was doing well (as evidenced by tax revenue) for 2005, 2006 and most of 2007 and we were seeing a 2% annual drop. Looking at the most recent month's data (and we're just starting to see job loses with the recession) the drop in oil consumption has been larger.

Effing right on Winstonk, one can be livin it up in a McMansion in Baldwin Heights LA drinking recycled urine, if you are in to that sort of thing of course:)

wow, that's pretty impressive, California in 2007 only used approximately 94% of the oil they used in 2004? I might need a citation for that, I couldn't break out CA from the PADD5 EIA stats, but they don't show anything like that. Is there some more exclusively California weirdness going on?

Hello Sidulin,

Pure Speculation on my part, of course:

Maybe Californians, in massive numbers, are starting to migrate to Cascadia, and other lifeboat areas??!


Quiet there old pot, don't you realize that LATOCers armed from the teeth to the boot laces listen-up here on TOD! ... of course we do have Hanford, the bomb and very, very, high land prices here to drive them off with .

Dr. Bakjtiari (RIP) and Ace have both been predicting 55mbpd by 2020, not 2030. The curves of Dr. Baktiari, done several years ago, still continue to track oil production as well as anyone else and better than most. Ace's posts for the last 2 years here have been tracking actual production as well. Ace and Dr. Bakhtiari both end up in the same range - peak 2009 and falling fairly fast thereafter.

Thus, if these two gentlemen continue to be as right as they've been so far, the future looks very grim indeed.

peak 2009 and falling fairly fast thereafter ... well that should work out just about right with a foreruning economic collapse. Take a look at Market Ticker Genesis seems to have gone from dark and foreboding to bedside death-watch on the US economy.

Get ready for oil at Us$150

Deutschbank forecasts Americans will absorb another US$1 a gallon more at the pump before there is any pushback. This means oil at US$150 a barrel. "We are essentially oil bulls. The crux of our argument is that we have an oil supply problem and prices have yet to truly test demand."

Diesel up to 3.999 here in Eureka, CA. (Regular 3.699, up from 3.659 yesterday).

Working gas in storage was 1,484 Bcf as of Friday, February 29, 2008, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 135 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 169 Bcf less than last year at this time and 63 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,421 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 24 Bcf above the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 92 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 63 Bcf above the 5-year average of 472 Bcf after a net withdrawal of 36 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 25 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 7 Bcf. At 1,484 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

Murray, if you read this, your prediction is looking good.

Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change

Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.

Think unveils new electric car, GE investment


According to Think, the Ox will have a range of about 125 miles (200 kilometers) on a charge and a top speed of about 85 miles an hour. Future models may include a range extender — a small flex-fuel engine that will charge the battery and let the Ox go 280 miles. (The General Motors (GM) Volt electric hybrid is based on the same concept.)

So this time can you buy the car
or can you only lease the car like last time.

You buy the car, but lease the batteries. If you do less than 10,000 miles a year, then it is not cheaper to run than a small petrol car.

If they get their 5 seater Ox model working with small hybrid range extending engine, then it becomes a really practical vehicle, at least in Europe. But not unitl 2011 earliest.

Anyone know where I can get a "small hybrid range extending engine" for my Geo ?


Some years back, I saw a TV story about the guy that developed the control system for the GM Impact electric car. He was working with a Honda Civic body and had a little trailer with a gasoline motor/generator combination, which he could hook up to the car for extended range trips. The combination would produce a serial hybrid. There are lots of 5 to 10kw gas generator systems on the market and the generators used for RV's and campers might be a good choice, as they are designed for longer life. I would think a 2 cylinder motor with 15 to 20 hp would do quite well with your smaller car. If your Schumacher And Lester charger (charge controller?) won't take 120v AC, you might run the AC thru a step down transformer and rectify it to 48 v for charging.

Here's some great looking information.

E. Swanson

Alan Cocconi with AC Propulsions.

Regular ac generators don't work. I need 150-200 amps @ 48 volts.
Looking at making my own but haven't found any components

You need something like 7.5 to 9.6 kw. Of course, you wouldn't want to run the output of a 120v generator straight into the 48 v battery bank. I suppose a transformer would work, but would add weight. One reason for the higher voltages used in many electric cars is to keep the currents within reasonable limits. But, you already have 48 v batteries, so you are stuck.

E. Swanson

Would 1 or 2 of these do it?
One shows 135 amps @ 6000 RPM 48 v. rated. (6500W) Take a 10hp engine to turn it. No field uses permanent magnet. Like a Chevy miniVOLT, series hybrid?

this Impact guy?


I met him and saw his heavily modified Insight a few weeks ago. It had many custom mods to increase efficiency a little bit here and there, an extra 48V battery pack in the spare tire well, and a handmade (!!!) inverter to charge the Insight's batteries. The 5th wheel was quite something. Check out that site!

There are a couple ways to look at this - on the one hand what he built is unique and not reproducible on a larger scale. On the other hand, a bunch of us "tinkering" hobbyists are bound to come up with good ideas and workable schemes in the long run. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying something new.

No thanks but I'll keep my diesel cars for while.

Cars require financing. The pool of creditworthy individuals is shrinking by the minute. Cars require roads which require property taxes which are in decline due to home prices.

Our expectations for four wheel vehicles are going to flip at some point - side streets are let go, main arteries are kept open for delivery service, and as this progresses there will be fewer and fewer personal autos. I may yet come to regret exchanging my rugged Jeep for my low clearance Versa, but it made sense the day I did it.

You are right. Our roads began as graveled roads and they will end as graveled roads. Figure on a machine to break up the asphalt and remove it for fuel to pay for the cost of the gravel.
Since asphalt roads are actually asphalt plus gravel, the gravel will merely be recycled back to your road with some more added on.

Way to go GE! Now complete a leveraged buyout of Ford. Ford stock trading in the low $6 range, convert some US Ford plants to produce the Think and sell them to Europe where the price of a Think will look good because of the tanking dollar. er...sorry about the rant but I am stuck with...er...sitting on GE stock. Seriously, I am glad to see GE continuing to move into Green Biz.

Wow, a concept car. That may or may not be available in 2011.

Why do you post this garbage?

"The Importance of the Corn Economy" opens with:

Corn is used to make fructose which is a basic ingredient used to satisfy our "sweet tooth". And, unfortunately, it is now used as a tool by global warming zealots who want to change our way of life.

and closes with:

In the past we have had a separate food economy and a separate energy economy, not anymore; we can thank people who think Earth's climate change is due to mere humans and not the planet's historical dynamics for that.

The article provides no evidence for those incriminations, but mentions the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act twice. There is a logical disconnect here.

It won't hurt us a bit to forgo feeding that "sweet tooth." Epidemic Diabetes type II maybe mostly due to that.

But there is more at stake here -- a little matter of destroyed cropland and depleted aquifers resulting from industrial farming practices. The logical disconnect is a deliberate intention to deceive.


On that corn syrup, you reminded me of reading something maybe fifteen years ago about it being a bit of a drag healthwise, so wandered over to Mother Linda's place to see if she knew what was best:

The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy--that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development.


Also the transfats and lack of exercise could be doing a number in the diabetes department as well as the sweet stuff. Diabettes when I was a kid was next to unheard of, I knew of one old guy who was maybe 30 years old, but he had type I.

Oh when, oh when will it all stop, will it take a dieoff before we hae meat and drink again that's fit to eat ... no no not that kind of meat!! Was it you suggesting that Matt!! Back, back, back to LATOC with you!

Interestingly, there is no Darwinian selection of the fittest in this situation. People don't normally develop life-threatening diabetes until well after the age of maximum reproduction. So this craziness will do nothing to the gene pool, but we are going to be faced with masses of slowly decaying bodies, unless starvation puts a stop to mass obesity.

I agree with your perceptive point that: People don't normally develop life-threatening diabetes until well after the age of maximum reproduction. Of course maybe luck is on our side, obesity is hitting younger and younger ages. Lucky, lucky, lucky!

The changes were really sad to see. I was at school in LA in the early 60's the girls were slender and pretty I returned again to LA in the early 70's and they seemed to have become somewhat pudgy though still pretty. In Canada we seemed to follow that trend about 4 or five years later. Now adding 30 odd years to that and what I see amazes me constantly!

My wife and I in our sixties seem to have avoided much weight gain, but we have been careful with our diet especially as far as hydrogenated fat, which finally they are making an effort to remove from the market.

With what seems to be coming down the pipe, I think that, along with Westexas's ELP, a healthy dose of right eating and exercise should be the order of the day. One can't build that cabin in the pines if one can't see their way through the forest to chop down the trees:)

Of course, if things get as bad as some fear, we will remember why natural selection favored people with a tendency to get fat when the calories are available, and why so many "primitive" cultures find heavy women the most attractive and desirable.

There's an account from old Hawaii, where a foreigner describes watching the queen eat enough food for six men. She gets a special massage that's supposed to help her eat more, then continues. Fat was beautiful in old Hawaii, and then, as now, women worked hard to be beautiful.

I suspect a tendency toward diabetes is actually pro-survival trait, not a weakness that somehow hasn't been selected against. It goes along with more efficient metabolism - very beneficial in times of starvation. It is probably not something we want to eliminate from the gene pool...unless we're sure the current age of cheap food will go on forever.


That's a good point and very recognizable in the Pueblo Indians who put on weight easily as well as have a high incidence of diabetes. What I would wonder though is that while I can see that subcutaneous fat would be a positive in times of great food scarcity is the same true of visceral fat ? I also wonder how much of the current obesity is visceral and I further wonder if a lot of that isn't due to the new hydrogenated fats? .... Oh so much wondering and so little time to spend searching on the internet before ones fingers turn to pudge! But maybe I worry needlessly would not keystrokes constitute finger exercises and possible pudge loss therein?

The author of "The Importance of the Corn Economy" article seems to be blaming environmentalists for the ethanol debacle. I guess he hasn't heard that President Bush (hardly an environmentalist) is the main force behind the corn ethanol subsidies. Anyone who bothered to watch or read his 2006 State of the Union address will know this.

The agribusiness lobby loves the subsidies, and the high prices that are a direct result of the growing grain shortage. We are swapping food, water and topsoil for ethanol.

The one bright spot, I guess, is that the resulting famine will eventually reduce the world's population. And since fewer people means less demand for oil...

...Gosh! President Bush is smarter than I thought. He has indeed come up with a solution to the oil shortage!

This is another educational example of right-wing tactics. The libertarian faction embraces a "market-based" solution to a problem, because there always is one, while the corporate whore wing claims the problem doesn't exist because Big Business is infallible. This happened, we might recall, with carbon credits. When things went wrong with carbon trading, it wasn't the libertarians who got derided by deniers, but environmentalists. The problem is that many moderate liberals who care about the environment get sucked into the market-based solutions because they are affluent and invested in the system. So the failure is used to discredit them and move the goal posts further right.

Watch for much more of the same in the next few years.

Actually, it was the starry-eyed antidoomers who embraced ethanol as a way to save the American Way of Life without real sacrifices. Then the neocons like Woolsey and Schwarzeneggar jumped on board because they realized they couldn't control the Arabs. The zealots knew that one way or the other we would have to cut actual energy consumption, which would destroy the entire Wall Street pyramid scheme and American global domination. The lie is that only radical leftists believe in AGW - which automatically makes it wrong.

RE: UAE Profit Hit Bakeries Seek Price Rise...

'Biju Nair, operations manager of Bakemart, said the price of almost all raw materials used by the bakeries has gone up from 50 to 100 per cent. “The price of wheat flour, butter and milk powder has gone up by 100 per cent in the last six to nine months. Wheat is going up due to a shortage and the price of butter, milk powder and other diary products has gone up due to a strong euro.

These dairy products are sourced mainly from Europe and the euro has appreciated by almost 40 per cent of late.”'

Once again we see the 'not so hidden hand' of several governments at work in economics. The UAE Government has price controls on bread, among other things. Meanwhile the Euro has risen 40% in a short time against the currency of the UAE causing the price of wheat in the UAE to jump, while Russia and other countries have recently imposed export tarriffs on wheat. We all know that price controls eventually lead to black markets, rendering the price controls useless...But, what is the impact of export tariffs?

'"But export tariffs are a two-edge sword. Tariffs may limit exports, of course. Export tariffs will limit sales into international markets. In doing so, they will support higher world market prices, because of limits to supplies in trade. And back home, export tariffs deny the benefits of higher world process to the domestic producers. That is, the farmer receives a 'lower' price signal. The taxing government is capturing the difference between internal and international prices, via the tariff. So there is less of a market incentive for the farmer to increase output, if that is otherwise possible.

"It gets back to the classical economic argument that tariffs distort markets. In the case of export tariffs on food, they limit production at home while supporting artificially high prices on international markets.'


Unfortunately tariffs by one country can lead to tariffs by another etc...Wheat will not be the only commodity suffering export tariffs. Import/export tariffs, embargoes, export bans, import bans, are all interventions by governments that have led to past wars.

One question I have is do saudi’s have anything to gain by a significant global financial slowdown? If not their not upping their supply to market no makes sense[ or they can't w/o sacrificing future production ]. high oil prices right when financial systems are in trouble might be a breaking point & they know this. Of course the US would slowdown/drop more than say asian markets. I’m thinking long term $$ & security issues may be big factors & they can dictate long term policy better than a democracy. memmel & others had some related conjecture in ace’s post a couple of days ago. I know a number of you have worked there + the economic knowledge at TOD is impressive. Thanks.

I think your hypothetical question deserves a hypothetical answer: Suppose, just suppose, that SA (and the remainder of OPEC) wants an end to the overwhelming (some would say overbearing) US presence in the Mid East. Is there a better way for SA (and OPEC) to go about reducing US presence there than to continue to keep pressure on the US economy by not increasing oil exports? Obviously we do not know what discussions are ongoing in the back channels between DC and OPEC. On the other hand it is possible that OPEC doesnt have the spare capacity that they claim.

thanks river.

aren't the saudi's very dependent on our military? although i do remember them recently increasing the troops, & i think they & israel were beneficiaries of a recent bunch of arms from us.

that would be quite a tightrope to walk on their part- your hypothetical.It would switching dance partners i would think- who would they switch to?

as i thought about this more this morning i think if they have supply they are playing chicken w/ our fed, i. e. let's see what/how something breaks. BTW the fed for europe didn't cut rates, so per jim puplava's thinking the feds will work/cut together that must be another game of chicken.


Turkish Press ECB holds interest rates, hikes inflation forecasts - 13 minutes ago
FRANKFURT (AFP) — ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet made it clear Thursday the European Central Bank's job was to keep prices in check and signalled he was ...

I'm not sure the Saudis are dependent on our military at all. After Saddam was removed, there isn't a military threat anywhere near them (and no, Iran is not a threat...Iran hasn't attacked anyone in centuries).

I think the clue lies in the recent British investigations that were squashed by the govt there. Prince Bandar had been accepting billions in bribes to arrange to have the Saudis buy military equipment. Bandar gets rich, and the Western MIC gets to sell expensive weapons systems to people who don't need them.

True, the Saudis do (rightly) fear a rebellion in the KSA. However, they don't need F-15s to deal with that.

The arms sales to Saudi Arabia are less dependency than good old corruption and bribery.


thanks for the info.i was missing some of those 'dots'. perhaps keeping 'peak' info away from their pop. is more important than assisting the world economy.

if they know they are in depletion [or very soon] then they know oil will be worth something no matter how well the economy is. thanks.

creg, I have been away for a while. I agree with shargash that the arms sales of advanced and complex hardware to SA are probably to generate kickbacks for some people but dont like to point fingers at people that have not been tried and convicted.

I believe that SA is more concerned about rebellion at home than attack from their neighbors. The US military is not required to stop internal rebellion in SA. Do you recall that our military was asked to leave SA years ago and our military complied? Do you recall that one of Osama Bin Ladens original complaints was that the American Military was walking on the sacred ground that holds the two most holy sites, Mecca and Medina? Do you recall another of Bin Ladens complaints was/is that KSA was selling oil far to cheaply? Its amazing to me that Bin Ladens complaints have been addressed and yet there has been no notice of it in the US MSM. Just looking at what has happened and the fact that Bin Laden has not been found might lead one to believe that the KSA might be sheltering him...Or, did the KSA 'invent' Bin Laden to accomplish long term goals? Maybe Bandar Bush along with the KSA invented Bin Laden? Why were so many of the 9-11 'hijackers' from KSA? Quite a can of worms you have opened with a hypothetical question, eh?

As far as the KSA 'playing chicken with the US Fed' all I can say is that KSA holds the real cards (oil) and the US Fed holds?...Paper with stuff written on it and they call it money? The KSA already has plenty of US paper with stuff written on it, in fact they have their own paper with stuff written on it. There is no game of chicken, they win/won before the game began...they have the oil.

My guess?... I dont think the KSA wants another dance partner. I think they want a 'basket of partners'...and if they cant have a basket then they will probably want no single partner. Recall that recently there have been high level meetings between KSA and China/Russia.

Next to internal unrest and a coup I think that the KSA fears an attack on Iran by the US/Israel which would destabilize more countries in the ME and cause many governments to topple. KSA probably sees an attack on Iran as a next to worst case scenario for themselves. Many young men from the KSA have fought in Iraq and returned home, trained in the uses of explosives and weapons. If Iran is attacked anything could happen.

well river very interesting.

first i like how you swatted that chicken theory of mine.too bad they don't appear to need us anymore. thats what we get for undoing the balances taking out sadaam.

i think i'll leave the facts, summary, conjecture et al in paragraph 2 alone.

& yeah i got the feeling when cheney went there & iran appeared to be 'called off' the real issue was KSA's needs & powerful persuasion.

enough questions for today; thanks for the potent hypothetical answers.

creg: One question I have is do saudi’s have anything to gain by a significant global financial slowdown?

creg, I think the most direct benefit of turning down demand is that it will serve to mask drops in production capacity.

In the final analysis all the parties are trying to maximize their position. In Saudi's case keeping the price high while reducing exports meets their needs perfectly, if they are indeed unable to increase their exports significantly.

The risk of course is that the financial system would hop from one semi-stable strange attractor to another, and be in a world of hurt. This may be happening as we type.



i agree with your;

'I think the most direct benefit of turning down demand is that it will serve to mask drops in production capacity.'

i have read they really don't have an economy as such; but a welfare system based on oil revenues. so insulated some from global markets i guess [relatively].

masking drops seems most reasonable.

Better another strange attractor than a steady state of no-one trusting the value of any fiat money.

I have the impression (see the latest economist article http://www.economist.com that the non OECD economies are expected to keep growing. The premise is that developing countries are now trading more with other developing countries than with rich ones. A recession in the US, and slowdown in Europe will hurt the developing world -but probably only slow their growth -not stop it. If SA (and other Persian Gulf oil exporters), are really becoming aware of the coming depletion of their oil, they may well deem it a worthwhile risk.

This sounds a little like the 'decoupling' argument which has made so much sense ... until perhaps now.

One restraint inside China for example is the relatively high savings rate there 30% in 2006, vs. a -0.3% personal savings rate in the US.

China's economy has been heavily geared towards exports, it's more than half of the economy. But we might find out the answer to the question: Can a former/recent Command economy order people to buy things? It might just work.

While the US is less of a fraction of China's trade than before, the EU countries have taken up the slack. And EU is in a sticky place. The Euro is too high vs. the dollar, and things like Airbus airplanes were priced in Euros. There's all sorts of dislocations there.

As well, Spain has its own real estate bubble, and there are foamy bits all over Europe and to the East. There are many more upsets in EU to come, more writedowns. More SIVS and CDOs and off balance sheet "vehicles" "financially engineered" for the most enjoyable fleecing.

One bright point could be the construction boom in the Middle East, which is being built largely on the efforts of Asian companies and polyglot workforces. And there's a lot of money to play with. OTOH Middle East countries pegged to the dollar have rampant inflation right now, so the money is burning.

Given the solvency/liquidity/bubble/deleveraging crises playing out right now, and the devaluation of the dollar vs every sensible standard, and the rampant inflation caused in the oil exporting countries who are pegged to dollars, I'd say tweaking the whole mess is dangerously ill-advised.

I wouldn't touch it with a 10 parsec pole. But I'm Nervous.


i like u'r 'turning down demand'.

'Given the solvency/liquidity/bubble/deleveraging crises playing out right now, and the devaluation of the dollar vs every sensible standard, and the rampant inflation caused in the oil exporting countries who are pegged to dollars, I'd say tweaking the whole mess is dangerously ill-advised.'

i got an ira ' in the fire' & as they 'tweak' & oil goes up at the same time i'm getting more 'nervous' too. i already took out 1/5 & took the penalty & taxes. i thought they'd get at least one more round of reflation & maybe to my no penalty date . where do i get one of those ...
3.08568×10 to the 16th m
Dimension: L
Large length unit used in astronomy to describe distances to stars and galaxies. It is the distance from the sun to a remote star when the largest possible angle formed by the sun, the star, and the earth, in that order, is 1 second of angle.


Foreclosures hit all-time high

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- More home owners than ever are losing the battle to make their monthly mortgage payments.

Two percent of all mortgages are currently in foreclosure, according to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the highest rate in the report's quarterly history. Foreclosures started during the quarter also hit a record, amounting to 0.83% of home loans.

But people are still shopping:

Consumers get back into shopping mode

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A surprising rebound in February sales gave retailers a much-needed respite after a very difficult winter sales season that had pointed convincingly to a pullback in consumer spending.

"It's very interesting that consumers are actually showing some signs of life," said Ken Perkins, president of sales tracking firm Retail Metrics.

RE: Consumers get back into shopping mode...

Very interesting that buried in the report is the statement below...caps mine...BTW, how much is that 2.6% sales gain when adjusted for the real rate of inflation?

'The world's largest retailer said sales at its stores open at least a year, a key measure of retail store performance known as same-store sales, increased 2.6% last month.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) had expected sales last month to be flat to up 2%.


From Bloomberg:


``We are seeing the consumer trading down,'' Fred Crawford, managing director at AlixPartners LLP, a Southfield, Michigan-based consulting firm, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview. ``You've got a large swing set in Middle America. In good times, they buy up into department store categories, and in tougher times, they buy down into mass categories.''

And 10-4 on the comparison with real inflation, River. Totally agree.

Never a dull moment:
Colombia Pipeline Bombed by FARC After Ecuador Attack
By Matthew Walter and Helen Murphy

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Colombian rebels bombed an oil pipeline and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he may seize local assets of the neighboring country's companies after a Colombian raid into Ecuador killed a rebel leader.

The bombing and Chavez's nationalization threats may be the start of reprisals for the March 1 air raid on Ecuadorean soil that killed the second-in-command of Colombia's biggest guerrilla group. Escalation of the conflict could cut the more than $5 billion in annual trade between Venezuela and Colombia.

``This is definitely the beginning of reprisals against Colombia and it is likely to continue,'' Edgar Jimenez, an equity analyst at Stanford Bolsa y Banca in Bogota, said in a telephone interview.


The United States is the largest source of new foreign direct investment (FDI) in Colombia, particularly in the areas of coal and petroleum. In 2006, new FDI totaled $6.3 billion, an increase of 294% from 2002.

Part of the issue may be that Ecuador and Venezuela look bad in that the evidence the Colombians found of that both countries were giving over a hundred million dollars in revenue to the rebels. Allegedly. But it does make sense on why Venezuela is taking such a heavy-handed tone/approach to this FARC issue.

I'm not sure why exactly these rebels are so heavily supported by Ecuador and Venezuela. From what I've read, FARC doesn't have anything close to popular support in Columbia. Didn't hundreds of thousands of Colombians take to the streets in protest of FARC? I mean come on , no one is Marxist/Leninist anymore :).

I really hope this anti-Colombianism isn't just to spite the USA, which gives much aid to Colombia to stop the rebels (because they are now the major cocaine dealers). If such is the case, it may be an early example of challenging the USA as the long superpower, imperial hegemon able to deal with all relevant conflicts.

IBD's take on the Venezuelan mobilization is at the link below. They say that Colombia has ignored the massing of Venezuelan troops on the border.

Colombia Gives Free Trade A Chance

You are a reader of the US press! They are essentially stenographers for BushCo.
Look to Latin press for the real story, they are on the ground in the region.
The only client states left in South America for the US are Columbia and Peru, so it is getting a bit dicy for the Rape and Scrape crowd.

From what I understand Venezuela recently gave the FARC "beligerent combatant" status instead of "terrorist" status. I have no idea of the exact translation in English, what that means is that they will not extradite people simply because they are FARC, they have to commit true war crimes. That is about all they have gifted to the FARC.

What Ecuador is pissed off about is that Colombian military planes flew 10 kilometers into their territory, did a U-turn and attacked a group of 20 men from behind (The Ecuadorean military said 17 were in in pijamas). The Ecuadorian government said that was a clear violation of their sovernity.

FARC has been a force in Columbia for many decades, has huge popular support, and controls a large portion of the countryside. Columbia is a incredible violent place (a friends father was killed after being kidnapped a few years back). I have spent quite a bit of time there, and it defiantly has a edge that makes only the most street smart navigate the terrain.
The current government is resented and despised by the growing democratic movement sweeping South America, and is seen as a lackey client State, a lap dog for US imperial interests. The analysis is correct. The current crop of reactionary psychopathic thugs would not last very long without US support (Columbia is the 3rd largest recipient of US aid, behind Israel and Egypt, as I recall)--
Anyway, use a news source outside the firewall of the US stenographers, and you will be better informed.
The European press often has realistic news and analysis also.

Electric cars heavy use of water

From the new scientist:

King and colleagues found that cars, light trucks, and SUVs running off the electric grid consume three times more water and withdraw 17 times more water per mile than their equivalent gasoline-powered vehicles.

For electricity generation, "consumed" water is the amount of water lost to evaporation whereas “withdrawn” water is the amount of surface water a power plant uses and later returns to its source, typically a nearby lake or river.

King says one way to mitigate water-use impacts of electric vehicles is by switching to dry cooling – using forced air instead of water to cool steam in power plants. The technology has been around for years but remains more expensive than water cooling; something King says could change as available surface water becomes more scarce.

Another alternative is to move away from thermoelectric energy sources such as coal, nuclear, and natural gas, to renewable sources. “If we use only wind or solar energy, water use would be essentially zero,” King says.


It sounds like a very soluble problem, but needs bearing in mind.

Hi DaveMart,

I wish there was a metric for the nature of the water transformation, so we could compare.

For example, water used by gold mines is usually really nasty stuff, often containing arsenic, mercury, etc.,

Water used for oil sands processing is also just gross. It's really expensive to clean this water and if you leave it laying around it contaminates the ground water, rivers. c.f. the huge manmade lake in Alberta.

And of course there's a large petroleum water cut the world around, and this water is often polluted. I believe it can be pumped back into the ground to drive oil but I'm not expert on this.

But the water used to cool a nuclear reactor either evaporates or goes into the watershed as clean, but warmer water. Of course watershed heating is an issue in it's own right, and I guess there would have to be a "badness" metric based on the local ecology. But this could be managed. Coal I don't know about and will look...

So ... given some quantization we could assign a metric to the type of use. I'm thinking that in this case the water assigned per BTU for electricity to charge cars would not be such a bad thing.


I'm not really too worried about it, as it says in the same article:

King says one way to mitigate water-use impacts of electric vehicles is by switching to dry cooling – using forced air instead of water to cool steam in power plants. The technology has been around for years but remains more expensive than water cooling; something King says could change as available surface water becomes more scarce.

There are also nuclear plants which use seawater for cooling, and solar thermal has good potential in the most drought-prone areas, although of course you have to wash the mirrors.

If we do manage to knock down the price of PV, something which is not yet a done deal, then you could even go to the real dream scenario in the water-short areas of PV on your garage roof powering your car.

In addition, they say:

Denholm co-authored a 2007 study based on data from Colorado showing that if 30% of gasoline-powered vehicles were replaced with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles getting 39% of their energy from the grid, the region would experience only a 3% increase in total energy demand.

The current infrastructure could easily handle this increase because most vehicles would be charged overnight during off peak hours.

"It's going to be several decades before we see enough plug-in vehicles to have any kind of impact," Denholm says. "It's hard to say if the grid we have now will be the same grid we have when we begin to see a large number of plug-ins."

I'm not too sure either of how dirty the water is after it has been used for cooling in a coal plant, but hopefully we won't build too many more of them in the West.

Nuclear energy basically just heats the water up a bit and that's it, as you say.

Something I've been curious about, and perhaps somebody here can answer it:

Nuclear powerplants can use sea water for cooling. I'm wondering about the steam for generating power - do they use sea water for this, or must they use fresh water? I would think that sea water would be too corrosive for use in a boiler, but I could be mistaken. I haven't been able to find anything on the Internet about this (maybe I need to look harder).

Also, while I'm at it: can coal or natural gas powerplants also use sea water for coolant and/or steam generation?

thanks in advance,

As far as I know, the steam is recycled into water and reused. This is probably done in a heat exchanger where the coolant is the sea (or other) water. I guess the same goes for other types of plants. All that salt would gunk up your lines. Not to mention the liability, if you had some radiation leakage it wouldn't be contained.

In a thermal generation station (FF and nuclear)the steam system is a closed loop. The water/steam in the system must be as free from impurities as possible; i.e. calcium silica must be removed. When untreated water is heated these minerals precipitate out of the solution and adhere to boiler tubes (calcium) and tubine blades (silica) reducing efficiency and equipment reliability. Steam is condensed back into water at the end of the turbine cycle through enourmous heat exchangers called condensers. In Ontario most of our plants are on the shores of the great lakes. Lake water is circulated through the condenser to remove the latent heat of the steam. The condensate is then returned to the boiler system. For the most part the water is recycled continuously with small amounts being treated and added to the system to replace blowdown and miscellaneous losses. Another legacy of the thermal generation process; nasty water treatment chemicals and enourmous amounts of heat injected into our lakes.... Thermal pollution.

As you stated, sea water is indeed too corrosive for use in a boiler. Then again, so is fresh water if it hasn't been treated. From the limited information I got while in the Navy, they had better be using distilled water for the steam generation portion of the process. This is needed to prevent scale forming in the pipes. The boiler plants the Navy uses also add some chemicals to precipitate out any metals in the water. The water in the boilers is actually "cleaner" than the drinking water.

Russian goverment have gotten really upset about rising fertilizer prices and is planing very quickly, within 1-2 days to draft fertilizer export duty (estimated to be around 8.5%-9%). This duty would then apply in a month or so. This is done to insure that farmers in Russia have access to affordable fertilizer. Right now Russia exports 90% of fertilizers that it produces and it's a first step to change this so that more of fertilizers would be used locally. If duty would not work, then goverment said that it will limit amount of fertilizer that can be exported.

It looks like the ELM works for a lot of things.

Chindia, and other countries, will not be happy with this news. Russia is probably at more future postPeak risk of illegal Chinese, Mongolian, and people from the *-stans immigrants than the US is of illegal Mexican immigrants.

Russia better hold on to nukes. No nuke makes Tibet II

Gleaned this from urban survival
FAO warning over virulent wheat fungus

this article is just fraud. I have been reading this about 2 years ago. It is not new. Summary: this fungus is disastrous, we know how to handle it, but we need money.

Come on. To post this article on TOD doesn't create much credibility.

Yes, it seems the ug99 strain was discovered in 1999 in Africa. maybe Reuters is more credible
Iran finds wheat fungus, threat to region - FAO
A search for ug99 scam doesn't bring anything convincing to my screen
Has this been discussed? Am I missing something

Earldaily thanks for posting. This was refered to months ago and the potential spread out of Yemen to the Indian Subcontinent. It would appear the spread is now happening and should be of serious concern. Obviously euro has never grown anything and seen first hand the devastation of fungal infections. If money's the answer I'm sure the financial institutions will be ready and willing - answer to everything in the parallel universe some inhabit. Keep posting Earldaily.

"This thing has immense potential for social and human destruction."


Come on. To post this article on TOD doesn't create much credibility.

TOD is a place to discuss whether something is credible, not a depository for that which has already been ordained credible. No?

UN warns on food price inflation

Josette Sheeran blamed soaring energy and grain prices, the effects of climate change and demand for biofuels.

Miss Sheeran has already warned that the WFP is considering plans to ration food aid due to a shortage of funds.


See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f25cd52-eb1f-11dc-a5f4-0000779fd2ac.html


The broad story is of depletion. Most of the easily obtainable resource deposits have already been exploited and most usable agricultural land is already in production. Natural resource discoveries, where they continue to occur, tend to be of a lower quality and are more costly to extract. Meanwhile, the dwindling supply of unutilised land faces competing demands from biodiversity, biofuels and food production.

The bit that caught my eye was the scale of the needed investment -over $1 trillion a year for energy, a similar amount for CO2 reduction, and that is before you start building new mines for other non-energy resources.

Re: The Importance of the Corn Economy up top:

Please, why is it that when oil goes from $10.00/bbl to $100.00/bbl it is accepted as nothing can be done about it and even a good thing by the Peak Oil believers? But when corn goes from about $2.00/bu to $5.00/bu over the same period of time it is a tragedy of global proportions. Do not poor countries and the underprivileged everywhere need oil just as before. Are they not suffering the consequences of high oil prices which reduce money available for food. I guess not according to the anti ethanol whiners.

So what is their solution? Corn farmers should sell their corn for food only which means animal food since very little corn is directly used for human food. They ignore completely the inefficiency of feeding corn to animals and the large energy loss related thereto. According to the anti ethanol crowd, farmers should generously sell their corn for less than it's energy content value which is about $9.00 when compared to LP gas. If those who are against ethanol are so genuinely concerned about the poor they should be pushing for a tax increase so that the government can buy corn to feed the animals of the world. That would insure that there is meat, eggs and milk on the tables of Asia and Africa. No wonder all they want to do is take money out of farmer's pockets.

Hi x,

What is your solution?


I agree with with both your statements and your sentiment. For others I have these comments.

Lately TOD posts have gotten anti everything that is a possible alternative to fossil fuels. Posts above say that electric cars use too much water. Corn ethanol starves people. Sugar cane corn destroys rain forests. All renewables generate more CO2 than fossil fuels. Etc, etc.

First these statements are uninformed at best and downright illogical in some cases. To set the record straight every bit of the carbon in fossil fuels is a net release over what has been in the atmosphere for a few million years. Any approach that reduces that release is a positive step even if the approach doesn't completely replace fossil fuel use. We have to learn how to do things without or much less fossil energy and that is not going to happen in a year or two just because somebody has a good idea. All the CO2 in ethanol and biodiesel is recycled when burned and not new even if some of the energy used in the manufacture is from fossil sources.

Second, there is much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth that renewables and electric approaches pollute the environment and aren't a perfect solution. People that make these statements need to go to an oil field in West Texas, New Mexico or elsewhere and a refinery in Houston or Corpus Christie and observe first hand the impact on the environment that petroleum operations cause. Unbelievable destruction of miles and miles of country side and energy consumption that would make your head swim. Just because almost no one lives there doesn't mean it isn't a bad thing. Or better yet tour the old coal country of Pennsylvania or West Virginia. Look at the acid laden rivers and whole mountain tops that have been destroyed. Fossil fuels are a dirty business even with the best of controls. The people that work in those industries do the best they can and conditions are much better than 50 years ago but it still is incredibly destructive to the environment. We did it and still do it as nation because of the energy we can get.

To say that building wind turbines pollutes the air more than using natural gas to make electricity is just wrong. Ditto that corn ethanol emits more fossil carbon and pollutes more than the MAKING and BURNING of gasoline.

Alternatives are in their infancy. They need to bootstrap off the existing energy infrastructure until they generate enough energy to be self sustaining. All the people I know who are involved with renewables are keenly aware of any negative impacts and work constantly to reduce those impacts. Just because it isn't perfect now is no reason to say it won't improve and we should just go on with business as usual. These people have put their money where everybody else's mouth is to try and find real economic solutions to our energy problem. Farmers in Iowa and Minnesota can't design and build a new kind of car, or have people in New York City use less energy, or invent cold fusion. All they can do is convert excess crop (and yes it used to be in excess) to fuel and put up Wind Turbines on their property.

There ain't no easy solution to our problem, but almost all are better than fossil fuels. Also, the economic winners and losers are going to be different than in the past based on fossil fuels. Change is a way of life. Get used to it and adapt.

NC said:

Posts above say that electric cars use too much water.

That is a pretty selective reading of my post.

The subject is an interesting one and there might be some constraints due to limited water supplies in some areas, but as I clearly indicated in that post and the ones following both I and the article I quoted indicated that it was unlikely to cause acute problems, but should certainly be allowed for.

Please find better examples of the point you wish to make, instead of twisting my post to serve your ends.

Dave; Sorry, but your post clearly pointed to that insinuation with it's bold face Title, as did the article. "'Thirsty' electric cars threaten water resources" It's a debunker's delight..

Electric CARS aren't water hogs.. Electric Generation Plants and Nuclear Reactors are. By extension, that means ALL our electricity use is bogged down by this problem, while the author chose to make a selective reading of Autos, as if the problem were something that came about with this notion of driving cars with grid-charged batteries, when in fact we've been abusing our water supplies for decades with this technology.

You noted somewhat the broader issue yourself by the end of the post, but when that headline blazes out it's point up there at the top, the Impression has been struck.

"..one way to mitigate water-use impacts of electric vehicles .." Why not the 'impacts of our electrical supply' ?

Later in the article, there is a counterpoint that was worth mentioning, to keep the perspective a little broader.

"Paul Denholm of the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado agrees that water scarcity will become an increasing problem for utilities, but he doesn't think electric vehicle usage will have much of an impact..."


Perhaps you are right.
Such was not my intention - I presented the post and it's comments, and then went on to comment myself, and remarked that it seemed unlikely to be great problem, and indeed included the Denholm quote you mention,

As a fanboy of Davemart, I had no problem understanding that he thought the whole water usage story was overblown. He then went on to propose potential solutions. And to add in a little extra, if you take the numbers in the story, 3% electric demand increase for 39% autos to electric, that is quite a modest change. If we realize that this change will take at least two decades, then it is really a very small rate of change. Something we can easily manage. Incidentally, getting replacement of incandescent
bulbs to CFLs (then to LEDs), which will surely be accomplished much quicker than the transition to electric transmission would save more than this 3%.

Thanks, enemy of the state!

This is all wot comes of me messing with that fancy html and making a bold headline to try to present it as a news item as Leanan does rather than much of a comment by me - my mother warned me against messing around like that!

I took the bit in bold from the headline on the story I referenced.

"All the CO2 in ethanol and biodiesel is recycled when burned and not new even if some of the energy used in the manufacture is from fossil sources."

Why don't you get back to us when you figure out how uninformed and illogical this particular statement of yours is.

Tell me something: does la-la land have seasons? Does it rain there or is everyday sunny?

In the unhappy world in which most of us live the evidence mounts that bio-fuels (liquid) generate massive quantities of CO2 as bio-diverse forests are burnt to make way for monocropped bio-diesel directed plantations, as massive quantities of fuel, fertilizer and pesticides sustain corn production while degrading soil and redirecting calories from people to cars, and so on, and on.

When the wheat is finally separated from the chaff, we will be using some land for bio-heat (solid) crops, but it will not be as poor a choice as corn, a prospect I and others who care as much as you about the planet (and intergenerational justice) look forward to.

As for solar and wind, well I'm all in favour, but I join with those who recognize that this means a wholesale change in the lifestyle of all of us currently inhabiting fossil fuel land, changes which include a lot less stuff, a lot less mobility and lot more physical effort.

Are you ready to get used to this change?

With the exception of ethanol, I think we need to move full speed ahead regarding the alternatives you mention. For me, it comes down to this. The level of certainty that continued reliance of fossil fuels is a disaster is at least 95% While there is a level of uncertainty regarding the efficacy of renewable low or no carbon alternatives, the prudent course is to pursue them on a war fighting basis== converting much of what is left of our industry to making things like solar panels, wind generators, wind blades, geothermal plants, etc. In short, BAU leads to almost certain disaster. There is some hope if we aggressively pursue alternatives.

Throw in maximum conservation and efficiency, and there just might be some hope. And just because we probably can't support our current wasteful lifestyle of unlimited trinket consumption is no reason to delay any longer.

The everything has problems so let's do nothing approach ain't gonna cut it.

We will still need some liquid fuel for our existing vehicles - there will be ethanol, I'm just not sure how much, and biodiesel is a lot more friendly so it'll begin to supplant it over time.

Lots of perfect theory here that ignores politics and steel and concrete already in place. Ethanol's EROI will get patched up and the global food stress issues will be blamed on ... other issues. At least that is the sense I get here on the ground ... criticizing ethanol is just a couple of clicks short of admitting an unnatural interest in fourth graders in terms of the associated social stigma.

SCT: Ethanol's EROI will get patched up and the global food stress issues will be blamed on ... other issues.


If a digester bug or magic pony comes along, maybe. It almost sounds like someone else got ahold of your keyboard.

The costs will do the talking in the end, hamburger at $10 a pound or something.

Otherwise we don't worry about it.

Remember, he's in Iowa. The view of ethanol in Iowa is far different than it is the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world.

A person who tips over cows and expects to run 16% of the nation's vehicles using 100% of the nation's grain harvest may need some sort of correction. People in glass tower condos with gold plated faucets might dream of fueling the nation's Ford Expeditions or Cadillac Escalades on Everclear (190 proof corn liquor), yet their plans will fail.

You're right, Leanan.

For sure -- I'm only 200 miles away and waiting to have SCT over for dinner some time :-)

I live on a farm, and the farm families around here have waited a *long* time for prices like this. It seems like the ones left are some sort of polymath geniuses to have stayed in business so long.

But it seems to me that the writing is on the wall for these Ethanol plants. With corn so high, at the margins they're running at, and with the debt markets so messed up, nobody will be able to lever up the capital for projects like this much longer.

Also, with the regional concentration of corn production in the midwest, one bad corn year and something will change.

Anyways I feel snarky for having said that keyboard thing. Sorry SCT :-!

But it seems to me that the writing is on the wall for these Ethanol plants. With corn so high, at the margins they're running at, and with the debt markets so messed up, nobody will be able to lever up the capital for projects like this much longer.

I agree. And farmers will probably do just fine without it.

There are 57 Corn Ethanol plants under construction, and 7 expansions underway. That will bring the total of Corn Ethanol up to about 13.4 Billion Gallons/yr.

That's basically the end of it. The new energy bill caps "Corn" ethanol at fifteen billion gpy, and the political climate is all wrong for financing any more corn ethanol plants. There haven't been any starts for the last several months. The Deal is Done.

They will process approx. 4.68 Billion bushels of corn/yr, and return the equivalent of 1.87 Bushels of corn in Distillers Grains. Net corn usage (out of approx. 13.1 crop) 2.81 Bil Bushels, or about 21% of the crop. Or, about what we export to Asia for hog, and Cattle Feed.

Of course, with the expected 2.6 billion bushel increase in yield expected in the next 5 years we should be almost back where we started (Other than NOT having to Import that 900,000 Barrels/Day of Crude from the Mid East.

I think you can strike two of those - Aventine failed to raise funds in the bond market for their plans:


Cow Tipper, I use this information from the RFA. They're pretty careful about making sure the money's in place, and construction is underway before they put a plant on their list.

Cool - there are so many varying (in quality) sources of information so its nice to hear of one that is diligent.

This doesn't apply to everyone and certainly not all of the time, and I'm not directing this at Leanan but rather the thread in general, so here goes.

People here tend to have a very high level view - "How do we feed 6.5 billion people?" "How do we fuel our current fleet?" I also notice that those who think at this level have magic wands ... swish ... and ... flick, then suddenly everyone has PHEV. Transition plans are more important than final results and the big (and scary) picture doesn't always get digested in the prep for those who do talk in such terms.

My situation is a little simpler. I have little direct influence outside an area of about sixty miles in diameter, so I chronicle what I do in hopes others may take up the gauntlet in their locations. My concerns are energy, food security, and transportation necessary for about 52,000 people in a four county area. Inside my self assigned work area there is one very large ethanol plant completed and operating and another that should go online shortly.

Now I know ethanol EROI is miserable in the most basic form and I realize there are global food issues. How do I serve my objectives, stated above, by picking a fight with the largest employers in the area? This would be what we here would call stupid. I'll let someone outside the area handle the global food security concerns and I'm going to do my best to play along with them - if we free the corn crop from natural gas and crude oil inputs that is a huge win, whether it be going for ethanol or food production. Yes, Virginia, I'm trusting the invisible hand of the market here for things I don't dare say myself ...

I suspect fractionation for corn oil removal and renewable drying of distillers grain will push ethanol up to the 5:1 EROI. If we totally free the inputs from fossil fuel with ammonia based fertilizer and fuels from renewables can someone tell me what the EROI is then? Mmmm ... hadn't considered that one, eh?

I've asked repeatedly and no one has said boo about it, so rural transportation architecture in a post crude oil world is a problem on my plate. Alan Drake has an idea that reaches from the national capitol to the county seat, but that doesn't do me much good out here, as I'm four hours away by skateboard.

Agriculture is a distributed industrial operation over a very large area. People here drive three quarter ton four wheel drive trucks ... and they're covered with dents, because they're working vehicles. You can't tow a nurse tank full of ammonia or bring twenty bags of ground feed home for chickens on a Yamaha Vino. We have to have four wheeled transport here for delivery, towing, snow removal, and the like. There is some call for rural mass transit, it won't be done with rail, and I'm still scratching my head on this one in the face of decaying roads. We'll likely let the paved surfaces go and concentrate on the incrementally maintainable gravel.

I think a lot about self hosting. When you're developing a new operating system its a landmark day when the next version gets compiled on the current version. Energy wise this means I don't want to use anything that can't get shipped end to end on the Iowa, Central, and Eastern line. That perfect solution won't come to pass, but things like wind turbines and farm vehicles and the like should be built here. Iowa is the Saudi Arabia of corn and I want to add wind and ammonia to that list.

If available energy and food security are the keys to civil society rather than this whole capitalism thing then civil society will radiate from Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and the Dakotas as we capture wind for food and fuel. There isn't any magic to this other than the wisdom to see what is coming and the energy to apply some elbow grease to the problem.

Hope I've not rambled on too long here ...

if you are towing a nurse tank full of ammonia, then you might as well use it to fuel your 4WD truck.

ignores politics and steel and concrete already in place

I've had very little opportunity to explore an aspect of that but am keeping my eyes open.

One source is a neighbor. He's a ruminant technician at U of Nebraska at Lincoln. His 'customers' are beef producers and thus are, in most cases, vying for the same corn as the ethanol producers.

I think he's pretty sharp – he's 27 years old and 2 years away from his PhD. Last time I got the chance to ask about what he hears in the above respect he said he does hear a lot of grumbling but it's mostly when he's 'down south'. I know he's attended more than one conference in Texas, so I would guess that is at least one place he's alluding to.

I don't know who "they" are except perhaps some straw man you have set up. As far as that goes, let's do the land a favor by moving away from corn for animals, away from corn syrup,and away from ethanol. The whole system,however, is set up to find as many uses for corn as possible and now that policy is beginning to backfire. No, we shouldn't be pushing for a tax increase; we should be pushing for the elimination of the ethanol subsidy and we should be encouraging a more grass based animal feed system. Yes,the price of meat would probably go up accordingly, but it wouldn't hurt to eat a lot less meat, in any event.

While we are at it, we should eliminate those laws that punish the farmer who wants to grow vegetables other than corn, soy, and rice. The current system pushes those crops and works against a more balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables.

Poor people wouldn't often get addicted to crack if it were as expensive as heroin. A high-energy consumerist lifestyle founded on debt is the ultimate crack sold by us to the 3rd World. Better to destroy that illusion and get them to accept they won't be driving anywhere in the future, or eating Big Macs from corn-fed factory cows. People will learn to eat corn when there's no money to buy beef. If that illusion was the only thing keeping the poor obedient to US puppet rulers, then vive le revolucion.

'Green' beer makes us stumble.

I think we should think twice about consuming products which are allegedly 'offset'. The GHG saving at the landfill was forced on them by regulation and a desire for internal savings. They had to do it anyway. It doesn't entitle someone else (the brewery) to say their emissions are neutralised. We need everybody to make simultaneous cuts to achieve an overall result.

These claims are feeble and we should boycott such products.

check out http://www.newbelgium.com/

I still think they are a little more green, that's for a brewery.

they use 50% less water for a brewery of there size.



And great beers to boot. Find me a more environmentally responsible brewery in Colorado and I will switch beers. I also like the way they encourage bicycling.

Green beer is only consumed on St. Paddy's day :-)

This one is for Bob Shaw (aka totoneila): U.S. dollar still goes far ... filling wheelbarrows in Zimbabwe

Now it remains to be seen if the story's author Angus Shaw is related, or is in fact Bob's nom de plume. :)

Hello ExhaustShun,

Thxs for the info. Yep, pretty sad on what has gone down in this country, but I think much worse is yet to come. I bet they don't have enough 'barrows to wheel around their piles of worthless cash. I wonder when the physical effort and time to move this cash becomes greater than value of the cash; not worth the sweat to move it, just burn it for cooking heat, or use it as toilet paper.

Angus is not related to me, and is also not a non de plume I use.

The way the US buck$ is continuing to drop-- we may need lots and lots of 'barrows here. Using Dead Presidents as T. P. will be quite a shock for most 'Murkans when that time arrives. :(

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

A boom in solar power. want to revisit your predictions about the southwest mr. kunstkler? you could probably re-visit your wal-mart and Y2k one's too?

Turning Glare Into Watts

The technology is not new, but it is suddenly in high demand. As prices rise for fossil fuels and worries grow about their contribution to global warming, solar thermal plants are being viewed as a renewable power source with huge potential.

After a decade of no activity, two prototype solar thermal plants were recently opened in the United States, with a capacity that could power several big hotels, neon included, on the Las Vegas Strip, about 20 miles north of here. Another 10 power plants are in advanced planning in California, Arizona and Nevada.

wow! "enough energy to power SEVERAL hotels"!!!!

fantastic, we are totally going to be fine - thanks for this important find John

I'm curious, what percentage of total electrical power generation does solar represent for the US? and how much would it cost to replace coal and natural gas-fired plants with pv in the southwest? how available is the silicon for this?

thanks as always for these hopeful nuggets - just when the magnitude of the problem hits, you point out that bumps on the blades of windmills have the doomers on the run

I thought the "Solar" glass was a nice touch:


That new Think concept car has that as well - a nice touch - but price, availability and (with Think's) a roll-out date of 2011 makes me more than a little concerned

when you are falling off a cliff, those ledges on the way down tend to pretty much just break you up.....

on a more cheerful note, a good friend of mine is one of the owners of The Lobster at the Santa Monica Pier - and today they are having a press conference to unveil the 54 pv/solar thermal panels that have been installed - the City of Santa Monica worked closely with them to make this happen - and it's a positive change....

but it would have to happen on a scale so large that I'm not going to hold my breath...on the other hand, I know when rolling blackouts happen where I can go for a cocktail and seafood looking out over the ocean! wonder if the fish will keep coming in?

What is great about these articles is that the reader is never given any relative data to gain perspective. Recently, an article stated that total investment in USA wind power was at a record 9 Billion annually. The recent Bush/Paulson rebate scam is 145 Billion. Realistically, investment in USA alternative energy hasn't even started.

The Bush/Paulson rebate scam is 2X the cost of Alan Drake's national rail electrification scheme. We'll be wanting those $600 checks back one day in the very near future :-(

I think we built about 257,000 aircraft between 1939 and 1946, along with a few tanks and some other odds and ends. As soon as we have some serious ugliness here we'll see something similar - auto, RV, and boat manufacturers will be switched to blades, nacelles, gearboxes, and generators.

The solar guys I have less sense of ... lots of industry can be converted to thermal solar, the PV stuff is more attractive when sun is reliable but its orders of magnitude harder to make.

I just got off a conference call ... wind generated ammonia is now competitive with diesel as a fuel if the O2 from the hydrolysis plant is near enough to be used to supercharge the combustion. Five megawatts is around four million dollars and this competes favorably with peaker natural gas plants.

Assuming everything doesn't go to heck in some sort of cascading failure scenario it would appear we have happy, energy boom times on the horizon for this little corner of the world.

I wonder if you could put some numbers on something I have been wondering about.

How does the materials volume processed by the US car industry compare to windmill production, at, say 3MW sizes?

IOW suppose you converted around 10% of the US auto industry how many windmills could they turn out?

A car has maybe 2,000 pounds of steel, while a turbine nacelle will have 170,000 pounds - 85:1. I don't know the weight of the supporting tower but I'd guess lots and lots - another 100 tons?

The blades are 30m - 50m of primarily fiberglass. Aircraft builders using composites can be shifted to this duty.

I think we calculated you could melt down an SUV and get about 80' of rail out of it :-)

I can put some numbers on the steel used for a turbine and tower - for a 1990's vintage tower it was around 460 tonnes per MW of actual generated power per hour, based on a capacity factor of 25%
If we are a bit more generous and allow a very high 33% capacity, so a 3MW nameplate would give you 1MW average actual, that should take care of today's bigger turbines using materials more efficiently.
So for a quick and dirty conversion, if we call 2000 pounds a metric ton, then 460 cars get you 1MW of wind turbine and tower.
At 460,000 cars a GW,

10GW a year would mean 4.6 million cars worth of production, which sounds do-able, but would still take 10 years to equal just the nuclear component of US electricity component, and 50 years to equal total US electricity production.

There are large swaths of the Dakotas there have capacity factors in the 33% - 35% vicinity. We get 32% around here ... and I don't think anyone is developing a 25% area, at least not in the U.S.

A 3.0 MW turbine will weigh maybe 200 tons, not 460 tons, and it'll get a megawatt, so 200 cars worth of steel per megawatt.

Oh, and electricity is the equivalent of crude oil - do something that leads to finished products and then you've got something going on - Minnesota's brilliant use for their wind has been feeding consumption in the Minneapolis area. I'm curious to see how long it takes before farmers can outbid urban residents for electricity.

That sounds a lot more hopeful, but I'm a bit surprised that steel usage has dropped that much - I'm not arguing it, but wonder if you can point me to any sources for that, as I used the only figures I could find, which were rather old.

The States and particularly the great plains do much better for wind resources and capacity factors than we do here in Europe, in Britain which is better than most of Europe it is under 30%.

Roughly a third of US auto production, 4 million units, on your figures should give a build of 20GW/year.

Unfortunately wind turbines do not last forever, and the budgeted lifespan is around 25 years, but I am unclear of whether they project that they would usually just have to replace the nacelle or if stresses to the structure due to the high variability of wind would mean a rebuild of the tower as well.

If we ignore that issue, and rather arbitrarily assume that to run the whole of society on electricity we would need three times present electricity production, then it seems that for production of the nacelles and towers, and excluding blades and transmission lines and back-up, we would need an industry in the States on the same scale as the auto industry.

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that a heavy wind turbine build is likely for the US, and a heavy nuclear build for Europe.

The reasons for that are the differences in the quality of the resource, and different central banking policies.

The US has excellent wind resources, and the central bank is set on policies likely to lead to high inflation, which is very detrimental to nuclear power as the long lead times for build make interest rates critical for costs.

How they will get on when wind penetration reaches very high levels no-one knows, as it hasn't happened before save in countries with relatively bigger hydro electric resources to fall back on .

In Europe inflation control remains paramount, and in those circumstances nuclear is already looking cheap compared to wind - 25% is a good capacity factor for wind in Europe.

Materials cost though are a much greater proportion of total costs for wind than for nuclear, with steel use alone around 5 times more than for a similar nuclear build using your figures, not to mention large amounts of aluminium and copper for the widely distributed transmission lines, or very large amounts of concrete.

As Dr Bakhtiari argues that high cost for materials are a consequence of high oil prices it seems that things will only get worse in this respect:

Europe's central bank also places great emphasis on the control of inflation, and for the north of the continent at least solar power other than residential solar thermal is impractical as it does very little in the winter - again the US at least in the South is more favourably placed.

[deleted rant about capacity of US to accomplish said task]

NR, please put your rant back in!

It sounds like fun!

Incidentally, at least for a few years my guess about the different directions of the market in Europe and the US would mean them coming to look more like each other, with penetration rates for wind approaching European levels in the US, and the comparatively olw number of nuclear plants in Europe in spite of the large contribution from France coming up towards US levels - I fancy France to be the first major country to be able to run itself effectively without FF by around 2025, with another 50 nuclear plants and contributions from renewables.

Brute Force, by John Ellis, gives figures for that sort of thing. The general rule of thumb is that you get no increased production the first year, a little the second year, almost enough the third year, more than enough the fourth year, and no one has given us trouble for the fifth year and found out what we could do.

I assume you are talking about switching a production line?

I would have thought that the real bottleneck would be in nacelle production - Nick informs me that high demand for those, rather than material costs are the main reason for the sharp jump in turbine costs - perhaps a good reason to minimise feed-in tariff rates, as they appear to be going to excess demand and presumably excess profits.

It would seem difficult to ramp up quite as quickly as your source suggests - perhaps he is basing his claims mainly on second World War experience, where much of the production was relatively unsophisticated?

Just the same, a handy ready reckoner, - thanks for that!

I know the 86 tons steel for a 3.0MW nacelle is correct 'cause I got to spend an hour crawling all over one that had been dropped by a careless crane operator. Details of the story are below and I'll get some answers on tower weights.


Thanks, SCT - I hadn't quite realised that the weight you were giving of 86 tonnes was for the nacelle alone - your 200 tonnes estimate for the whole thing sounds on the low side to me in that case - those towers are huge.

I would guess at least 300tonnes, and maybe up towards my older figure of 460 tonnes.

The main point I was after though seems to have become clear in this discussion, that we are looking at something on the same kind of scale as the US auto industry, plus quite a lot of extras, to deal with the needs of the US economy mainly by wind energy.

This has been discussed.
From here:

Tower: 275 tons steel
Blades: zero steel
Hub: 8.5 tons iron
Nose Cone: zero steel
Generator: 8.5*0.65 = 5.5 tons steel
Gearbox: 23 tons steel
Frame,Shell: 37*0.85= 31.5
Foundation: 180 tons steel

gives you 524 tons of steel for the whole schebang.

Where'd you find the 180 tons of steel in the foundation? I saw only 1,200 tons total mass and didn't see a steel/concrete ratio.

Sorry, I got that number from a different source.

Its for a slightly larger turbine, but I figure its in the ball park.

You can see the previous disscusion here:

i think that would depend on the soil(or rock) type and/or depth to bedrock.

Thanks for the info - I was a bit lazy in googling and should have googled this site!

That is rather depressing though, as on the same terms as my previous crude analysis, you might need something twice the size of the American auto industry just for the steel and nacelle fabrication, then you have blades, transmission lines and backup and foundations and erection.

It ain't going to happen, not in a society reeling from the shock of high oil prices.

The steel backing plates for solar panels are also pretty materials intensive, although it is perhaps more likely that you can also use other materials for those.

A note on material use in solar arrays: Yesterday I pointed to a paper by Vasilis M. Fthenakis and Hyung Chul Kim, which stated that steel use is PV arrays ran from 3 to 10 times the steel use in Power Reactors. This would suggest a Syeel input of from 120 MT to 400 MT per MW of generating capacity. Steel use would be predominately for supporting. Concrete requirements for solar arrays would appear to be significant less that for reactors. However, the cost of other materials might significantly effect the cost of building solar arrays. For example, each electricity production unit has to be wired t0 a central point. For generating facilities covering hundreds and even thousands of square miles, the connecting wiring becomes itself a considerable expense.


Obviously solar thermal is likely to be even more steel intensive.

Series production in a floating harbour of nuclear plants such as the US built in the 60's would seem, to this observer at least, the only way I can spot of doing the required build - and that would be 5-10 years to ramp up.

Have you seen this?


I have now - and it hasn't cheered me up.

An excellent analysis though.

Most of the demand reduction will come about the old-fashioned way, by going without.

France seems to me the best placed of all the major, non oil exporting countries to get by post-peak, with 75% or so of their electricity from nuclear and a vigorous policy and substantial build of solar thermal panels, air heat pumps and other renewables.

They should be able to manage reasonably well with maybe twice current electricity consumption - annular fuel alone in current reactors might fill much of that gap, and their highly developed nuclear infrastructure means that they could make a rapid build of additional reactors, although that would somewhat restrict their ability to provide expertise and staff to the many countries looking to develop their own nuclear industry.

Japan may be next best placed, with around 40% nuclear, they also have designs at an advanced stage such as the Fuji molten salt reactor which is suitable for mass-production and uses fuel around 50 times more efficiently than current reactors.

Next Big Future: thorium

Cars are not nearly so integral to Japanese transport needs as in the west, and their public transport systems highly developed.

I can think of just four plays which might be able to be rolled out in the States in the right time-frame, and most of them are Hail Mary's.

The first thing would be to increase the coal burn, coupled perhaps with the production of advanced air-heat pumps to reduce usage enough to make heating houses via electricity viable - beefing up the grid enough would not be easy though.

The second play would be the production of easily installed and cheap super-insulation - perhaps aerogel, although that currently costs around $5 square foot, and I have no idea what it's potential for cheap mass-production is.

The third would be very cheap solar, perhaps in the form of a paint, but this is at the moment in the very early stages of investigation, so it is strictly a rather forlorn hope.

The last is perhaps more promising than the cheap solar alternative, but still a long shot, and that is high altitude wind power, which would save 95% of the material needed for wind turbine generation and could be rolled out quickly and cheaply if it could be made to work.

The present state of play in this last can be judged by the fact that kitegen has tested a 1Kw prototype, and hopes to test a 5Kw prototype this year.
They might become viable at sizes of 50MW and up, so if the present test works they would need to be upscaled by four orders of magnitude.
Kite Gen

None of these are things that you would like to bet the farm on, and the first one, coal although more do-able than the others doesn't have pleasant prospects for emissions.

This is a great development. I know why the doomers would so sarcastic. this sector is booming and it's clean and renewable energy.

“The key is, the solar technology has advanced,” Mr. Brandt said. At 280 megawatts, “it’s a critical size; it’s a real power plant; it’s meaningful; it’s beyond the demonstration stage.”

also mac, you left out the fact that it could power several large hotels, not several hotels.

we'll get little developments like this year after year for the next 10 years and you doomers will whine and complain and try to debunk but you'll just end up looking silly.

nobody will be happier than I if my guesses on where we are headed prove to be wrong - unlike Darwinian, I'm young enough that I expect to be around for things to get very very ugly

buy hey, maybe you're right and there's nothing to worry about - we'll just step into electric cars, we won't run out of (affordable) energy for our homes, there will be plenty of fertilizers and some sort of transport to bring food to our stores and everybody will have jobs so they can keep on enjoying life...

I just find myself very dubious - but like I said, I will be quite pleased to be wrong on this...

two really BIG hotels in that desert hell-hole that suckers people wh can't do math? FANTASTIC! we ARE saved!

buy hey, maybe you're right and there's nothing to worry about - we'll just step into electric cars, we won't run out of (affordable) energy for our homes, there will be plenty of fertilizers and some sort of transport to bring food to our stores and everybody will have jobs so they can keep on enjoying life...

I never said that things were alright and there was nothing to worry about. in fact, I've said the complete opposite but straw men in the comments section of TOD don't go away easily. by saying we're going to PHEVs and EVs that means I believe it isn't BAU. BAU would be ICE cars which I am not advocating. these changes are CAUSED by a crisis, this one being energy. if you read the article it says as much. it says these solar plants weren't built when energy prices were low but they are more viable now and there is a mini-boom in solar because energy prices are high.

the worse the energy situation gets the more things like solar plants and wind turbines modeled on whale fins become viable.

two really BIG hotels in that desert hell-hole that suckers people wh can't do math? FANTASTIC! we ARE saved!

you can't even be honest about this good development. this will power several large hotels. do you know how big and how much energy the hotels in vegas use? the number of plants coming online in a few years should get anyone excited. the doomers will never be happy though and never will cheer anything like this. the doomers are kind of like people who deny evolution or climate change in that respect. their mind is already made up.

their mind is already made up.

Well, obviously. People don't believe we're facing TEOTWAWKI because they like the idea. They believe it because they've already examined the possible alternatives you are getting so excited about, and concluded it won't be enough.

op·ti·mist /ˈɒptəmɪst/
1. an optimistic person.
2. a person who holds the belief or the doctrine of optimism.
3. a person who can't do math

I'm reminded of the term Davidsmi came up with: "pornucopian."

Like a cornucopian, only rather than believing in ever-abundant oil, they believe technology will save us.

"a person who can't do math"

I already debunked that earlier today.

You "debunked" my joke?!?

They believe it because they've already examined the possible alternatives you are getting so excited about, and concluded it won't be enough.

we have a pretty good range of doomers here but I would say a lot of people just say we use a lot of oil and if we don't have that oil we're screwed! oil isn't our only form of energy. it's only 30% of our energy needs. I've posted many times the two studies that show that we can use electricity to power cars and not have to build tons of power plants. electricity is something to get very excited about. compared to any other alternative like hydrogen our ethanol it's the best thing we have. we have decades of expericene with power plants, cars, electric motors and most of the infrastructure is in place. all we have to do is make the cars. we are making big steps towards that.

my main issue with the TOD people is that they tell people that peak oil does not mean no oil and then when they post in the comments section they talk like peak oil means no oil. we have decades to adjust peak oil. we have decades of infrastructure and research left over from the last oil crisis. we are already adjusting like we did during the 1970s. the knowledge of climate change should make things even quicker.

we have a pretty good range of doomers here but I would say a lot of people just say we use a lot of oil and if we don't have that oil we're screwed!

I think you're dead wrong on that. Maybe that's true at other sites...but I doubt it. The natural reaction of people to peak oil is denial, and grasping at tech straws and alternate energy is the first thing people do. IME, they work through the "technology will save us" stage before becoming "doomers." That is especially true here, where many of us are scientists and engineers.

my main issue with the TOD people is that they tell people that peak oil does not mean no oil and then when they post in the comments section they talk like peak oil means no oil.

It may well mean no oil for ordinary people like you and me.

I think the people you see as "doomers" are actually seeing a bigger picture than you are, not a smaller one. They are expecting a certain amount of technological innovation, as well some more oil to be discovered. But they are also taking into account political and socioeconomic factors that you are not.

There's also the issue of timescale. Eventually, it will be no oil. Or at least, no oil worth mentioning. It could be that the people who are talking about no oil are thinking in the long term, not necessarily in their own lifetimes.

But they are also taking into account political and socioeconomic factors that you are not.

There's also the issue of timescale. Eventually, it will be no oil. Or at least, no oil worth mentioning. It could be that the people who are talking about no oil are thinking in the long term, not necessarily in their own lifetimes.

1. economics is not a strength of the TOD comment section.

2. the problem with people who are thinking long-term is that they aren't thinking short-term or medium-term. we have no idea what the world will look like in 10 years or what advances there will be in the automotive field. I've said this before, most cars in 10 years might not even use gasoline. we just don't know. the problem is that the worse things are the faster we switch, which is why I am not a doomer. I always reserve the right to be one, but I am not one right now. I have no idea if no oil in 2050 is a bad thing or not and I have no idea who will win the Super Bowl that year either.

1. economics is not a strength of the TOD comment section

And neither is it your strength.

the number of plants coming online in a few years should get anyone excited. the doomers will never be happy though and never will cheer anything like this.

The problem is cheering is what you do when you're swept up in the emotion of the thing and have disengaged your rational faculties. When the plants have actually come on-line and are actually generating the electricity specified in the designs (rather than, say, burning money for a couple of years and then folding), I'll be very impressed. But I've seen too many dazzling visions of the future that haven't materialised. (Incidentally, I'd apply that to many of the more extreme oil depletion scenarios.) Until then, thinking seriously about how the total amount of energy we use can be seriously reduced needs to be done. And I wouldn't consider such a world to be one of "doom"; the current world of commuting to work alone in your SUV doesn't strike me as a really cool world.

"When the plants have actually come on-line and are actually generating the electricity specified in the designs (rather than, say, burning money for a couple of years and then folding), I'll be very impressed. But I've seen too many dazzling visions of the future that haven't materialised"

I don't know if you read the NY Times article but the technology I am talking about is coming on line right now and is actually old technology. it's viable, just read the article.

Hi Embryonic,

I visited the Nevada Solar One plant this week that is the focus of the NY Times article. It has a name-plate rating of 64MW, and it has been generating power since last summer. I watched them bring it up in the morning. It takes one guy with a PC. This is simple, modular construction: glass mirrors on an aluminum frame, with plumbing to take the heated oil to a standard steam generator.

Schott Glass has a great white paper describing the technology:


They says the energy payback time is 5 months.

And there is plenty of land available in the Southwest desert.


Solar thermal doesn't use silicon. Most current PV does, although thinfilm often doesn't. Concentrated PV uses very little silicon per unit of output. But of course we are talking about large investments (including research/development) if this is to come to pass. If we had the will, it wouldn't really be a problem. The problem is only maybe 2% of the population see the problem as important enough to try to overcome resistance. That will be changing as oil/energy expenses continue to rise.

Meanwhile, China will build enough coal plants next year to match the entire electrical generating capacity of Great Britain. Just like every year.

Hello Super390,

If I was China I would be putting sulphur scrubbers on every plant ASAP to reduce pollution and have the sulphur for activating phosphates and other critical uses. It appears that China's Achilles Heel is that it now imports 90% of its sulphur, and the transport costs are putting the hurt to them:

31 December 2007
China imports more sulphur at higher prices

...Meanwhile, as China's consumption of acid by phosphate fertilizer, compound fertilizer and other industries has been increasing in recent years, China now relies on import for over 90% of its sulphur supply. China consumed 4.67 million tons of sulphur in the first half of this year, up 19% year on year, and is expected to import about 10 million tons of sulphur this year, accounting for about one-third of the world's total sulphur output. As market price of sulphur both at home and abroad soars, the price of sulphuric acid is also climbing, and this will inevitably boost up the production cost of phosphate fertilizer, and compound fertilizer of potassium sulphate.
No wonder they were 'panic buying'. Since it also requires approx. 30 tons of sulfuric acid to make one ton of nickel, no wonder the price of nickel is so high [PDF Warning]:

Sulphur Supply/Demand Balance: The Outlook to 2015
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Some nickel comes from laterites and uses acid leach, which means sulfuric acid. Some nickel comes from sulfide and emits acid pollution, which means sulfuric acid. Well, technically it's sulfur dioxide and makes sulfurous acid and you have to oxidise it to sulfuric acid. They used to do that in some kind of lead lined reaction chamber, but I don't know what they do these days.

This guy is claiming that there's an upper limit to global warming. He claims that the science and equations used to calculate global warming up to this point have been completely wrong.

How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution.

Miskolczi's story reads like a book. Looking at a series of differential equations for the greenhouse effect, he noticed the solution -- originally done in 1922 by Arthur Milne, but still used by climate researchers today -- ignored boundary conditions by assuming an "infinitely thick" atmosphere. Similar assumptions are common when solving differential equations; they simplify the calculations and often result in a result that still very closely matches reality. But not always.

So Miskolczi re-derived the solution, this time using the proper boundary conditions for an atmosphere that is not infinite. His result included a new term, which acts as a negative feedback to counter the positive forcing. At low levels, the new term means a small difference ... but as greenhouse gases rise, the negative feedback predominates, forcing values back down.


Of course with the climate so sensitive to small changes, I'm not sure that this changes anything. So, we will still melt the polar caps, and turn the breadbasket into a desert, but we won't turn the earth into Venus. Small consolation.

Certainly, geological evidence shows that it can get bad enough the planet will fall into a phase where the oceans turn anoxic and 'most all the species die.

And the article was a little unconvincing on the subject of venus; not enough data? Really?

A pity this will be taken by many as "confirmation" there's nothing to worry about. Just look at the comments the article got.

I hope earth doesn't turn into a venus clone and stops warming at some point, but that'd be cold comfort for existing species, in a manner of speaking.

You're talking about the chemocline intersecting the ocean's surface; H2S will be freely available to any creature seeking oxygen for respiration.

There was an article on this in Discover or Scientific American within the last year. I keep saying this and I keep giving my copies away ... I should keep 'em for reference.

Discover has an online archive. It's better than paper copies, because it's searchable.

And it's free, even for non-subscribers.

I think SciAm also has an online archive, but I don't think it's open to non-subscribers.

I really doubt the climatologists have missed anything here. Radiative transport (I once studied it in grad school, when I wanted to do astrophysics) has been well known for more than fifty years. And modern computers make it a snap to solve the integral-differential equations. There is a slight decrease in the effectiveness of CO2 as concentrations increase. At current/anticipated levels the driving force is roughly proportional to the logarithm of concentration. For the less mathematically skilled that means a quadrupling of CO2 is only twice as bad as a doubling. Of course chemical effects, such as ocean acidification don't weaken like that.

I think it's clear that Earth will not become Venus any time soon. In the really big picture, Venus gets about 4 times as much sunlight as Earth.

As long as Earth has liquid water, one of the big heat transport mechanisms will be evaporation / condensation of water vapor. It'll keep the surface below the boiling point, if that's any consolation. Could be sort of a bummer for agriculture, though. ...

We are more in to the oil deal here so let me give a similar example concerning reserve growth and boundary conditions. If you look at Michael Lynch and a bunch of the other cornucopians, they see the reserve growth growing beyond any clear asymptotic value. Reserve growth usually follows a parabolic law of some type where Growth is proportional to sqrt(Time). Under certain assumptions this is derivable, as it corresponds to Fick's law of diffusion as the relative growth basically seep in slowly from other areas (if you believe this). However, Fick's law in this special case is always derived without considerations of actual boundary conditions, and what ends up happening is that the growth really slows down at it hits an asymptote with the real boundary conditions included. The boundary conditions in this case is simply a finite volume in which to draw oil from.

The other model that I work with that contains boundary conditions is the Dispersive Oil Discovery model, which again assumes a finite sampling volume. So I am sympathetic to someone who points out the possibility of missing boundary conditions which basically result in an infinite horizon, both in the pessimistic sense (Global Warming advocates) and the optimistic sense (Oil Depletion contrarians). So it looks like corporate-funded skeptics use boundary conditions where it helps them (disproving Global Warming) but tend to ignore it when it hurts their case (disproving Peak Oil). Fascinating, I'd say.

Yet, I don't know what to make of Miskolczi's derivation, as this alone was posted.

Apparently, the exercise is left to the reader.

"saudi aramco to use nanoresbots" http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=57957

just a little surprised that ever optimistic polyanna who goes by the name of "againstdoomerism" hasnt picked this one up already.

Chinese auto sales growth continues; more double digit passenger vehicle growth into 2008.


The barrels that the OECD countries did not use might have been sent to China.

It is interesting to note that China produced most of the grain it needed internally. They have discovered undeveloped mineral wealth and are the now leading exporter of gold. The population was more than four times the United States population. If they will develop to the point of using one fourth the amount of oil the United States uses per capita, they will need more than 10 million barrels of oil per day more. This is one reason oil was over a hundred dollars per barrel. If the U.S. cuts back on ordering oil, will China not follow?

Hello TODers,

Bart's EnergyBulletin has the ArchDruid's latest scribe:


source link: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/
The Next Agriculture by John Michael Greer
This may be worthy of a separate keypost, as opposed to just another toplink in the Drumbeat. Prof Goose, probably best to ask John for permission, but especially ask him to join the TOD discussion if possible.

I hope my prior speculations of SpiderWebRiding, Federal Reserve of I-NPK, the massive buildup of biosolar mission-critical investing [at every scale], biosolar habitats and sequential enlargement, strategic quantities of bicycles & wheelbarrows, govt. legislation for stockpiling fertilizer [now sulphur too], Victory Compost Pits, massive municipal planning for O-NPK recycling and sewage system elimination, along with other prior ideas, will be considered by TODers as they study John's latest release.

When our food supply system goes into a non-linear, paradigm phase shift: I hope my ideas can be utilized, or better yet: improved even more by the expert TODers.

As posted before: We should gladly sit in the natural darkness if it keeps the food coming to our tables.

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

Gawd, that's hilarious.

And that's pretty much how I see things. We're like fish, trying to imagine the desert.

Or like dinosaurs pondering the end of the Mesozoic.

The Heliocentric theory, True or False? --(no link)

The Peak Oil theory, True or False? --(link)

We misinform -- you decide

Most analysts believe US output peaked in 1970 and has since declined. Others, like economist and author F. William Engdahl, disagree. He's been researching oil issues since the early 1970s and believes US output peaked at the time but not because of resource depletion. It's "because Shell, Mobil, Texaco and the other partners of Saudi Aramco were flooding the US market with dirt cheap Middle East imports, tariff free, (and) at prices so low (that) many Texas domestic producers could not compete and" had to shutter their operations.

We've talked about Engdahl before. He deserves some kind of permanent award in the Propaganda Hall of Shame. From 1970 to 1980, oil prices went up by about 1,000%. Not only did Texas oil companies not "shutter their operations," they responded with the biggest drilling boom that Texas has seen, or that we will ever see.

Apologies if this has been covered extensively before, but would you comment on the potential to get a rapid short term burst of oil production in the States by allowing exploration and production in areas currently off-limits?
I am thinking that if oil goes shooting up and is still in short supply this is the first thing likely to go, and wonder how much it is likely to help the US get over the hump - my guess is not much, as they would need to find it first, then build the rigs and so on, so you would be talking about a 10 year time gap, but I would appreciate expert comment.

I'm working on the assumption of real shortages by 2012, with oil at at least $150/barrel.

In the Lower 48, by and large we are talking about new exploratory discoveries, mostly offshore. In Alaska, it's principally ANWR of course. In both cases, we are looking at long lead times before any oil, from new field discoveries starts flowing to the markets--while the depletion of existing fields marches on. Also, the US industry has to deal with a combination of old people and old equipment. IMO, the bottom line is that the US oil industry can make money by slowing the rate of decline and put people to work, but I don't think that we can make any kind of real difference.

In regard to real shortages by 2012, IMO the bidding war for declining net oil exports began to get serious in the fourth quarter of 2007. By 2015 time frame, our middle case is that it would take all of the combined net exports from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE--just to meet current US import demand.

Many thanks.

It is somewhat difficult at times for those of us not familiar with the subject to pick up on some of the basics, as much of the debate is at a much more advanced technical level.

wt, i continue to hear people say that there is plenty of oil in the good ole' us of a. and they know this because when they drive around, they see idle oil wells everywhere. these types are beyond hope, so i dont even try to explain.