Drumbeat: March 22, 2009

Xcel dims power needs

The energy producer says it'll take bids, but for less output, which means solar and wind companies may lose out.

Xcel will accept competitive bids from wind energy, concentrating solar power and natural-gas power producers, the utility said in its filing with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Wind and solar companies criticized Xcel's decision to pit them against natural gas for a smaller power requirement, given the fuel's plummeting price in recent months, which could make it more competitive than renewables.

"This is possibly imposing an unfair situation," said Craig Cox of Interwest Energy Alliance, a Denver group that lobbies for the wind industry.

"When wind is competing against gas, I'd argue, rhetorically, 'What is the price of gas going to be in 10 years?' " he said. "But at the end it would depend on Xcel and what the market decides to do."

Lanco Infratech abandons plans to set up wind turbine facilities

New Delhi: The flagship of Hyderabad-based Lanco Group, Lanco Infratech Ltd has shelved its plan to set up wind turbine manufacturing facilities due to the current economic slowdown, said a person close to the matter who didn’t want to be identified.

Of India’s total installed capacity of 147,000MW, wind-based power accounts for only 8,696MW, and most projects have a plant load factor, or efficiency, of only 10-15%. Some power sector analysts say the low efficiency is because the developers are interested in claiming depreciation benefits, not generating power. India, however, has a wind energy potential of 45,000MW and ministry of new and renewable energy hopes to increase wind power capacity to around 18,000MW by 2012.

A Delhi-based power sector analyst, who didn’t want to be identified due to commercial considerations, said: “The wind power generation industry is going through a slowdown worldwide. Indian companies are finding it increasingly difficult to raise resources amid such a demand slowdown.”

Bristol Community College Holds One-day Conference on Health Care and Peak Oil

The conference is to take place on Tuesday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the college’s main campus in Fall River in the Jackson Arts Center. The conference fee of $75 includes an all-organic lunch and refreshments, as well as the addresses and workshops. Continuing Education Units are available for nurses, social workers, and other healthcare providers. Information is on the Website at www.bristolcc.edu/postcarbon .

The morning sessions will begin with an analysis of “Peak Oil and the Economy” delivered by Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Peak Oil educators. . .
The second presentation will be given by Pittsburgh sociologist Dan Bednarz, Ph.D., who will speak on “Peak Oil’s Impact on Medicine: The Coming Crisis.” . .Jill Stein, M.D. will deliver the third address - “The Converging Crises in Climate, Food and Health: The Oil Connection.” . . The afternoon sessions will consist of alternating workshops offered by Dr. Bednarz - Sustainable Healthcare: A Post-Peak Oil Blueprint and Dr. Stein - Climate, Food and Health in a Post-Carbon World: The Way Forward.

U.N. Raises “Low” Population Projection for 2050

The revision in the low variant's total fertility rate - the average number of children per woman - was due to a rise in births in Europe and the United States following years of an "artificially depressed" fertility rate, according to demographics expert John Bongaarts. This lower rate was a consequence of large proportions of women delaying pregnancy until later in their lives.

"During the ‘90s, while the average age at childbearing was rising, women became more educated, wanted a job," said Bongaarts, vice president of the Population Council. "That artificial depression is now being removed as the average age of childbearing stops rising."

The 2008 U.N. revision projects that the industrialized world will average 1.64 children per woman between 2005 and 2010, up from an average as low as 1.35 projected in 2006.

PSC — and consumers — take gamble on natural gas

The Public Service Commission just made a big bet on natural gas, overruling consumer advocates and its own staff, by ordering utilities to buy much of next winter's gas at today's cost rather than waiting for prices to possibly fall even further.

Natural gas prices have plunged along with all energy costs. PSC staff, the Office of People's Counsel and Maryland utilities all wanted to buy gas as usual, filling pipes month by month between now and October and paying the spot price each time. Locking in now, they argued, would prevent utilities "from buying at even lower prices in the months to come," according to a PSC order filed Tuesday.

But the commissioners, having witnessed last summer's natural-gas spike, ordered BGE and other utilities to lock in 40 percent of next winter's needs at today's price. Consumers will still save a ton compared with this winter's cost, they said, and they'll be partly protected if another hurricane disrupts supplies this summer and fall.

Our view: Gas line do-over? State should stay the course (On TransCanada gas line from Alaska to US)

It would be silly to base a project with such a long lead time and long life on year-to-year fluctuations in natural gas prices. If project viability depended on gas staying at last summer's record-breaking levels, the state could pull the plug right now -- but it doesn't.

Nor does the Alaska line require Lower 48 shale gas to stay locked in the ground. Shale gas is expensive; it requires a lot of wells. The huge volumes of gas that are ready to come pouring out of Prudhoe Bay can compete on price, even after traveling 3,000 miles by pipeline.

While Lower 48 gas prices have fallen from the stratosphere, other factors affecting an Alaska gas line are changing for the better.

The recession has cut the price of steel and labor. That helps hold down the cost of construction.

The nation elected a president who supports a cap and trade system for reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Natural gas burns much more cleanly than coal, so Lower 48 electric utilities and industrial plants have a big incentive to switch from coal to natural gas -- if they can get a secure source of supply.

EU, Ukraine Set to Overhaul Gas Network as New Gas Row Looms

The European Union and Ukraine are set to agree on a program of political reforms and physical repairs to the former Soviet state's gas network, officials said. But if Ukraine can't pay, Europe may not get any gas.

One fifth of all the natural gas consumed in the EU flows through Ukraine's 13,500-kilometer (8,400-mile) network of gas pipelines. Some experts have said that the network will need some 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in investment over the next six years just to keep the pipes and pumping stations in working order.

Analysts say that Ukrainian monopoly Naftogaz, which runs the pipeline system, is having difficulties attracting the necessary investment due to a perceived lack of transparency both in its management and in Ukraine's top political leadership.

"I see a situation later this year where Naftogaz will not be able to meet its payment obligations to Gazprom because of its worsening financial situation," Robert Shetler-Jones from Swiss-based gas trader RosUkrEnergo (RUE) told Reuters news agency. RUE is owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom and two Ukrainian businessmen.

"If Ukraine continued not to pay, then this could have a serious impact on the European gas supplies," added Shetler-Jones.

Aid for Solar Firm Is First From 4-Year-Old Program

The Energy Department has tentatively awarded its first alternative-energy loan guarantee, breaking a four-year logjam in the federal loan program.

The $535 million guarantee will go to Solyndra Inc., which said it would use the money to expand its production of photovoltaic panels at its facilities in Fremont, Calif. The company said the guarantee would cover about 75 percent of the project costs and would ultimately produce thousands of construction, manufacturing and installation jobs.

Once the panels are installed and producing power, the company said, they will generate up to 15 gigawatts of electricity and save 300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The loan guarantee, which is still subject to final legal and financial approvals, comes under a slow-moving program originally authorized by Congress in 2005. The application process has been hindered by bureaucracy, including lengthy reviews of hundreds of applications for more than $40 billion in loan guarantees.

Feinstein seeks block solar power from desert land

California's Mojave Desert may seem ideally suited for solar energy production, but concern over what several proposed projects might do to the aesthetics of the region and its tortoise population is setting up a potential clash between conservationists and companies seeking to develop renewable energy.

Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities on a parcel of 500,000 desert acres, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday such development would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public.

Feinstein said Friday she intends to push legislation that would turn the land into a national monument, which would allow for existing uses to continue while preventing future development.

Energy Department spending $400 million on electric car programs

The U.S. Department of Energy has begun accepting applications for two electric vehicle programs funded with $400 million from the federal stimulus legislation.

The DOE has allotted the money to establish development, demonstration, evaluation, and education projects “to accelerate the market introduction and penetration of advanced electric drive vehicles.” Applications are due May 13.

And the DOE also is accepting applications for grants to support the construction of U.S.-based manufacturing plants for building batteries and electric drive components and has made $2 billion available for that program: the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative.

The grants represent the first two energy-related programs funded through the $787 billion federal stimulus package to take applications.

Oil firms could quit North Sea if there is no tax relief, MPs warned

Oil industry leaders warned yesterday that companies could quit the North Sea for good if the UK Government did not provide immediate tax relief.

Bosses from industry body Oil & Gas UK told MPs in Aberdeen that 50,000 jobs could go if the government did not act swiftly.

UPDATE: UK Oil, Gas Exploration Faces Collapse -Industry Grp

Investment and exploration in the U.K. North Sea oil and gas basin could collapse this year because of high costs and a funding drought, said the head of the country's oil and gas industry lobby Thursday.

Investment could have halved within two years and exploration and appraisal of new reserves in 2009 could fall to a third of the 2008 level, Oil and Gas U.K. Chief Executive Malcolm Webb told a special session of the U.K. parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee in Aberdeen, Scotland.

"Since 2004, costs have doubled and the rate of tax charged on new developments has risen to 50%," Webb said. "With sources of credit drying up, the amount of capital available has drastically reduced and the falling competitiveness of U.K. projects means investment could halve in the next two years."

"To prevent these challenges in the short term wreaking long-term damage on the industry's productive capacity, Oil and Gas U.K. believes the government should take measures to unfreeze the flow of debt and credit facilities from banks," he said.

Venezuela To Increase Value-Added Tax To 12% From 9% -Chavez

President Hugo Chavez said Saturday in a countrywide television broadcast that the government will increase the value-added tax to 12% from the current 9%.

The government will also almost triple its domestic debt issue plans to 34 billion bolivars ($15.8 billion) from the previous forecast of VEB12 billion.

Chavez ruled out devaluing the currency, which is pegged to the dollar at rate of 2.15 bolivars. He also said that he won't increase the price of gas, which is among the cheapest in the world. . .

The government will also reduce its 2009 budget by 6.7%, shrinking it to 156.4 billion bolivars ($72.7 billion).

S. Korea, Venezuela In MOU To Cooperate In Oil, Gas Devt

South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding with Venezuela to jointly cooperate in exploring, developing, and producing oil and gas, said the Ministry of Knowledge Economy on Saturday. . .

Ramirez requested KNOC participate in development of an oil field that produces more than 200,000 barrels a day, located in the Orinoco Belt area.

The Venezuelan minister also requested South Korea participate in development of two gas fields.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited Announces First Shipment of Synthetic Crude Oil From Horizon

On March 18th, 2009, Canadian Natural commenced first shipment of synthetic crude oil from Horizon to the sales pipeline. This is the next major milestone achieved by Canadian Natural after previously announcing first production of synthetic crude oil on February 28, 2009. Horizon is located 70 kilometers north of Fort McMurray and includes a surface oil sands mining and bitumen extraction plant with on-site bitumen upgrading and associated infrastructure to produce synthetic crude oil.

Yankee shutdown fund bill advances

MONTPELIER – The House Natural Resources and Energy Committee approved a bill Friday forcing the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to put more money toward its decommissioning.

The 8-2 committee vote Friday came after weeks of testimony about Vermont Yankee's decommissioning fund, which has dropped by nearly $100 million in the last 16 months as the financial markets collapsed.

The decommissioning bill – which was opposed this week by Entergy Nuclear Vermont, the state's top two utilities and the Public Service Department – is expected to appear on the House floor for a vote late next week.

Denison halts mines, eyes options; shares plunge

Shares of Denison Mines(DML.TO) plunged 20 percent on Thursday after the uranium miner suspended some of its operations and said it may have to sell assets to keep from violating a debt covenant.

The Canadian company will temporarily suspend production at its Sunday and Rim mines in the western United States, and will likely shut its White Mesa mill in May, once it produces the 500,000 pounds of uranium the company is under contract to produce in 2009. The mill would be expected to restart next year.

The announcement came as Denison announced a steep loss of $56.8 million, or 30 cents a share, due to non-cash write-downs of $59 million brought on by falling commodity prices and weakness in the company's shares.

Speaking on a conference call, Denison Chief Executive Peter Farmer said the company was in danger of violating a debt covenant tied to its profitability, and that the company was reviewing "strategic opportunities" to keep that from happening.

Areva cuts nearly 100 jobs

A decision to hold back on mining a uranium deposit in northern Saskatchewan has put nearly 100 people out of work.

Areva Resources canada Inc. said Thursday it has started issuing permanent layoff notices to employees at its McClean Lake property and its corporate office in Saskatoon. The company decided it is not economical to move forward with mining the Caribou deposit at McClean Lake, resulting in the dismissal of the employees, said Areva.

Homer Simpson in charge of mining regulation?

VICTORIA - The province's handling of uranium mining brings to mind Homer Simpson's approach to operating a nuclear power plant.

And the stumbles could get expensive for taxpayers, if a disgruntled company does well in court. Uranium mining brings a classic clash of B.C. values - the resource sector, used to wresting wealth from the ground, versus the urbanites and retirees, who have never forgotten Three Mile Island and The China Syndrome. And who don't much like mining near them in any form. . .

A large part of the whole problem is where the uranium lies. The most promising deposit, the Blizzard claim, is about 50 kms southeast of Kelowna. People did not move to the Okanagan to be near a uranium mine. . .

The efforts to deal with the issue are sparked by the activity around the Blizzard claim. Boss Power Corp., which owns the claim, sued last year after Krueger's announcement. We've got rights here, and potentially valuable uranium deposits, the company said. You can't just take them away because uranium mining is politically unpopular.

As Sarkozy fiddles, Areva's future hangs in balance

The endless hesitation by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, on the future of Areva is costing the nuclear plant company dearly. The corporation, 90 percent owned by the government, has been stymied for two years while waiting for a decision from the state on how best to finance a multiyear, multibillion-euro investment program.

Anne Lauvergeon, Areva's chief executive, has long favored an initial public offering for the company. Mr. Sarkozy, when he was elected, seemed to favor a merger with Alstom, the turbine maker he helped save from bankruptcy five years ago as finance minister.

Sarko's aides have worked hard to convince him that the merger might not be such a good idea. But while the debate runs on, Areva has remained in limbo. It needs to find €10 billion, or $13 billion, for capital expenditures over the next four years, including €2.7 billion in 2009. Add to this some €2 billion that the company would have to pay to buy out Siemens's stake in Areva's nuclear power plant division. The German company would have to sell after signing a deal with the Russian state nuclear agency that creates a powerful competitor to Areva.

The government has approved Areva's investment plan, but hasn't said where the money would come from. The state itself is strapped for cash. It wants Areva to sell its stakes in a string of French companies, from Total to GDF Suez, but those stakes have lost some €3 billion in value in the last year. That's the cost of indecision.

Uranium extraction to start in 2011- Ngeleja

Tanzania accented its nuclear ambitions yesterday, saying plans were underway to start uranium extraction ready for the country to revert to one of the world`s highly rated renewable energies. . .

Ngeleja said in case it was found that Tanzania had sufficient uranium for electricity generation, the government would embark on it, observing international laws on atomic energy use.

I noticed this in the Jobs section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Where to invest? Look in mirror

The stock market has more craters than the moon. Banks aren’t looking so solid either. Real estate values are still sinking — so where is a person supposed to invest in 2009?

“The best place to invest right now is in — you,” said Darcy Eikenberg, owner of Coach Darcy LLC, an Atlanta leadership and executive coaching firm. “Investing in your own talents and abilities is one thing no one can take away from you. It’s in your control. If you give time and attention to developing your ‘personal portfolio,’ you won’t ever see the value of it go down.” . .

University continuing education departments, museums and local parks and recreation departments have low-cost classes. YouTube and ITunesU offer educational and inspirational classes for free. . .

Reconnect to your goals: “Many of us fell into our careers — my education was in human research, but my first career opportunities were in IT. Now, when so much is in flux and you may be feeling stuck, is a good time to reassess what you meant to do and want to do,” Andino said. . .

Adopt a positive attitude: When Andino’s husband was recently laid off, the couple, who have active young children, found joy in having more time to spend with one another. “There’s a silver lining and lessons to be learned from every situation,” Andino said. “Having to readjust our budget, our children are learning the difference between necessities and luxuries. When relatives or friends start the misery talk, say, ‘Yeah, but …’ and add something positive.”

Great post, Gail. I have several women friends at work (3) whose husbands have all been laid off in the last year. One is currently doing remodeling work on houses (he enjoys the manual labor - used to do IT networking), one is staying home with the kids and going back to school for PhD, and one is taking care of his mother with cancer.

Gail -

Continuing education: a great way for making the over-qualified and unemployed even more over-qualified but just as unemployed, the main difference being that they will now be even deeper in debt and a lot more resentful.

Too many young people take the default position that if they can't find a job, then they might as well spend a couple of years in graduate school because by then things will be better and that extra degree will secure them a good job. Sadly, this often turns out to be delusional thinking.

It has always fascinated me how some people can never quite get it together no matter how much education they have or how many opportunities have been cast their way while others always seem to be able to make a buck and get by nicely no matter how bad the circumstances are. The difference seems to be audacity and an entrepreneurial spirit, qualities that depend more on personality and have little to do with level of education.

The WSJ had an article a couple of days ago about people rushing into law school--even as lawyers are being laid off by the thousands. Their assumption of course is that the downturn is temporary, and that when they get out of law school (in many cases burdened by $100K plus in student loans), a $100K+ salary will be waiting for them.

. . . while others always seem to be able to make a buck and get by nicely no matter how bad the circumstances are.

Regarding your comment, here is a link to a summary of the book that I have talked about, "We had everything but money," basically how people survived the Great Depression:


Politics - that is where they will end up.

Some of 'em will feel jaded enough and apply the law VS the state/state empowered actors.

Remember to pay your lawyer - unemployed ones become politicians.

westexas -

Coincidentally, we had some friends over for dinner last night and learned that their daughter-in-law, who for the last seven years has been with a high-powered law firm specializing in corporate law and finance has decided to go into wedding planning (of all things) because she expects to get the axe in the next round of cutbacks. Talk about a downward career move. (At least it shouldn't be as demanding and stressful.)

You are probably old enough to have noticed how the various 'hot professions' come and go almost like fashions.

In the mid to late 1960s, anything having to do with aerospace was hot. I graduated from a small engineering school in 1967 and was envious of all the better students who landed those coveted jobs with NASA. Five or six years later many of them were out of work and were desperately trying to recast themselves as knowledgeable in the environmental field, which by then had become the next hot area. I myself was fortunate enough to have ridden the crest of the environmental boom, which had a long run but started to peter out in the late 1990s.

Then in the mid 1970s energy became the next hot area. But by the early years of the Reagan administration it was pretty much dead, and during the 1980s law and finance then became hot. Many excellent engineers went out and got MBAs to become mediocre business types.

To pick the hot area at the right time is as much a matter of luck as it is of good planning, for one just never knows. (Who in say 1957 would have thought it possible that a company like General Motors would one day be on the brink of bankruptcy?)

Regarding what life was like during the Great Depression, my late uncle's experience was that it was nothing at all like The Waltons. He was literally a hobo and rode the rails all over the country, taking migrant work jobs wherever he could find them. He was beaten up by railroad detectives on several occasions, beaten up and run out of small towns by the local sheriff, had doors slammed in his face when asking for discarded food, and was generally treated like dirt. The only kindness shown was by fellow hobos (at least the ones who didn't try to rob you in your sleep of the few coins you might have). It was a tough and gritty existence.

In regard to the wedding planner, if she is smart she would focus on low cost weddings. Wedding are a great example of the mean versus the median. The wedding industry likes to state the average wedding in the US is about $25K, but of course this averages in $5,000 weddings with $500,000 weddings. The median is closer to something like $7,500. BTW, there is a chapter on this topic in the Great Depression book.

There were several stories in the Great Depression book about hobos. One woman talked about how her mother always provided a little bit of food for them. She wondered how they always found their house, and later she found out that hobos posted graffiti with the addresses of people who were willing to feed hobos. She said that she learned a lot by talking with the men.

WestTexas, I took your advice and got the book from the library. Amazing stories. A great story had a hobo coming to the back door who was a doctor. The doctor examined a child in the household born with a terrible rash and made a salve which cured the child's rash. I am a retired doctor and my colleagues could never conceive of being reduced to hobo status. AS for me, I gotta go and reread my old dermatology book and brush up on my rashes.....

"We had everything but money" is back in print at the Country Store, for $20:


I recommend it as a guidebook for the next few years, and in all likelihood, the rest of our lives.

Yes, but you are taking a very narrow view of education-IMO the coach would second this. You can have audacity but you still need to educate yourself re where the specific opportunities are that you can exploit (just like the coach is doing).

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Question asked of, say 5th graders, and the answer was
what the 5th graders became most successful with.

A study I read in Adult Ed somewhere.

I know it applies to me. ;}

Hello Joule,

Yep, here is a good example:

Ken Karpman Plummeted From a Six-Figure Salary to Earning $7.29 an Hour

For the first 45 years of Ken Karpman's life, everything was close to perfect. He graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree and M.B.A., then got a high-paying job as an institutional equity sales trader. He married his dream girl, had two children and traveled the world on expensive vacations. Over the span of Karpman's impressive 20-year career as a trader, he climbed the company ladder, reaching a salary of $750,000 a year. "Life was good, we were making a lot of money -- and why...
Pizza delivery is a highly discretionary purchase. I think he will be laid off again as the economy continues to tank...

The scumball is still in his beautiful house after 2 years of no payments, his kids go to private school and he collects food stamps from the taxpayer-Perfect. I wouldn't be surprised if steals Pizzas also.

In comments both up and down this thread I see a bit of educational bias me thinks.
Mention education and instantly every one mentions college.
How about going back to a TRADE school? (If you can find one?) Machinist, auto mechanic, ag mechanic, etc....
Or how about specialist education in wood carving, glass blowing (art and industrial), ceramics (like plates and cups),etc...
There are lots of ways to get more "education" without going to college!
Take a look at: www.thecrucible.org
I'd sure give a lot to have an "educational instutition" like that somewhere near ME!
They have turned our local Vo-Tec school into a "Technical College" and made it a part of the MN college system - with the requirement to take all the BS classes (community appreciation et all) We have virtually NO vocational schools left in this area. Really sad and bad for the younger and older generation. No place to go to learn practical info.
Thank goodness for Lindsay Publications. Don't have their URL handy, but it is an easy Google.

The problem with investing in yourself is that you can only guess if the new field your trying to get into will be there once you finish your schooling in X years.

As people aware of peak oil, it is pretty easy to guess some fields that won't be there a few years from now.

Young people keep coming up to me and asking if this is a good time to become an actuary. I have to tell them, "not really". All of the financial businesses are going to have great problems in the years ahead. It seems like they will need to shrink in size and importance in the years ahead (if they don't go out of business altogether).

Gail -

Off the top of my head, here are some 'careers' which might have better-than-average prospects in perhaps the not-too-distant future (listed in no particular order):

- Cop

- Prison guard

- Private mercenary

-Surveillance consultant

- Private security consultant

- Repo man

- Pawn shop owner

- Drug dealer

- Black marketeer

- Hit man

- Computer hacker

- Provider of fake IDs

- Money launderer

- Moonshine bootlegger

- Smuggler

- Midwife

- Blacksmith

- Illegal gun/ammo dealer

- Uncertified medic

- Repairer of small appliances

- Wandering minstrel/bard

- Shaman/healer

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH wandering minstrel/bard. I'll be sure to feed that guy when he shows up. Wasn't Kostner one in the Postman then forced into the Army? Whats an "uncertified" medic? A boy scout? Seriously if it gets that bad no cert will matter. Shaman? Hitman? Did you just go through your shelf and think of archetypes some of the major characters had? These are a list of careers. Specialists do not survive in chaotic times generalists do.

Ranger, Elven archer (uncertified of course) and Wizard would be who I take with me.

Cost of electric power is going up!!!!
Got my bill this month with a 23% increase! WOW!
I am thinking about making my own power as my new job.

Mortician/Funeral Director with eventual O-NPK Career progression to deadheading massive deadweight tonnages of bones and recycling of Waterloo teeth.

The just concluded Eighth Annual Conference of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network was another successful event. We had 19 distinct presentations on mass transit, alternative energy and sustainable lifestyle choices, among many others. We had presentations and participation from Drew Edmondson, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, J. D. Strong, Secretary of the Environment, Bobby Wegener, Secretary of Energy, former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth and other current and former State officials as well as some icons from Oklahoma and elsewhere. The Keynote Speech by William Greider and a presentation by a panel from Greensburg, Kansas topped off the Conference. The theme of the Conference, A New Declaration of Independence, was carried throughout the whole event.

We have pledged to get the word out on a broader scale in the future, and I’ll post that information here as it becomes available.

YouTube Video Gold For Bread – Zimbabwe

If you are old or disabled in Zimbabwe, you simply die. The young are dying also. Zimbabwe is the first of African nations to completely collapse, but they will not be the last.

Ron P.

Hello Darwinian,

Thxs for the video. IMO, The postPeak US will go down like Zimbabwe if we don't learn to grow our own food and recycle O-NPK. Digging all day for a speck of gold won't cut it when compared to a Liebscher's Optima of a 20:1 Agro-ERoEI.

Recall that one of my very first emails, many years ago, was to the National PTA asking them study Dieoff.org, then going to full-on Peak Outreach, plus plowing the school playgrounds into a veggie patch. They never responded back. Neither did the Zimbabwean Embassy when I emailed them the same info. Such is life...still waiting for Google to offer my proposed 'Unlucky button' on their search homepage.

People spend days digging for gold to buy food at inflated rates: 0.1 grams of gold for a loaf of bread -> about 3USD.
It would seem more efficient to spend the day growing crops, but militias can come any time and destroy them.

Hello TODers,

Regarding the DB toplink on the Ukraine's Naftogaz needing to inject billion$$ to maintain the natgas pipelines supplying Europe. Who is expected to have the more reliable supplies going forward: Qatar [plus other gas exporters], or Russia?

Q&A: Liquefied natural gas

The first ship carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) has arrived in Pembrokeshire, marking the culmination of one of the largest UK engineering projects of its kind.

The carrier Tembek docked on Friday at Milford Haven.

It began supplying a pipeline which is capable of carrying a fifth of the natural gas needed in the UK, which runs 196 miles (316km) across Wales into Gloucestershire, and which took three years to complete.

Here are the answers to some questions about LNG, and the significance of the project for the UK and its energy supplies.
Where is the UK going to invest, assuming they have funds to invest? More LNG equipment or in the Russian/Europe infrastructure?

IMO, sure would be nice to have more 'cold toast' info from Matt S.

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

I note you used $$, and the article used Euros.

To repair the pipeline infrastructure the currency
used will be Rubles.

The west still thinks it's calling the shots in Kiev.

"In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. If you had spent the last decade, as I have, reviewing the way a centralized economic plan ravaged the real world over the past 500 years, you would appreciate the current financial meltdown for what it is: a comeuppance. This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself, and ultimately a good thing."


DC is clueless and just what were DrK and James Baker,
supposedly just tourists, doing with Medvedev?

I don't know how to make the other monetary symbols.

LMAO, I don't either!

Why am I thinking of Summers and the Harvard Boys now?

But I can tell you that the West doing the repair work while
Gazprom left out in the cold ain't gonna happen.

And why isn't the Ukraine doing it's own gas pipe repair?

"For example: In the 1700s, American colonists were allowed to grow corn but they weren’t allowed to do anything with it–except sell it at fixed prices to the British East India Trading Company, the corporation sanctioned by England to do business in the colonies. Colonists weren’t allowed to sell their cotton to each other or, worse, make clothes out of it. They were mandated, by law, to ship it back to England where clothes were fabricated by another chartered monopoly, then shipped back to America where they could be purchased. The American war for independence was less a revolt against England than a revolt against her chartered corporations."


As per next post: While you are holding down the Alt key use the numeric key pad to enter the following numbers. When you let go of the Alt key, the corresponding character should appear.

¥ Alt+0165
£ Alt+0163
€ Alt+0128

I did not need to use NumLock to get the following: ¥ £ €

Your mileage may vary.

don't give the man a fish, teach him how to fish instead

if you're on windows, most likely, go to
Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Character Map
you can select and copy a lot more characters

Turn on 'Num Lock'

Hold down the 'Alt' key and type '0128' on the numeric keypad.

Release the 'Alt' key.

€ € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € € €

I don't think it is really an either or situation (Russia or Qatar). It seems like long-term, Europe will need both. Having Qatar would not be nearly enough.

I think the problem with the inability to borrow more money will get to be more and more of a problem. Companies had expected that they could just borrow more, to repair infrastructure. If natural gas prices are low, companies don't get enough cash from sales to have the cash flow to do the repairs. If more debt is not available, they are really stuck.

The post I quoted up above about the French nuclear company Areva is not all that different. They have several investment needs, but no source of cash. The French government can't just print more money (not successfully, for very long, anyway). If more uranium is to be mined, and more reactors are to be built, the capital needs to come from somewhere.

OTOH about gas prices. IF they do not fix the pipe, the price will go up to a point where they can fix the pipe or get a loan to fix the pipe. This runs the risk that something else replaces the piped gas before they get the pipe fixed. If that happens sell the pipe for scrap. Happens all the time in most businesses except banks and insurance companies too big to fail.

The French government can't just print more money (not successfully, for very long, anyway).

Actually you can, and thats exactly what you want to do when you're in a liquidity trap like we are today. The price is inflation during the recovery. Its often a price worth paying.

Article about Russia's population decline and its government's attempt to reverse it.


I shook my head at the one reader comment lamenting the woes that would befall the U.S if population declined here...his 'answer' was to green-light even more legal and illegal immigration, 'to have more people to tax and support social security'...I hope he was being facetious. Problem is, many people buy into the 'constantly increasing growth' Ponzi scheme. Here's to the rest of the World having the same 'population problem' as Russia.

I read a transcript of Putin's recent speech at the G20 forum. He said one of his top priorities was to get his people to have more children to stem the population decline. In the coming resource wars the countries with the largest populations will have a huge advantage. At least that's how it has worked in our evolutionary past. So probably that's what he is thinking, at least sub-consciously.

The UK managed to colonized India with a much smaller population. The ancient Greeks beat the Persian even though they were heavily outnumbered. The Mongols conquered most of Eurasia, and they weren't very numerous.

A large unfed population won't fight very well, and won't have much incentives to defend the state. During the fall of the Roman Empire, most peasants actively cheered the Barbarians, as they didn't tax them as much as the Romans.

You couldn't be more right, MoonWatcher. In Spain there was a problem some years ago with population and the same argument, "they would pay tax and support social security". At the time some people in troubled industries (steel, cars) were retiring at 45-50 years old on full pay. So for several years what and with the boom in building, something like 600.000 immigrants came to Spain, from Ecuador, Morocco, Eastern Europe, Africa, etc. Population at the time was something like 40 million, now it is 46 million. Now the crisis (3 million the official unemployment and another million below the radar), and the government doesn't know how to tell them to go back home. There are no Food Stamps in Spain, only relief programs from the Church and other religious organizations. So much for the Spanish Socialist Party, even the Republican Party in the USA has more social sensitivity.


My best wishes for brighter times for the people of Spain, and its recent immigrants seeking better fortunes. If I ever stop working before I kick the bucket, I hope to visit Europe, and Spain is definitely on the list!

Maybe the item below explains why we can't find any abiotic oil. (That was a joke, by the way.)


Belcher, C.M., et al (2009) Geochemical evidence for combustion of hydrocarbons during the K-T impact event. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES USA 106:4112-4117

Authors' abstract:
"It has been proposed that extensive wildfires occurred after the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K-T) impact event. An abundance of soot and pyrosynthetic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAHs) in marine K-T boundary impact rocks (BIRs) have been considered support for this hypothesis. However, nonmarine K-T BIRs, from across North America, contain only rare occurrences of charcoal yet abundant noncharred plant remains. pPAHs and soot can be formed from a variety of sources, including partial combustion of vegetation and hydrocarbons whereby modern pPAH signatures are traceable to their source. We present results from multiple nonmarine K-T boundary sites from North America and reveal that the K-T BIRs have a pPAH signature consistent with the combustion of hydrocarbons and not living plant biomass, providing further evidence against K-T wildfires and compelling evidence that a significant volume of hydrocarbons was combusted during the K-T impact event."


'[The worm] spread from one meter to another and then it changed the text in the LCD screen to say "pwned,"' said Travis Goodspeed, an independent security consultant who worked with the IOActive team.

Hi TODers. Speaking of energy and gas, what about the methane we get from the breakdown of our trash? I put out a video about how much energy goes into the making of plastic...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p2WsPYhq0M&feature=channel_page

a Clinton era study had Arkansas with a population
of 22 million when the amount of water used, fecal
matter produced included livestock, poultry.

On the topic of you tube links - take a look at the vids posted by coalfighter, showing local people, in their own words, in their own locale, on the impact of coal fly-ash disposed of at / near Bokoshe, OK, near the Arkansas state line.

BTW, be prepared to be quite uncomfortable while watching.

The link is to one of four they have posted. I don't know if this might have the real-life ending of the Karen Silkwood story for the person doing the posting on youtube, but I sure hope not.


So far, it appears that none of man's laws have been broken, just those of nature.

As a side note, when you hear about clean coal, where all of the nasty stuff is taken out of the smokestack emissions, just remember that "everything goes somewhere." Just like the garbage hauled from your trashcan, all of the pollutants which are removed from the nasty process of burning coal goes some place as well. Just pray that it is not down the road from you.

Coal fly-ash has got to be one of the richer ores for heavy metals out there.

Perhaps the solution to pollution isn't dilution, but concentration and reusion?
(Gah, that's bad, but I don't have time to make up a better word that rhymes...)

a Clinton era study had Arkansas with a population
of 22 million when the amount of water used, fecal
matter produced included livestock, poultry.

What are you talking about, cows? Arkansas has a population of a about 2.85 million people. If you are talking about something else, you need to be more specific because your post makes no sense whatsoever. Your sentence is not even a complete sentence. When what?

And you do not need to make a do return after every six to eight words. That is annoying. You do not need to do any hard returns at all except at the end of a paragraph. The program will do all line formatting for you.

Ron Patterson

US Drought monitor website:


Drought reignites Dust Bowl fears

ELKHART, Kan.• This empty stretch of prairie, broken only by the stony ruins of a long-demolished basement, is where Floyd Coen learned that you can eat tumbleweeds if you have to.

..This was the epicenter of one of the worst ecological disasters in American history, the Dust Bowl. Drought and unsustainable farming methods left 83 percent of Morton County, home to Elkhart, in extreme southwestern Kansas, barren, and fierce prairie winds blew much of the land away. No other county in the six Dust Bowl states had a greater portion of its land devastated.

Seventy-five years later, the land is blowing again...

Meanwhile out in Cali:

Eye on the Environment: During drought, treat water like oil
I am assuming the author is being sarcastic; tongue-in-cheek with this title. Cali is the land of the infinite pickup, SUV, or high power V-8 car. They think it is a birthright to treat oil like water.

funny about California. A week or so ago a California poster was telling us how wet it was there.

funny about California. A week or so ago a California poster was telling us how wet it was there.

It was very wet for a month, but the weather has turned now, and very little of the normal wet season remains -we are pretty much stuck with what we've gotten this year. In early March, when the weather pattern changed, we had reached a claimed 90% of season to date normals, since then we are falling behind again. And we started the season with very little in storage. It was claimed we would need 120-130% of normal this year to catchup. We will clearly come in below normal.

But, car wise, land of the SUV etc. The state is sortof schizoid about cars. We are way above national norms in hybrids, but also have a lot of large SUVs. At least some of the population enderstands we must use a lot less.

Wet or not, it's not fixing our snow-pack or our reservoir levels anytime soon. It's raining today in Los Angeles, but one rainstorm (on the wrong end of the state, at that) doesn't end a drought.

I don't think I can take any more of this - and I'll bet you can't either. Yeah, I know cash is fungible inside a giant TARP sucking company, but they would not exist - most of them - without TARP.

Moral Hazard anyone.


Link courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Follow the Bailout Cash

I don't think I can take any more of this - and I'll bet you can't either.

But what, if anything, can one do?

Other than going off planet on Ark B with the telephone sanitizers, how exactly can one extract themselves from the tar baby and sit on the sidelines and watch?

An excerpt from your link:

While a few big firms, such as Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase, have curtailed their campaign giving, others are quietly doling out cash to select members of Congress, particularly those who serve on committees that oversee TARP. In recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the political action committee for Bank of America (which got $15 billion in bailout money) sent out $24,500 in the first two months of 2009, including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels. Citigroup ($25 billion) dished out $29,620, including $2,500 to House GOPWhip Eric Cantor, who also got $10,000 from UBS which, while not a TARP recipient, got $5 billion in bailout funds as an AIG "counterparty." "This certainly appears to be a case of TARP funds being recycled into campaign contributions," says Brett Kappell, a D.C. lawyer who tracks donations. (A spokesman for Cantor did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Hoyer said it's his "policy to accept legal contributions.")

I wonder if those funds came out of the bonus money which could be paid after the bailout money was distributed? January and Feb are odd months for campaign contribs in a non-election year, but would tie in with the bonuses.

Not an odd month to keep people quiet however. I think there is more "hush" money in these bailouts than anything else.

"hush" money in these bailouts

Mike Ruppert and Catherine Austin Fitts has had plenty to say about the tie of government to wall street.

(and now - a link to http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF8&q=grasso+farc+picture Richard Grasso from NASDAQ hugging a FARC leader)

"We are very aggressive in trying to pursue international markets and opportunities," NYSE chairman Richard Grasso explained in an interview Saturday night at his Bogota hotel.

The FDIC said Indymac lost $2.6 billion in the fourth quarter thanks to continued deterioration in the real estate market, with the total estimated loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) a staggering $10.7 billion.

risk capital is gone

yves smith reads a gillian tett piece in the financial times harshly, but her essential point is right -- the status quo ante is dead and will not be coming back. a lot of people, including the united states government, are still in denial of this basic fact and the resulting misperceptions are dangerously misleading.


On the Plan to be rolled out tomorrow by Geithner:

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Investor on Private Public Partnership: "One would have to be a criminal to participate in this" .

And to wrap up:

Zero Hedge: Sheila Bair: FDIC Reserves To Hit Zero
Mar 20, 2009 ... Sheila Bair: FDIC Reserves To Hit Zero. Posted by Tyler Durden at 2:26 PM. When I wrote about this issue a week ago, I thought I was going ...


What happens when there is no growth in oil discovery/production/EROEI.

Doug Noland (who was onto this before anyone) is usually pretty conservative in his comments over at PrudentBear. He makes a good point this week-everyone is talking about deflation or consumer price inflation but the reality is the USA economy isn't wealthy enough to piss away all this money-these obligations can't be repaid, short of shutting down everything.

What the Federal Reserve is attempting to do is wrong, insanely wrong. This is stepping way beyond their mandate and reason for creation. They are exercising powers given only to the legislative body of Congress. If the FedRes cannot be controlled, it needs to be destroyed.

Mr O should forget Lincoln and think Jackson right now.

What Putin thinks right now:

USA has two options to save its economy: declare default or trigger off war- Pravda.Ru

I still say that the founding of post-human ‘universities’ - for training people in future aka ‘ancestral’ skills (e.g. Cave Tech, Stoner U, College of Rock) is a necessary ‘good’ idea for those that want to actually have children/grandkids. But NGFH (sigh).
-lonewolf ;}

Who is Mr. O? I have my opinion based on his history and behaviour but sometimes the position goes to a guy's head and he thinks that maybe he should actually be working for the country, not his superiors. It might happen again-you never know.

The book here with zero spred is 4:1 against.

"I still say that the founding of post-human ‘universities’ - for training people in future aka ‘ancestral’ skills (e.g. Cave Tech, Stoner U, College of Rock) is a necessary ‘good’ idea for those that want to actually have children/grandkids."

Please elaborate. What would such a college look like?

Hello TODers,

Shelby Says Geithner May Not ‘Last Long’ as U.S. Treasury Chief

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Richard Shelby, the leading Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said today that confidence is ebbing in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Shelby said Geithner is on “shaky ground” with Congress and many other Americans.

“My confidence is waning every day,” Shelby said when asked about the Treasury chief. “If he keeps going down this road, I think that he won’t last long.”

Timmy managed to get a hell of a lot of taxpayer money shifted to connected banks (including foreign banks) while the public was distracted-I would say he earned his pay. He should get a nice fat bonus for the latest scam to be unveiled this week.

File this under both unintended consequences and increased complexity increases energy usage.


IOActive researchers have spent the past year testing Smart Grid devices for security vulnerabilities and have discovered a number of flaws that could allow hackers to access the network and cut power, according to Joshua Pennell, IOActive's CEO. Smart Grid devices are small computers that are connected to the power grid, giving customers and power companies better control over the electricity they use. There are about 2 million of these devices currently deployed, but many more are expected to be added in coming years.

The researchers created a computer worm that could quickly spread among Smart Grid devices, many of which use wireless technology to communicate, according to Travis Goodspeed, an independent security consultant who worked with the team. "It spread from one meter to another and then it changed the text in the LCD screen to say 'pwned'," he said. Pwned is hacker-speak meaning "taken over."

The same thing that has happened with normal pc's will happen with the supposedly next to no power controllers for the smart grid. As countermeasures are added the power needed to run the controller's will go up. As that demand goes up the less there will be for other usage. I have seen more then my share or computers bogged down NOT by viruses but by the anti-virus programs.

I allowed PG&E to put one of these devices on the A/C, I think the program was called Smart AC. I got a $25 check from them. I have my doubts about the utility (aside from the possibility of hackers). My infrared thermometer shows the unit as perhaps five degrees F warming than the surroundings, i.e. it must be consuming several watts -and we are far from the AC season, I still have the compressor/heat exchanger covered by a tarp.

We are seeing effects of the financial meltdown on utility bills, the latest billing statement contains a future rate increase notice. They needs funds to top off their retirement program. I wish my retirement plan could force our customers to make it whole, but they would simply take their business elsewhere. I guess this just makes the case for adding PV panels that much better!

Hi EoS,

It's best to turn off your CAC at the breaker panel at the end of the cooling season. This will prevent the crankcase heater on your outdoor compressor from running needlessly (they typically draw from 25 to 75-watts) and it will also eliminate the standby losses related to your CAC's load controller.


Feinstein blocks solar....Kennedy blocks wind. Democrats are such good conservationists.

Perhaps you mean The NIMBYs, not conservationists. After all, there's little difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties as far as politicians go. Neither party really listens to the voters except in that short period before an election.

Around here, we've got lots of NIMBYs who have twice blocked large wind power installations because they were afraid that the tourists wouldn't like the view. The Nature Conservancy has acquired the ownership of several mountain tops, which would have been prime wind turbine sites, except that they are now being "preserved". I call then "Garden Club Environmentalist". Since the local industrial economy is dying, TPTB think they can entice the tourists to drive up from the Flat Lands to see the mountains, depositing dollars in the local economy in the process. And, the Real Estate folks are trying to sell land and expensive second houses to well-to-do retirees. When the gasoline becomes more expensive again and members of the local Bad Boys from Redneckistan MC club start knocking down their doors, the ritzy folks will drift away, taking their dollars with them.

E. Swanson

Sorry I don't think windmills or oil rigs on the horizon are ugly. And to preserve the Mojave desert with a cost of the deserts of Earth spread and touch is ridiculous. There is a ton of unused desert realestate in the form of roofs right now in Phoenix and Tucson etc. Either way hypocrisy pisses me off.

Feinstein blocks solar....Kennedy blocks wind. Democrats are such good conservationists.

I've often wondered who is worse for alternative energy, conservatives, or liberals? I think the jury is still out on that question.

Hmmm the market is best. With a carbon tax. Use the money from the carbon tax to subsidize massive investments in transmission lines and electric rail and nukes. Investors and homeowners will develop wind and solar. Make buyback mandatory in all states for excess electricity generated too.

You just described two people. Two very visible Democrats. Tell me how this should inform us about the whole group.

"It would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem," said David Myers, executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy.

It sounds like there may just be compelling environmental issues involved with the Feinstein issue.. so as with wind (and as I've said in my conversation with Darwin's Dog consistently) , Massive Industrial Developments have to be permitted carefully, with a real awareness of the ecosystems they might endanger.

In a speech last year, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained about environmental concerns slowing down the approval of solar plants in California.

"If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave desert, I don't know where the hell we can put it," Schwarzenegger said at Yale University.

That's right. He DOESN'T know.. but there ARE people who might help him figure it out, if he asks them.

and so Finally, reading from the actual article a little more..

"The opportunity we see in the Feinstein bill is to jump-start our own efforts to find the best sites for development and to come up with a broader conservation plan that mitigates the impact of the development," Douglas said.

Douglas said that if the national monument lines were drawn without consideration of renewable energy then a conflict was likely, but it's early enough in the planning process that she's confident the state will be able to get more solar and wind projects up and running without hurting the environment.

...Feinstein's spokesman, Gil Duran, said the senator looks forward to working with the governor and the Interior Department on the issue.

"There's plenty of room in America's deserts for the bold expansion of renewable energy projects," Duran said.

Sounds pretty pro-conservation to me.

Considering that the act of riding across the sand dunes in a dune buggy can cause erosion - or the hooves of large weight animals keep the dry plains green - dry land is 'touchy'. Wholesale conversion/photon gathering will cause issues. If the US of A was able to satisify all of its present energy demand via covering the desert with human devices (ha! refined material demand to do that would be an issue) - how many would oppse yhat?

What would be more interesting is if the deployment of a solar energy gathering project can be shown to 're-green' the sands of the desert. You'd have the water vapor via morning dew that might be collectable/able to be given to the local critters via collection/distribution. Unless one has some form of mirror/focal point a LONG way up in the air - all of the collection systems will have heat trapped at the 'ground level' - thus raising the local temp. Imagine a return of the once green Sarha?

(Day/night temps differ after the global experment on 9/11/2001.
http://www.uic.edu/classes/psych/psych242/Articles/Tribune,%20contrails%... )

There is a power tower concept that takes brackish water, pumps it up a giant and I do mean giant cooling tower, sprays it into the air at the top, and lets it cool the air and form a kind of reverse chimney. The water vapor reappears in the form of dew all around the surrounding farmland, assuming you can efficiently reclaim all the droplets of salt water left behind so it will be a net fresh water provider.
This could be used in the Salton Sink to avoid wasting all the brackish water now forming the Salton Sea. The water would substitute for water now irrigating crops like Alfalfa, the power is needed, God knows, and the Salton Sea would shrink back to useful solar salt ponds like it was 100 years ago before the levees broke and flooded the area, forming the Salton Sea. Some of the brackish water would still be useful for wetlands as the Sea retreated, because it's a major bird flyway. The solar salt would displace the solar salt from California's San Francisco Bay, letting them go back to wetlands.
It wouldn't be economical as a straight power generation project or somebody would be doing it, but if we are going to subsidise power projects this has nice collateral benefits.
An alternative use is to air condition the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.
And building the tallest structure in the world would show Dubai who's boss!


I'm sure there are ways to build thermal or PV collection systems out in scrub or dryland that could be beneficial to the ecosystems as well as being clean energy production.. I'm also certain that we have any number of sites where there is old brownfield and superfund conditions, in which solar collection wouldn't be a further detriment, and perhaps the development could even tie in with a remediation program.

The work has to be done WITH the people who know these ecosystems, and can help identify particular local needs that could be matched with the conditions available in a CSP or other clean solar technology. Shade and Dew Collection, the correlation of the 'waste from one being a nutrient for the other'. Time to combine notes and get some fields to brainstorm together.. this is why I admire the way Amory Lovins pulls ideas together. 'Build something that serves Multiple needs..'

As Einstein reminds us.. 'Imagination is more important than knowledge.'

Hello TODers,

I urge all of you to Peak Outreach to Madagascar. My email below:
Dear President Andry Rajoelina,

I urge you to study the history of Easter Island plus the website:Dieoff.org. You have a monumental challenge ahead of you to reform your country towards Optimal Overshoot Decline.

You can gain much more info by having your Presidential Staff read the archives of EnergyBulletin.net and TheOilDrum.com, then presenting you with plans to achieve this end. I wish you the best of success for Madagascar, yourself, and your citizens.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?
From this website: http://www.embassy.org/madagascar/

This is the address I used: malagasy@embassy.org

Edit: OOPS! I got an error message:
Reason: 5.7.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown.
That is not very friendly of them.

A very good article in TPM (Talking Points Memo), a liberal blog that gained millions of readers during the presidential campaign.

Talk About Scary...

Peak Oil, which should be one of the most important issues of the day is so far down on the list of on-going crisis, you rarely hear about it anymore. Our memories are so flippin' short that the energy-efficient cars you had to stand in line for a few months ago are piling up at the dealerships because gas prices have returned to a reasonable level, even though most people agree they will skyrocket once demand picks up again.

Ron P

Thanks for the link Ron:

Really funny in some sort of sick way.

The article ends up with:

"But seriously, doesn't it just scare the livin' crap out of you to think about how close we came to having McCain/Palin at the helm through this?"

Then one of the posters apparantly with a straight face said:

"I know exactly how this would have turned out. Big right wing bastards would have have been in control of the economy. Social programs cut. And all we would hear would be:


And what, may I ask, do we have now?

The question is 'WHAT would they have been spending it on instead?'

Currently most of the spending bypasses the democratic system and is done directly by Ben Bernanke.

Probably Banksters ... also.

India's Tata Motors to launch ultra-cheap Nano car

What happens when a few hundred million of these hit the road?

I am sure that per car, these get a whole lot better milage than SUVs. The problem is that these cars are in addition to, not instead of, the ones we have.

A Hummer H2 - Curb weight 6400 lb (2903 kg) - milage per gallon is about 12 miles
A TATA Nano - Curb weight 1,300 lb (580 kg) - milage per gallon is about 60 miles

Rule of thumb ; Re-melt and Re-shape One Hummer , Get 5 brand new Nano's using the combined amount of fuel of One Single Hummer H2 ... way to go ! .. at least for now.

And just in looking at those two cars I can tell the Nano requires "no energy at all" to get produced,my 2 cents only

If even a small fraction of the motorbikes and motorscooters in India are replaced by this car, cities would come to a complete halt from the traffic gridlock. At least the air would be cleaner if it gets a few two-strokes off the road. The second clip is probably from Vietnam.


A couple of links point out gas fired electrical generation will be favoured over coal under cap and trade. That could also mean high food prices remembering the need for natgas in synthetic N fertiliser. Additionally Pickens suggests natgas should be used as CNG replacement for liquid fuels. Both N-fertiliser and CNG are higher priority uses for gas than electrical generation which can be done in other ways.

Therefore I suggest a depletion protocol for 'electrical' gas based on the currently known R/P ratio, where reserves are online or nearly so. Year on year that ratio must not fall below a legislated minimum. Thus as reserves dwindle (or maybe increase) then gas fired generation moves in sync. Alternatively 'electrical' gas could be limited to a percentage of the total supply. No restriction would apply to CNG, Haber processes or household use.

This would be another numerical target to add to renewables quotas or CO2 tonnage. As critics of Pickens point out less gas fired electricity might also restrict wind power penetration. But it would be crazy if crops are poor and transport is grounded because gas fired electricity is cleaner than coal.

I would like to know the volume of oil required to maintain the pipelines in North America? Even an educated guess would be nice.

Looks like the number most often tossed around was 185 million barrels (from here, 6th item down), though I recall some debate about that... The term to search for would be "minimum operating level".

I don't know if anyone saw this yet, Robert has a post over at Financial Sense on Peak Lite and the next five years.

The Next Five Years


Such cancellations come at a price, which the article summarizes:

New oil-and-gas projects usually take several years of development before starting commercial production. According to Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the scaleback in exploration and production could reduce future global oil supplies by up to 7.6 MMBpd in five years, or 9 percent of current production. If demand suddenly comes back as it did in 2003-2004, there could be a resulting shortfall of production and much higher energy prices. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also warns that the credit crisis and project cancellations will lead to no spare crude oil capacity by 2013.

Hehe...did RR just quote CERA...:)

Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Uneasy farmers wait for fertilizer price drop

Scarcely a month before Iowa farmers begin planting corn, a standoff of sorts between farmers and fertilizer sellers is happening throughout the state at elevators and supply stores.

Farmers who want to add the nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium necessary for corn planting are staring at fertilizer costs that still hover around $900 per ton - six times what they paid before 2005.

.."It is not likely that retail prices will drop prior to the spring season."

..Farmers have responded to the higher costs in various ways.

Demand for manure generated by hog confinement buildings in Iowa has at least tripled the price of the waste product, which at the beginning of this decade couldn't be given away.

Some adventurous farmers are taking trucks to the Mississippi River, where terminals can offer fertilizer at lower prices. But running fertilizer in their own trucks, rather than having it delivered, risks the farmers' lives, not to mention the environment, should there be a spill.
I have no idea on how to gather the statistics and graphs, but it would be interesting to know if all the new millions of home gardeners are having a supportive marginal pricing effect upon I-NPK supply and demand. Especially if a significant portion are starting to stockpile several hundred pounds apiece on their property to have a multi-year supply until their O-NPK composting system is running full-force.

The Growing Battle For Farm Dominance - And The Winner Is...

..Closing Thoughts

The spring season is just starting. Fertilizer prices remain unpredictable. According to Harry Vroomen, vice president of economic services for the Fertilizer Institute, Washington, DC, the spring season is always tight, and the current situation makes it tighter. If demand for fertilizer increases and supply can't keep pace, fertilizer prices could see a spike. With fertilizer companies set to profit when fertilizer prices rebound, the bidding wars may intensify in the days to come.
It would also be interesting to know what effect First World gardeners are having on pricing out Third World subsistence farmers from attaining their I-NPK.

Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?

.. After being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House, which has vowed to encourage a more nutritious and sustainable food supply.

The most vocal booster so far has been the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has emphasized the need for fresh, unprocessed, locally grown food and, last week, started work on a White House vegetable garden. More surprising, perhaps, are the pronouncements out of the Department of Agriculture, an agency with long and close ties to agribusiness.

In mid-February, Tom Vilsack, the new secretary of agriculture, took a jackhammer to a patch of pavement outside his headquarters to create his own organic “people’s garden.”

..There are already signs that the sustainable-agriculture track is bending farther than before. The conservative pundit George F. Will wrote a column endorsing many of Mr. Pollan’s ideas, and a prominent food industry lobbyist who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to reporters said he was amazed at how many members of Congress were carrying copies of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

“I’m not sure how much it’s penetrating the mom shopping at Food Lion,” he says. “I’ve had so many members mention Michael’s name to me, it’s staggering.”

Rancher proposes water pipeline from Mo. to Colo.
Would tap Mississippi River to alleviate state's increasing demands for water

DENVER - At first, Gary Hausler's idea sounds like a practical joke.

..No one was laughing Wednesday morning when Hausler made his pitch to legislators.

"I think we have to look at everything at this point," said Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison.

..Hausler's pipeline would provide enough water for 1 million to 2 million households if it were used exclusively by cities.

A 30-year project, his numbers are staggering: a 1,200-mile-long system with a 7,000-foot vertical lift; numerous reservoirs and canals; an 18-foot-diameter pipeline; and the equivalent of three new power plants to run the pumps.

Hausler thinks it would take 30 years to permit and build, and he admits it wouldn't do anything to solve short-term water troubles.

He envisions a Central Plains Compact among Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri to set the legal framework for the project.
As the Ogallala aquifer, plus other aquifers, goes kaput: the temptation to divert water will become tremendous. Hausler's plan vastly outscales the Colorado River's CAP Project.

toto -- It actually is a joke even if he doesn't realize it. Too much detail to go into but La. depends upon the Miss R to supply about 2 million folks with fresh drinking water (the river flow prevents the GOM salt water from reaching the intakes at New Orleans). The fersh water flow is also needed to maintain the coastal fishery systems. Want to know what a reduced Miss R flow would do: search the Sea of Cortez and see how all those environnmentally friendly folks in CAL were willing to destroy the environment at the mouth of the Colorado River.

But it does give politicians a chance to mount the soap boxes and give the illusion they are working on problems.

airdale, pop me an email, looks like our posts are getting deleted. you're email no longer shows up in your profile, mine as well. Hope you see this. Thanks a bunch oil drum editors.


Could it be that your e-mail address isn't listed because it wasn't "spam protected"? Hope you don't receive a flood of spam from your e-mail post...

E. Swanson

ONGC gets started on strategic reserves

India, which is the world’s fifth largest energy consumer, imports 75% of its crude requirements and accounts for some 3.5% of global consumption

New Delhi: State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd, or ONGC, is setting up a strategic petroleum reserve, or SPR, in Rajasthan—a storage facility to hold crude oil—that it expects to complete by December, a senior company official said.

This would be India’s fourth SPR. These are meant to ensure that consumption of crude oil in the country is not affected during any disruption in global supplies.
The govts of US, China, and now India sure act like they expect future Peakoil supply problems.

More possible evidence of potential 'cold toast' supply problems?

The Geopolitics of Energy: Russia sets the pace in energy race

..Briefly, Gazprom, after resisting for a period of some three months, abruptly took a U-turn and accepted the Turkmen demand to raise the gas sold to Russia from the prevailing tariff of $65 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100/tcm with immediate effect.

Prima facie, it appeared that Moscow was hard pressed to meet its own energy exports to Western Europe without the Turkmen supplies, and was caving in to "the pricing demands of Turkmenistan's fickle dictator Saparmurat Niyazov", as a Western commentary put it...

Russian Energy Geostrategy Redefines Relations with the US and EU

..And most significant, Gazprom also said it would send most of the gas from the giant Arctic Shtokman field to Europe, rather than to the United States...
IMO, it seems like Putin is trying his best to reassure Europe that he can be a reliable supplier in the face of tremendous depletion problems. We shall see..