The Bullroarer - Friday 12th February 2010

Once again, next Friday's Bullroarer is likely to be late. This coming week I will be continuing the process of touring Australia, looking for good places to weather the rather nasty storm that we have coming. My Internet access will be severely limited while I am on the road.

Herald Sun - Secret summit of top bankers

- World's top bankers fly in
- To meet at secret location
- Trouble on the horizon
THE world's top central bankers began arriving in Australia yesterday as renewed fears about the strength of the global economic recovery gripped world share markets.

Representatives from 24 central banks and monetary authorities including the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank landed in Sydney to meet tomorrow at a secret location, the Herald Sun reports.

Organised by the Bank for International Settlements last year, the two-day talks are shrouded in secrecy with high-level security believed to have been invoked by law enforcement agencies.

Otago Daily Times - Year of the Tiger, electric vehicles and wind power

Perhaps the most worrying recent example of this is how China has been preparing for a forthcoming peak oil energy crisis. Whilst much of the rest of the world has been asleep, China has been doing the sums and getting ready to react.

A recent deal with the Australia to import large quantities of Australian coal is just one of many strategic moves by China to secure its economic future. Very likely the most significant outcome of these strategies will be China’s achievement of dominance in the production of rare earth metals such as (and especially) dysprosium, neodymium, and lanthanum.

Top News NZ - Coal Deal with China All Set: Clive Palmer

The anticipated coal deal with China involving $60 billion was almost confirmed by the billionaire businessman Clive Palmer. Ruling out the confusion that entered with China's statement indicating just a reach up to frame work agreement, the businessman announced the deal at the weekend. Australian resources developer and billionaire Clive Palmer being adamant on Wednesday said that binding coal sales agreements with Chinese companies for output have been signed.

Newcastle Herald - Lake's peak oil plan

FEARS of rising petrol prices and diminishing oil supplies have sparked calls for a "peak oil" plan in Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie City councillor Phillipa Parsons wants the council to develop a peak oil policy and action plan.

Councillors will consider the request at a meeting tonight.

A report, which Ms Parsons wrote, said the plan was needed to prepare the council and residents for dramatic rises in petrol and oil prices and subsequent social and economic effects.

She cited a 2008 CSIRO report, Fuel for Thought, which predicted the price of petrol could reach $2 a litre to $8 a litre by 2018.

ABC - Scientists shed light on hydrogen fuel project

Researchers from the University of Wollongong, on the New South Wales south coast, are part of a group to have developed new technology with the potential to make hydrogen fuel from water.

Wentworth Courier - Light rail may make tracks

Planning expert Gary Glazebrook, a senior lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, has released a report prescribing key upgrades to Sydney’s public transport system to meet concerns about “peak oil, climate change and links between obesity and health”.

Star News Group - Big year ahead

METIC will bring ideas from the session together in a township plan, to form an ‘action plan’ for the year ahead.

“But we can’t do everything,” Ms Simmons said.

A ‘transition towns’ project focussing on sustainability, climate change and peak oil was one priority identified.

The Australian - The good oil

IF you're looking for a good steer on where oil prices are going this year, you may be in for a disappointment.
The Commonwealth Bank’s weekly oil report is predicting that prices are likely to be volatile over 2010, although as the year goes on the oil price is likely to creep towards the upper end of its recent trading range as the international economic recovery becomes better established.

With most of the world now using more oil, the greatest risk to the oil price forecast lies with the still very weak trend in US oil demand.

Voxy - Global Wind Power Boom Continues Despite Economic Woes

The world's wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 gigawatts (GW) to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. A third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth.

"The continued rapid growth of wind power despite the financial crisis and economic downturn is testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology, which is clean, reliable and quick to install. Wind power has become the power technology of choice for a growing number of countries around the world," said Steve Sawyer, GWEC's Secretary General. "Copenhagen didn't bring us any closer to a global price on carbon, but wind energy continued to grow due to national energy policy in our main markets and also because many governments prioritised renewable energy development in their economic recovery plans,"

National Business Review NZ - L&M Energy starts collecting seismic data for onshore Taranaki permit

“PEP 51151 provides potential for both shallow oil plays with a short term development time frame, and deeper gas-condensate plays with a longer term exploration/development time line. It provides a good base for building possible longer term projects with upside potential,” he said.

Mr Bay said exploration in the permit fitted well with the company’s dual focus strategy on conventional targets in proven basins and its coal seam gas (CSG) programme and growth strategy.

SMH - Oil and gold prices rise

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) has boosted its estimate for global oil demand after taking a closer look at how much fuel developing nations should burn this year.

The IEA revised its 2010 demand forecast to 85.5 million barrels a day, up from its previous estimate of 85.3 million barrels.

The agency said on Thursday, however, that oil demand in North America had "virtually stalled" after the recession, with the availability of cheaper alternatives like natural gas and coal, and better fuel efficiency in passenger vehicles.

NineMSN - IEA raises global oil demand forecast

The Paris-based think-tank, which relies heavily on growth forecasts by the International Monetary Fund, expects all of the incremental demand to come from developing nations, mainly in Asia.

The Business Spectator - Global oil demand growth revised up for 2010: IEA

The IEA said a large part of its revision to oil demand growth was down to the International Monetary Fund's stronger outlook for global economic growth, which is now seen at 3.8 per cent in 2010 from an earlier estimate of 3.1 per cent.

Emerging market growth is seen averaging 6.1 per cent.

SMH - Public demands improved transport

ALMOST two thirds of Sydneysiders support ''high investment in public transport'' - and they are prepared to pay for it.

I hope you can keep up the good work while 'on The Road' aeldric.

Make sure that you include the Adelaide Hills and the South West of WA in your tour. I imagine the area around Walpole/Denmark/Pemberton would be an excellent area to achieve semi-self-sufficiency with plenty of tall timber and cheap land, clear streams and good soil and not too crowded already.

Hmmm - are you sure land around Denmark is still "cheap" ?

Are you going to do the doomstead thing Dave ? Or just looking for a smaller town to relocate to ?

Doomstead would be a possible word for it. I prefer the term "Intentional Community". Me and a number of other reasonable people might just put together a very, very large holiday home (or group of homes).

My wife has suggested that when we apply for the building permits we better make sure that the word "cult" is never mentioned and there should be no "Cool-aid Dispenser" antwhere in the plans.

But seriously, it is probably closer to the "Transition Towns" concept than it is to a Doomstead.

Doomstead is an opt out - this is an opt in. We want to develop skills, capabilities and resources for the transition.

The problem with any largish 'Intentional Community' is that it may look like a 'take over' and created distrust amongst the pre-existing locals leading to alienation.

I prefer the idea of integrating oneself into the local community, preparing as best one can while still carrying on a relatively orthodox and productive life ( i.e. hedge your bets by leading a dual-track life as time-frames remain somewhat uncertain), let your neighbours know how you feel without being too evangelistic, start receptive local people thinking, and as events unfold, gradually try to involve the community around you in dealing with the emerging problems in a community-based constructive way.
Going it alone is likely to be very difficult and probably would backfire badly.

I have been gradually moving towards potential self-sufficiency for several years but I am acutely aware that all of my preparations could come to nothing if the society around me became too unstable or anarchic.

Strong local community bonds are a non-specific adaptable defense against uncertainty whereas specific preparations for particular scenarios may fail if things pan out differently to ones expectations.

And besides, getting on well with one's neighbours is enjoyable anyway!

Researchers from the University of Wollongong, on the New South Wales south coast, are part of a group to have developed new technology with the potential to make hydrogen fuel from water.

Wow, that's never been tried before! I'd always wondered what thet 'H' stood for in 'H2O'...

"Hydrogen is of course a fuel.

No, it's an energy carrier.

"Potentially we will be able to build a solar cell which you can put on your roof, the roof of your home, and then it will split water for you and make hydrogen for you at home which you could fill your car up with," he said.

Or you could build a solar cell, which you could put on your roof, and it would generate electricity for you at home which you could put in your cars battery (or use to run your household with).

I excpect there will be a market for these things, but it'll be niche. If you want to use the Hydrogen for anything, you'll have to burn it (even in a Fuel Cell Vehicle), creating a conversion innefficiency. Taking the article aswritten, it's just an attempt to promote BAU, HMU.

It's very tempting to shoot down new ideas for renewable energy, post pictures of the Hindenberg, etc...

... but I hope these Woollongong guys have come up with adequate conversion efficiency and a cheap-enough catalyst to make their invention worthwhile.

Plants only have a maximum conversion efficiency of about 6% , and a somewhat better conversion ratio may be necessary to compete with say an electric motorbike charged from rooftop PV (described in one of my all-time favourite Oildrum articles:

But good luck to them anyway.

1791, from Fr. hydrogène , coined 1787 by G. de Morveau from Gk. hydr-, stem of hydros "water" + Fr.-gène "producing" . So called because it forms water when exposed to oxygen.

Shooting down ideas simply for the sake of it does no one any good. Shooting them down because they're barking up the wrong tree is so much better. :D

Frankly, I doubt they'll ever be able to get conversion efficiencies high enough to make a system 'match' a fully electric system, but perhaps they can build systems to provide for long-distance transport (say, in the Outback), where BEV's and Mass Transport simply aren't practical.

The tone of the articles suggests (to me, at least, and I'm usually not a Doomer) nothing more than an attempt to prepetuate BAU, with a coating of green paint.