Drumbeat: February 27, 2010

Pickens expects approval of key natural gas plan

While the U.S. may never achieve energy independence, billionaire Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens predicts Congress will pass key energy legislation by Memorial Day that can “start us back in the right direction.”

“I think Congress is ready to address the problem. The problem is we are dependent on oil from the wrong places,” he said in a meeting Thursday with the Houston Chronicle editorial board.

The legislation, known as the Natural Gas Act, would dramatically expand the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel among heavy- duty fleets. House and Senate versions of the bill provide tax breaks for natural gas-powered vehicles and fueling stations.

Oil Comfortable Around $80, But Will Demand Rise?

Nobuo Tanaka, head of the International Energy Agency noted Friday that so far this year, the global economic recovery has yet to strengthen demand for oil.

"Demand numbers have not been as strong as the macro economists say the economic recovery has been," the IEA executive director said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

Newsom, however, believes that demand could potentially accelerate during the upcoming driving season, slated to begin at the end of May and peak in the summer months from June-July.

Saudi oil drilling to be stable in 2010

Drilling for oil in top oil exporter Saudi Arabia in 2010 is expected to remain the same as last year, industry sources said on Saturday, but state oil giant Aramco would increase gas drilling activities.

Aramco's focus on gas came as the kingdom continues to step up efforts to meet soaring gas demand and after it completed last year a crude expansion project to boost output capacity to 12 million barrels per day (bpd).

"We see it (oil drilling) stable. We are not increasing, we are not dropping. We are trying to maintain around 100 rigs for the rest of the year," one source said.

Chevron Secures Shale Exploration Rights in Poland

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, confirmed that it has secured exploration rights for an additional Polish shale gas concession, although the size of the acreage was not divulged.

A Confucian Mess: Natural Gas Pricing in China

China has a stated goal of increasing its natural gas consumption. But gas only accounts for less than 3% of the country’s primary energy consumption while coal provides more than 70%, a share not seen in the West since the nineteenth century. The paltry gas consumption in China is miniscule even compared to primary consumption levels in Asia and around the world. Gas accounts for about 8.8% of primary energy use in Asia and for about 24% of total energy worldwide.

Analysis: Caribbean Contributes Natural Gas

The Caribbean is not just the birthplace of the steelpan, a beach vacation destination, and home of a spectacular Carnival celebration. The Caribbean islands are also working toward energy independence; however today the islands are predominantly net energy importers.

Environmentalists question coal's place in Obama policy

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, a longtime believer in "clean coal," is launching an ambitious and expensive plan to help the energy industry lock climate-changing gases from coal-fired power plants deep underground.

The Dirty Truth Behind Clean Coal

If you've tuned in to the Winter Olympics this past week, you likely sat through repeated showings of a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign paid for by Big Coal regarding the potential laurels of "clean-coal" technology. The premise of the 30-second spot is simple: Coal can be clean and America needs to wean itself off of foreign crude and create jobs back home by tapping our nation's vast coal reserves.

Solar power's amazing rise

Think solar panels are relics of Jimmy Carter’s White House? Actually, attempts to harness the sun's energy date to the Romans, who warmed bathhouses with sunlight streaming through large and strategically placed southern windows. But it was fear of coal shortages in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that fueled interest in solar technology.

Building green

GERMANY—The concept of green buildings started in the 1970s, when the energy crisis and environment pollution became a concern of everybody. Originally, green buildings were built out of the need and desire for more energy-efficient and environment-friendly construction practices. There are a number of motives to building green, including environmental, economic and social benefits. Also known as sustainable design, this concept integrates the building an environment using green practices employed with a design purpose.

Water fallout: Utah's first nuclear plant won't float without water rights

The Green River proposal has sparked intense skepticism. Critics ask where the funding will come from, where the electricity will go, and, of course, what will happen to the waste. But the first hurdle is more immediate. In the Utah desert, this possible climate change solution is colliding with one of its projected consequences: water scarcity.

Alternate Reality Game 'EVOKE' Uses Gamers to Change the World

To hear exactly what "EVOKE" entails is to immediately be struck by the scope of the venture. It's at once a pie-in-the-sky project based around empowering people to make positive changes to the world around them, but based around social gaming conventions to lure in people familiar with online games. "EVOKE" is like "World of Warcraft," but instead of vanquishing orcs you're fighting hunger; instead of raiding dark dungeons, groups band together to solve the energy crisis. If it sounds like a game with an agenda, that's because it is.

Nuclear Reactors, Dams at Risk Due to Global Warming

As climate change throws Earth's water cycle off-kilter, the world's energy infrastructure may end up in hot water, experts say.

From hydropower installations in the Himalaya to nuclear power plants in Western Europe, energy resources are already being impacted by flooding, heat waves, drought, and more.

Traditionally power plants and energy facilities have been built for the long haul—the circa-1936 Hoover Dam in Nevada is still a major hydroelectric generator.

But in a rapidly warming world, a site that looks ideal when it's built may be in a much different environment 50 years later. For instance, a facility built on permafrost in the Arctic may collapse due to the melting tundra.

Oil settles near $80 a barrel again

NEW YORK – Oil prices hit $80 a barrel Friday to end a wild trading week that saw prices swing in the opposite direction every day.

Crude barrels have wavered between $70 and $80 all year, and the latest batch of economic reports failed to give a clear picture of when energy demand in the U.S. would pick up.

TNK-BP Seeks ‘Game Changing’ Unconventional Gas in East Europe

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc’s Russian venture, TNK-BP, is considering unconventional gas opportunities in eastern Europe, as hard-to-extract deposits start to “make sense” with available technology and pricing conditions.

“That’s a game changer,” Chief Operating Officer Bill Schrader said in an interview. “It will have an impact globally. As economic activity recovers, that gas will be developed.”

Petrobras project sticks to schedule

Despite recent economic headwinds that forced some rivals to retrench, Petrobras remains on track to launch its biggest project ever in the U.S. in coming months, a senior official with Brazil's state-owned oil company said Friday.

Petrobras, keeping with its original timeline, is set to begin producing oil by mid-2010 from two ultradeep- water fields in the Gulf of Mexico known as Cascade and Chinook, said Cesar Palagi, a Gulf of Mexico asset manager for the company.

Mexico Aims to Produce 3.3 Million Oil Barrels Daily by 2024

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s government aims to boost oil production to 3.3 million barrels a day by 2024, the Energy Ministry said.

Western Oil Companies Feel the Heat in Kazakhstan

A consortium of Western oil companies developing a huge natural-gas field in Kazakhstan was slapped with a $21 million fine Friday, the latest step in a pressure campaign that is raising concern among investors in the oil-rich Central Asian state.

The move, against the group developing a field called Karachaganak, is reminiscent of tactics deployed by Russia, which also used penalties and investigations to coerce Western oil majors into giving state companies stakes in their projects.

Nabucco Gas Link to Europe May Secure Turkmen Supply by April

(Bloomberg) -- The Nabucco pipeline, conceived to bring natural gas to Europe via Turkey from around the Caspian Sea, may clinch a supply contract with Turkmenistan in April, a partner in the negotiations said.

As Clock Ticks, Nuclear Plant Searches for Leak

VERNON, Vt. — At Vermont Yankee, a nuclear reactor on the ropes, the search for a tritium leak that may doom the plant is proceeding as quickly as possible — which is to say, at a painstaking pace.

Managing Peak Demand With Water Heaters

Most programs for reducing peak electricity demand involve air-conditioners or (in farm states) irrigation. In Idaho, for example, the main power company pays homeowners to allow their air-conditioners to be cycled on and off in 15-minute intervals during some summer afternoons, and farmers are paid to turn off their water pumps during those times.

Water heaters can also be set up to reduce strain on the power system. Dan Tepfer, who works on “demand response” issues for the Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, a small utility in central Minnesota, said that customers are paid $12.50 per month to take part in a program that allows the water heaters to use electricity only at night — between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. During those hours, the utility has plenty of spare electric capacity — unlike the daytime, when people run their computers and dishwashers and other gadgets.

How Will Global Warming Affect Regional Climates?

While much attention has been given to the potential global impact of climate change, less has been paid to how a warmer planet would affect regional climates. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that the global average temperature will rise about 1°C by the middle of the century, but the global average does not tell us anything about what will happen to regional climates, for example rainfall in the western United States or Hawaiian Islands.

Supply and Demand: Climate study looks at risks to water source

Water managers and scientists tracking climate change said Friday that they hope a new $2 million study will produce strategies for dealing with Southern Nevada's primary water source on the Colorado River if supply dwindles and demand increases during the next 50 years.

The two-year study, which is under way, will look at risks to the supply if temperatures continue to increase as they have in the past decade, said Terry Fulp, the Bureau of Reclamation's deputy regional director for the Lower Colorado Region. The study is funded by the bureau and the seven Colorado River Basin states.

The US Chamber of Commerce: A record of obstruction on climate action

In 1883, New York faced an environmental crisis, but intervention from the city's Chamber of Commerce led to the creation of the Adirondack Park - a move that is a far cry from the US Chamber of Commerce today.

Most Credible Climate Skeptic Not So Credible After All

Patrick Michaels has more credibility than your average climate skeptic. Unlike some of the kookier characters that populate the small world of climate denialists—like Lord Christopher Monckton, a sometime adviser to Margaret Thatcher who claims that "We are a carbon-starved planet," or H. Leighton Steward, a retired oil executive and author of a best-selling diet book who argues that carbon dioxide is "green"—Michaels is actually a bona fide climate scientist. As such, he's often quoted by reporters as a reasonable expert who argues that global warming has been overhyped. But what Michaels doesn't mention in his frequent media appearances is his history of receiving money from big polluters.

Re: Most Credible Climate Skeptic Not So Credible After All

No wonder Patrick Michaels has been quiet lately. His denialist efforts were funded by the Fossil Fools, Inc. If he were dealing drugs, one would simply say: BUSTED...

E. Swanson

Not unexpected given his patrons, the Cato Institute and George Mason U. Both bankrolled in high fashion by Koch Industries. Follow the money.

Al Gore has 3-page Op-Ed in NY Times today.
We Can't Wish Away Climate Change

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

Al sounds a little discouraged, and who could blame him? In the last paragraph, he urges:

"Public officials must rise to this challenge by doing what is required; and the public must demand that they do so — or must replace them."

Yet, such is the state of U.S. opinion and Congressional stalemate now that I'm increasingly convinced that it will be the Congressmen & women who dare to take any action, legislatively, to avert climate change will be the ones facing rebellious citizens prepared to throw them out of office.

Once the public groks the fact that any policy initiative - whether it's in the form of a tax on energy, or a cap-and-trade market - is intended to ultimately raise the price of carbon-based energy, to coerce "the market" (individual consumers as well as companies) to use a lot less of it, they will simply rebel. They're already squeezed economically; when they get hit with bigger energy bills intended to force them to deal with theoretical 'global warming' and to drive their SUVs a lot fewer miles - or to give them up altogether - they will vote to 'throw the rascals out'. If you think the Tea Parties are gaining political clout now, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Wait till they figure out what "cap 'n trade' is really about. Political suicide for proponents. Stay tuned.

Dick Lawrence

Sen Graham is saying cap and trade is dead.


Supposedly Kerry, Lieberman and him have a new plan. One that puts a gas tax at the pump, but lets industry off the hook for awhile. Utilities would be middle of the road. We'll see if anything comes close to passing.

Al is deeply disappointed.
He thought he was a member of a rational species.
WE ain't what he thought we were.
He should of seen it coming.
After all, they voted for Bush junior.
Many even voted for Palin.
If you gave them a chance, they'd vote for Santa Claus.
Oh wait a minute.
They did.
BAU we can believe in.
We have met the Neanderthals and them is us.

I don't buy into the public opinion drives the politicians argument. Take the Iraq war for example. It was instigated by the Bushites and boosted by the media like some chapter out of 1930s Germany. The public went along for the ride: remember the majority thought Saddam was responsible for 9/11 according to polls.

Now with climate science we are supposedly in a regime where some noises by scum like Inhofe, Limbaugh and other shills are supposedly shaping public opinion. And the politicians are supposedly afraid of the public. This is upside down. It is actually the long-term and systematic dissemination of FUD by the media that is shifting public opinion. Climategate and glaciergate are prime examples of rubbish hate propaganda. There is simply no content in the accusations but they are blasted with all of the intensity of the campaign running up to the Rwandan genocide. Inhofe is actually calling the CRU scientists criminals for using terms like "trick" and excluding a tree ring dataset where the interpretation of the tree ring growth regime change in the last 60 years is not understood, the fact that actual temperature measurements are there during this period seems to be unimportant to this witch hunter.

Nothing noteworthy, just the usual smear tactics.

You mean like the grossly incorrect reporting in the WSJ, Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel? (If it's not behind a paywall, like most of the WSJ, one might presume there's a reason.)

Here's a rebuttal to that piece of poor "journalism". Big question: Did John Christy really make those statements?

E. Swanson

CNN is reporting that the tsunami warning sirens in Hawaii will start going off at 6:00 A.M. local time.

Wake up, Alan. Post some pictures!

Do you think that the Navy will try to move all of the ships out of Pearl Harbor that they can?

Edit: The range of estimates for maximum wave height in Hawaii appears to be between 6' and 16', so I suppose there is no real threat to the ships in the harbor. Of course, the tsunami warning covers the entire Pacific Basin.

Hawaii prepares evacuations ahead of tsunami

HONOLULU (Reuters) - Hawaii prepared to start evacuations ahead of a tsunami generated by a massive earthquake in Chile, a civil defense official on the U.S. island said on Saturday. It planned to sound civil defense sirens across the island state at 6 a.m. local time (11 a.m. EST) after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami was generated that could cause damage along the coasts of all the Hawaiian islands,

"Get off the shore line. We are closing all the beaches and telling people to drive out of the area," said John Cummings, Oahu Civil Defense spokesman.

Wow. There was that earthquake in Japan yesterday. This one is on the other side of the Pacific - Chile. And it's a monster: 8.8.

In terms of total energy released, the Chile earthquake appears to be on the order of 800 times larger than the Haiti earthquake.

I suppose that is how the Andes mountains got built -- and continue to grow. Should come as no surprise that such things will happen, though earthquake timing can be inconvenient to us as individuals.

Another Full Moon Quake to add to the list.

Here's a link to NOAA's tsunami warning page.


E. Swanson

It was reported that Lake Pontchartrain (the lake north of New Orleans) sloshed about 6" this morning in response to the Chilean earthquake.


Another Full Moon Quake to add to the list.

I know someone who is convinced there is a correlation between full moons and frosts.

Every time a frost coincides with a full moon, she is sure to tell me about it, with a "told-you-so" attitude.

Every time a frost occurs outside of a full moon, she says nothing.

Every time a full moon occurs and there is no frost, she says nothing.

If I press her for a mechanism that would explain the alleged correlation, she has no answer. The "mechanism" is actually "observational selection" or "filtering," that is, trumpeting the "hits" and ignoring the "misses."

It should be pretty easy for some earth scientist with a computer somewhere to calculate whether the correlations between fulls moons and earthquakes are anything other than random.

You don't need a computer. It's basic physics. If you can see the full moon, you have a clear sky, the ground heat will radiate into space overnight, the ground temperature will fall, and the likelihood of frost will increase.

On the other hand, if you can't see the moon, it's probably because the sky is overcast. the clouds will stop the ground heat from radiating into space, the ground temperature will not fall as much, and you probably will not have frost.

However, most people don't do a controlled study. They just look up, see a full moon, and think, "Oh! We will have frost tonight", and they probably will be right. They don't consider all the times when they look up, see nothing but clouds, and don't have frost despite the fact there's a full moon they can't see.

This is the type of thinking that leads Olympic curlers not to change their socks during the Olympics. They play a game, win, and realize that they have the same socks on as they did last time they won. So, they don't change their socks for the rest of the Olympics. In reality this doesn't improve their curling, it only causes other people on the podium to hold their noses and stand as far away from them as possible.

My computer comment was actually addressed to the correspondence (alleged) between full moons and earthquakes, not frosts. I used the frost example as just a similar-sounding anecdote. I don't believe there is ANY correlation between full moons and earthquakes.

I tried that explanation you gave on my friend for the correlation of full moons and frosts. She wasn't having any of it. She believes FULL MOON CAUSES FROST, not clear skies make frosts more likely.

Oh. I see.

Well there is probably a better correlation between full moons and earthquakes than frosts. A full moon means the sun and moon are on directly opposite sides of the earth, which means tidal forces will be at their maximum. However, I doubt it makes much difference in the overall scheme of things. Probably not enough to establish a clear statistical correlation.

Taking the opportunity to use Google, since you apparently haven't, I did a search on ["earthquakes" "full moon" correlation]. Surprise, surprise, we find the question isn't far fetched:

Strong correlation of major earthquakes with solid-earth tides in part of the eastern United States and,

The Correlation Between the Phase of the Moon and the Occurrences of Microearthquakes in the Tamba Region and references...

E. Swanson

Actually, I did look up a National Geographic article I remember reading that had mixed reviews of the idea, but I didn't mention it. Here's the quote:

According to Berkland, the U.S. Geological Survey said such a theory is ridiculous—the Earth is 82 times more massive than the moon. Though the Earth can trigger quakes on the moon, they said, the moon is too small to trigger any earthquakes.

Wrong analysis.

Tidal forces are x (small).

Earthquakes are caused (typically) by on-going movements by tectonic plates. Differential movements on the order of cm or mm/year either slip (very small earthquakes very often) or bind until the forces are great enough to "crack" the rock (geologists have a better term).

Every month the forces increase until the rocks "crack". If the increase in forces from February 14 till February 28th was 500x, it is unlikely that tidal forces could trigger an earthquake.

If the fortnightly increase is only 3x or 5x, it seems that an extra x building up to 2-28-2010 could affect the timing of the trigger point i.e. earthquake. One out of six or ten earthquakes might be triggered during a full moon.

If the fortnightly build-up is 0.25x, then tidal forces will be the dominant factor in triggering earthquakes.

I suspect that the rate of force build-up varies from site to site, and full moons might trigger some earthquakes and not others.

They're expecting the first wave to hit any minute now. CNN, MSNBC, etc., are offering live coverage.

Did any of the islands between Chile and Hawaii get tsunamis?

Good thing it's a Saturday. They've evacuated at least a mile from the shore. It would be really disruptive on a weekday.

A tsunami amplitude of up to 2.6 m (8.5 ft) high was recorded in the sea at Valparaíso, Chile.[5][31][32] An amplitude of 2.34 m (7.68 ft) was recorded at Talcahuano in the Biobío Region.[2] Some sources claim that a massive 40 m (130 ft) tsunami struck the Juan Fernández Islands, located 667 km (414 mi) off the coast of Chile, resulting in catastrophic damage. However, this claim is not yet supported by officially released data.[33]

In fear of the coming tsunami, partial evacuation was ordered in Easter Island, about 3,510 km away from the coast of Chile. The tsunami wave arrived in Easter Island at 12:05 UTC, measuring 0.35 m.[34][35]

2010 Chile earthquake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

0.35m, ROFL. I wonder how they're going to get them to evacuate next time. Reminds me of tornado warnings in the US South - these days the criteria are so sloppy (excuse me, "precautionary") that if it's summer, there's a tornado warning.

The thing about tsunami warnings is that most of them are false alarms. The ones which aren't false alarms, however, can kill an awful lot of people. It is difficult to know in advance which is a false alarm and which is not. You have to wait until it hits the shore to be sure, and by that time it's too late.

Friday night failures:

FDIC Shuts Down Banks in Nevada and Washington

Regulators shut down banks in Nevada and Washington on Friday, marking the 21st and 22nd failures this year of federally insured banks.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Carson River Community Bank, based in Carson City, Nev. and Rainier Pacific Bank in Tacoma, Wash.

Carson River Community Bank had $51.1 million in assets and $50 million in deposits as of Dec. 31. Rainier Pacific Bank had $717.8 million in assets and $446.2 million in deposits as of Dec. 31.

As many of you know, I don’t consider ground source heat pumps to be particularly well suited to the needs of the residential sector due to their high capital cost. I’ve always argued that it makes more sense to invest these same dollars improving the thermal performance of the home and the remainder on one or more high efficiency air source units. It seems I’m not alone in my thinking:

Ground-Source Heat Pumps
Despite being highly efficient at turning kilowatt-hours of electricity into heat or chilled air, ground-source heat pumps have a significant drawback and usually aren't the best heating system choice.

The reason I’m not a huge proponent of GSHPs is that they’re really expensive. Most of the expense is due to the cost of digging trenches and laying tubing. In addition, field experience shows that these systems often aren’t meeting performance expectations. Sometimes the annual COP turns out to be only slightly higher than 2.5.

Meanwhile, performance of air-source heat pumps--in particular, the ductless mini-split heat pumps that have been popularized by such companies as Mitsubishi, Sanyo, and Daikin--have been improving dramatically in recent years, especially at low temperatures.

See: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/energy-solutions/ground-s...

To expand upon this a little further, let’s assume an older, less well insulated home has annual space heating requirement of 20,000 kWh. At $0.12 per kWh, the cost to heat this home with electric resistance is $2,400.00. A conventional air source heat pump with a HSPF of 7.7 (the current minimum standard), drops this to just under $1,050.00 and a high efficiency inverter system such as the Fujitsu 12RLS can do the same job for as little as $680.00. The Fujitsu has a HSPF of 12.0 or a seasonal COP of 3.5, which puts its performance on an equal footing with that of a typical GSHP.

I obtained a quote on a 12RLS earlier this week and I can purchase one (wholesale) for $1,600.00 CDN. Throw in another $500.00 for installation and I’m up and running for something in the range of $2,100.00 CDN. For U.S. readers, the retail cost, online, is roughly the same (see: http://home-and-garden.become.com/fujitsu-halcyon-12rls-wall-heat-pump-2...).

So, is there any reason why I should spend $20,000.00 or more on a GSHP when perhaps two high efficiency mini-splits at $5,000.00 can offer similar cost savings?



I really liked your posting on air source, and the Sanyo models last year. I had no idea they were pulling heat at 10F and below. One drawback I've run across is that at low temps, the pumps are pushing air not much more warmer than room temp, so it takes forever and that warming effect of standing next to the heater when you're cold is lost. Beats the $ of resistance heat far away tho.

Thanks, Doug. Unquestionably, a major weaknesses of all heat pumps, including high efficiency ductless models. The supply temperature will be much lower than that provided by a forced air gas or oil heating system and you can't stand in front of one as you would a wood or pellet stove and bask in its warmth. And because they can't rapidly raise room temperature in colder weather due to their smaller size, I tend to leave mine at a steady 20°C/68°F, day and night, with the fan on its lowest setting; a slower fan speed does help minimize the risk of "cold blow".

So that I don't mislead anyone, I'm guessing the outlet temperature at -10°F/-12°C might be in the range of 100°F/38°C, or possibly a bit more, but that's pretty much normal body temperature, so direct exposure to bare skin at higher fan speeds could result in minor discomfort. For anyone who may have missed it, the following youtube video shows the supply temperature of a Daikin unit under these colder conditions.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_7KKyuwlOM

Also, as some of you may already know, many electrical utilities in the Pacific northwest are offering generous incentives to homeowners who switch from baseboard electric heat.

See: http://www.nwductless.com/


My thinking is that the technology would be at a much more cost-effective scale as the centerpiece of a district heating/cooling plant. The plant could also use solar thermal or PV, or wind, or biomass or biogas combustion, to drive the large-scale geothermal heat pump. This could then deliver heated or cooled water to residential heat pumps, which would operate MUCH more efficiently than do the ones that must pull heat out of cold air or coolth out of warm air. The geothermal installation for the district plant would be a larger scale and more expensive than for residential units, but there would be considerable economies of scale achieved.


A district heating and cooling system such as you describe could work well in densely populated areas. Toronto's enwave system is a good example (see: http://www.enwave.com/home.php).


Paul, Several weeks ago I said that my Mitsubishi system was failing to keep up in the unusual cold here in Florida.

I'm pleased to say, I've solved the problem. Keep the fan speed on high, as opposed to automatic fan speed. I also placed a small fan across the room blowing toward the intake. Now it will bring the room up to whatever temperature I set in a short time, and keep it there.

The Florida Paul

Hi Paul,

I'm pleased to hear you were able to get this performance issue resolved. Friends of mine installed two Sanyo units in their home and complained that one of them didn't work all that well. As it turns out, the vanes on the unit were shooting all of the heat straight down behind a TV cabinet, so much of this heat was trapped behind the cabinet and back wall; simply adjusting the vanes up a few degrees made a world of difference.



Of course you would spend the $20k, if your "green energy/green heating" contractor tells you to!

Unfortunately, some such contractors are giving the industry a bad name, as they have realised they make much more money selling expensive systems than cheap ones. A classic case of there not being much money in it for them with simple and cheap systems. That is the same reason why some people have been charged $5-8k for solar hot water systems.

I have always been of the opinion that the cost of groundsource is rarely justified, unless you have a very large area to heat, which is not the case for a house.

One thought I had about air source heat pumps - would it make sense to put the "outside" unit in the roof space of the house (assuming we are interested in heating only, which is most of Canada). This would have several advantages - it would recapture heat that escapes through the attic insulation, and it would (when there is no snow on the roof) be harnessing he heat that is gathered by the sun on the roof, in effect turning the whole roof into a low temp solar collector. You would need to have adequate ventilaltion of the roof space, but that's not a bad thing. For places that get snow cover, it would help keep the roof space cool, to avoid ice damming.

Doesn't get that cold here in south coastal BC, but even so, my roof space is the warmest "outside" air I can find - the heat pump would have to be more efficient in this situation?

I think this idea is unwise. You would likely decompress the 'roof space'. This would increase the inflow of moist air into the roof space on some days and increase the inflow of cooler air on others. When the escaping warm and humid interior air meets this cooler 'roof space' air, you will have a problem with condensation. You do not want moisture anywhere within your building envelope, which includes this space.

If this space is warm due to escaping building heat, then you should treat that as a problem and increase the insulation and air tightness. If this space is warm due to sun on the roof, you should be increasing its ventilation. The closer you can get to equalizing the air in the roof space with the ambiant outside air, the happier your house will be, and we all know that happiness increases longevity.

Anywhere in southern BC, Cranbrook west, is ideal territory for air source heat pumps. But stick to the plan and forget about 'preheated intake air".

Hi Paul,

I wouldn't recommend this route for several reasons, one reason being noise transmission into the living space. Best to keep the compressor outside where it has access to good air flow and, ideally, sheltered from prevailing winds, snow drifts and potential ice damage.


Just to add my 2 cents...I installed geo just over 3 years ago in a mid-Indiana home. I installed a 27 SEER unit for around $16,000. I agree about geo being a large expenditure. It only makes sense if one is living in home for the long term. One thing to keep in mind is that there can be local incentives to push geo into the "makes financial sense" category. My property taxes were lowered by $500 per year for installing geo (for as long as the geo is working!). That local incentive pushed my over the top for installion. Without the incentive, I agree with you, it's hard to make a financial compelling case for geo.

I'll have to say that new windows, by far, have been the most expensive green improvement that I have done.

I'm pleased to hear it, heater. So long as homeowners do their due diligence, investigate all options and find the right contractor, it could very well turn out to be one of the better choices. I cringe, however, whenever I hear of folks spending $40,000.00 on a GSHP and the thing doesn't work as well as expected/promised or was installed improperly. It gives the entire industry a black eye and unfairly punishes those who do good work.


Part of the high price is the low number of installations. If several companies in an area were installing full time the cost would likely be lower, especially in new construction. If a general contractor was frequently installing a GSHP system with a new home it would be easy to do with the final grading.

For someone with some equipment expertise it's a pretty easy do-it-yourself project.

I've been told that in some areas idle well drilling equipment is being used to install the tubing.

Hi dc,

I guess individual circumstances vary and, for some, the planets do align properly, but I would weigh both options very carefully before making that commitment. As you reduce your home's space heating requirements, any economic advantage of going with a GSHP diminish that much more. That's why the majority of R2000 homes in this country are heated with electric baseboards -- their space heating requirements are so modest it's hard to justify anything else.


The need for air conditioning changes the equation too.
Another possibility is a pond. Lots of creative ways to install a heat pump. But I expect to use natural gas for heat for years.

Adequate dehumidification is an issue with very high efficiency heat pumps.

I am thinking of a zone heat pump, with the outside compressor mounted under the house (raised 3', covered with plastic as a vapor barrier and to just make it easier/nicer to work underneath.

My central a/c is set up for maximum dehumidification ("low" fan speed selected plus humidistat (slows fan even more when RH > 50%)), so I can "get away" with inadequate dehumidification from a supplemental unit.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency,


Hi Alan,

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Most if not all ductless systems have a "dry mode" that is designed to remove excess moisture without over cooling. I use this setting a lot during the summer months as our coastal climate is both cool and wet. The compressor runs at a very low speed and this allows it to remove a good deal more moisture than a conventional system. In addition, the circulation fan runs very slowly and intermittently so moisture droplets have a chance to drip off the coil and drain, as opposed to being sucked back into the room.

I came across this comment posted by an owner of a 25 SEER Fujitsu 12RLS and this is what he had to say:

My house is a ranch, with the living room/kitchen section having high ceilings, large windows and a sunroom. The other section contains bedrooms, with conventional eight-foot ceilings and standard sized windows. In addition, the bedroom section has much more insulation in the attic and on the walls, so this section requires very little heating and cooling while the common space requires considerably more.

With my existing GSHP, during the summer, we have to run the air conditioner quite a bit in order to cool the big rooms. Even then, they're usually not very comfortable. Either the system is blowing lots of cold air or it's off and the humidity and temperature rise quickly. This is a sign of an over-sized air conditioner. The problem is, in order to satisfy the heating requiremnents of my home, I had to get a larger heat pump than needed for cooling. In order to reduce this problem, I installed a system one size smaller than really needed for heating so that it would be better suited for air conditioning! Even so with a central system, my bedrooms freeze and the common areas are uncomfortably warm and humid.

In an effort to rectify this situation, I installed a Fujitsu 12RLS (one ton cooling capacity) system in the living room. While it does require some tweaking of the blower speed for optimal operation, the system works much better than the GSHP. Since it has a much lower capacity than the main system, it runs longer. This is desirable for space heating/cooling as it results in better dehumidification in the summer and more uniform temperatures. I am now able to dial in exactly the conditions called for by the weather. If it's cool but humid, I can operate it in it's "dry" setting, where it acts as a dehumidifier and provides minimal space cooling. If it's mid-day and the sun is blazing down, I can turn it up to max cooling.

Source: https://sites.google.com/a/etccreations.com/energy/fujitsu-rls


A builder I know in MA, Carter Scott, built a quite-affordable "zero-energy" home not far from where I live in Massachusetts. The house envelope is very tight as well as deeply-insulated - not quite to "Passiv Haus" standards, but close. Here's Carter:

Since our heating load is very small due to the use of super-insulation, we don’t need an expensive heating and air conditioning system. We looked into mini-split-system air-source heat pumps. Relying on this small, high-efficiency system helped offset our investment in super-insulation and windows, while making the most of the PV-generated electricity. Our peak heating load on the house is around 10,500 Btu — so low that we can heat the home with the equivalent of two 1,500-watt hair dryers and an 80-watt light bulb! The math: 1,000 watts equals 3,413 Btu of energy; so 10,500/3,413 equals 3.076 kilowatts (kW), or 3,076 watts, of heat required at design temperature.

We selected a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim split-ductless air-source heat pump (mrslim.com). We installed a 12,000-Btu head downstairs and a 9,000-Btu head in the upstairs hall. That provided both efficient heating (HSPF of 10) and air conditioning (SEER of 16). The cost of the system was $5,250 installed. The affordable heating system we previously used in our homes was $6,800 and included no air conditioning. The typical heating and air conditioning system would cost about $14,000 for this size home. So our investment in the super-insulation and high-performance windows was more than offset by the reduced heating cost and the value of the air conditioning system.

The homeowner turned on the air conditioning system once, just to see if it worked; other than that single test, they have never used it. Keep in mind this is a reasonably affordable house. Read more about it at:
(Solar Today article.

Dick Lawrence

Thanks, Dick, for sharing this. One thing for me to natter on ad finitum about such things -- much better to be able to read a case study like this.

I'm now mulling over whether to replace our main floor unit with a new Fujitsu. The 12RLS is approximately 1.7x more energy efficient than the Friedrich now in place and it would supply far more heat when temperatures drop below -10°C. Last year, the Friedrich used a total of 3,245 kWh so, theoretically, the 12RLS could do the same job for 1,947 kWh, a net savings of some 1,300 kWh or a little over $150.00/year at current rates. It's hard to justify a swap-out strictly in economic terms, but it would go a long way towards furthering our goal of getting our home's total energy use closer the 10,000 kWh/year mark (currently, we're running in the range of 12,700).


I am considering the fujitsu 9rls for a small area and run it on solar

Inverter .. 48v DC to 220 AC. Low setting draws about 1 amp

these folks did something similar ....


Hi jmygann,

The Sanyo 12KHS71 that serves our lower level is an inverter model and although it's less efficient than the Fujitsu 12RLS (9.3 HSPF/17 SEER), it operates at 115 as opposed to 230-volts. I don't know if that would be important to you or not.


ASHP's would also be a really handy way of integrating lots of wind power.

1,000 heatpumps each able to draw up to 3kW would be a good match for each 3MW turbine the turbine would generate around 7.5GWh/yr which would provide 10GWh of heating requirements from 3.5GWh of electricity leaving 4GWh to cover the electrical demands of the houses ~4MWh/property per year.

You could get your 2 ASHP's and enough wind capacity to power them for life for the same cost as your GSHP.


The approach you describe could work well in the UK and in other parts of Europe where hydronic heating systems are more popular than here in North America. Air-to-water systems such as the Mitsubishi Ecodan (see: http://heating.mitsubishielectric.co.uk/) have the ability to store excess heat in their buffer tank and DHW cylinder so there would be no obvious impact with respect to personal comfort. Air-to-air systems are more problematic in that room temperatures can quickly deviate from their set point and thus the "intrusion factor" is that much greater. In any event, the more on site storage capacity you have at your disposal, the greater your ability to accommodate the bumps and dips in supply.

As a sidebar to this, I purchase 1,100 kWh/month of wind energy from Bullfrog Power (see: http://www.bullfrogpower.com/) which is more than enough to satisfy all of our household needs, including our two heat pumps. Prior to this, when we heated with oil, there was no convenient way to offset our boiler's CO2 emissions.


Happy days are here again?

GM announced that its Cadillac Escalade SUV is selling far better than expected, particularly the $81,600 'Platinum' version, and that there are places around the country where the inventory of SUVs in general is down to a 'precarious' 30-day supply.

This should serve as a good reality check for those here at TOD who optimistically think that some sort of sea change is taking place in the attitude of the American consumer.

I bet if we re-instituted cash for clunkers we could move even more - I've certainly seen a whole lot of shiny new full size pick ups around my area that curiously started to show up right around the time C4C was happening. I'm sure most of the grifters are writing the Escalades off as a "work" trucks ("How else can I get to work on Wall Street - didn't you hear we got two feet of snow ?").

The more of these they put on the road the greater the chances that there will be a sea change in "attitudes" down the road - courtesy of $5+ / gallon gasoline...

There are times I'd like to see more luxury SUV's on the road because I know they drain people's pockets for other stupid things, and when gasoline spikes again there'll be less traffic for my little car because they'll all be stuck at home broke.

Sub -- Unfortunately the world doesn't work like that. If some one pays $81k for a vehicle they won't be sitting at home even when gas reaches $10/gal. OTOH, a person who can scrap together $10k for a small 4 cyl vehicle will be sitting in the driveway listening to the radio when gas prices spike.


Yeah, unfortunately that's the way it does indeed work.

It brings to mind visions of the Cold War-era Soviet Union ... where huge ZIL limos (that looked suspiciously like '56 Packards, mainly because they were, the Soviet Union having bought up the old body-stamping dies after Packard went bust) would shuttle Communist Party aparatchiks to and from their appointed rounds down wide and bleak empty boulevards, scattering the gray downtrodden proletariat in their wake.

There will always be big expensive cars and people with enough money/clout to drive them, regardless of how wretched the masses become.

Pain is never distributed equally.

For what it's worth, some google trends:

Peak oil:



Jared Diamond:

Organic gardening:

That is basically a random selection of the first five terms I could think of related to our predicament. The general pattern is one of slow decline in interest with seasonal variation in some cases.

The Oil Drum (not sure why it starts in 2007...?):


Seems to be a permanent increase in "worried" about mid 2007.

The future appears seasonal, steady, and mostly of interest to Candians.

What's going on with New Zealand? They don't seem to care about Jared Diamond, but everything else they're near the top of the list.

Interesting stuff. When using things like "The Oil Drum" as a google trends thing, there is something important to consider:

The number one search term on Google is "facebook" because a lot of people have the habit of typing familiar websites into google anyway. I do this to get to the oil drum and all the other websites I visit even though I am perfectly capable of remembering the URL, and apparently so do a lot of people.

It's good to see a (few) positive things.

Yes, but I just did a search on "Sustainability" and it posted fairly steady increases. "Frugality" posted huge increases out of nowhere in late 2008 and has stayed high ever since; "money saving" has also posted a substantial increase.

At the poles, the ice is melting, huge slabs falling into the sea. But the ice that hasn't melted yet is, well, still ice.

GM announced that its Cadillac Escalade SUV is selling far better than expected, particularly the $81,600 'Platinum' version, and that there are places around the country where the inventory of SUVs in general is down to a 'precarious' 30-day supply.

Yeah, here we go again. People have really short memories.

Hunker down, put in a good stock of firewood, trade in your car for a bicycle, and don't invest in anything vaguely speculative. Of course the US government now owns 60% of GM, so this could be another bad experience for the US taxpayer.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - Alberta Einstein

But the person who can still afford to plunk down $81,000 just for a car, at this point in the recession and with credit tighter than it used to be, may not really need to worry too hard even about a scenario where gasoline reaches $10 over the lifetime of the car.

[Oh, and my usual rejoinder to tropical flowers posting on this board. Many parts of the USA annually experience a season called "winter." Given the intense steady flow of news about "winter" this year, I can't understand how anyone could miss that. So: use a bicycle as supplementary transportation in seasons and in places where it's useful? Sure, very possibly, if you're young and strapping, or older and genetically lucky (remember, nearly half the current population would have been already dead a century or two ago), or if you happen to live in a place that's dead-flat. But "trade your car in for a bicycle" and thus rely exclusively on the bicycle in "winter"? Not even with the Nokian tires. Have you lost your mind? Fuhgeddaboudit.]

Egill Hreinsson, professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Iceland, bicycles year round to work. He says that the German studded tires feel safer in winter than regular tires do in summer.

The renewable energy potential of Icelandic winds is awesome#. They are strongest in the winter.

So, winter is our more moderate climate should be bikeable for those that want to, or have to.

Best Hopes for Year-Round Bicycling,


#Only foreigners use umbrellas in the summer in Iceland. The winds soon tear them to pieces.

Sure, with seven billion people in the world, one can indeed locate an eccentric example (enjoy) or three of virtually anything. In a large enough sample, even improbable things must be encountered. But as to the important matter, identifying approaches that might practicably scale up enough to make a noticeable difference, well, that's something else entirely, isn't it?

[Edit] That umbrella business isn't just for Iceland. I recall one time emerging from the Astor Place subway station in Manhattan to see a vast litter of countless hundreds of umbrellas. It was an odd pressure effect; it seems that people popped their umbrellas just fine when they felt the rain, then they climbed up a dozen more steps and a powerful force whisked the umbrellas away.

My circle of acquaintances is dramatically smaller than 7 billion, so the sample size is much, much less.

A reasonable number of Icelanders cycle in the summer, under conditions worse than you considerable "possible".

There are several levels of bicycling conditions, possible (Iceland in the winter), reasonable (Iceland in the summer, New Orleans in the winter), desirable (the ONLY conditions that you consider) and advantageous (it is often easier to go to the French Quarter on a bike than a car).

If people did not discount the health benefits, costs of vehicle ownership and environmental benefits, it would be advantageous much of the time.

For a majority of people (including children) in the USA, for a majority of the time, it is reasonable to bicycle.

Best Hopes for making it more advantageous to bicycle,


I'm not sure that the people who have plunked down $81,000 for a car have considered the possibility that they may not be able to afford to buy fuel for it. It's only the people who aspire to be richer than they are who spend a lot of money on cars. Really rich people, in my experience, have better things to do with their money.

But "trade your car in for a bicycle" and thus rely exclusively on the bicycle in "winter"? Not even with the Nokian tires. Have you lost your mind?

No, but apparently many people around me have. I live in a town in the Canadian Rockies. You see large numbers of people around here riding bicycles, even in the dead of winter, at 40 below zero.

Personally, I'm more restrained, but I was thinking today that I really should get the bicycle out and do a spin around the neighborhood because the temperature has been above freezing during the day and most of the snow is gone.

We had 45 elk in the back yard yesterday, so I'll have to be careful. From what people have told me, running into an elk on a bicycle can be a really bad experience - at least if you hit it and knock it off its feet it is. Soon the grizzly bears will be out, and you don't want to meet a grizzly on your bicycle if you don't have your bear spray handy. Guns don't work that well on them, at least not ones light enough to carry on a bicycle.

Actually, come to think of it, a little snow on the ground is the least of our worries.

Another possibility - and most likely in my estimation - is low prices for fuel, even lower than current, but shortages.

The ongoing shutdown of oil refineries world- wide indicates that the overall market for gasoline is declining, more than likely due to the high retail cost of fuel and shrinking margins for refiners:

French Petroleum Institute believes that the problem of excess production capacity in the oil refining industry, reflected particularly prominent. In the heyday of the oil industry has now decided the project coming on stream, while the consumption of petroleum refined products has continued to decline. Data show that OECD oil refinery capacity utilization is less than 80%, while the oil refining industry, profit margins also declined sharply. At the same time, a number of emerging countries are also investing heavily in oil refining projects.

Refineries are between the rock of high feedstock costs and the hard place of price- sensitive end product consumption. It's not the odd Escalade owner that is effecting consumption but the millions of un- and underemployed wage earners, both in the US and elsewhere. When faced with increased gas prices, they buy less gas.

It seems the production paradigm of sticky demand has been turned upside down. It's producer prices that are sticky and marginal demand that is fluid. The consequence is a price squeeze on refiners. What's happening with refiners is a microcosm of the effects of high fuel prices upon other economic participants, who have also been priced out of business by increasing fuel costs. Faced with rising costs and limited by their straitened customers to how much of those costs can be passed on, the refiners, like other energy- dependent businesses are failing.

If (when) enough refineries close, there will be shortages.

Thanks for the info joule. I, for one, happen to suffer under no delusions about America or its people.

In fact, I'd say its the opposite-I take a perverse pleasure in this type of news because it proves me right...if I started to see more compacts I'd be worried.

How do you think about that, Mr. Pickens?

The Disappearance of the Natural Gas Glut

The Gas Crisis of 2011

in your second link, he concludes:

"Short of the world going into a severe depression sometime during 2010, the coming drop in US natural gas supplies will put unrelenting upward pressure on natural gas prices when the market realizes the magnitude of supply deficit. When this will happen is unknowable."

Not being in the FF industry, and just gleaning impressions from this site, would it be fair to say that, although gas reserves are so voluminous (they are GAS after all..), and as such seem a little more viscerally impressive to us, that our growing attention to this once neglected resource is essentially a good indicator that we are truly starting to 'Run on Fumes' ?

jok -- Not just a ONCE "neglected resource". When I started in 1975 NG was selling between $0.00 and $0.25 per mcf. Yes...free NG. In some communities in Texas close to oil fields with associated NG the operators gave the NG to the cities for free. It was either that or burn it in the field. There was little market for NG. I began working in the GOM at that time. Many of the oil fields out there were developed. Huge NG fields were discovered in the process but never developed. Couldn't justify the pipeline costs. But the embargo days generated a change in attitude. Utilities in particular began responding to the potential supply problems with fuel oil. NG was cheap and seemed endless. Homebuilders began seeing the same opportunity and began installing more NG systems. Chicken and egg: more NG local distribution systems = more NG fueled homes and businesses.

You can see where this story is heading. Cheap and abundant resource leads to increase consumption that leads to more limited resources which leads to higher prices which leads to more resource development. Periodic economic recessions interrupt this process. During the mid 80's I was drilling for NG when prices had dropped to $0.90/mcf. This was actually very profitable due to a high success rate combined with very cheap drilling costs.

Now jump to 2005 or so and the SG plays look good: high success rate and acceptable drilling costs. Increasing oil prices supported a switch to NG when applicable. This drove up demand and drove up NG prices and that drove up drilling activity. And then WHAM! Economic slowdown and NG prices crash as well as much of the SG drilling activity. NG prices are back up now. Some SG plays are looking more active. BTW: conventional NG development right now is very attractive economically thanks to low drill costs combined with very reliable exploration tools.

Now: the $25,000 question. You are THE big capex source. Are you ready to invest a few trillion dollars into developing NG as a motor fuel source: drill the NG wells, rebuild the aging NG pipeline system, build the plants to build/convert CNG vehicles, build the CNG fuel stations, require Federal legislation forcing a certain allocation of future NG supplies to the motor fuel industries so supplies are not held captive by the utility and home use consumers. And make this huge capex commitment with not certainty that a future recession won't collapse NG prices again? A double edged sword, eh: cheaper CNG for the drivers during such times but kills the drilling economics which drops supplies which eventually drives up CNG costs.

It impossible for me to believe that a cold calculated analysis of the risk to reward nature of such a conversion will allow more than just a token effort towards a CNG motor fuel future. I doubt even absurd gov't subsidies would make a difference. But converting to an electric driven vehicle fleet with increased NG fired utilities could make sense. But there are other TODers who can expand on this option far better than I.

I think a good each way bet would be a CNG filling station every 100 km on the highways. If trucks were diesel/CNG dual fuel they could get by even if diesel were expensive, say $5 per litre or $20 per US gallon. If or when these high diesel prices arrive and rail hasn't taken freight off the road then some facilities will be in place.

If CNG takes off then it will be profitable to build more filling stations. They could also supply local farms with refill cylinders to run machinery. Currently we are unprepared for a sudden diesel price spike.

The current propane fleet# is a good candidate for conversion to compressed natural gas. The small size of said fleet shows the relative attractiveness of the conversion. The fleet would expand significantly with much greater savings, but still a "drop in the bucket".


# The Airport Shuttle fleet (carry up to 8 people + luggage from hotel to airport or vica versa) in New Orleans runs on propane. I commonly use them.

One more question - political risk. Even if you got the absurd subsidies, would you believe that they would necessarily outlast the next election?

We are not all experts on NG. But as a regular reader here, it appears just a matter of time before US NG starts down a steep decline slope, a decline that will mostly not be made up with more imports. It's just a matter of when.

Does anyone here think the two links from Financial Sense are mostly correct - will we have a crisis one year from now - or not?

Re: Pickens expects approval of key natural gas plan, up top.

That old weasel is at it again. For 81 he sure is persistent and adaptable:

But Pickens said the guiding idea of his plan has never changed: “I'm for everything American — all of it — coal, nuclear, anything American,” he said. “I'll take anything over OPEC oil.”

The guiding idea has never changed. My fainting goats are all feet up.

"I'm for everything American". Whoops the goats all fainted again. How many times has Pickens picked on ethanol calling it a stupid fuel?

But all is not lost if the old weasel can change that fast. Let's see, this subsidy for compressed natural gas will need some votes from corn/ethanol/biodiesel producing states like my own. And it so happens that the $1/gallon biodiesel subsidy has already expired and the 45 cent blenders credit is due to expire come December 31st.

Seems like votes to pass the latest version of the Pickens Plan can be had if renewable fuels subsidies expired and about to expire are also passed.

But after he gets what he wants, I expect him to renew his stupid attacks on ethanol.

For more weasel action look at this:


And it so happens that the $1/gallon biodiesel subsidy has already expired and the 45 cent blenders credit is due to expire come December 31st.

Yea, X. I got this notice from my area B-50 producer the other day:


Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has failed to extend a critical tax credit for domestic biodiesel production causing a $1 per gallon increase in the price of biodiesel.

Most biodiesel plants across the U.S. have shut down at this point as it is no longer economically feasible to produce. At Blue Ridge Biofuels, we are fortunate to have a local supply of waste vegetable oil that allows us to continue limited biodiesel production. We are doing our best to weather this storm and keep prices as low as possible, but there is no date set for the Senate to consider the tax credit extension at this point.

Due to the tax credit expiration and our lower production levels, we are dropping our blends to B20 at all fueling stations so that we can make sure you can still have access to biodiesel during this time. As soon as the tax credit is renewed, we will be able to raise our blends to B50 at our higher blend stations (Gas Up in West Asheville and Aztex BP in Sylva) and B99 for the summer months.



It's a shame since these guys have worked really hard and use waste veg oil. Seems to me they could give the waste oil users an extention.

We Asheville-area TODers should get together for some carbonated ethanol-enhanced beverages and gloom and doom repartee. There seem to be a few who haunt these pages.

How many times has Pickens picked on ethanol calling it a stupid fuel?

I didn't know Pickens calls ethanol stupid. He has now restored for himself a little bit of credibiity in my book ...

"I'm for everything American".

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Samuel Johnson, 1775


"For 81 he sure is persistent and adaptable"

I hope that I'm like that when I reach 81. More likely, assuming I live that long, I'll be sitting in a nursing home.

It would be nice to see ethanol forced to stand on its own two feet against crude oil and natural gas. We have Peak Oil but I don't believe we have Peak NG, at least not as long as my NG wells are choked back to minimum flow. The shale gas guys are killing us because they have to flood the market with NG to pay their expenses. It's better to leave the NG in the ground until people will use it more wisely, but then again I believe in universal peace and brotherhood and I know that ain't gonna happen either.

"The shale gas guys are killing us because they have to flood the market with NG to pay their expenses."

Interesting comment. I wonder how long this will last. Normally, you would expect the market to prefer the lower cost gas. Is there any data on the amount of gas that is being 'choked back'.

toil -- Last I heard very little NG is being chocked back. Perhaps Dale's situation is not typical to many US operators. We're putting a new NG well on monthly at the moment and we're pulling every trick to max the flow rate. Cash flow is almost always king. Chesapeake made noise about chocking back SG wells but someone checked the numbers and reported only a minor cut back. The SG play added a lot of rate. But a couple of years ago the Deep Water Independence HUb in the GOM brought 1 billion cf of NG on in one day. Down now some I understand. Also the Rocky Mountain Express Pipeline began flowing back in November. Not sure of the volume but it now brings a lot of stranded Rocky Mnt NG to the eastern states. Some folks in CO were a bit upset as their residential NG prices took a jump.I suspect the recession induced demand destruction accounts for much of the price drop. But prices are up some now. How long remains to be seen.

Was starting to nap when I started thinking about the Chilean earthquake, the tsunamis that threaten, etc. Then for some reason my mind jumped to the "nuclear renaissance". At that point, I couldn't nap any more. Hm.

The Earthquake thread is interesting, but what is on my mind this morning is much more mundane. And that is the stabilization that has recently set in. The Dow seem to pivot around 10.3k, oil between 70-80, interest rates are steady, the number of bank closures is predictable, prices for food and gasoline are steady. It seems as though our economy and the energy sources it draws from have stabilized.

Volatility seems to be waning in the face of stabilization. I wonder how long this state can be maintained?

My money goes on "not long".

I think the fat lady sings in April.

Everything is band-aided with Federal spending at the moment. When April's tax receipts fail to reflect the so-called recovery, we'll see the casting call for ACT II.

Everything is band-aided with Federal spending at the moment.

That's what I've been wondering - if govt. stimulus and borrowed money was simply a turnicut that would at some point need to be released, at which time we will see how things pan out.

I suppose we will know soon enough when Summer driving puts pressure on oil prices.

puzzling, isn't it? I admit that i assumed that as PO became apparent to informed, powerful people there would be irresistible impulses towards hoarding, resource seizure, overt market manipulation. I was wrong.
Likewise i assumed that the RE crash would lead to a stampede towards the exits and fear would trump greed. i thought we would see a rapid unwind by now. wrong again.
Stunning deficits should lead to higher borrowing costs, right? wrong again.
runaway inflation, i mean how in the world can we be printing unimaginable $$, running unimaginable deficits and not see massive inflation? ok, i understand the countervailing deflationary pressures, but as one who lived through the inflation of the '70's it still amazes me. so, wrong again.
Chinese appetite for US treasuries,? Check.
Iraqi acquiescence to US control of their country? check.
so...i have given up on playing prophet, it was heady stuff predicting there would be no WMD and we would be mired in Iraq for years, it kind of went to my head.
from now on i'm just going to sit back, eat my popcorn and let events play out in their own good time.

Yes, I agree in general...there's no predicting anything anymore.

However, I've learned that if there's one thing that TPTB are interested in, it's BAU. Because, of course, there's no alternative. It follows, then, that BAU will continue.

For how long? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

Some serious volatility in the meantime but only 1029 days and counting until the TSHTF.

What happens in 1029 days?

I think he's referring to the 12/21/2012 Mayan prophecy.


OT ?

How does one modify an existing Wikipedia entry ? Although not pressing ATM, how does one post a new Wiki entry ?

Tangentially Peak Oil related.



To edit, click on the edit tab at the top of the article. To start a new one, search for the name of the article and then click on the red link when the search fails.

I've only edited a few; when doing so I'd just emulate the existing entries and fit in my new entry to the page, which was the megaprojects wiki. Test your results in the Wiki sandbox first.

I'm constantly using the CoLT extension for Firefox, which can copy a link in the Wiki format if so desired. Another very handy extension is the Text Formatting Toolbar, which can work in Wiki.

The Wiki editing interface is really kludgy, I don't like it at all. Until they automate the formatting I'll stay away. I'm sure many others feel the same way, it's on the level of working with the text of application macros: nothing like real coding, but a big enough chore to dissuade me from mucking around with it.

An article for the "Rock"

A game of Chicken or Chicken Little (Re: Nigeria)

Welcome the Chinese
The aggressive push by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) into the Gulf of Guinea has presented an irresistible alternative for the continent’s energy producers. In Angola, Gabon, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, the Chinese with their country’s voracious appetite for energy and commodities have elbowed their way in. With deep pockets and a willingness to work on the producers’ terms, the Chinese have gained ground where Western majors have slipped out of favour. This has further emboldened the producers to place more stringent demands on their traditional oil exploration partners. Arguably, the origins of newfound assertiveness can be traced back to Beijing’s door.

Whether the bill passes in its current form or admits more amendments, the glory days of exclusivity and privilege enjoyed by the oil majors in Nigeria are numbered. Yet the question remains: will the devil that Nigeria has known since crude oil was discovered in Oloibiri half a century ago be better than the angels it is yet to be fully acquainted with? The euphoria of self-determination can often hide the brutal uncertainties of sovereignty. In the final analysis, arm-twisting the oil companies is the easy part. The real measure of success will be how successful the PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill) will be in delivering the goods from higher revenues to local citizens.

Interesting WT...thanks. FWIW to those who might be mislead by the headlines the oils haven't called the shots per se in these countries for many years. It would be more correct to classify them as co-conspirators. TPTB in each country set rules and enforce them as need be. The companies control the situation to the extent they control the bribes. A couple of months ago the Nigerian gov't offered a threat to the Chinese: "Do not try to exploit our black brothers and steal their resources". English translation: "Our cut on the deal isn't sufficient. Time to renegotiate." I've worked in Equatorial Guinea and have seen the process first hand. ExxonMobil is a first class corporate partner. They've developed the country's resources and dutifully wire the gov't share on a regular basis. And the gov't couldn't be more pleased with the relationship. Granted 95%+ of the citizens live on a starvation diet despite being one of the the richest countries per capita in the world. But ExxonMobil, as well as the EU which receives all that oil, have no problem with the current state of affairs. The situation is completely legal....by EG law, of course. Yes...quit legal. From a moral standpoint...not so much.

i own a trek 1000 bicycle. last year i road i everyday for 40 minutes during spring and summer of '09. i was unemployed. i waited until 8:30 am when people who had jobs went to work. had to be home before 11 am. lunch traffic starts then.
i never went out in the rain although i was out in threatening weather. the bike sits in the garage when temps drop to 40 F.

i did have a job 8 miles away about 3 years ago. i was deathly afraid of motor vehicle traffic. people would pop a bicyclist, keep on going and say, "what was that?".

i will walk in snow and cold. do that at the state park nearby. wind is the biggest downside. wind chill to be precise. walking has no wind chill except what nature provides. bicycling can compound that greatly. no doubt special clothing is needed when bicycling in winter. this i havent heard mentioned. i admit to being a sissy boy. no sub freezing bicycling for me.

the moon causes tides on earth. the moon is the main reason we have shell fish. the moon keeps the earth from tipping over on it's axis.
i do believe that the moon and sun and other planets interact with each other electrically and gravitationally. some earthquakes must be triggered by the gravitation of the moon and sun.

some pundits say the earth's crust can slide over the mantle. some pundits say this can happen at any time. do a web tube study.

there was a time when no one believed in continental drift. or magnetic pole reversals. or asteroids hitting the earth.

our scientific tenure on the earth is very short. to say we know all there is to know about complex (and chaotic) systems that have been around for billions of years is hubris.

lowering wages and benefits and eliminating soc. sec. is the only way to avoid PO.

"no one gets out of here alive"-greetings from the humungus

"it's all good"-anon.