Drumbeat: April 19, 2010

Algeria Oil Minister: New US Gas Output Leading To LNG Glut

ORAN, Algeria --(Dow Jones)- New natural gas production from the U.S., along with liquefied-natural-gas projects globally, is leading to an excess of capacity in liquefied natural gas, Algeria's energy minister said Monday.

Chakib Khelil, speaking before a meeting here of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, of which he is president, said the glut had led to a drop in prices to which the group was trying to find solutions.

Amid a recent drop in demand, "the spectacular development of non-conventional gas production...[in North America] seems to be sustainable" due to technology, Khelil said. This will "generate idle capacity in regasification."

Russian minister says shale gas a problem for Gazprom

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Rising shale gas production, which allowed the United States to surpass Russia as the world's largest gas producer in 2009, is a "problem" for state-run gas giant Gazprom, a government minister said on Monday.

... "The influence of shale gas raises the prospect of change on gas markets," Trutnev told reporters.

"We have a problem with shale gas. This is not only my position, but the position of Gazprom as well," he said, adding he had recently discussed the issue with Gazprom officials.

When the U.S. energy secretary spoke of "peak oil"

... He was referring to the arguments of ASPO that we have already reached peak oil.

The U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, knows and understands the issues of global peak oil production. During a talk he gave in March 2005 as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, Steven Chu advanced the hypothesis of an imminent decline in world production of liquid fuels (ppt 3.6 MB, see p.16) .

Interesting: Steven Chu at the time chose to put forward the thesis of Colin Campbell, founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), a research group composed of academics, and especially leading engineers who previously had worked for the oil industry. The arguments of ASPO have been considered as overly pessimistic by most official sources (firms, governments, etc..)

Democrats Target Tax Breaks for Oil, Gas Producers

Democrats hunting for ways to pay for another jobs bill may train their sights on a familiar foe: oil and gas.

Obama administration officials pressed their case Wednesday for an expansion of the subsidy programs that have channeled $23 billion into renewable energy generation and clean-energy manufacturing.

Ports - There will be blood

Shipping companies have drastically slashed services to this country as they try to stem crippling losses - estimated at more than US$20 billion ($28 billion) globally last year.

The shortage of space means exporters are having to book up to eight weeks in advance and orders are being bumped and left on the dock during the peak season, which ends next month. Goods are also taking a day or two longer to reach their destination thanks to a shipping company go-slow policy aimed at saving fuel, reducing the shelf life of perishable goods.

Electricity Plays Key Role in Kyrgyzstan Uprising

In the former Soviet Union, there was universal access to electricity, and the service was virtually free of charge to citizens. A challenge for the former Soviet republics has been to develop a tariff system where the prices for electricity gradually increase to the point where the revenues cover the costs of electricity. The problem is exacerbated because the Soviet-era equipment is badly in need of upgrading, and also because trading patterns have been disrupted. Fuel – which Kyrgyzstan used to have easy access to from neighboring Soviet republics in exchange for hydropower – is now a globally traded commodity. So Kyrgyzstan has to either find ways to pay near market prices, or become energy independent by increasing its capacity to generate hydropower. Both of these are expensive options. Hence the need to increase tariffs.

Economic analysis - Water Resources for the Powerful?

Egypt heralded a new phase of dispute over water between upstream and downstream countries, as well as transit countries. This dispute may well leave its mark on the entire twenty-first century, unless UN member states agree to binding international standards for sharing cross-border shared water and water basins.

Disputes among the countries of the Nile Basin ‘over sharing the longest river in the world’ turned into confrontations, following the failure of third round of talks among these countries held in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Last week, the seven upstream countries announced that they will sign a framework agreement that will overlook the two downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, and reduce their shares of the water; however, Cairo threatened that it will respond firmly to any move that affects its ‘historical rights’.

America prefers India over Pakistan

The US has advised Pakistan to remain at a distance from Iran and scrap gas pipeline deal without realizing Pakistan’s worsening state of energy crisis. Our gas needs are mounting at an alarming rate. It is estimated that by 2013-14, as against our production rate of 4 billion per cubic feet the requirement would jump to 8 billion cft per day. While pressuring Pakistan to cancel the deal, the US is not prepared to give civil nuclear facility. India opted out of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project at the behest of USA but was rewarded in the form of civil nuclear deal.

While America is prodding Pakistan hard to befriend India and stop treating it as arch enemy, it doesn’t press India to bring a change in its belligerent attitude and hegemonic policies. The US has helped India in acquiring economic, military and nuclear strengths thereby seriously disturbing regional balance of power. It has done so in disregard of the fact that India is ambitious and has dangerous designs against Pakistan. Being an apiarian country, it has constructed 62 dams over rivers flowing into Pakistan to turn its fertile lands arid. It has resorted to this immoral and inhuman practice since it is in forcible occupation of two-third Kashmir, which also enables Indian forces to encircle Pakistan. It is essentially because of sinister designs it harbors against Pakistan that it is not prepared to find an amicable solution to this chronic problem for the last six decades.

Pakistan: LHC Imposes Ban On Unannounced Power Outages

The Lahore High Court has imposed a ban on the unannounced loadshedding today.

The petitioner argued in the plea filed in the High Court that the Ministry Of Water And Power has been making false promises to the people regarding end of the power outages.

The court ordered Pepco to make the schedule public beforehand to address public grievances.

Energy crisis, public protests go side by side

SIALKOT - Excessive unscheduled power outages of electricity are affecting routine life badly, whereas public protests have failed to move government.

The daily 18 hours-long unscheduled loadshedding of electricity was badly affecting export industries causing them Rs1.2 billion financial loss daily. There is 25 percent decline in exports of surgical instruments and 15 percent decline in exports of leather garments from Sialkot due to the unending 16 to 18 hours unscheduled loadshedding of electricity.

More Pepco plans afoot to squeeze consumers dry

Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) is purchasing one unit (1kWh) of thermal generation for a maximum of Rs38 and a minimum of Rs0.5, and still the Ministry of Water and Power and Pepco itself are going to engage new Rental Power Plants (RPPs) and the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), which will be damaging the consumers’ interests at large.

The News has learnt Pepco is paying the highest price of Rs38 (Energy Purchase Price (EPP), fuel plus variable operation and maintenance cost) to the Kotri Power Plant for generation from its unit 1-2, which is being run by the company on much expensive High Speed Diesel (HSD).

Economic And Social Impact Of The Emerging Ghana Oil Industry

Discovery of crude oil off-shore in the West Coast of Ghana, specifically at Cape Three Points has been public knowledge since around the early 1990s. However, as the country gets closer to drilling for the oil find in actuality, discussions among active citizens of issues related to the enterprise have tended to take on rancorous undertones, with lack of civility, sometimes. A symposium is to take place at the Howard University Blackburn Center, Washington D. C. The symposium is an initiative of the CPP in the Washington DC – Baltimore Metropolitan Area, USA with the collaboration of the Department of African Studies, Howard University. The symposium is to offer all-comers a forum for public discussion of relevant issues of contention hoping to arrive at a consensus to inform government decision making in Ghana.

IFC helps Nepal's development bank support sustainable energy projects

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Nepal's Clean Energy Development Bank Ltd to help the bank increase finance for sustainable energy and energy efficiency projects.

IFC is advising the Clean Energy Development Bank to adopt an approach that will help the bank identify opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency financing.

Coal India Defers Plan to Import 10 Million Tons of Fuel

(Bloomberg) -- Coal India Ltd., the nation’s monopoly producer of the fuel, has deferred its first-ever tender to import 10 million metric tons of coal, which was to be issued in April, an official said.

Coal India, which plans to sell shares for the first time, may not be able to call for the tender before June as it waits for power producers to confirm their needs, said a company official who declined to be identified, citing policy.

Exxon to lead water injection project in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil has been picked to lead a "multibillion-dollar" water-injection project on behalf of international oil companies that won contracts in southern Iraqi oilfields, an official said on Monday.

Oil lower than gasoline

For the first time in recent memory, the average price of home-heating oil is lower that the typical cost of regular self-service gasoline.

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources reported Friday that heating oil was selling for $2.86 per gallon, two cents less than gasoline.

Bike, walk policy goes off track

At a time in which our roads and bridges are falling apart because of a shortage of money, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's decision to put walking and bicycling on par with vehicle travel is nuts.

The New Spice War: China, Japan and Rare Metals

During the 18thh and 19th century, there was much competition between European powers such as Britain and the Netherlands to expand their influence and control in Southeast Asia. Apart from national pride being at stake, economic considerations were also present as European powers wanted to dominate the highly lucrative spice trade. Then, spices were very valuable commodities. What is unique about spices is that only a little amount is needed to preserve and improve the taste of food. However, with the advent of refrigeration, demand for spices decreased as new and more effective methods of food preservation were found. Consequently, spices became less important and valuable.

Currently, there are signs that a new “spice war” is in the offing. However, the possible coming conflict is not over cloves, pepper, or nutmeg. Instead, the contested commodities are rare metals such as lithium, platinum, dysprosium and terbium – spice metals, used in minute amounts but highly important in various high-tech industries. They are rare earth metals, used in batteries, fuel cells and wind turbines, literally powering a large part of the new global and greening economy, and the new protagonists in this competition are Japan and China.

Kurt Cobb: Forever and a day

Talk with many green technology advocates and you might get the impression that we have forever and a day to make the transition from an unsustainable society to a sustainable one. Of course, they will tell you that one day far into the future, if we don't make the transition, we will have serious problems.

Their view is based on not one, but two assumptions. First, as I said, it is based on the notion that we have a comparatively long time to make this transition, usually claimed to be several decades. Second, it is assumed that technology will appear and be deployed in time to prevent the worst problems that might result from fossil fuel depletion, climate change and a variety of other environmental and resource challenges. In short the transition will be a relatively smooth one. Keep in mind that these are people who believe we have serious problems that need to be addressed. Their agenda as environmental matters go is actually quite radical if somewhat gradualist.

Peru town copes with being devoured by mine

(AP) -- The mile-wide gash grows almost daily with each dynamite blast, slowly devouring this bleak provincial capital high in the Andes.

The half-century-old, open-pit zinc and lead mine belches streamers of dust that coat homes. The soil is so contaminated, indigenous Quechua communities on the city's outskirts have quit growing potatoes and lettuce. Local taps run for six hours on a good week; 80 percent of available water goes to the mine.

As the government continues its aggressive push to extract Peru's vast mineral and oil reserves, communities such as Cerro de Pasco are caught in a conflict between environmental contamination and jobs that is fueling violent protests - some deadly - from the Andes to the Amazon.

Gas drilling debate rages in Del. River watershed

While gas companies refuse to identify the chemicals they use — claiming that is proprietary information — critics cite contamination problems in other natural gas drilling fields. They worry that unregulated fracking can taint drinking water, deplete aquifers and produce briny wastewater that can kill fish. In Dimock, Pa., about 40 miles west of the Matoushek well but outside the Delaware basin, state environmental regulators say that cracked casings on fracked wells have tainted residential water supplies with methane gas.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last month that it will study the impact of fracking on the environment and human health. The EPA said in 2004 there was no evidence that fracking threatens drinking water quality, but critics, including a veteran engineer in the Denver regional EPA office, argued that report's methodology was flawed.

Oil Falls to Three-Week Low on Goldman Concern, Dollar Strength

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell to a three-week low after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Goldman Sachs Group Inc., causing investors to move away from commodities.

Oil declined as European air traffic disruptions caused by Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano entered a fifth day, limiting demand for jet fuel, while a stronger dollar damped the appeal of commodities for hedging inflation.

“The Goldman case may cause deterioration of short-term sentiment,” said Hannes Loacker, an analyst at Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich in Vienna. “With demand in developed economies still stagnating, there’s a good chance oil will hit $80, depending on what happens with the equity market.”

Oil Tumbling in Options on OPEC Quotas, U.S. Demand

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC violating production quotas at the same time as demand from industrialized nations stagnates is spurring bets in the oil market that the 13-month rally in crude is coming to an end.

World’s biggest gas exporters meet to cut glut

ALGIERS - Many of the world’s biggest gas exporters gathered in Algeria on Monday in search of a plan to boost gas prices without causing further pain for any members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

Energy ministers from Europe’s three biggest external gas suppliers — Russia, Algeria and Qatar — hope the diverse group of gas exporters can find a mutually beneficial way to stem a flood of gas that has slashed their profits for over a year.

But what the countries currently competing to sell fuel into a saturated market, largely because of a surge in alternative gas production in North America, can agree to remains vague ahead of the ministerial meeting in the Algerian port of Oran.

Gas OPEC Boosting Output Sends Prices Lower for Worst Commodity

(Bloomberg) -- Algeria, Africa’s biggest exporter of natural gas, is getting no help from Russia and Qatar in curbing production to increase prices in this year’s worst- performing energy commodity.

Chakib Khelil, Algeria’s energy minister, plans to seek commitments from 11 gas exporting nations to reduce output and end a glut that’s caused U.S. prices to fall 28 percent since December. Russia, holder of the world’s largest reserves, said it doesn’t intend to cut supply, and Qatar, with the third- largest reserves, is opening new export facilities.

“The producers are living in a fantasy world if they think that they can influence prices by cutting production,” because it won’t be enforceable, John Fahy, managing director of energy consultant Eras Ltd. in London, said in a telephone interview.

‘Sleeping Giant’ Field Awakens as Apache, Forest Drill Sideways

(Bloomberg) -- A half-century-old Texas field may become one of the most profitable U.S. natural-gas developments after new drilling techniques tapped liquid fuel deposits.

Apache Corp. and Forest Oil Corp. are among producers using horizontal drilling in so-called tight-sand formations thousands of feet below conventional oil and gas reservoirs in Granite Wash, a Texas Panhandle field where output began in 1954. Some wells are yielding daily production of more than 1,000 barrels of gas liquids or oil, which are worth more than three times as much as dry gas at current prices.

Pertamina to More Than Double Oil Imports From Aramco

(Bloomberg) -- PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state- owned oil company, is in talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to more than double crude imports that will supply an expansion at the Balongan refinery.

Pertamina plans to increase daily imports by 200,000 barrels a day in addition to the 125,000 barrels it has contracted with Saudi Aramco, Pertamina President Director Karen Agustiawan told reporters in Jakarta.

Portugal refineries slow as 3-day strike starts

LISBON (Reuters) - Both refineries run by Portugal's Galp Energia reduced their output and were preparing for shutdowns on Monday as workers started a 3-day strike over pay, a union official said.

Halliburton Profit Drops as Price Slump Cuts Margins

(Bloomberg) -- Halliburton Co., the world’s second-largest oilfield-services provider, said first-quarter earnings fell 46 percent after contracts signed when energy prices were slumping last year narrowed profit margins.

Netanyahu urges 'crippling sanctions' against Iran

Netanyahu said the possibility Iran could develop a nuclear weapons program represents "the biggest issue facing our times." He called for denying refined petroleum imports to Iran and said that if the member nations of the U.N. Security Council cannot agree on such a tough move, there is a "coalition of the willing" among other countries that also are worried about Iran.

Gunmen in Nigeria kidnap two Germans

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) – Gunmen in Nigeria kidnapped two German men in the OPEC member's southeastern Abia state, security sources said on Sunday, the second abduction of foreign workers in the last 10 days.

Sinopec Starts Probe on Gasoline After Car Faults

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s largest oil refiner, started an investigation after receiving complaints that its gasoline had stopped some cars in Henan from starting while others spouted red or black liquid.

Bord Gáis powers

Mullins said the US had already discovered more than 100 years’ supply of shale gas, which was made accessible by new technologies such as horizontal drilling. ‘‘I expect an enormous boom in this where there are shale deposits, in the likes of China, India and Australia. It’s a complete game-changer, and turns security of gas supply on its head," Mullins said.

‘‘I’m a firm believer in peak oil, but I’m not a believer in peak gas.

The idea that we’re stuck on the end of a pipeline from Russia is not right. We will be importing less gas from Russia in 2030."

Our view on coal mining: Lax operators game system, keep unsafe mines running

The reaction in Washington to the Upper Big Branch mine disaster was easy to predict. Outrage. Investigations. Blame. And vows of major changes in mine safety. Likely, heated congressional hearings will follow and then, after the traditional battle with industry, perhaps passage of a new, stricter law.

Opposing view on coal mining: We're vigilant watchdogs

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspects underground coal mines at least four times a year. These comprehensive inspections take weeks and cover everywhere miners work. We look for hazards, and we get them fixed.

But it is too easy for mine operators to evade responsibility and too hard for the government to hold bad actors accountable.

Economic honesty

Last week’s article concluded that the next government has on its hands the reconfiguring of our economy to ensure the medium- to long-term sustainability. This entails three integrated tasks: the low-risk strategy on the use of our petroleum resources to maintain adequate and affordable economic activities and to ensure energy security for the country; the higher-risk development as regards the rents retained locally of seeking new FDI-driven petroleum deposits that are, if they exist at all, in more inaccessible places (ultra-deep water); and the use of available local and foreign exchange savings to build a national innovation system.

The last of these ensures long-term economic sustainability, and its construction has to be accompanied by other related socio-economic upgrades, e.g. improvement in the health services, water systems, crime reduction and prevention, transportation systems, reconstruction of our education system to one that produces entrepreneurs and innovators.

Rebuilding democracy, from the community up

It is also a level of politics that has traditionally been framed as "non-ideological" largely because it rarely involves political parties (Vancouver being the main exception). Of course all politics are ideological and business interests have dominated municipal politics for decades -- casting themselves as the purveyors of a-political "common sense" while implementing pro-business policies. But this can actually be an advantage: the majority of people identify themselves as "non-political," and that can make them more accessible at the civic level.

Into this most basic realm of politics have come a number of initiatives that are aimed in varying degrees at responding to the climate crisis, peak oil, the curse of consumerism and the disengagement of citizens from the political process.

Iberdrola Plans World’s Largest Wind-Energy Complex in Romania

(Bloomberg) -- Iberdrola SA plans to build 50 wind parks in Romania in what would be the world’s largest land-based wind-energy development.

Aiming to supply electricity to almost 1 million homes, the Spanish company acquired development rights from the Romanian government to build 1,500 megawatts of capacity through 2017, its Iberdrola Renovables SA unit said today in a statement.

Hyundai Heavy, LG Invited to Join $1 Billion U.S. Solar Project

(Bloomberg) -- Matinee Energy Inc., a U.S. based renewable energy company, said it invited Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and LG Electronics Inc. to become partners in a $1 billion solar project.

Matinee signed a preliminary agreement with the South Korean companies, the solar power projects developer said in a statement yesterday, without saying where the plant would be built.

Save The Earth, But Save Economy First

Gallup updated a whole slew of questions about the environment in time for Thursday's 40th Earth Day celebration. Their results, along with those of other pollsters, show that the neither the environment nor global warming are top national priorities. While Americans haven't stopped caring about a clean and healthy environment or global warming, concerns about the economy have pushed environmental concerns to the back burner. Beyond that, people are more satisfied than in the past with what is being done to protect the environment.

Homeowners incorporate green technology into building projects

It may look like an ordinary suburban home, but it is quite different in one regard: It generates all its own electrical, heating and cooling needs, from the geo-thermal unit in the basement to the solar panels on the roof.

Professor checks out the world's droughts

From Syria, where one million people have lost their livelihood because of drought, to Yemen, a country fast running out of water, Professor Robert Wilby is a climate change globe trotter.

The scientist from Loughborough University, in the UK, travels to countries which are at breaking point.

Bolivia Climate Change Talks Give Poor A Voice

Rafael Quispe is gearing up for his trip. He packs a small leather bag, puts on his black poncho, an alpaca scarf sporting the rainbow-colored, checkered Andean indigenous flag and his black hat. "This will be an important gathering, a very important gathering. It is about saving our Mother Earth, about saving nature," he says.

Quispe, an Aymara indigenous leader, is heading for Bolivia's central city of Cochabamba for the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, the grassroots alternative to last year's ill-fated U.N. talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Presentations from DOD 2010 Climate and Energy Symposium

From Integration & Synthesis Panel Introduction, John Benedict [PDF]

We didn’t buy Endurance in the past: when designing everything that used energy in the battlespace, we assumed fuel logistics was free and invulnerable; fuel would auto-magically appear, both in theater and in wargames

Now we know better, so we’ll value fuel 1–2 orders of magnitude higher.


What does everyone think of this Movement?

The central insights of this awareness is the recognition of the Emergent and Symbiotic elements of natural law and how aligning with these understandings as the bedrock of our personal and social institutions, life on earth can and will flourish into a system which will continuously grow in a positive way, where negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity will be constantly reduced and, idealistically, eventually become nonexistent within the spectrum of human behavior itself.

I get the impression that they haven't the foggiest notion as to what the natural laws, that they hold in such high regard, actually are. Let alone how they relate to reality and the human condition.

I wish them the best but they sound like delusional woo miesters to me.

Edit: after listening to Jaques' interview I do believe he actually understands the implication of limits but I still thinks he underestimates by orders of magnitude the limitless ignorance and capacity for hubris, of the human animal. To call his vision "Cornucopian Utopia", would be the epitome of understatements. My original impression still stands, this is pie in the sky science fiction, however good the intentions and even if they do understand limits. But one can always dream, can't one? Too bad one actually has to wake up on Monday mornings...

Was this the kid who ate paste and routinely got his milk money stolen?

Fair enough.
The over estimation of potential I will concede but the direction is correct.
We have no choice but to cooperate at this point and gauge everything according to natural limits.
No one here can say with absolute certainty that they KNOW the planet's potential but I agree it is not as abundant as these guys believe.
The point is they are trying and not just bitching on TOD.

Like he said.
"If you do nothing it guarantees nothing gets done."

""If you do nothing it guarantees nothing gets done.""

If you grab onto the coat-tails of a crazy person run in circles with them you will also get nothing (useful) done. These people are basing their model on what they want to believe instead of our "most current understandings of who and what we truly are, coupled with how science..."

Also, we do to have a choice about "cooperating" or competing.

Our leaders have clearly chosen to continue competing.

Then let's get rid of the damned leaders!

It is tough getting rid of "leaders". However, it is often (not always, but often) easy to ignore them.

Nice idea but I don't think it matters anymore - we squandered our "20 years to prepare" opportunity on the Three Stooges of Politics : Clinton, Bush and Obama. Even great scientists get sucked into the lies - Steven Chu was a real scientist and now has become nothing more than a political scientist.

Besides, the general population is allowed to vote and the vast majority of the population is caught up in stupid distractions like "Health Care Reform" and other deck chairs on the USS Titanic.

the vast majority of the population is caught up in stupid distractions like "Health Care Reform" and other deck chairs on the USS Titanic.

Amazing how myopically focused attention gets directed towards those chairs, while the fast dwindling finite resources to run the Titanic are pushed off into the periphery of denial. Soon the engines will stop running and the ship will drift with the currents of uncharted emotionally charged waters.

you WILL change your tune if you get caught up in the Health care "system"

The Transition Initiative Movement is actually getting things done and not just bitching on TOD.

No one here can say with absolute certainty that they KNOW the planet's potential but I agree it is not as abundant as these guys believe.

porge, you might want to reconsider that statement. The Earth is a closed system. The only energy input is Sunlight. This number (The Solar Constant) can be accurately estimated.

The problem that a lot of Drummers have is listening to erroneous predictions from people who don't understand numbers. Based on these numbers (absent fossil fuels) human population is way into overshoot so any assertions that we can avert a die-off through mitigation and techno-fixes rubs a lot of us the wrong way. Optimism is not a plan.


Anything is better than running full out the way we are doing now.
How about mitigation through conservation and population reduction through attrition(euphemism) and lower birth rates.
Anything that can take us the direction we need to go.
Right now it is insanity.

Don't get me completely wrong, I am in agreement that they are too optimistic but we need to try something.

Any movement that fails to address population, regardless of motive, is blind.

Life is that which wants to live in the presence of that which wants to live.

Albert Schweitzer


"Based on these numbers (absent fossil fuels) human population is way into overshoot so any assertions that we can avert a die-off through mitigation and techno-fixes rubs a lot of us the wrong way."

Just a quick question, has anyone ever actually seen "these numbers"? Where is a quick place to find them? And don't say "Limits To Growth", I liked the books direction, but it was filled with speculative statistics that have been shown to be doubtful at best and outright wrong at worst. The book may be right in the long haul, the but the statistics in the shorter haul are all over the place.


A few years ago I had a Science Professor go through the numbers of the Solar Constant for Earth. Suffice it to say the prognosis is high confidence that we are fast approaching a Bottleneck Event:

A population bottleneck (or genetic bottleneck) is an evolutionary event in which a significant percentage of a population or species is killed or otherwise prevented from reproducing.

Population bottlenecks increase genetic drift, as the rate of drift is inversely proportional to the population size. The reduction in a population's dispersal leads, over time, to increased genetic homogeneity. If severe, population bottlenecks can also markedly increase inbreeding due to the reduced pool of possible mates.

Why is that so hard to believe?


Just a quick question, has anyone ever actually seen "these numbers"?

You are kidding, right? Several countries have denuded their country of almost every tree growing, Haiti and Mexico come to mind, yet you think they might not be in overshoot. The once mighty Yellow River now only reaches the sea for a few months of the year. The Aral Sea once fed tens of thousands and supported a huge fishing and fish packing industry. Now not a single fish lives in the small salty brine pool that is left. Lake Chad is now only a tiny mud hole. Many other lakes are drying up or becoming so polluted they will not support marine life.

Thousands of species are going extinct every year. The human population grows by over 200,000 every day. The combined population of all the other great apes combined is less than that 200,000.

Water tables are dropping in India and Northern China by several meters per year. People in South Korea must wear masks several times a year because of dust storms in China. Dust storms in China are growing more frequent and more severe each year. China is literally blowing away. Dust from China is choking Taiwan as well as South Korea. Worst-ever dust storm from China hits Taiwan

And I could go on and on about the rain forest, air pollution and many other things. But I find it shocking that question whether or not that the earth is in overshoot. Good god man, words fail me.

Ron P.

Sad but true Ron. And you don’t have to just look at 3rd world countries. The Sea of Cortez was once a vibrant estuary. From what I’ve read it is now almost a dead sea thanks to water diversion of the Colorado River. California over shoot? And in one way Detroit might be another example: a population in severe decline by anyone’s standard as a result of its dependency on an unsustainable economy (US auto manufacturing). It might be on the fringe of the over shoot model but the massive population move to Florida over the decades has resulted in a big chunk of society moving into the hurricane track. One could say a part of the reason for the shift was unsustainability of northern communities.

None of these are extreme examples of course. But at one time, when only half the trees in Haiti were cut down I doubt few saw the ultimate outcome and weren‘t particularly worried.

There was a study published in Scientific American, probably 20 years ago now. It found that the carrying capacity of the earth, based on the nitrogen cycle, is about 2 billion.

The Earth is a closed system. The only energy input is Sunlight. This number (The Solar Constant) can be accurately estimated.

Yes. And that constant multiplied by the cross section of the earth is a humongous number. Raw solar energy is not going to be a meaningful constraint. Something else will limit us. Probably something related to the materials needed to support biology. Physics just can't be used to pin down the planets carrying capacity, as raw energy is not going to be the limiting resource.

Too trusting... will probably be taken advantage of.

This movement assumes that people are a blank slate that all human behavior is caused by society, that is our environment.

The reality is that we live in a society that produces Scarcity. The consequence of this scarcity is that human beings must behave in self preserving ways, even if it means they have to cheat and steal in order to get what they want. Our research has concluded that Scarcity is one of the most fundamental causes of aberrant human behavior, while also leading to complex forms of neurosis in other ways.

Human evolution, along with the evolution of all animals, has largely been molded by scarcity. In a world of scarce resources only the fittest survive. Every species, over the long run, always produces more offspring than can survive. Any species that did not is now extinct.

Although scarcity, for humans, still exists there is far less scarcity than in our evolutionary past. That is why our population has exploded. However our brains still carry the adaptations developed in a world of scarce resources. They are a Darwinian adaptation and cannot be removed by the removal of scarcity.

You can deny that human nature exists but if you do you will always be disappointed by the constant reoccurrence of what you might call "abhorrent behavior", such as greed, jealously and deception. Undesirable innate tendencies cannot be changed by education or persuasion; it can only be controlled by force or threat.

Edit: If they are correct and all this bad behavior is caused by scarcity, then things are not going to get better but a whole lot worse. In truth scarcity does cause survival behavior. Such behavior is a Darwinian adaptation found in all animals.

Ron P.

I can't disagree but the extent to which the undesirable traits manifest is absolutely influenced by circumstance and environment.

The system as it exists now actually cultivates the bad traits.

The one proposed by these guys tries to minimize the impacts of the negative predispositions.

Behavior is a combination of innate predispositions that are activated by situations.

I agree though that we are no where near evolved enough to be completely rational.

I am just tired of all this dire fatalism coming from the smartest group of minds I have ever seen in one spot.

I am just tired of all this dire fatalism coming from the smartest group of minds I have ever seen in one spot.

Damn right, I am tired of it too. So let's create an imaginary place where all bad behavior is created by scarcity and imagine that this scarcity is going to become a cornucopia. Everyone will be good and kind, all greed and crime will disappear.

On second thought, after reading the paragraph below, I prefer dire fatalism any time over downright stupidity!

For example, many people are worried about population growth on the planet, while very spooky comments by despotic figures like Henry Kissinger claim that some kind of "reduction" is needed. This is, of course, very scary. However, the real question remains: Is population growth really that bad? The answer is that from a scientific perspective the earth can handle many, many times more people if need be, once high technology is harnessed. 70% of our planet is water and cities in the sea ( one of many projects by Jacque Fresco ) are the next step.

Ron P.

Just look at how our high technology has allowed us to travel miles in the air to all points on the globe without the inconvenience posed by obstructions on the ground (except volcanoes). With air travel we have demonstrated the dominance afforded by human ingenuity over the natural world (except volcanoes) - a shining example of harnassing high technology for a brighter future for all...

Sounds like some cheesy Disney movie about the future...

Why in hell would we want more people?


They are extreme but the direction is correct and can't hurt.
I have an 11 year old son that is inheriting this effing mess.

Porge, I cannot say their direction is correct nor can I say it can't hurt. They assume energy will always be in plentiful supply and that human nature does not exist. Both are terriably wrong and because of that they are bound to fail. So for everyone who places their survival in their hands, it will hurt and hurt very bad.

Your survival Porge, is in your own hands and not in the hands of any "movement". There is no way of saving the entire planet from the catastrophe that is about to befall it. The very best anyone can do is try to be among the survivors.

The Transitional Movement is the most promising thing to come down the pike so far but they make one of the same mistakes that the Zeitgeist Movement makes. Well almost. The latter assumes human nature does not exist while the former just ignores it altogether.

Regardless of how well you prepare for the crash, regardless of how many wells you dig, how many gardens you plant and how many cans of foods you put up for the winter... you are going to have an awful lot of neighbors who do not do that. And unless you you take that into consideration you are also doomed to failure just like the Zeitgeist Movement.

I find it mind boggling that so many people cannot understand that simple fact, or simply deny it. But I guess that is just human nature.

Ron P.

"I am just tired of all this dire fatalism"

I use a different word, since there is no use arguing with a fatalist, by definition he has made his choice (If I were a fatalist, I would be on PARTY!!! MODE, I mean what does a fatalist have to lose, everything is already decided anyway, it is a uniquely comforting position!

My word is defeatist, I have said here before, doomers I can deal with, you simply say look for ways to reduce or overcome the reasons for the doom, since doomerism does not by definition imply fatalism (a doomer can be a fatalist, but not all of them are), but defeatism? Being certain of defeat by definition assures defeat. Case closed, to me of the three definitions, fatalism, doomerism or defeatism, the defeatist are by far the most pointless and pathetic. I would consider it a form of hell to spend a day in their mind.


I think there are an awful lot of smart people on TOD and one of the problems we (I'm lumping myself in with the "smart" crowd - although I think I'm downright brilliant :) ) immediately run into is that of the inertia inherent in this global system we've "perfected"... the inertia is part of a feedback loop that has resulted in the worship of most everything that is contrary to what the zeitgeist group is aiming for and morphed it into a pseudo-religion...

I don't see how anyone can reach the conclusion that this inertia can be stopped without a violent "opposite and equal" event or series of events (i.e. collapse). I really can't envision a scenario in which the brakes are applied voluntarily...

Catskill, as far as population goes, these folks don't see any need to apply the breaks, they think the earth can support many, many times its present population.

Looking at their FAQs, they show an absolute belief in the blank slate.

It is difficult for many people to appreciate the fact that what they call "human nature" just doesn't exist. People are like mirrors they largely reflect their surroundings.

All utopia schemes are doomed to failure, primarily because their idealism always demands that human nature either does not exist or is totally malleable.

Ron P.

Hope for the Best.

Expect the Worst.

Be happy with what you get.

Hard to know how to prepare if you don't expect the worst. Preparing for what you hope for as opposed to what you expect is not to smart, and undermines the motivation to prepare. If you understand the basics of thermodynamics, then understand the magnitude of our dilema, then it seems to me that the conclusions you would draw would be dire indeed. There could be a difference between dire fatalism and confidence in what you expect. That would be in how you choose to prepare.

Short story, hope I don't bore you. Mid 70s in high school, I had a teacher who spent the first several days of the new year asking a question and having each student answer the question. We were seated in alphabetical order so I was last in the class. One of the last questions was "You hear on the radio that the Soviet's have just launched their nuclear missiles. They will hit in 15 minutes. What are you going to do?" The answers all fell into one of 3 basic responses: 1) Go to Church and Pray, 2)Get with friends and Party, 3)Get with Girlfriend/Boyfriend, and "get down" (remember we were high schools kids). Finally, it was my turn. I answered and every one in the class laughed at me. My answer was "look for a fall out shelter". The entire class had a fatalistic approach to solving the problem posed, where I accepted the scenario and looked for a solution with an expectation of surviving.

If you agree that the scenario has no easy solution, and if it is unlikely that collectively we may not have the ability to work rationally for our common good, and if the technofixes only provide limited of false hope, if you expect that our governments will fail us, I would suggest you accept what is probably inevitable about the situation and look for a means to take care of yourself and family through the coming collapse.

Best wishes,


Another great FAQ from this Movement:

Do we have enough energy to eliminate scarcity?

Yes. The potential of untapped energy sources is almost limitless if we utilize desert heat concentrators, wind, wave and tidal sources. Even portions of the Gulf Stream, the Icelandic Current, and the Japan Current could eliminate all of the energy shortages in the world today.

Going through their FAQs I could go on for hours with the silly things they believe, but things that they must believe else their utopian fantasy will crumble like a house of cards.

But this is just too much fun, I've got to stop.

Ron P.

I think you are wrong to mock, without explanation and back-up.

It is absolutely the case that with sufficient investment by a command economy (rather than via a piddle-stick like Obama), there are huge sources of energy available to be exploited - wind, solar, wave, tide, hydro, geothermal, and some others. What is there to debate about this?

I think you're so heavily locked into the current paradigm Darwinian, that you can't see alternatives outside of it, unless it involves total revolution, violence, and mayhem. The reality is we could find and fund all these sources of (electrical) energy almost tomorrow, and have a good life. Millions of Americans would need to give up their love affair with McMansions and automobiles, but that is their problem to solve. Notwithstanding Donald Rumsey, TAWOL is indeed negotiable, given sufficient incentive, and good leadership - but if you accept the BAU model as the default, then you're in trouble indeed.

Thank You Cargill,

At the current level of technological ability there is much that can be improved and I mean improved by orders of magnitude.
This economic chaos that we operate under now is just wasteful, misdirected and totally unnecessary.
And I won't even use the word funding because we don't even need money or markets at this point and should destroy them so that we may focus on the only thing that really counts and that is available resources to be used as efficiently as possible.

This is, as you mention, a problem of mindset.
The first step is getting people to see that things don't have to be done in accordance with BAU and that in fact BAU is not only not efficient and productive but actually wasteful and destructive.
I will not accept that nothing can be done at this point and neither will the young people that are slowly but relentlessly organizing in an attempt to save their future.

Nothing is going to be a silver bullet but we at least have to stop the insanity of destroying the planet and using up what is left as fast as possible.
Then re-assess the current potentials and move from that point.

It just absolutely amazes me that people will choose to over-indulge themselves in the present at the expense of the future of their children and our species in general.
What a stupid hairless ape indeed.

there are huge sources of energy available to be exploited - wind, solar, wave, tide, hydro, geothermal, and some others. What is there to debate about this?

At the current level of technological ability there is much that can be improved and I mean improved by orders of magnitude.

Cargill and Porge, you are both living in a dreamworld. Sure there is a lot of solar and wind energy, but to convert our entire transportation fleet to electric energgy would take decades and even then there would not be nearly enough solar panels or wind turbines to do the trick. Of course there is always coal but those problems are legend. And... if we turned to coal power for everything there would not be enough coal to last more than a decade or two.

The problem however, is too many people. There would be a crash by the mid thirties even if we never ran out of fossil fuel.

And last but not least is this song you guys keep singing... "We can do this and we can do that if only we...." Wake up and smell the coffee guys. We are not going to do one damn thing until the crash starts to happen. Then it will be too late to do anything. The vast majority of people are not convinced by argument, only events will force them to do anything. That is just human nature and you are not going to change that.

We get these so-called solutions by the dozen. Everyone has a fix. But no one can sell that fix to the people of the world because they do not believe there is a problem even in the distant future.

Ron P.

We are not going to do one damn thing until the crash starts to happen.

This is unfortunately the truest thing of all.

Like I said what stupid hairless apes humans are.

They seem to have a good understanding of the flaws in our monetary system but have no clue about physics.

No clue about biology either.

These guys should recruit Tom Cruise and John Travolta - and then merge with Scientology.

Should make for a funny episode on South Park.

It is the exact same thing.

The Zeitgeist Movement is the activist arm of The Venus Project

The Venus folks dream it up and the Zeitgeist do the action.

Ron p.

Sure it's- I assume the "Dubaiites" would go very green with envy if they ever came across that site :-) Life is beautiful.

That is funny you say that because Dubai actually interviewed Fresco to design the city for them!!!
But he turned them down because he wanted to design it with efficiency and function in mind and they wanted to out do the Americans!!!

I am not Bullsh!ting you either it is true.

I will see if I can find the interview where he tells of his Dubai experience. He even calls them A$$holes in the interview.

At first read the aspects about human nature seems dead on. I suspect that thinking of this type is needed for any hope for human life continuing in any meaningful way.

The parts about lack of physical constraints however...???

OK, I once again agree that they are over optimistic on what can be done but they at least start from the correct premise.

AT this point we just need a new ethos and then move from there.

From the story linked up top:

‘Sleeping Giant’ Field Awakens as Apache, Forest Drill Sideways

Some wells are yielding daily production of more than 1,000 barrels of gas liquids or oil, which are worth more than three times as much as dry gas at current prices.

LOL! That's a barrel of laughs if I've ever heard one...

Reminds me of the old 100 bottles of beer on the wall song.

1000 barrels of gas in the well, 1000 barrels of gas,
bring one up and burn it away there's 999 barrels of gas...

Rinse and repeat.

Note that they say that "SOME wells are yielding daily production of more... " SOME doesn't mean all, & some wells may be producing less.

It's like some of these home-building contractors. Most are desperate for work, but if you try to get one they act as if they don't have time to stop by and take a look (however, their relatives explain the truth behind the act). They "have" to make it sound wonderful, because they can't be seen as associated with failure.

On the other hand, if they're doing that great, well good luck to them... I won't have Peak Oil to worry about ... now, Global Cooking will keep me up at nights.

As an interest owner of several Granite Wash wells, I'm laughing too.

Laughing all the way to the bank!

The answer to the question of what the person who cut down the last tree on Easter Island was thinking?

LMAO !!!!!


Can't you just see the guy laughing, maniacally running around the Island shaking the puny last tree in the faces of the his few remaining companions.

I bet they didn't eat him, I bet they used him for fish bait.

From the Bord Gáis powers article above:

“I’m a firm believer in peak oil, but I’m not a believer in peak gas.”

That makes no sense. If he understands that production of one resource can peak, how can he not get that the same kinds of limits affect another resource? A slightly more credible statement would be to say that while he believes peak oil will happen soon, peak gas is a number of years in the future.

Maybe he is thinking that methane is also produced through abiotic means, and indeed is abundant throughout the universe, that therefore it is not subject to the same sort of limits that biotic petroleum is? Of course, that assumes that we're going to the stars and won't soon be permanently grounded. EROI might be a problem, too. . .

Maybe he includes the bio-gas? Still, one would expect to see an overall peak.

The most likely case is that he’s full of methane himself. Since gas is going to make up a lot of his business, it makes sense for him to be bullish about it, whether the optimism is truly warranted or not.

I think its more likely he is only thinking/talking about a limited timeframe. I.E. we can make a good case that we are near PO, but the natural gas peak may be twenty years off. That is probably beyond his planning horizon.

Methane is easy to produce. Hell, you drop something biodegradable & leave it for a while, it produces methane.

It's a simple molecule. 1 carbon, 4 hydrogens.

Even plants in sunlight produce methane.


It is however basically solar power; You grow plants, produce methane.

You can do it yourself fairly easily. 3 or 4 plastic airtight barrels, one for the slurry, a couple for the scrubbers and one for the gas.

The slurry should be chopped up organic matter/waste mixed with water and kept warm to hot. 30-50C

The scrubbers are to remove CO2 and H2S. Water will take out the C02, and iron filings will remove the H2S.

You can condense the water out of the gas at the end of the pipe.

From: ‘Sleeping Giant’ Field Awakens as Apache, Forest Drill Sideways

Some wells are yielding daily production of more than 1,000 barrels of gas liquids or oil, which are worth more than three times as much as dry gas at current prices.

Wow! A whole 1000 barrels a day for an individual well! And using magical 'new drilling techniques'. Put peak oil on hold boys and gals.

And from: Pertamina to More Than Double Oil Imports From Aramco

Pertamina, Indonesia’s state- owned oil company, is in talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to more than double crude imports that will supply an expansion at the Balongan refinery

There's that darn ELM again.

Re: DOD 2010 Climate and Energy Symposium

The military industrial complex is not going to be caught flat-footed! No one else will be able to afford renewable energy--the DoD will be snapping up everything the Chinese can produce. I can see it now, people stand in bread lines while (lightweight) solar Humvees patrol the streets...

But the point is that DoD sees this as real and serious, not some made up fantasy or hoax.

It, however, opens a new line of argument against the denier class: you don't support the military and therefore don't support America. Talk about cognitve dissonance.

Cassandra, the ignored prophet of doom, is a woman for our times

We are living in an age of Cassandra, in which experts and ordinary people are regularly grabbing the appropriate authorities by the lapels and warning them of impending disasters — almost invariably to no avail.

He doesn't mention Peak Oil, but that is certainly the next big thing that could be added to his list of examples. Actually, the list could be almost endless. The propensity of people in positions of power and authority to ignore well-based warnings and to proceed toward disaster,is truly frightening. There has been a lot of talk here about collapse, but as I pointed out on the Easter Island thread a few days ago, leadership failure must feature front and center as a major cause for disasters all the way up to societal collapse.

I hate to have to come to such an extreme and negative judgment, but I'm afraid history pretty much demands it: authority can rarely be trusted to do the right thing. When warnings have been given and ignored, then it is time to ditch those "in charge" and strike off on your own. Best not to place oneself in a position of vulnerabilty to and dependence upon the big men in the first place, if you can possibly avoid it - you are almost certain to eventually come to grief.

Something to mull over, those of you who are looking for big, centralized government solutions to all of humankind's problems. Very likely, a big centralized government will only lead to big, catastrophic problems, duly forwarned and duly ignored all the way to the bitter end.

Never mind the government; event the average person didn't listen to Cassandra.

3,000 years and we still can't learn to evaluate the validity of another person's warning.

Regarding the DOD presentations, I also recommend folks take a look at Nate Lewis' slides. He gives a compelling presentation unless he follows someone speaking on peak oil and then he goes apoplectic. When it comes to any discussion of oil and coal resources he gets rattled believing there is so much coal that we will just switch to CTLs. We complain that Washington doesn't get the seriousness of the situation, but why would they when they hear such contradictory information?

Good point Debbie. And you're right about the Contradictory information problem.

Look at Clinton. Now he says he "should not have listened to Summers etc..." a decade late and several tens-of-trillions of real-silver dimes short. Contradictory information did him in.

One thing though. Bush and Cheney clearly understood the threat of Peak Oil and chose to "secure the oil." They apparently forgot the "batten the hatches" part because they neglected our rail and electrical grid infrastructure. Maybe Clinton was just stupid, but I doubt it. He got contradictory advice too, I guess, from Greenspan.

Poor Mr. Lewis. He sounds like a very desperate man. I bet he's feeling a little like a Yergin more and more each day.

BC Announces Site C Hydro Electric Project - 900 MW, $6.7 billion
A preemptive news release, although the major papers wrote about the real possibility on Friday. The story will be coming out later this afternoon PDT and the crew at TOD will post it to The Drumbeat. If there is any doubt whether the BC government and BC Hydro will announce this project, just look where they are holding a "conference"; W.A.C. Bennett Dam. Its not the most convenient place to get to, so leading politicians flocking there is rather obvious.

I hope this announcement opens up all sorts of debate here on TOD. It certainly will in BC. On the face of it some may say that it is preposterous to object to a hydro electric project and I would be inclined to agree. However, when one assesses the local issues such as flooding prime agricultural land, and displacing families and farms, it becomes much more complicated. And, they will need to construct more transmission capacity.

It will take political will (er, folly) to push through these basic numbers: projected cost $6.7 billion or $7.4 million/MW, energy rate $0.16/KWh, and net jobs 25 (1,100 during construction). The capital cost is almost TWICE what we would consider the viable maximum for a renewable energy project, and the energy rate they expect would not make the first cut for bidders in BC Hydro's energy RFP (Energy Calls).

Well, when you're too far north and in too much cloudshade / mountainshade for solar, and are not allowed to build wind at 3x $2,500 / kw for 75%? availability by NIMBY's, and are not allowed to build nuclear, then what are the options?

Energy Rate?

Since when was 0.16/kWh a bad thing? Yes. The local issues are extremely sensitive and it will be a major loss to the north in terms of major farmland, but, IMO, Site C represents the last best source for clean (relatively), large, and cheap (source) power in all of Western Canada. It is precisely what we need at the most important time that we will need it while we can still afford it.

Paying 70c/kWh for a little wind farm or run of river on Vancouver Island where the profits go south, the environment gets ripped up over and over, and the likelyhood that climate change would shut it down in 50 years is very real is ludicrous.

We (the cascadia region) will need this capacity. I support it because it is ours (BC Hydro), it is big and cheap (both initial and longterm), it is less vulnerable to climate change, and it can potentially offset large polluting coal fired plants in Alberta.

Well said. We frequently talk about using what wealth we have remaining to build things that will make our future less painful. It does not get any better than this.

I agree. We cannot let the perfect by the enemy of the good.

Although I am not in the PNW, I recognize that with hydropower it may be one of the last places to have a decent quality of life, that is until the rivers begin to run dry on a cooked planet.

Exactly the type of debate I wish to foment. There will be sides to this debate and probably not much consensus. However the argument of "Since when was 0.16/kWh a bad thing?", and "it is big and cheap" is self contradictory. The IPP projects can supply the same amount of energy at less cost and at significantly less environmental damage while providing more jobs. Any IPP project over 0.14/kWh is considered a non-starter.

It could be debated that the Independent Power Producers (IPP) have a high degree of foreign ownership (read American), and profits are flowing south. There is a good explanation for this. Its because we are too conservative, and lacking in vision and drive to take the risks ourselves. Canadians are so afraid of failure they won't sit in the same room as a dictionary if the word is in it. But it doesn't matter because the IPP's don't own anything; they lease the water, they lease the land, and BC Hydro gets first right of refusal after their contract is up. Somehow this little salient fact gets lost in all the public power misinformation.

Also, it is our estimation the existing 500 kV transmission capacity is insufficient to handle Site C. This comes from one of the top transmission engineers in the country/world. He confirmed my suspicions when we looked at the BC Hydro system and said "Nope." (FYI, he designed some of the original system). Therefore, new transmission will have to be built, and where does one think that is going to happen? Another swath of land beside the existing three circuits between G.W. Shrum and Kelly Lake? Or an entirely new HVDC line with twice the capacity of the existing 500 kV AC such as we proposed during the Transmission Inquiry? The correct answer is "moot", because there will be so much furor that neither will get constructed. Just the First Nations processes will keep things tied up for two or three decades.

In the end we will have the usual Absurdistan dust-up involving the usual suspects and it may very well be for naught as, once again, no one was paying attention to a little set of natural laws we like to call physics.


If the projects under the green RFP are getting up to 14c/kWh, why then does BCH only offer about 9c for their standing offer program for under 10MW? There are a LOT of small projects (hydro and biomass) that would be very viable at 14 that are not at 9c. I would be making use of every slash pile I could find.

It seems like BCH needs to pay some attention to it's pricing if it really wants to get things moving.

But it sounds like the Site C is not really BCH's decision at all, correct?

BCH has been wanting to build Site C for many years. It is political pressure that has prevented it from going as far as it is now... the last time they tried was in the 1970s.

Paul, I have to make it quick. And thanks for the extensive answer to Chrisdale, you did a much better job than I could.

The Standing Offer (SOP) is tied to the Tier 2 energy rate of 0.074/kWh. BCH attempted, in the day, to make the SOP and Tier 2 price the marginal cost of new power. It's a good idea but they hesitate to increase either, naturally. Very few projects are viable at this rate and one of the project killers is grid interconnection. Here BCTC and BCH have tried to alleviate this capital expense by charging a Surety instead of the full capital cost.

There are viable biomass projects with anaerobic gassification under 10 MW, or using the Pristine Power model, but they all need around 0.12/kWh to be viable.

Gotta get to work...

Thanks EE,

While I am not a fan of the outrageous feed in tariffs that Ontario is doing, I do think a higher feed in tariff for the SOP would be very useful.The small projects, be it small biomass or a single wind turbine, are the ones that can be built the fastest, and are the most likely to be locally owned and operated. Very few out of province or out of country companies are interested in projects of under 2MW, but there are lots of opportunities, at a higher rate.

Keep in mind the SOP is everything from 50 kWto 10MW, and, doing 100kW project is completely different from a 10MWone. I think there should be another category for under 500kW.

I am looking at biomass gasifier (downdraft) to ICE projects, and you are really limited to under 200kW, and ideally 50-100, because of the nature of downdraft gasification. But, a wood fired 100kW project is actually a sustainable business for a guy with a pickup truck and a chainsaw - there are lots of people around here who eke out a living selling firewood, but there is only so much demand for that. They could all be making electricity too, get ten of these projects together and you have 1 MW in nothing flat. At this level, interconnection to the 25kV distribution is not an issue - a pole mounted transformer will dot he job. What is an issue is that the rate just doesn't make it worthwhile.

Alberta is giving a 6c bonus for biomass gasification power, and 2c for biomass combustion (steam), in addition to getting the market rate for power.


And, they have set up a system to recognise "micro" systems of less than 1 MW, and this is further divided into mini (<10kW, inverter based), small (<150kW) and large (150 to 1000kW). The application rules are obviously simplest for the mini category, and more complex for the large. Here is a great "how to" prepared by a consulting EE from Edmonton


For up to 150 kW, the producer gets paid the retail rate (not incl delivery charge) by their service provider. This rate is about 10c, so a 150kW biomass plant, will get 16c/kWh - enough to make any biomass system viable. For this reason, I am likely to pack up and move back to Alberta, as I will go broke trying to do it here, even though there is wood waste lying all around me.

The prov and BCH could jump start the small biomass generation industry, and make it an export industry for the province, but right now, this the place where it will be the least successful. The rules have been written with larger projects in mind, and that means the small owner operator just can't get into the game. if you had 100MW, more jobs per MW than anything else. Compare site C at 25jobs/900 MW= 0.03 jobs per MW.
A MW is a MW, but which one helps the provincial economy more?

"However the argument of "Since when was 0.16/kWh a bad thing?", and "it is big and cheap" is self contradictory."

Why is it contradictory? Seems to be the same point no? It's cheap power in a world where the majority of energy (in terms of useable power) is increasing rapidly.

"The IPP projects can supply the same amount of energy at less cost"

I would like to see some numbers to back that up. The run of river project in my neighbourhood (Upnit Power majority FN owned) is 6MW (source). Total cost was $14 Million (http://www.hupacasath.ca/economic-development/upnit-power-corporation). That's $2.3 Million/MW. However, Upnit *does not run for a large portion of the summer months as the river is too low*.

Site C is said to cost 7 billion for 900MW. That is a cost of $7.7 million per MW. Yes significantly more. However, it also is constant power. You are much more likely to get your full compliment of energy out of that dam than out of a dry river bed... plus it acts as load balancing that will be needed to offset the intermittent nature of other renewable energy projects.

I would also disagree with the notion that there is significantly more environmental damage from Site C than the myriad of Run of Rivers that change the flow and course of river after river. It's death by a thousand cuts. We're talking about a province that has lost its salmon fishery, not to dams, but to destruction of spawning beds of wild salmon thanks to forestry practices... fish farming... and over fishing. The environmental damage from the dam can be much more readily neutralized through afforestation and reclamation and reactivation of agricultural land in the southern part of the province.

The IPPs have the option of aquiring lands and rights by option, lease, or purchase. (BCH doc) Most leases are at least 20 years... while those leases and the purchase agreements are in effect, the profits go to the corporations and owners of the project. Not to the public where it should as it is our resource.

"Any IPP project over 0.14/kWh is considered a non-starter." That's because for an IPP the goal is profit for the owner of the IPP when it sells that power to BC Hydro for 40-70c/kWh... and then BCH resells it at ever higher prices to thei customers so all taxpayers are hit twice. If it is owned by the public corporation, the 0.14/kWh becomes the key as it is a cheap supply of energy for the province, profits go directly to the public purse and rates can be kept as low or as high as they want dependant on policy rather than on the bottomline of IPPs.

while those leases and the purchase agreements are in effect, the profits go to the corporations and owners of the project. Not to the public where it should as it is our resource.

Chrisale, I have to disagree with you here. If a private company builds any business, be it a hydro project or farm (using the soil as resource), why should the profits go to the gov if they have not paid anything for it? If you expect private companies to do these things at no profit, they will not do these things, or at the very least will also want revenue guarantees so as not to make a loss either.

For these IPP's, they all pay a royalty to the BC govt, of 0.5to 0.6c/kWh produced, plus they are paying corporate taxes on their profits, AND annual property taxes on the facilities themselves. Also, the income taxes from the employees, and now, HST on every product and service purchased to build and operate (the HST ends the PST exemption on equipment for green power projects) So you can rest assured, the province is getting it's pound of flesh. And, with the exception of the corporate tax, every other tax/licence fee MUST get paid first. If the company has anything left after all that for a profit, then it gets to pay tax on that too.

I think this is actually a better arrangement than the government building things, as the IPP takes on all the risk. So when the project doubles in cost, like, say the convention centre, Olympic Village, Whistler Highway, Skytrain, etc etc, it is not us taxpayers carrying those costs. Essentially, this is the same business model used by the lumber and mining industry, both of whom have to take out leases on land, and pay royalties on the lumber/minerals they extract. Difference with hydro is the province gets the royalty, and gets the water back to use for something else. On a river with three IPP's, the province gets to charge for that water three times!

"Any IPP project over 0.14/kWh is considered a non-starter." That's because for an IPP the goal is profit for the owner of the IPP when it sells that power to BC Hydro for 40-70c/kWh

I think what was meant here is that BCH has rejected any IPP's wanting more than 14 c/kWh. Of course, the goal for any business, is profit for the owner, why should IPP's be any different. Are you suggesting that businesses should not be allowed to make profits for their owners?
This is the second time you have mentioned selling at 70c/kWh - can you provide any evidence of a project in BC that has a power purchase agreement for that rate?

... and then BCH resells it at ever higher prices to thei customers so all taxpayers are hit twice.

This would imply BCH selling for >71c/kWh, which they cannot do in BC as the rates are regulated and set by the BCUC, for all customers. Now, there are occasions when they are exporting power that they can get that price, or even higher, but that is a benefit to the taxpayers, not a hit.

If it is owned by the public corporation, the 0.14/kWh becomes the key as it is a cheap supply of energy for the province,

0.14c/kWh is not a cheap supply, that is an expensive supply. You can set up a gas turbine power plants, buy gas at $5/GJ, and sell electricity, profitably, at 10c. So 14c is expensive, anything under 10c is cheap.

profits go directly to the public purse and rates can be kept as low or as high as they want dependant on policy rather than on the bottomline of IPPs.
Well, as I said in my first point, even with an IPP, the public purse still gets a pretty handy cut, and that is without having to divert capital spending from schools, hospitals, etc. But the rates question is independent of who owns the 14c supply - for every kWh, 14c gets paid out. If BCH wants to keep rates low, it (or the province) is effectively subsidising electricity users, and the situation gets worse because more cheap electricity is used, leaving none for export. If they keep rates high, then users do not waste electricity, and every bit saved can be exported, bring outside $ into the public purse.

And, if the rates are higher, it allows for more, profitable, projects to be built. Electricity is a much more stable industry than lumber/mining/fishing, so to have lots of domestic IPP's is a great thing. We do not expect lumber, fish or food production to be gov owned/operated, why should hydro? BCH has their way of doing things, and only wants to do/own big projects like site C, they are not interested in small ones all over the place. But other people/companies are - there will be much more scope for innovation the more private industry is involved. Down the road from me (on the Sunshine Coast) is a small hydro project owned by a local company that made a success of stream that neither BCH nor the pulp mill that draw water from it, were interested in.. but now it produces 2MW and keeps several families in employment. Government way is not always the best way. The current system has set the rules, and the taxes, and if IPP's can make it work, they will, with no effort or risk required on the part of the government - that is a great deal for the people of BC.

Chrisale, I don't know if Site C really is the last, best site. We could always dam the Fraser at Hell's gate canyon. Wouldn't flood out any farmland to speak of, though would need some attention to fish passage. Vancouverites would be up in arms about it being in their backyard, but then, they are the ones using the power.
There are still lots of opportunities on coastal rivers, though not 900MW, and almost all need completely new transmission.

Is there really a project, in BC, getting paid 70c/kWh?


If you were to hazard a guess, how much is BC Hydro likely to spend upgrading their bulk power system to accommodate this new dam? Is it be fair to say the final price tag will top $7 billion?

Just as a side note, the cost per MW for this project is eight to ten times higher than the capacity I'm supplying through our DSM initiatives, and our costs serving small businesses exceed those of our larger commercial and industrial clients.


Here is the Press Release just issued from the BC Government.


Thanks chrisale; much appreciated. I just started watching a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiU4Gb-YSIY) that was created in opposition to this dam, so it will be interesting to reflect on both perspectives.


Paul, I addressed part of your question in a reply to Chrisale about transmission capacity. The answer is of course the overall price will easily go over $7 billion and I wouldn't be surprised if it goes over $8 billion.

To be clear, I am "debating' with Chrisale simply to bring opposing facts to the table. I agree BC needs the electrical generation and the more we have the better is our viability into the future. I'm putting a fair bit of faith into the electrical infrastructure. Furthermore, more renewable generation means more coal fired plants can be retired. But we need to debate the facts and not the propaganda.

I still maintain the near-term success of DSM would be to price the energy savings at the marginal rate of new power. The capital is less and the investment return - in many metrics - would be much better. Part of our project meeting today was retiring some 200 HP and 500 HP motors because they are running inefficiently. The new motors and blowers can run much more efficiently with VFD's. But, the capital investment argument does not stand on $/kWh savings, but on the ethical and social responsibility considerations. These are few and far between.

(Also, we are modifying overhead power lines to greatly reduce bird strike and raptor electrocutions).


I'm glad you've raised these points for discussion. It saddens me to think that prime agricultural land will be destroyed, communities uprooted and a major migratory route put at risk so that the office towers in Vancouver can continue to burn brightly long after the last person has left for the night. Is this really the best we can do?

On a more positive note, thank you for your efforts to help reduce bird strikes and electrocutions, and for promoting the more efficient use of electricity. There will be an extra cold Keith's waiting for you when you're next back this way.


The Permaculture Research Institute - Cold Climate is running an Urban Farming series that may be of interest to those of you in or near Minnesota, USA. The next class is tomorrow, April 20th:


There are 6 classes this spring/summer, covering diverse topics from biointensive gardening to marketing strategies.

This should be of interest to Oil Drummers:


"NuStar Energy begins to move North Dakota crude oil via rail

NuStar currently can transport 5,000 barrels per day — via BNSF Railway Co., Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad — on a manifest basis. Rail traffic is projected to reach 10,000 barrels per day as Bakken crude-oil production increases throughout the summer and producers demand additional market outlets, NuStar officials said in a prepared statement.

The company also plans to develop a unit train facility by 2011 to ship domestic and Canadian crude oil inland."

And from the same site:


"Amtrak Cascades breaks first-quarter ridership record
In the first quarter, Amtrak Cascades set a ridership record at 183,773, a 22.4 percent increase compared with first-quarter 2009’s total. The Pacific Northwest service marked its highest first-quarter ridership since 1994.

Ridership growth was driven by service to and from Vancouver, British Columbia, according to Amtrak Cascades. In August 2009, Amtrak and the Washing State Department of Transportation added a second train to and from Vancouver, including direct service from Portland, Ore., for the first time. Since then, the second train’s ridership has totaled 32,091."

10,000 barrels per day by train? Well that's half the USA's daily consumption taken care of then.

I solved the mystery of how to predict whether a commuter train will arrive at its destination according to your schedule:

It explains why "important" people will never take a train.

Actually, that's about a day's supply for the state of Guyana.


And on the positive side that 10,000 bopd represents a $300 million reduction in our trade imbalance per year, about $70 million worth of income to N Dakota land owners every year, about $25 million in yearly tax revenue to the state and counties, maybe a couple of thousands jobs (just a WAG) generating around $70 million in salaries (which will generate more tax revenue), and last, but not least, around $140 million in income to American companies (which will also generate some more income).

As we all know it won’t have any noticeable impact on PO but still a very good development for our economy in many ways.

Very good point Rockman.

It will be very good for North Dakota. Every local drop counts. I was just pointing out the error in his estimate.

As they said in the Life of Brian:

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...

That's the really frustarting thing for me aardy: I'm obviously a big promioter of oil/NG development in the US. But then folks take such successes and try to spin them into some sort of cornucopian fantasy. Takes my smile away quickly

MSNBC breaking news:

Large plume indicates second Icelandic volcano, Hekla, has begun erupting

Wow...I just saw that headline too. Twin volcanoes...wow.

Iceland is really getting it's revenge, isn't it!

Although it may take out itself and the world economy in the process.

crazy. just as some airspace over here is reopening.

Katla is the big one to look out for.

Maybe the whole lot will just blow up.

I am personally curious to see how this micro-crisis of jet airline travel, and how it impacts transportation and food/commerce flows can maybe be used as a model for if/when bigger transportation crisises occur.

It would be very hard. The biggest problem is the impact is having a "Butterfly effect", meaning no one is starving or getting bombed but small subtle effects are happening right now. It would take years and a very intensive search to see its effects.

The well developed train system is helping a lot but I know some friends who are stuck in England because the train to the main Euro system is overcrowded.

There is nothing about this in the Icelandic media. I have my doubts about this but it could be true because Hekla is on "time". Hekla has erupted on average every 10 years since 1970. The last time was in 2000.

has anyone got a sense (yet) how big these plumes are in relation to global temps? should I keep my tomatoes in the green house this year?

has anyone got a sense (yet) how big these plumes are in relation to global temps?

Excellent question and one I've been wondering about too. Ironically, the ice melting has exposed these areas making them more apt to vent. Maybe a negative feedback, if it increases particulates and thus reduces global warming. I'm really starting to wonder about all the recent earthquakes, and now these volcanic eruptions. What's causing it?

The Earth is trying to puke us up!!

Our own Heading Out has posted info on the relative size of these eruptions at his Bit Tooth Energy blog.

The climatologists/volcanologists don't expect one. This is actually a small/medium sized eruption. Ash falls out quickly enough to only have a very short term effect. It is SO2 injected high into the stratosphere that can cause a year or two's worth of cooling. That depends upon the SO2 content, not the ash content. I bet SO2 wise it probably won't make the top half dozen eruptions this year. And that is before taking into account the claim that stratospheric circulation is such that only low lattitide eruptions count.

MSN, really, really, really screwed up with the Hekla thing. They picked some mistaken tweet and ran with it. I can imagine some producer sort who thinks one name of an Icelandic volcanoe is just like another. I hope the get major egg on their face -or worse for such sloppy (lack of) facts checking.

Hekla is not erupting. I think I can say that for sure.

Some amazing pictures from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption here:


Report: Second volcano in southern Iceland erupts

April 20th, 2010 - 12:01 am ICT by BNO News

REYKJAVIK (BNO NEWS) — The Hekla volcano in southern Iceland erupted on Monday, according to images broadcasted by local media, while another volcano - the Eyjafjallajökull glacier - continues to disrupt air travel across Europe.

Live images from the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service showed a huge plume of smoke rising from the volcano.

Further details were not immediately available.

Heh. Friend in Iceland confirms: no Hekla eruption.

WARNING- if you do a search on +"Hekla"+"eruption" some of the top hits are those spoof security sites that will say you have malware and offer to fix it for you.

Very sophisticated operation to get it in place that fast...

"Twin Peaks"

“This isn’t something the states are proud to advertise,” said Philip Dellinger, chief of the groundwater section in the Austin, Texas, office of the Environmental Protection Agency. “It’s the ugly side of the oil and gas business.”

The EPA says it has no authority to force companies to address contamination on active fields and must defer to Texas regulators, who let oil companies determine if sites need cleanup.


The Great Oil Wall China is building to lock in oil supplies may have something to do with this:


The 50 executives expect “steady growth of the Chinese auto market in the future, with a projected average sales growth of 20 percent per annum between now and 2015”, said John Hoffecker, managing director of AlixPartners.

20 percent ain’t much? Don’t forget the magic of compound interest.

If the 50 guys are right on, it will be 16m cars this year, 24m cars in 2012, 41m cars in 2015.

Can’t be! Communist propaganda! Lies! Bubble market! The environment! Our gasoline! Let them ride bicycles!

Those who advocate population control should be careful what they recommend. China has been very successful in that regard with it's one child policy and other measures.

The result of controlled population is a rising standard of living which includes rapid increases in car ownership, energy consumption and diabetes:


After working overtime to catch up to life in the West, China now faces a whole new problem: the world's biggest diabetes epidemic.

One in 10 Chinese adults already have the disease and another 16 percent are on the verge of developing it, according to a new study. The finding nearly equals the U.S. rate of 11 percent and surpasses other Western nations, including Germany and Canada.


CNBC is reporting a huge cloud of ash heading for Europe. (The eruption intensified.)

They are also reporting a huge glut of jet fuel, because of all those grounded jets.

Wiki says this is the largest air traffic shut-down since World War II. Nifty animation of ash plume from YouTube at Eyjafjallajokull’s Scream Could Wake a Neighbor (NYT)

I am starting to think that this whole volcano malarkey is one big election stunt....

1. Iceland owes us Britons a whole stinking bunch of cash.
2. Iceland knows we could crush them anytime we wanted.
3. Iceland's PM and our idiot PM got together
4. Brown tells the Iceland lesbian she can keep her dosh, but only if..
5. She causes a volcano to blow up and ground the aeroplanes, meaning that
6. tens of thousands of Britons would be stranded overseas, giving cause for
7. Brown to order HMS Ark Royal and other war ships to France and Spain to
8. Rescue said stranded Britons and bring them safely home just in time for
9. Tea and...
10. The election...

Am I cynical or what?!

(btw, Brown has ordered the RN to go to the rescue)

The Icelandic economy's last request was to have its ashes spread across Europe...

Random: "The Icelandic economy's last request was to have its ashes spread across Europe..."

Perfect! :-)

haardeee haarhaarbleepinhar
that was funny

Blown off one of there largest volcanos as revenge for the bank crisis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008%E2%80%932010_Icelandic_financial_crisis and if things do not improve .... ;)

Planning to go Iceland for vacation?

Don't bother.

Iceland is coming to you!

Basilica gets green makeover

One of the best-known churches in Newfoundland and Labrador is getting an environmental upgrade.

The Roman Catholic Basilica of St. John the Baptist, which has a commanding view of St. John's and is a fixture on the city's skyline, is installing a new heat pump system that will use 63 per cent less energy.

The basilica, which can hold more than 1,000 people at a time, depends on an inefficient furnace and a piping system that is 105 years old.

The new system will include units that will take heat from the outside air.


The basilica currently uses about 120,000 litres of oil every year for heating. The church expects to cut its fuel and maintenance budget each year by about $50,000.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/04/19/basilica...

For the metric challenged, 120,000 litres translates to be some 31,700 U.S. gallons which, anyway you look at it, is a lot of oil. Hopefully, this retrofit will encourage other parishes (and their parishioners) to consider similar systems.