Drumbeat: August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene may cause gas price spike

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East Coast, threatening nearly 10% of the nation's refining capacity that lies in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware.

Gasoline futures traded in New York have already spiked, rising 10 cents a gallon this week, largely on fears there will be a disruption in output from the refineries, barge routes or pipelines serving the heavily populated eastern seaboard.

Output for the refineries in the hurricane's path is over a million barrel per day, according to the Oil Price Information Service.

US DOE To Fill 1 Million-Barrel Diesel Reserve In September - Source

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The Energy Department will purchase 1 million barrels of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in September for shipment to the government's reserve in the Northeast U.S., a source close to the issue told Dow Jones Newswires.

The Defense Logistics Agency, acting for the Energy Department, also will soon issue a solicitation for the remaining 350,000 barrels of storage for the reserve.

US natgas rig count falls by 2 to 898-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by two this week to 898, the first drop in four weeks, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

The gas-directed rig count, which had gained in five of six previous weeks, fell from near a six-month high last week. The count is down 9.5 percent from its 2010 peak of 992 in August, its highest since February 2009, when 1,018 rigs were drilling for gas.

Canada-U.S. Oil Pipeline Poses Few Environmental Risks -- State Dept.

The $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a key hurdle today, as the State Department finalized an environmental review that found limited hazards from the controversial Canada-to-U.S. project.

The State Department's review drew quick fire from green activists who have escalated their condemnation of Keystone XL in recent weeks, warning that their political support for President Obama could evaporate if his administration approves the pipeline. Against the backdrop of that pressure, a top department official reiterated publicly today that its findings did not constitute an official go-ahead for the 1,700-plus-mile proposal.

Arrested at the White House: Acting as a living tribute to Martin Luther King

I didn’t think it was possible, but my admiration for Martin Luther King, Jr., grew even stronger these past days.

As I headed to jail as part of the first wave of what is turning into the biggest civil disobedience action in the environmental movement for many years, I had the vague idea that I would write something. Not an epic like King's “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” but at least, you know, a blog post. Or a tweet.

But frankly, I wasn’t up to it. The police, surprised by how many people turned out on the first day of two weeks of protests at the White House, decided to teach us a lesson. As they told our legal team, they wanted to deter anyone else from coming -- and so with our first crew they were… kind of harsh.

Hansen Says Obama Will Be 'Greenwashing' About Climate Change if He Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

NASA scientist James Hansen, who galvanized the environmental movement decades ago with his congressional testimony about the dangers of climate change, said yesterday that President Obama has a rare opportunity to show he is not a "hopeless addict."

How I learned to start worrying and hate the tar sands pipeline

I'm their target audience. I already care about climate change. And I don't like Big Oil. Yet, it took Bill McKibben and more than 200 other activists getting arrested at the White House for me to finally care about the tar sands pipeline.

Before that, I had five reasons to leave this particular issue to somebody else:

Libya Needs $25 Billion to Boost Crude Output, Challenger Says

(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s oil industry will need at least $25 billion in investment to increase its oil production to 2 million barrels a day, the chairman of drilling-rig operator Challenger Ltd. said.

TEPCO knew waters could reach 15 meters

Tokyo Electric Power Co. predicted in 2008 that a tsunami could reach a height of more than 15 meters at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to government sources.

The discovery of this prediction, made by the government's nuclear accident investigation and verification committee, contradicts TEPCO's assertions that the size of the March 11 tsunami was "unpredictable."

Energy and water – the real blue-chips

The two most important natural resources are water and energy. In most cases, each is required to procure the other. First, we use water directly through hydroelectric power generation at major dams, indirectly as a coolant for thermoelectric power plants, and as an input for the production of biofuels. By sector, the two largest consumers of water in the United States are agriculture and electrical power plants. If we count only fresh water, fully 81% of U.S. use is for crop irrigation. For American corn production, an average of 2,100 gallons of irrigation water is required per bushel which yields 2.7 gallons of corn-based ethanol. This means that 206 gallons of water is needed per gallon of gasoline substitute, ethanol, before refining.

What's eating the economy? - Live web chat with Nate Hagens and Richard Heinberg

3 years on from the worst economic crisis since the great depression and things are looking...well worse really. What is going on, and what actions should we be taking? Join us here at 11.00am PDT, 2.00pm EDT, 18:00GMT on August 31st, 2011, and put your questions to Richard and Nate.

Global Land Grab

A 21st-century land rush is on. Driven by fear and lured by promises of high profits, foreign investors are scooping up vast tracts of farmland in some of the world’s hungriest countries to grow crops for export.

As the climate changes and populations shift and grow, billions of people around the globe face shortages of land and water, rising food prices and increasing hunger. Alarm over a future without affordable food and water is sparking unrest in a world already tinder-dried by repression and recession, corruption and mismanagement, boundary disputes and ancient feuds, ethnic tension and religious fundamentalism.

Are food prices approaching a violent tipping point?

Seeking simple explanations for the Arab spring uprisings that have swept through Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, is clearly foolish amidst entangled issues of social injustice, poverty, unemployment and water stress. But asking "why precisely now?" is less daft, and a provocative new study proposes an answer: soaring food prices.

Furthermore, it suggests there is a specific food price level above which riots and unrest become far more likely. That figure is 210 on the UN FAO's price index: the index is currently at 234, due to the most recent spike in prices which started in the middle of 2010.

As Farmers’ Markets Go Mainstream, Some Fear a Glut

FLORENCE, Mass. — John Spineti started selling plump tomatoes and shiny squash at farmers’ markets in the early 1970s and saw his profits boom as markets became more popular. But just as farmers’ markets have become mainstream, Mr. Spineti said business has gone bust.

Farmers in pockets of the country say the number of farmers’ markets has outstripped demand, a consequence of a clamor for markets that are closer to customers and communities that want multiple markets.

John Michael Greer: An Elegy for the Age of Space

Mind you, I’m not cheering. Though I realized some years ago that humanity isn’t going to the stars—not now, not in the lifetime of our species—the end of the shuttle program with no replacement in sight still hit me like a body blow. It’s not just a generational thing, though it’s partly that; another large part of it was growing up where and when I did. By that I don’t just mean in the United States in the middle decades of the last century, but specifically in the triumphant years between John Glenn’s first orbital flight and Neil Armstrong’s final step onto lunar soil, in a suburb south of Seattle where every third family or so had a father who worked in the aerospace industry. Yes, I remember exactly where I was sitting and what was happening the moment that Walter Cronkite told the world that Apollo 11 had just landed on the Moon.

New report on "peak oil"

I do believe it might be possible to innovate our way out of where we are today by harnessing other energy sources like the sun. But, until that happens we are in jeopardy of boxing ourselves in with no easy way out. Here in the USA we have never had to face the issue of running out of natural resources--but we will. Oil is one commodity and water is the other one I see looming on the horizon, especially in the West.

How to talk about the end of growth: Interview with Richard Heinberg

We can deliver social goods. We can increase people’s satisfaction with their lives. We can make our towns and cities and countries more culturally rich, more environmentally sound without increasing consumption and that’s what we need to be aiming to do.

The first step in doing that is changing our indicator. And that’s something that I believe could be done tomorrow.

Libyan peace could bring oil bonanza

The country has proven reserves of billions of barrels of untapped oil, the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. Some hope there's also billions more in undiscovered oil.

Thanks to years of underinvestment by the Gadhafi regime and international sanctions that kept many oil companies out, Libya hasn't developed its oil reserves so that they can produce to their full potential.

With the proper investment, some say Libya could go from a pre-war output of around 1.6 million barrels a day to 3 million barrels a day in ten years time.

Crude Falls, Narrowing Weekly Gain, on Doubts About U.S. Stimulus Measures

Oil declined, narrowing the first weekly gain in five, on speculation that U.S. measures to stimulate economic growth will fall short and that potential fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Irene might be short-lived.

Oil May Fall Next Week as Libya Rebels Move to Resume Output, Survey Shows

Oil may fall next week as Libyan rebels consolidate their hold on the country after deposing leader Muammar Qaddafi and begin taking steps to restore crude exports, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Italy says Libyan oil facilities not damaged at all

(Reuters) - Italian oil and gas facilities in Libya were not damaged during the conflict and can restart as soon as security conditions permit, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told Italian radio on Friday.

Oil companies ready to jockey for position in new Libya

(CNN) -- International oil companies are jockeying for advantage in the new Libya, buoyed by news that damage to the energy infrastructure appears to be slight. But they remain anxious about a lack of security and are holding off sending workers back into the country.

Libya: Can It Become an Oil Superpower?

History says Libya is not a good bet to become an oil superpower anytime soon. Three decades after the Iranian revolution in 1979, production there has yet to be completely restored. Iraq needed four years to equal its output before the 2003 U.S. invasion, and the ex-Soviet Union countries required as much as a decade. “Libya is not as extreme a case as Iran, but it is not going to be easy,” says Peter Hutton, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London.

Tripoli Airport Attacked by Qaddafi Forces

Forces loyal to Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi battled rebels in the capital, Tripoli, as the opposition National Transitional Council said the North African nation has an “urgent” need for humanitarian aid.

Japan's Chubu Elec gets $1.3 bln loan from JBIC

(Reuters) - Japan Bank for International Cooperation said on Thursday it would provide a 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) loan to Chubu Electric Power Co to finance purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after the utility was forced to close a nuclear plant in the wake of the atomic crisis in Fukushima.

Tokyo Electric sees no blackouts through late Sept

(Reuters) - Japan's top utility Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Friday it expects to avoid rolling blackouts in the four weeks to late September, despite the closure of two nuclear plants in Fukushima following the March earthquake and tsunami.

PetroChina Seeks ‘Reasonable’ Margins as Curbs Cut Profit

(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co., Asia’s biggest company by market value, urged the government to allow oil companies to earn “reasonable” margins after second-quarter profit missed estimates because of controls on fuel prices.

Gazprom Defends Oil-Price Link, Says Gas German Customers Made ‘Mistakes’

OAO Gazprom said it’s not responsible for its customers’ “strategic mistakes,” signaling Russia’s gas-export monopoly may not compromise in its pricing dispute with European utilities.

Explosion hits UN building in Nigeria's capital

ABUJA, Nigeria—A large explosion struck the United Nations' main office in Nigeria's capital Friday, flattening one wing of the building. A U.N. official in Geneva called it a bomb attack.

"I saw scattered bodies," said Michael Ofilaje, a UNICEF worker at the building. "Many people are dead."

Oil theft causes fire on Eni Nigeria pipeline-govt official

(Reuters) - Oil thieves caused a fire this week on a Nigerian pipeline owned by Italian oil firm Agip , a government official said on Friday.

Chinese maritime official urges ConocoPhillips to clean up oil spills or face "enhanced supervision"

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's top maritime official on Thursday urged U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips to finish cleaning up oil spills in north China's Bohai Bay before the arrival of a deadline set by the government, stating that the company will face "enhanced supervision" if it does not do so.

ConocoPhillips finds new seeps in China oil spill

SHANGHAI (AP) — ConocoPhillips said Friday it has discovered new oil seeps in an area of China's Bohai Bay where it faces a deadline to clean up spills from earlier this summer.

Of 16 seeps found in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, each about the size of a small coin, only two were still visible and known to be sometimes active, the company said in a statement.

BP: ‘No fresh Macondo leaks’

There is currently “no release of oil” from BP’s ill-fated and abandoned Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, the UK supermajor insists.

Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined

A review has now been published by Earthjustice, in collaboration with Toxipedia, an online toxicology Wiki, of all the scientific literature concerning the potential health impacts of these 57 chemicals. The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”

Green groups seek wider review of Enbridge project

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Five environmental groups are asking Canada's energy regulator to deny Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO) request to reverse the flow in part of an oil pipeline, arguing that the company is trying to avoid a larger review for a bigger long-term project.

How The Arab Spring Paved The Way For A Double-Dip Recession, And Why It Might Prevent The Next One

Oil prices--which spiked during the start of revolts around the Middle East--have now come down due to low demand and a sluggish economy. Will the extra oil produced once the area calms down be enough to save the economy?

Foes cite oil shale’s environmental uncertainty, while industry laments regulatory waffling

As predicted, testimony at Wednesday’s House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources oil shale field hearing in Grand Junction produced more industry hand wringing over federal regulatory uncertainty and environmental push-back over an unproven energy source.

North America's awash in oil and gas, so let's go get it

So how much longer will Americans put up with paying huge costs for a "scarce" resource when there is actually a glut of it under their feet -- much of which their own government forbids them to tap?

I would guess, not much past November 2012.

Oil Rig Goes 'Green'

Pulling oil out of the Earth can be downright damaging to nearly all that surrounds where a drill bites the ground.

And yet just east of Houston, rising 172 feet above the Partin Yard, stands a 21st century prescription for minimizing the environmental pain of harvesting petroleum.

Resources tax risks minnows: industry

The nation's peak oil and gas body has urged the federal government to ensure proposed changes to tax laws designed to give Australians a fairer share of return of resources profits do not cripple small offshore and onshore producers.

Nuclear Reactors on East Coast Brace for Hurricane Irene’s Wrath

More than a dozen nuclear reactors along the U.S. East Coast are being prepared for potential loss of power and damage from high winds and storm surges as Hurricane Irene bears down on the region.

Nuclear plants in Irene’s path continued to operate as workers secured loose equipment, checked diesel fuel supplies for backup generators and stowed cots and food for workers who may be stranded during the storm.

13 Plants Felt Earthquake, but Reactors Were Spared

WASHINGTON — The earthquake Tuesday in the Eastern United States was felt at 13 locations with nuclear power plants, from North Carolina to Michigan, but reactors shut down at only one, North Anna in Virginia, 10 miles from the epicenter. There was no damage to nuclear systems at any of the sites, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Ontario urged to learn from Japanese crisis before building power plants

The Ontario government will need to learn from the nuclear crisis in Japan when building new power plants east of Toronto or deal with increased costs, a federal government-appointed review panel report released Thursday said.

The province is planning to build two new nuclear reactors at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington site in Clarington, Ont. It hopes the new plants will eventually produce about one-twelfth of the province’s energy supply.

Energy by Approving Subsidies for Renewable Power

Japan approved a bill today to subsidize electricity from renewable sources, joining European nations in shifting away from nuclear power after the Fukushima reactor meltdowns in March.

Japan’s Shift to Solar Power Hinges on Banks Ending Loan Drought

Japan is beginning a shift to solar energy that lacks one ingredient: bank financing.

Honda plant wind turbine protesters 'will fight on'

Protesters living near to a planned wind turbine site at the Honda plant in Swindon say they will continue their fight against the development.

On Wednesday the company said it was now proposing to build two turbines, rather than three, to power its plant, after concerns from local residents.

Opponents say the 394ft (120m) high turbines will be too large and noisy.

Orientating the economically disorientated

One of Greer’s key insights is his model of the economy based upon three tiers. The primary economy is the natural processes that provide goods and services to humans without the need for human labour. These goods include things such as fossil fuels and mineral ores whilst the services include pollination and the water cycle. The secondary economy is where humans become involved, namely through the transformation of the goods and services provided by the primary economy, that is nature, into the goods and services required by humans. The final tier is the tertiary economy, the purpose of which is to allow for the distribution of goods and services of the primary and secondary economies. Critical to an understanding of this model is that the different types of wealth that these three tiers produce are not interchangeable. In short, you can’t eat money and you can’t grow food without the natural wealth provided by the earth’s primary economy.

The local food shift

A convergence of global crises — inevitable fossil fuel depletion (aka “peak oil”), compounding effects of climate change, and unstable shrinking global economies — is likely to disrupt the global food supply in unexpectedly devastating ways.

A thorough analysis of these factors leads to an inescapable conclusion that the growing global food crisis will soon land in our own communities — yes, even in Boulder County.

Business Studies Become Environmentally Friendly

“Through the roof” is how Adam Zak, an executive recruiter, describes the demand for workers with sustainability-related job skills.

“We estimate about a 40 percent increase over last year in the search assignments we are asked to conduct for these kinds of individuals,” said Mr. Zak, whose clients include companies like Coca-Cola, Andersen Windows and Del Monte.

Time to Start Work on a Panic Button?

The Government Accountability Office concludes that geoengineering schemes to slow global warming aren't feasible, but finds scientific support for more research.

FOR ALL Oil Rig Goes 'Green'

I really hate having to go after one of my fellow "dirty oil company bastards" but you have to call BS when you see it.

"All the fluids that are used to operate the rig that normally end up on the ground are captured and then they are moved down a piping system down into a holding tank where they can be disbursed, he said". Same in La and in Texas. In Texas I can dump certain fluids on the ground. But they have to be tested and certified to the state as non-polluting. And even then only with written permission of the land owner. In La. I can't even pump rain water off my location. I have to have it hauled to a certified disposal site. Typically cost around $5-8 per bbl. And that's for RAIN WATER.

"Power is generated by highly-efficient Tier 4 Caterpillar diesels which produce 90 percent fewer emissions than comparable motors still in use." That's nice. Given that a typical deep onshore well will use upwards of $500,000 in diesel all the drillers maintain their motors at optimum conditions.

"For the French, who fully expect to be at relatively close quarters with skeptical neighbors, combating industrial racket is critical." So this 'special rig" is quiet. When drilling in urban areas in Texas there are very specific noise level restrictions as well as limits on the timing of operations.

Perhaps this fellow's press release is really just meant to appease the French people before his rigs show in their neighborhoods. In our part of the world it's much to do about nothing IMHO.

At last, and honest soul!

Seriously, though. The point is that we are going after all the oil and NG possible, with no real concern about the environment. That way, we can keep the charade going for a few more years. Maybe long enough that we will die before the worst happens. Meaning of course that we will be dealing with the bad and the worse.

Our kids/grandkids get the worst... our present to them! The Three "D's": Debt, (environmental) Destruction, Depletion.


'It's a Wonderful Life!' So where's the angel to ring our bell?


zap: Hey...watch it cowboy!. Some of us dirty lying oil company bastards care. It just occurs to me that the oil patch, at least in Texas and La. take better care of the environment during our operations then many of the landowners we drill on. Not that we should be nominated for sainthood. Beside being generally nice folks anyway, we would get the fined and/or sued to death if we didn't. At least in these two state we're probably the most heavily regulated AND monitored industry around.

Of course, we do supply a lot of the polluters with their ammo via our oil/NG production. And then there's those big oil tanker spills. And BP. Just quilt by association I suppose. But at least the money is dang good these days so I suppose I can live with it.

Yes, you are exactly right and the three "D's" sums it up perfectly.

And we refuse to excuse debt, even though that's the one thing that is easiest to do. The students and home "owners" must be enslaved forever, so that bankers can make a return on their investment!

Humans, gotta love em.

Rock,I am with you on this.Look at the article on Libya.Production can go from 1.6mbd to 3.0mbd.There is lot of oil to be discovered in Libya.My god when will they stop with the BS.It gets on my nerves.

HIH - I don't have a guess to the potential reserve number but I've heard from expats over the years that Libya was very underdeveloped...especially offshore. Many decades ago I was offered a contract in Libya. I thought...what the heck...I was young and single and the money was very good. So what if our Navy planes were occasionally dropping bombs. But then the company starting talking about getting me a false Canadian passport (illegal for US citizens to work there at the time) and paying me in an offshore account. Lost my nerve fast. Wasn't that afraid of our Navy. But didn't want to tangle with the IRS and ICE.


Assuming fracking fluids aren't illegally dumped, are the fluids sealed and held in containers or do they go through some sort of treatment process? Does this vary by State?

Close - Our standard disposal method in Texas is to inject the frac fluids into deep (many thousands of feet) salt water reservoirs. Done properly those fluids never get back to the surface. Injection costs can run from $3 to $8 per bbl. So you can see the temptation of illegally dumping a half million gallons of frac fluids. Deep well injection is highly regulated in Texas and La And most of the injected fluid is actually produced salt water.

There is a company in Texas that supposedly has found an economic way to greatly concentrate the nasties in the frac fluid and thus greatly reduce the disposal costs. I've not heard of any way to treat frac fluids per se. They are just some bad ass chemicals. Heat any chemical hot enough and you can destroy it completely. But from I've read that's a very expensive process.

Our standard disposal method in Texas is to inject the frac fluids into deep (many thousands of feet) salt water reservoirs. Done properly those fluids never get back to the surface.

IIRC, Texas' geology gives them significant advantages in this: much of the state sits on thousands of feet of sandstone/limestone, much full of brine, some capped nicely with shale or slate. Most of it very well mapped due to the large number of wells that have been drilled. Very nice places to put stuff like frac fluids. I believe that such disposal sites are much more limited in NY and Pennsylvania, or at least, not nearly so well mapped and understood.

Re: North America's awash in oil and gas, so let's go get it (uptop)

The current issue of Foreign Policy magazine contains this article: "The Americas, Not the Middle East, Will be the World Capital of Energy," by Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University . . .

"The U.S. endowment of unconventional oil is more than 2 trillion barrels, with another 2.4 trillion in Canada and 2 trillion-plus in South America -- compared with conventional Middle Eastern and North African oil resources of 1.2 trillion. The problem was always how to unlock them economically . . . And she concludes, "Peak oil? Not anytime soon."

Regarding Canada, where they have been making a concerted effort to increase their unconventional production, they have seen average rate of increase in net exports of 50,000 bpd per year for the past five years (BP). Over the same time frame, Available Net Exports (ANE), which I define as Global Net Exports less Chindia's combined net oil imports, fell at an average rate of one mbpd per year (from 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2010). So, for every incremental increase of one bpd that Canada added to the global net export market in the 2005 to 2010 time frame, developed countries like the US lost access to 20 bpd of Global Net Exports.

And Canada's 250,000 bpd increase in net exports from 2005 to 2010 didn't even come close to offsetting the 600,000 bpd decline in net exports from Venezuela over the same time frame.

But I suppose the real story is the "trillions of barrels" in unconventional resources in the US. As a recent article put it, commercial exploitation of the Colorado "Oil Shales" has been five years away for about the past 60 years:

Michele Bachmann Petroleum Geologist

Someone is lying and/or grossly misinformed. The story that never gets put to rest is that Obama (insert in any other Democrat running for President here) is prohibiting the U.S. from becoming fully energy independent. This story is decades old and will never end. When George Bush was President, there was a massive increase in oil and gas permits issued and the industry was unleashed. It is during that era that we became independent. Oh wait. Or was Bush too environmentally conscious for the the likes of a Michelle Bachmann or a Rick Perry?

The promised land is always going to be here after the next election when the iron grip of the environmentalists is finally pried open for good.

And the sheep are always being manipulated in plain sight of the media which is incapable of getting the true facts out.

The video for House subcommittee on energy and mineral resources hearing regarding Impacts of Potential Oil Shale Development is online.

I've only listened to most of first witness, Helen Hankins, Colorado State Director of Bureau of Land Management and I'm already disgusted at what I've heard. Not from Helen, but from the head-honcho of this committee, Doug Lamborn and his sidekick Scott Tipton. Both these congressmen are from Colorado.

Helen has used politically-correct words to say oil companies, today, lose money trying to get oil from oil shale. The purpose of a hearing should be for congress folks to learn from the experts and make intelligent decisions from what they learn. My impression is Mr. Lamborn and Mr. Tipton are wearing earplugs because their questions have a complete disconnect from what Helen is saying.

If you feel same as I, please write these two congressmen, ask them to remove the earplugs, and promote energy exploration that will garner profit for oil companies instead of waste money provided by taxpayers.

brit - Didn't have the patience to watch the video. Reading the press release was bad enough. I doubt letters to those butt head congress would make a difference.

I made the point in a recent message that folks aren't presenting the easiest argument against the oil shale cornucopia. Forget telling them it's kerogen and not oil. Don't confuse them with the water demand of such a process. Forget all the tech blah blah blah.

Real simple: they say billions of bbls of profitable oil could be produced from oil shales today if the feds would lease the land. So ask a simple question: why can they only produce this oil from fed land and not private land? They won't have any answer. Then explain there are hundreds of thousands of acreas of privately owned oil shale deposits identical to the fed lands. And these leases can be acquired and developed by any oil company today. So if Shell Oil can produce this oil profitably then why aren't the doing so today? In fact Shell loves to talk about the oil shales leases they now currently own and, though they been working those leases for years, have yet to produce one commercial bbl of oil. With their record breaking revenue they have plenty of capex. And they claim to be one of the leading experts in the process. So why aren't they producing 100's of thousands of bbls of oil right now? In fact I recall Shell's press release over a year ago stating they were suspending plans for an oil shale pilot project until 2014. If all Shell Oil needs is for the feds to open up their leases so Americans could reap the benefit then why are they waiting to start a pilot project? Why haven't they started construction of a major commercial facility on the oil shale leases they own today?

See...simple. No scientific jargon. No complex geochemistry. Just a simple question: if it can be done and there are leases, capex and techical capabilities available now then why isn't it being done today?

No need to watch video. It's just there for entertainment. My comments were sufficient to get the gist of what video was about. And there's more truth with your words than I would want to admit regarding writing letters to Congress. I've found poli's just add emailer's to their list of folks to solicit re-election funds.

However, a gazillion emails from TOD folks stating the same simple narrative. Mr. Lamborn and Mr. Tipton, take off the earplugs and hear there is no money to be made in oil shale.

It's just a hypothesis. I guess if we refuse to perform the experiment for proof of the hypothesis, we'll never know the truth or assume the truth is self-evident.

For the most part that type of argument works.

But the problem is the old "oil shale" vs "shale oil" problem. There are numerous formations with different properties, and the public thinks of them as similar if not identical. And to the public, if you can produce from one of them, you ought to be able to produce from all of them..

Average imports to OECD importing nations have fallen over 5 million barrels per day since 2006. 5 million barrels per day must have some effect.

Imports to all OECD importing nations, January 2002 thru April 2011 in thousands of barrels per day per the EIA.

OECD Imports

Ron P.


Is any of that drop attributable to more outsourcing? Or, is it all less driving and less home building, etc.?

It is largely due to a slowdown in economic activity due to the recession. Of course less oil being available has a lot to do with it. The actual decline in world net exports is closer to 3 million barrels per day. So China and India kept their imports increasing. But they are slowing down now. We are definitely not in any kind of recovery.

Ron P.

Not so much a drop, as a step down.

Is any of that drop attributable to more outsourcing? Or, is it all less driving and less home building, etc.?

This curve looks very similar to the Available Net Exports curve that westexas has been presenting over the last month or two. Essentially, China and India are consuming a larger portion of the oil available for global consumption and that leaves less oil for everyone else.

Some of the cornucopian crowd are beginning to remind me of Hitler, in his last days in his bunker in Berlin, giving delusional orders to German generals.

The cornucopians talk about trillions of barrels of unconventional resources (see excerpt up the thread), as Available Net Exports (ANE) fell from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to 35 mbpd in 2010.

Chindia, at their current rate of increase in their oil imports, as a percentage of Global Net Exports (GNE), would consume 100% of GNE around 2025.

ANE = GNE less Chindia's combined net imports

westexas, please could you explain something to me (sorry if this has been asked before)?

Why do you put China and India on their own special category - as if they are somehow immune from the constraining effects of price increases, or have "first dibs" on all the available export product? Oil is a fungible commodity in the global marketplace, and Chindia must in the final analysis compete the same way as every other importer.

Just interested to know your thinking.

Thanks and regards, Chris

Not sure if this is what you want, but Chindia have been buying up all the oil leases/oil fields they possibly could, using long term contracts and direct purchase of oil holdings. Hedging, if you will.

Since they are taking ownership, rather than 'futures' positions, they also control who gets the oil. Thus, if they decide (surprise!) that Chindia gets it, the amount of oil available to everyone else decreases. OTOH, if business goes sour, they get to sell the oil to whomever they wish, and more or less control that magic last barrel that sets the price.

Sort of like buying a strategic oil reserve, but before it is pumped.


Zap,a correction to your comment.It is China that is doing the pulling.They are outbidding the Indian company ONGC everywhere.The Indians are highly frustrated as they do not have the money power like the Chinese and are taking stakes in projects where they have no say.Also they made some real bad investments and are loosing money in their foreign business.What you say applies to China and China alone.This is not a rebuttal but a correction.

China and India are prime examples of the general tendency of developing countries to show increasing oil consumption, even given generally rising oil prices, versus the general tendency of developed countries to show declining oil consumption, especially relative to 2005:

A normalized oil chart (1998 = 100) of oil consumption for the US versus four developing countries from 1998 to 2009:

Thanks for the helpful responses (one of the reasons why TOD is such a great site...)

Kinda looks like your graph bears out the comments of HIH - and that maybe India has now decoupled from China and joined the rest of the world in the dog-eat-dog arena of the open marketplace.

Regards Chris

Based on the BP data base, India's oil consumption from 2009 to 2010 increased from 3.21 mbpd to 3.31 mbpd (3.0%/year).

China's oil consumption from 2009 to 2010 increased from 8.20 mbpd to 9.06 mbpd (10.0%/year).

Looking at their combined increase in net oil imports from 2002 to 2010, Chindia went from 3.53 mbpd in 2002 to 7.48 mbpd in 2010 (9.4%/year rate of increase).

My sketch of GNE and ANE from 2002 to 2010, versus annual US crude oil prices:


(Correction to above) If we extrapolate Chindia's 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in their net oil imports as a percentage of GNE, in 19 years Chindia would consume 100% of GNE. As they say, somethings gotta give.

Brazil increased about 200 000 bpd, 9.3%, according to BP's spreadsheet.

In future you might be using Chizil not Chindia. ;-)

I see the drop in oil consumption as very closely related to the loss of OECD jobs, for two reasons:

1. When a person has a job, that job very often uses oil, for example, making or transporting goods, or using goods made from oil. A person laying asphalt uses an oil product, too.

2. The wages that the worker earns allows the worker to buy goods and services made with oil--gasoline for vacation trips, or a more expensive home, that helps stimulate the construction industry.

The loss of OECD jobs is very much related to high oil prices. If oil prices rise, food and gasoline prices rise, and we cut back on discretionary goods, and, as a result, people making discretionary goods are laid off from work. Non-OECD, which uses less oil, is less affected. They tend to use more coal, for example, and workers have a lower standard of living, not using cars, so are less affected to begin with by high oil prices.

There has been a huge shift in oil consumption from OECD countries to non-OECD countries, more or less related to this. The fact that wages are less in Non-OECD countries (partly because workers use less oil products, so don't need as high a salary) helps too.

Not to disagree with either of your points, but would not a third factor, be the continuing efforts to use less oil, and substitute other fuels/modes of transport?

Ridership of public transport is up in many countries, many places have expanded their transit rail (the new line in Vancouver, opened in 09, carries 100,000 people per day).

Also, fuel substitution has been occurring. In the US, ethanol production is equivalent to just under 600kbd (equal btu basis). In Australia last year there were 100,000 cars either built with, or converted to run on LPG. The 600k LPG cars on the road are now 6$ of the Aust vehicle fleet, and, of course, it is mainly people that do lots of miles that convert them(taxis, couriers, etc), so proportionally, they displace even more fuel than the 6%.
CNG is making continual inroads into city bus fleets.
And, while of questionable environmental and economic value, there is still a lot of biodiesel being produced and used in Europe, last year being 12 million tons oil equivalent, or about 240 kbd.

Even though some oil is used to make these fuels, most of the energy input is natural gas (even for LPG), so there is certainly a net oil displacement happening - probably 90% of the biofuel energy value.

My SWAG is that fuel substitution in OECD countries would be about 1 mbd of that drop we have seen. Not as big a factor as the job losses, but still a factor.

Terrific graph.

Just eyeballing it, but it looks like we're in line with the descent that began in mid-2006. The sharp drop in early 2009 throws the line off, but 2011 looks lined up with the trend from 2006 onwards.

That suggests to me that even if Libya's production comes back quickly and bumps us up, we'll regress back to the decline curve fairly shortly. The only real break of the line, that I could think of, would be a ramp up in Iraq and Iran. As yet, their production potential is, unfortunately, just that.

This seems to be what really has people worried. Here's the latest Integrated Kinetic Energy calculations for Irene


For storm surge/waves currently rated 4.7 out of 6. That's about a Cat 4 storm surge it's dragging with it. For winds currently "only" rated 2.9 out of 6.

This is a Hurricane Ike type storm. The raw Cat value doesn't really indicate its destructive potential.

Looks like it is going to be "interesting" in NYC.

More than a dozen US nuclear reactors along the projected storm path:


"More than a dozen US nuclear reactors along the projected storm path.."

Not to mention several refineries, coal and natural gas terminals, and thousands of miles of electrical grid..

Some say this will be a major stimulus to the economy ;-/ I expect a drop in the price of firewood...

It's called disaster capitalism.

Here's a list of energy related facilities in the storm's path.

The big problem with power will be the electrical grid for distribution. Outside the urban areas, much of this is pole mounted in older suburbs with lots of mature trees. While we have occassional ice storms and nor'easters to take out some weaker trees, a hurricane would result in widespread destruction of electrical distribution, as well as a lot of damage to structures and parked vehicles.

Even with lower winds the wires are going to be ripped off the poles and they are going to have too much to repair with too few of crews. Forget structural damage from wind. This is about the electric grid and flooding.

The wires regularly stand up to 1/4 inch of ice and 40 to 50 mph wind, so I don't expect them to be blown off. It is tree limbs coming off or trees toppling over that do the damage, both to the electrical grid and to houses, garages, etc. Some years back we had a "micro-burst" in town, and an entire school playground was filled with trees and limbs by public works during the clean up. Due to the high rainfall and temperate climate, the land east of the mountains wants to be hardwood forest, and much of it has become mature forest in the last hundred years.

Noted. Good point. The damage is not direct but it is wind damage nonetheless.

My daughter's husband is a lineman in Delaware, looking forward to mucho overtime. They expect that material availability (transformers, poles, etc.) may be a big problem due to the expected scale of the damage. The shear density of the grid, especially from DelMarVa north, is much higher than on the Gulf coast. A lot more stuff per square mile.

I did some grid mapping around Philly and the computers had trouble with the amount of data. We had to scale down our sectors to fit it all in, and that was @20 years ago. Most of this infrastucture is maxed out as well. One pole may be leased to many providers and have mulitiple electrical voltages, legacy telecom and cable, fiber, more. Expect a mess.

... looking forward to mucho overtime.

Not to say that the overtime is not welcomed, but this points out that, sometimes, our means of valuation is quesitonable.

This storm will likely create chaos and destruction over a wide area. The reconstruction, funded in part by disaster insurance and in part by government funds/guaranteed loans, will cause a bump up in GDP for the impacted areas. Happy days are here again!

If the storm veers off to the east, and does not cause any damage, it seems to me that we are better off, and yet the balance sheets of many corporations (and proprietorships) say something quite different.

Why does this seem somehow wrong to me?


You're missing the difference between what is seen and what is not seen. If I throw a rock through your window, you pay the window repairman. Economic activity! But what would you have done with the money you used to repair the window? That's what isn't seen.

Put another way, economic activity is not the same thing as wealth-building.

Examples with numbers might help.

Say a power pole costs $1000 = 1 week's wages and contributes $200 per week to local production, and gets destroyed in a storm.

Normal times:

Before storm: power pole contributes $200, person employed doing other things contributes $1000.

After storm: person makes new power pole, contributing $1000. Power pole contributes nothing for the week. Net loss $200.

Recession times:

Before storm: power pole contributes $200. Person is unemployed, contributing $0.

After storm: person makes new power pole, gaining $1000. Net gain $800.

Highly oversimplified, but I hope you get the idea.

When we had a hurricane here, the electricity company shut down the grid, as the winds rose, to reduced damage. It won't help tree on wire or even tall aerial mast on wire but cuts secondary damage from shorts and surges. Do your local companies plan to do the same or just watching showers of sparks?


Policies vary, and Public Service Commissions have regulations, but at some point utilities will protect their distribution systems, and coordinate with producers and and tranmission systems. This thing could bring down large areas of the eastern grid without some coordination.

Around here (Central Florida) they never shut down the grid as a precaution. Except in subdivisions with buried service that might flood. That is something proponents of buried service don't think about.

Grid systems have plenty of protection built in and will shut themselves down as distribution becomes damaged. In this case I imagine the fear is of a cascade failure due to the large area involved, though the damage will be gradual and spotty at first.

New York City is shutting down the trains ( and all subways) for the first time ever before the storm hits, as is Philly.

I was in the control centre of one UK electricity supply company during a large thunderstorm. There were calls coming in left, right and centre. I asked why they didn't put them underground. The reason was that their failure rate is much higher with JCBs the worst offenders. So saying, our local council is putting all the wiring underground in the tourist areas. Each team seems to destroy at least part of whatever company came before had put in. Oh, and we get tropical storms with lots of flood water, ho hum.


Hi Merrill,

Our neighbour's pole after Hurricane Juan:

I think our power was restored by day five or six, but friends further down the road were without service for a full two weeks.


The NYC officials are blunt about it:

Mr. Malloy said officials were preparing for “tremendous tree damage” and the loss of electricity across the entire state. “Not just for a few hours,” he added at a briefing on Friday. “Days and weeks.”

The days are weeks are going to be the story alright. Imagine New York and New England without power for a while. Sounds like a mess in the making.

At this point, if I were in the path of this storm I would be dialling up the refrigerator and deep freezer to "maximum cold" and either making or buying additional ice.

I don't anticipate that we'll be affected in any way, but I'm swapping out and refilling our jerry cans and starting up the generator to make sure it's still in good working order.


Good point Paul.

If it is as damaging as projected, I imagine a lot of food will be spoiled. It's coming right at produce season for the NE, and high temps otherwise. Could be a boon for local market growers, but I think many will lose alot already picked. Not to mention crops hurt by the storm itself.

I have several friends here in South Arkansas who are journeyman lineman. They left 2 days ago along with many more from this area and are somewhere on the East Coast to help repair the lines.

150g/litre of common salt in strong soda bottles in the freezer. Fill about 80-90% full and squeeze the air out for expansion. Don't freeze too much at a time, you don't want to defrost what's in there while you are doing it.


Besides setting the refrigerator temperature setting at coldest possible, and filling the freezer as above, I fill every nook and cranny with potable water inside the frig.

Drink what is outside while keeping the frig closed as long as possible. The extra thermal mass slows the warm-up and if the power is not back on by the time you drink the room temperature water, a little cool water will be most welcome :-)

Best Hopes for an eastward drift,


As the inevitable earthquakes and hurricanes take their toll, I think that we have start thinking, sooner or later (probably sooner) about selective abandonment of damaged areas. An excerpt from an essay I did a few months ago:

Commentary: Will we be able to maintain & replace our energy & transportation infrastructure in a post-peak oil world?

Developed countries worldwide are facing enormous financial costs associated with maintaining and ultimately replacing their aging energy and transportation infrastructure of pipelines, refineries, power plants, electric transmission lines, roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, etc. Given the reality of an energy-constrained global economy, especially in the context of a long-term decline in global net oil exports, it seems inevitable that, at best, our current energy and transportation infrastructure will only be partially replaced in future years.

Given a long-term expectation of partial infrastructure replacement, it seems likely that inevitable natural disasters — like earthquakes/tsunamis such as recently hit Japan, and hurricanes like Katrina and Rita that hit the US Gulf Coast in 2005 — will only aggravate the infrastructure problem. It seems likely that many areas heavily damaged by natural disasters will not be rebuilt, or will only be partially rebuilt. Government officials in Japan are considering exactly this scenario regarding many coastal fishing villages that were damaged by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Exactly. The decision may be made for us. Governments may be too poor to help subsidize fix-up expenses, so roads and bridges that need repairs may go neglected. Electrical companies may have trouble obtaining all of the needed repair parts, and paying for the cost, as more and more customers get laid off from work. Insurance companies may hit a rough patch, as their balance sheets are eroded by defaults on bonds.

WT,I have been visiting many,many and many big plants (electrics,steel,chemical,oil etc)in connection with my work.The amount of imbedded energy in these units astounds me.Will we have anything left for the public to drive around or will we abandon industry is driving me nuts?

I would guess that infrastructure related to discretionary spending would--or should--be abandoned before more essential infrastructure is abandoned.

Incidentally, Monday is the sixth anniversary of Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast.

The "good" news is that it didn't strengthen overnight due to slightly more unfavourable conditions than projected. Pressure has actually gone up slightly in the most recent recon passes.

...the no so good news is the jet off the great lakes will probably keep it a hurricane into New England though

11am NHC advisory just out. Maintains course and projected to be still Cat 1 approaching New York vicinity.

Where's the danger-zone in reference to NYC's infrastructure? How much can it really withstand Category-X wise?

EDIT: Came across this from 2009

New York City on Borrowed Time Against Hurricane Related Damage

Effective July 2008, the New York City Council passed a new building code that recognizes the City is within a “Hurricane Prone Region.” As such, the new code mandates that new buildings be designed and constructed to withstand the force of a hurricane, which is similar to Florida’s building code.

A 1990 study by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers states that New York City is the third most vulnerable major city to a hurricane, behind only New Orleans and Miami.


“It’s great that New York City passed building codes similar to Miami-Dade,” states Baker. “However, currently 100 percent of the City’s buildings contain window systems that will fail during a major storm because they simply weren’t designed to withstand the force.”

“Prior to the new code, the exterior windows and cladding for most buildings in NYC were designed to meet a 30 PSF (pounds per square foot) design pressure. However, for a hurricane, this is far too low. When the wind load of a storm exceeds window capacity of a window not designed to handle it, failures and damages occur.

Wind can be greatly accelerated between buildings, increasing it's velocity and force; a sort of wind tunnel effect. I walked around a corner in Chicago one day and got blown on my butt. I can imagine how an 80 mph wind in NYC could be amplified to much higher speeds. Storm surge may be the lesser evil.

The top of a taller building may have higher Cat winds than the bottom floors as well. But this is about trees, power lines, lots of people without power, and widespread flooding along the coasts and along creeks and rivers. The surge is Cat 4 due to the size but the winds are weak and Cat 1 (predicted) for NYC.

"...wind are weak and Cat 1 (predicted) for NYC."

"Weak" is not the ideal description of Category-1 hurricane winds. At a minimum, average speeds are around 33 m/s, with higher gusts. This kind of wind can lay entire forest swaths flat. Even a more modest 15-20 m/s can cause serious tree damage. If heavy rain accompanies the wind, the situation is even worse for trees. Here in Vancouver, BC, we can literally count on power outages occurring in some neighbourhoods if the wind reaches half the speed of a Cat-1 storm. With regards to Irene, regions with many large trees that are in turn swept with Cat-1 wind speeds are likely to experience widespread and high-density power-line disruption. With this, I am referring to the the distribution grid. The transmission grid is usually far more resilient, with most of the higher-voltage lines safely above and away from trees, and disruption is rare at Cat-1 and lower wind speeds (though not unheard of). Large transmission pylons are generally designed to endure Cat-1 winds, but failures have occurred at this wind magnitude.


Ah meant "weaker" ! But the forecast is ~50-60 MPH winds at NYC when she hits. Yes and plenty of gusto in those for sure.

And... a poll asked New Yorkers the following

Are you worried that Hurricane Irene will have a major impact on New York City?
Yes, it seems headed our way and our city can face serious damage. 37%
No, hurricane warnings in this area always turn out to be over-blown. 32%
We'll know more in a few days. 30%

So 62% of respondents are either not worried at all or are going to wait a "few days" to see what happens.
Not good attitude in the city about preparing for an Ike kind of storm surge with serious salt water and freshwater flooding.

Seemingly not a good attitude - but really, how on earth is an ordinary New Yorker supposed to tell when the authorities really mean it, as opposed to when it's just another perfectly ordinary day with the authorities bloviating hysterically about little or nothing in order to show how important, caring, and deserving of ever vaster sums of tax money they are?

That is the dilema in forecasting of course. No one knows. But unless you err on the side of caution you may be gambling with your life, especially those on low lying areas.

They are going to have the highest tide of the month in NY. NJ is spared that honor. So they are going to get Cat 4 storm surge from a Cat1 Cane. The area of the cane determines its power. The current scale system is underestimating the power of the store by a mile.

I think people that hang behind in flood plains are going to drown like they did during the Long Island Express.

Hi Oct,

For those who may have missed it, the PBS American Experience episode The Hurricane of '38 can be viewed at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/hurricane/


Interesting that the same day of the '38 storm, that this news was largely unsung while Neville Chamberlain was announcing 'peace in our time' .. what a string of lessons, from '29-'49 !!

Well, we certainly haven't learned from those lessons.


An "eye" opening series of photographs from the 1938 hurricane which also swept NYC and the eastern seaboard:


115 MPH moisture saturated air must be far more destructive than dry air, but I never hear any comparison.

No, dry air is denser that humid air. This is a classic misconception. Water is H2O and most air is N2. Atomic weight are 18 vs 28, each molecule taking almost the same place. Nevertheless, enthalpy of wet air is higher but this is meaningless for damage management.

That explains it, thank you.

"Water is H2O and most air is N2. Atomic weight are 18 vs 28..."

Indeed this is true. But often for a hurricane, at a given location, that nearly-saturated to saturated air is full of rain drops at least some of the time.

Liquid water is H2O in a much higher density state than in vapour form. If the hydrometeors are moving along with a horizontal vector similar to the stated 115 mph wind, then the blast of wind would impart more momentum into whatever objects are in the path relative to rain-free air. Of course, even a heavy rain adds just a minor about of mass to a given volume of air, so the difference is minor.

More importantly, trees are very good at intercepting rain, due to the sticky nature of water. A tree can retain much water. Even in a windy situation where some of the intercepted rain is shaken free, this adds to the overall mass of the tree, making it more likely to topple. On top of this, saturated soils tend to lose cohesion. This increases the likelihood of a tree toppling due to root failure. Power poles simply stuck in the ground without additional support (like a concrete foundation) are more likely to be shoved over under saturated conditions, especially an older pole that has suffered some wood decomposition underground.


Interesting site! Thanks for this.

I think it goes without saying, because people on this site are savvy preparers by nature, but an extra 5 gallon gas can and a fully fueled vehicle would be prudent anywhere along this path. After it hits, if you then find out you would like to be farther from those nuclear power stations, you wont want to stay in that line at the gas station. Oh, and water bottles would be nice. Good luck from Boston (I mean Eastex)

Edit: Am I loosing my mind, or did someone delete a bunch of replies under here? Is it something I said?

New Drumbeat today.

Reuters Hurricane Tracker

Shows oil refineries/platforms, but unfortunately does not plot power facilities... a shame. You can choose a storm via Historical Hurricane Paths option: Ike, Gustav, Wilma, Katrina, and Rita.

Worth a look.

Latest I.K.E. update (13:30z) ups the Destructive Potential to (0-6 scale) Wind 3.0, Surge/Waves 5.1

So despite a slight rise in pressure the destructive potential of the storm has increased.

Weather Underground station, Okracoke Island, NC.

Webcam here.

This guy told CNN that he's staying put. After 30+ years, he said it's more trouble and likely more dangerous to evacuate; he's done. Besides, his other house was in the Bahamas :-0

There is a push to create a new hurricane scale that rates wind speed and storm surge together so that a low wind speed storm with a high surge gets a more dangerous rating. Seems like a good idea.


How about adding so many variables that the government can fudge the rating based on if they care about the voters in the effected area?

Leanan, got batteries and stuff?

Everyone in the path of this thing raise their little electronic hands.

I think we have sizes AAA, AA, C and D. Oh, and 9-Volt as well. Not that I went out and got these recently - I just buy the large packages and store them in the fridge to extend the shelf life.

We had a power outage last winter that lasted a day or two. One of the neighbors was idling the car in the driveway in order to charge her cell phone. I guess the advantage this time is that we could get by without heat or AC a lot better than the last time around. But then again in the winter, you can move your food outdoors to keep it from going bad. There are hand-crank generators that one can use to charge a cellphone if you just can't live without the thing.

I keep meaning to buy a cheap UPS to attach to the tankless water heater. No power means cold showers.

But we are 150 miles inland and well elevated, so what we will get isn't likely to be all that bad..

The old lady down the road asked me about a generator for outages. When I saw what she needed: phone, recharge some stuff, a light, radio, and the igniter/blower on her water heater, I set her up with a cheap deep cycle battery, 2 amp trickle charger and a 300 watt inverter, all for about $150. One can do alot with a small setup like that. If the outage lasts more than a day or two, the battery can be charged from the car. She called it a "miracle".

That sounds really neat. Is there a web site or something with the how-tos? Or do they sell kits?

Here's what I got for Miss Lizz:

One of these.

One of these.

One of these.

And one of these to put the battery in.

Hook up the charger and inverter to the battery (which has little wingnuts on top, being sure to hook red to red (positive +) and black to black (negative -). Because the charger is low amperage you shouldn't have to worry about the battery hydrogen blowing things up, but make sure there is some ventilation where the battery is (don't put it in a kitchen cabinet, but a pantry with louvered doors is ok.)

Anyway, plug the charger in (make sure it's switched to 12 volt) and leave the inverter switched off until you need it. They also have inverters with USB connections for cell phones and stuff. This setup will run a cfl lamp for many hours, charge stuff and keep a cordless landline phone working for days. It'll run your blender as well ;-)

Actually, Fred M. is the guy. He builds these systems into tool boxes with little solar panels and wheels so folks can take'em to the beach, etc. He's posted some stuff.

Disclaimer: I would like to say I'm not a fan of Walmart, but they've got some good stuff. You can get similar items elsewhere.

I hook a 120 V 2 watt LED into my computer UPS. Works surprisingly well on a dark night, and will last days with intermittent use.

Best Hopes,


A UPS is a great option, albeit more expensive, and usually less storage. What I speced is actually the guts of a big UPS without all of the automation/switching. The deep cycle battery can also be carried to the car (heavy suckers) and charged with jumper cables (red to red...).

Folks with a UPS can unplug their computer and charge cell phones, laptops, etc.

I use these http://www.invertersrus.com/inv1500wc.html for UPS on steroids. Self-contained and auto switching when you lose power. Add as many deep cycle batteries as you can afford. Power outages are pretty common in this part of Maine. I like using AGM batteries, sealed and can be shipped here easily.

Don in Maine

Yike! Those battery low voltage cut offs are VERY low!


Autozone do various chargers, inverters and a few deep cycle though a chandlers may have more deep cycle (got mine from my local one, the battery shops didn't have a clue). Local battery shop, down here, wanted $500US for a Trojan 6V golf cart, told him I'll let him know. If you want lighting, just run a camping light or use a 12V LED lamp straight off the battery. If you want to use an inverter with your fridge you may need a 1000W or more because of the motor start up surge. I have an old, broken UPS that I might repair and just use as an inverter. If you use jumpers to connect one to a car battery DO NOT connect them the wrong way, the magic smoke escapes. I'm working on a charge state indicator, at the moment, if anyone is interested I'll put some details when I've fully tested and debugged it.


Thanks. I like the idea of being able to swap out the battery when it dies, without trashing the rest of it, like you have to with the average UPS or portable camping charger.

With light use and constant charge, these batteries last several years. I think I paid about $67... maybe a bit more now. 20-30 bucks a year ain't bad insurance. A few dimes a month to keep it charged.

BTW: Where's Fred? He's a pro at this.

UPSs can be revived with off the shelf sealed lead acid batteries. Usually 1 or 2 7 or 12 Ah 12V units. Done this lots of times. Internal ones last 2-3 years depending on ambient temperature, cooler is better. Moving the battery outside the case is a big help but make sure you connect correctly, they are totally unforgiving (anyone help me get some fets?). If your unit has 7Ah batteries you can get away with 12Ah ones and get a longer up time. I am not sure about using a flooded cell as the charge rates and voltages are different to SLA.


PS Oh, send the old batteries to recycling.
Oops, forgot. Adding a small fan to cool internal batteries is another idea.

I have never seen a UPS that the battery couldn't be replaced. The portables can be replaced also, but it takes some shopping around as a replacement battery may cost as much as the power pack did.

Actually, Fred M. is the guy. He builds these systems into tool boxes with little solar panels and wheels so folks can take'em to the beach, etc. He's posted some stuff.

Yep, and I made sure mine got plenty of sun in the days leasing up to Irene.



Where's the fun in that? ;-)

@ Half the price, about 1/4 the amp hours....and make sure you can charge it from a car. Great for small electronics. As Alan mentioned, you can run an LED for hours on these small batteries but not your blender. Hurricane party,,, anyone?

True, not nearly as much fun as building up a custom setup. But some may just want a simple plug & play to charge their cellphones.

If not cycled deep an AGM battery like in this or in a UPS can last 15 years, if like notanoilman says you move them outside the case to keep them cool. And yes you can go with much higher capicity battery's outside the case.

BTW this charger is more suited to a setup like Miss Lizz. Already has the right ring terminals on it. Keep it plugged in 100% of the time.

Cold showers aren't too bad till mid-November or so.

From experience :-)


I was very fortunate to be outside edge of storm in Jax, FL. Rain pattering the window woke me around 3am. A few bands came thru area today with steady rain in the early afternoon for an hour or so. It was a mix of bright sun and thick fast-moving low clouds throughout the day. There was very little wind and rain was somewhat mild compared to afternoon thunderstorms normal for the area.

This seems to be what really has people worried.

Worried? Nah, a good dose of denial and everything will be just fine! Until it isn't and by then it's too late to worry about it anyway. The reaction of people to a very clearly defined threat to life and property in the story below is exactly why I am a card carrying member of the 'Doomers Club'! If they won't protect themselves from a massive hurricane that can be seen coming, how the hell can we expect people to worry about unseen threats, that they aren't even being warned about, such as Peak Oil and Climate Change. And the best our leaders can do is stock up on body bags... Hopefully peak body bags are still far in the future, corpses rotting in the streets are a very unpleasant sight to behold!


Some hardy holdouts in North Carolina put plywood on windows, gathered last-minute supplies and tied down boats. More than half the people who live on two remote islands, Hatteras and Ocracoke, had ignored orders to leave, and as time to change their minds ran short, officials ordered dozens of body bags. The last ferry from Ocracoke left at 4 p.m. Friday.

"I anticipate we're going to have people floating on the streets, and I don't want to leave them lying there," said Richard Marlin, fire chief for one of the seven villages on Hatteras. "The Coast Guard will either be pulling people off their roofs like in Katrina or we'll be scraping them out of their yards."

If they won't protect themselves from a massive hurricane that can be seen coming... [emphasis added]

Well, therein lies the rub. Time and time again they've heard stridently-told tales from various authorities of The End Of The World As They Knew It, and time and time again, in the actual event, little has happened. (Odds are those very-possibly-foolish Okracoke guys have survived umpteen of these before.) Now, I'm no psychologist, so I don't know what to suggest. But it does appear that those authorities have done a superb job of getting it all wrong with respect to motivating people.

For storms, it seems as though every available increment in forecasting 'skill' has been used to multiply the number of false alarms in the name of "precaution". It has long since gone off to a galaxy far far away, far past being counterproductive. From all the bloviation every time it snows you would think that the Midwest had never experienced a blizzard before in the entire geological history of the planet. And in every coastal storm, we get countless videos of reporters standing on the seawall with the wind ripping - and very visibly they're failing to die or anything despite their own bloviation against doing the very thing they're so visibly doing. What a joke. More broadly, almost every week we hear yet another story from some medical "authority" about the latest panacea reducing mortality by 30% - so many stories, indeed, that mortality ought to have essentially disappeared by now [1.0 - 0.3 = 0.7; 0.7 * 0.7 * 0.7 ... ≈ 0] and we should be living forever.

To top it off, a favored meme among the supercilious spokespeople has been to whine and bellyache about the inconvenience someone might cause the authorities by, say, failing to evac. Oh, please, cry me a boatload of crocodile tears. The same can be said of the "obesity" pseudo-crisis: lots of whining a few billions utterly lost among trillions (but never mind the savings on pensions, the contrived cash-nexus pseudo-morality works one way only); cry me some more crocodile tears. And so on ad infinitum.

So: why should anybody really take the "authorities'" advice to heart, when following it usually comes to little more than taking on deadweight risk and cost? And why would anyone feel motivated by the "authorities'" bellyaching about inconvenience to their underworked, plushbottomed selves? And if the "authorities" can't tell a straight story about even relatively simple, visible matters, why should anybody pay the slightest attention when they moan about abstract, difficult to measure and attribute, distant, yawn-inducing matters such as AGW? No, we've got a credibility gap here wider than the distance to Betelgeuse.

So maybe we need a whole different paradigm to cope with this stuff. But I can't say I know what it might be, except that to have any utility it needs credibility, and that means it needs to raise a whole boatload fewer false alarms.

To top it off, a favored meme among the supercilious spokespeople has been to whine and bellyache about the inconvenience someone might cause the authorities by, say, failing to evac. Oh, please, cry me a boatload of crocodile tears.

Except that this one happens to be The Real McCoy! BTW it has already killed a few people and the reality is that most hurricane deaths occur in the aftermath of a hurricane after the storm has passed, just ask the folks in New Orleans.
It's not the high winds that are the biggest problem, it's the storm surge! Anyone on a barrier island should know better.

I don't know where you live but I live in south Florida about a mile and a half from the beach, I've been through a few hurricanes and that is precisely why you can be sure that I was watching hurricane Irene's path very, very carefully!
And that's also why, despite the fact that I might otherwise distrust the authorities, in this particular case I would definitely take their advice to heart.

Oh, I also wear a seat belt even though I actually survived going through a windsheild once...

Re BP: ‘No fresh Macondo leaks’

Oil discovered floating near source of BP Deepwater Horizon spill

Oil is once again fouling the Gulf of Mexico around the Deepwater Horizon well, which was capped a little over a year ago.

Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of small, circular patches of oily sheen dotted the surface within a mile of the wellhead. With just a bare sheen present over about a quarter-mile, the scene was a far cry from the massive slick that covered the Gulf last summer.

Floating in a boat near the well site, Press-Register reporters watched blobs of oil rise to the surface and bloom into iridescent yellow patches. Those patches quickly expanded into rainbow sheens 4 to 5 feet across.

Note that the story linked uptop by Leanan is a response to the recent reports such as you link above (which is from 2 days ago). BP say they sent a ROV down yesterday and found no leaks. That's what they say anyway.

From Leanan's link.

Last week non-profit watchdog Wings of Care published what it claimed were photographs of spots of oil on the sea surface near the Macondo well, which led to the US Coast Guard (USCG) to conduct an investigation.

BP decided to send a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) down to the abandoned well on Thursday to investigate the situation, and stated on Friday that the results came up clean.

"On [Thursday], BP confirmed through a standard visual wellhead inspection that there is no release of oil from the Macondo well.

"In addition, BP also conducted a visual inspection of the Macondo relief well confirming the same result."

""In addition, BP also conducted a visual inspection of the Macondo relief well confirming the same result." "

What about the second relief well? Just askin'...

The 2nd relief well never got anywhere near formation depth as it was held in reserve as far as I recall.

Geochemical "fingerprint"? Stable isotope geochem??? geologists???? :/

PDV - Doesn't have to that elaborate. Every oil has a unique set of chains plus various trace elements. This will alter as it weathers but that can be modeled too.

Scientists: Oil fouling Gulf matches Deepwater Horizon well (photo gallery, video)

“After examining the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 oil, as good a match as I’ve seen,” Overton wrote in an email to the newspaper. “My guess is that it is probably coming from the broken riser pipe or sunken platform. ... However, it should be confirmed, just to make sure there is no leak from the plugged well.”

Sure it does. absolutely bombproof expert evidence.

There are a lot of natural seeps in the area. It seems like the oil could be from them.

Didn't a lot of the oil sink to the bottom. Is it possible that some of that is now starting to bubble up to the top?

dohboi - The reports said it was fresh oil. The crude leaked during the blow out would be very biodegarded by now. So it's either a natural seep or coming up from some leaky well somewhere in the general vacinity.

"The reports said it was fresh oil."

Sorry--I missed that. Thanks for the clarification.

Gail - NPR reported that BP dived an ROV the site with Coast Guard observers and report no oil sighted from the well. No oil seen on the surface. I would be a bit mre comfortable if the original observations had independent corraboration. Maybe they were even at the correct location. Or maybe the Coasties are covering up for BP.

Conspiracies or honest errors...take your pick.

I see a lot of breaking news at this site http://www.floridaoilspilllaw.com/

NOAA confirms its BP Macondo oil.

Although Florida Oil Spill Law left out an important part of the quote.

Scientists: Oil fouling Gulf matches Deepwater Horizon well

“After examining the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 oil, as good a match as I’ve seen,” Overton wrote in an email to the newspaper. “My guess is that it is probably coming from the broken riser pipe or sunken platform. ... However, it should be confirmed, just to make sure there is no leak from the plugged well.”

Re link above: Libyan peace could bring oil bonanza

Libya's existing oil fields are depleted by between 65% and 75%


If Libyan oil production comes back, Saudi Arabia may reduce production

The Saudis can't afford an oil price slump

Oswald Clint, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein thinks Saudi Arabia may reduce its oil output sooner than it did after the financial crisis in 2008. He argues that the Saudi authorities need oil prices above $85 a barrel to meet their spending obligations.
For example, the Arab nation plans to spend more than $100bn (£61.4bn) on power plants and electricity distribution networks by 2020, as domestic demand soars. Demand is expected to rise by about 8pc a year for the forseeable future.


Iran crude oil decline to 2016

The "crisis over in Libya will lead to lower oil prices" claim has become one of those memes within the media perpetuated by a combination of its own momentum (if you repeat something often enough, it becomes true, or so some appear to believe) and misplaced optimism (obviously, if oil prices are high, it must be a reflection of above-ground factors and couldn't possibly have anything to do with fundamental supply and demand and underlying global depletion, so we'll go with whatever explanation seems to fit at the moment, whether it be conflict in Libya or "excessive speculation").

I thought it was interesting that the headline on this particular article reflected an optimistic stance (at least from the perspective of those who want lower oil prices), albeit with the "could" qualifier, based on the proclamation of a single "energy analyst" that is itself far from conclusive, yet the preponderance of evidence presented in the article -- outlook for reduced Saudi production, uncertainty in future above-ground factors in Libya, the lack of significant recent -- seems to either mitigate or point in the opposite direction of the claim that production is likely to dramatically increase. Bonus points for use of the further qualifier of "some say" within the article (Who says? The one guy they quote, or are there others too?) and the comparison to Iraq as "expected" to "triple or quadruple its oil output over the next couple of decades." Expected by whom? I can only "expect" myself that the expectation is made by the analyst quoted in the following paragraph from Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which is of course legendary for the accuracy of predictions its representatives have made historically.

Gotta watch out for that creeping usage of passive voice, CNN Money.

Overall a very insightful piece in terms of showing how the mainstream media approach the issue of oil prices and energy in general, and again a reminder of how economics truly is the "science" of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn't come true today...

Re: Iraq to triple oil output

Other OPEC countries will never allow this to happen. They are fighting now over new port facilities just where Iraq's oil exports go through:

Three rockets rock Kuwait-Iraq border,
DUBAI: Three rockets have hit the border area between Kuwait and Iraq, Al Arabiya TV reported yesterday quoting diplomatic sources. The pro-Gaddafi TV channel Al Orouba reported the rockets had targeted Kuwait?s Mubarak port, which is under construction and has been the subject of arguments between oil-producing Iraq and Kuwait, which share a small border.
Meanwhile, Iraq yesterday officially denied reports suggesting that three missiles had been fired from southern Iraq with the intention of targeting Kuwait?s Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port, currently being built on the east coast of Boubyan Island. The denial came in the form of an official statement released by the office of the Iraqi Chief-of-Staff. A Kuwaiti military insider confirmed the reports, however, telling Kuwait's Al-Aan news agency that three missiles were fired at Kuwaiti targets from Iraq on Thursda
y night, with the principal target being the mega port on Boubyan Island, a few kilometers away from Iraq's outlet to the Arabian Gulf.
The MoI has also reportedly asked the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) to prepare a tender for a project to build a new high steel fence across the Kuwaiti border with Iraq, according to Kuwaiti daily Annahar, which cited a ministry insider. The fence will reportedly span a 445-kilometer distance, stretching from Um Qasr on the northern border with Iraq to Al-Nuwaiseeb in the south of the country, and is supposedly to be built within nine months. - Agencies

The folks at Gem Star say they can make diesel from coal and their sub-critical (accelerator assisted) nuclear reactor for $1.43 per gallon. With distribution and state and federal tax that is $2.14 per gallon.


ed - Did they say when they would have their $billion new plant finished. Or are they waiting for more investors to send their checks in?

Rockman, they have the weirdest set of government sugar daddies and investors I have ever seen. They have $10 million to do a paper design and something called a staging facility for the (two?) $160 million demo plant(s?). The state of Virgina is giving! them 4 million, Los Alamos County is giving! them 4 million, and (maybe?) 2 million from folks who are buying stock.

GEM*STAR Demo Design
$10 million Required Over Two Years
Staging Facility and Engineering Design
60 MWe GEM*STAR electric demo costing $160 million
200,000 gallon/day diesel demo costing $160 million

Virginia Tobacco Indemnity Fund $4 million grant
Staging facility guiding demo design
Location at 266 Sunflower Lane, Callaway, VA
Involves natural uranium and radioactive sources

$2 million/y for two years
Los Alamos County $4 million grant
Engineering design of the demo in Los Alamos
ADNA headquarters in Los Alamos
Reservation of half of TA-21 for three years
$2 million/y for two years

Other (VA and/or NM) $1 million/y for two years
Private investment in GEM*STAR stock
Virginia universities contribution
DOE via Virginia consortium

ed - Great details! Mucho thanks. I hope for the sake of all those folks chipping in money that this project isn't just "technically feasible". Similar to the "technically recoverable" reserves the USGS was projecting. For those who didn't catch that thread: technically recoverable reserves are those that can be produced even if it isn't profitable to do so. So maybe they can produce diesel with their process as long as a profit isn't required. They say they can produce it cheaply...but they've never done it yet. I don't fault them for making promises they can't guarenttee. My cohorts and I recommended drilling a $7 million well to our owner...big profit potential. But we were wrong = dry hole. What can I say...sh*t happens. Hopefully the same sh*t doesn't happen to all that tax payer money.

Interesting assertion that it's "technically not a reactor". Although they do hedge by saying that it leaves them in the limbo of not knowing if they need an NRC license or not. Somehow I suspect that the NRC won't buy that particular argument, but will claim jurisdiction over anything civilian that has uranium/thorium going in and fission products coming out at some point in the future.

"Hansen Says Obama Will Be 'Greenwashing' About Climate Change if He Approves Keystone XL Pipeline"

I have no doubt that these guys passionately believe in what they are doing. I have no doubt of their concern that global warming could be the death of us all. And they may be right. The problem is that if they succeed in stopping the pipeline, they won't succeed in stopping the development of the oil. What will happen is that it will just shift to China.

Because of the global nature of the problem -- and because countries like China and India use a fraction of the oil we do but would like to use a lot more -- I see very little hope that we will actually be able to bring carbon emissions under control. You would probably have better luck trying to deflect a hurricane.

The problem is that if they succeed in stopping the pipeline, they won't succeed in stopping the development of the oil. What will happen is that it will just shift to China.

And lined up behind China, there are Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and scores of other countries.

Be that as it may. The only kind of leadership there is, in the end, is leadership by example. And China uses oil at half the rate of the USA, giving a bit of time to persuade them to start to cut down.

Well that's the rub, isn't it?

If they're right, and what we need to do is stop or drastically curtail the burning of FF.. well maybe it's impossible, but is there anything better to be doing? You might have to simply accept that this task will completely appear to be tilting at windmills, and still continue in as many innovative ways as you can, to see if there is a crack in the armour, or a shift in public attitudes. Even some high-profile failures can work to your advantage, when the world sees how much you are willing to do to further this cause..

It wouldn't be the first 'Impossible' task people have taken on.. and sometimes you win.

Classic "Tragedy of the Commons" situation.

You would probably have better luck trying to deflect a hurricane.

Ironically, it may one day be a super hurricane which opens our eyes


This latest estimate puts corn inventories near zero at the end of the 2012 growing season. USDA forecast for the crop this year is still high. That should be very supportive of high prices.

Crop troubles send grains surging

Professional Farmers of America on Friday forecast the U.S. corn crop at 12.484 billion bushels, well below federal expectations, raising concerns that the coming harvest won't replenish already-tight inventories.

International Grain Council estimates (PDF):-

Global wheat and coarse grain production (includes corn=maize, excludes rice).

2011/12 estimate 1808 Mt vs. 1799 Mt in 2009/10: Negligible change.

(2010/11 was a bad year, so I used the previous.)

Global rice
2011/12 estimate 457 Mt vs. 440 Mt in 20009/10. +3.9% in two years.

Soybean production estimated to be down 3% on last year.

Hmm, they can't lift production even with prices this high. Stocks are declining. Not good.

On a lighter note :-)

Neanderthal sex boosted immunity in modern humans

Sexual relations between ancient humans and their evolutionary cousins are critical for our modern immune systems, researchers report in Science journal.

Mating with Neanderthals and another ancient group called Denisovans introduced genes that help us cope with viruses to this day, they conclude.

Previous research had indicated that prehistoric interbreeding led to up to 4% of the modern human genome.

The new work identifies stretches of DNA derived from our distant relatives.

so i got this 3KW solar power grid tied array on my roof. if it dont blow off but the grid shuts down then i aint got electricity just like my non solar powered citizens who live close by. i remember the contractor scared me out of a battery system. "IT COSTS TOO MUCH AND THERE ARE NO SREC's!"

well, i do have my solar carts. they have small AGM batteries on them with 40 watt panels and
300 to 600 watt dc/ac converters. at least i can have a light at night and play games on my laptop.
i wheel them out during sunny weather to charge and manually track the sun and then run an extension cord at night to entertain myself.

what a system we have!

DARPA is studying 100 year star ships to see if it is feasible. what for? to give the elites a golden parachute to jump ship? if we can stick bernanke and sommers and paulson and geithenr on a star ship and send them off to oblivion then i say let's DO IT! that is as long as we are spending the money they stole to do it. good paying jobs with good health insurance and living pensions while they explore infinity and beyond.

the oil drum hasnt changed much, "THE WORLD WILL END SOON!" or "no it wont", a mass of conflicting information. most unsettling.

THIS is what DARPA should be studying:

TU-103 is the first bacterial strain from nature that produces 
butanol directly from cellulose, an organic compound.
"Cellulose is found in all green plants, and is the most abundant organic material on earth, and converting it into butanol is the dream of many," said Harshad Velankar, a postdoctoral fellow in David Mullin's lab in Tulane's Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. "In the United States alone, at least 323 million tons of cellulosic materials that could be used to produce butanol are thrown out each year."

Mullin's lab first identified TU-103 in animal droppings, cultivated it and developed a method for using it to produce butanol. A patent is pending on the process.
"Most important about this discovery is TU-103's ability to produce butanol directly from cellulose," explained Mullin.
He added that TU-103 is the only known butanol-producing clostridial strain that can grow and produce butanol in the presence of oxygen, which kills other butanol-producing bacteria. Having to produce butanol in an oxygen-free space increases the costs of production.
As a biofuel, butanol is superior to ethanol (commonly produced from corn sugar) because it can readily fuel existing motor vehicles without any modifications to the engine, can be transported through existing fuel pipelines, is less corrosive, and contains more energy than ethanol, which would improve mileage. 

"This discovery could reduce the cost to produce bio-butanol," said Mullin. "In addition to possible savings on the price per gallon, as a fuel, bio-butanol produced from cellulose would dramatically reduce carbon dioxide and smog emissions in comparison to gasoline, and have a positive impact on landfill waste."
Provided by Tulane University

600V to 48V/24V charge controllers will be common in 12/24 months. I should have one to Beta Test in a couple of weeks. Specs and target price are attractive. Also there are Inverter/Chargers that will "fool" a Grid tie inverter and charge batteries. Be patient, there are multiple affordable Micro-grid solutions in the pipeline.

I was wondering about the ability to "fool" a grid tie inverter with a generator.

It takes Special inverter that is design to do it, and then it wired between it and the Grid. An IEEE 1547 certified US Solar Inverter is always trying to push the grid off spec, that's how multiple Solar inverters don't keep each other alive. If the grid wanders at all, They go to sleep for 5 mins and monitors the "grid" for stability before jumping back on. A large, very stable generator may actually do it, but Generator Power is many times more expensive than solar kWh's. Makes no sense except to save a little gas.

Would a small inverter running off a single panel be enough to do it?. Perhaps jokuhl's solution, below, is easier.


Some isomers of butanol have strong odors. Incomplete combustion also has some interesting olfactory products.

I have occasionally used the term "auto sewers". A widespread switch to butanol (depends on the isomer) could make riding Urban Rail preferable to sitting in traffic jams.

Excellent option for a low oil use society though :-)

Best Hopes for butanol,


Alcohols generally don't have unpleasant odours. It is the corresponding carboxylic acid oxidation product that can be both unpleasant and pungent, but this could be scrubbed out.
Now if you really wanted to encourage a switch to public transport, I'd recommend mercaptans. Smell like a skunk, literally:-)


You still have 3kw on your roof.. just because the wrong inverter is standing in the way. It's not like the system you set up is written in stone.. but you've got the most important piece in place- there's some flexibility with what can be added to it.

If you wanted to, you could bypass the grid-tie during outages and run even a simple 'Make-hay-while..' arrangement, where a modest battery, maybe up to a couple hundred amphours (ie, maybe $200 in deep-cycle marine batts), with a simple charge control and inverter would give you power while the sun is up, plus a couple hours.. just to keep fridges charged up and take care of basic needs.. perhaps your portable units are enough for that.

But the way you complain as if your array is useless.. Ungrateful, Humbaba!