Drumbeat: December 12, 2012

Total: Oil Production to Peak at 98M Barrels per Day

PARIS - New discoveries and technological advances have increased the oil industry's ability to increase production in recent years, pushing global maximum oil production to 98 million barrels per day for longer than initially expected, Total SA's Chairman and Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said Tuesday.

Global oil production should plateau at that level for some time before dropping as reserves gradually deplete, de Margerie said during a meeting with the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris.

Technological constraints led the French oil major to estimate in 2007 that the "peak oil" production rate would be at around 95 million barrels per day, or mb/d--a conservative estimate compared with those of its competitors.

Price plunge approaching for U.S. crude, BofA forecasts

The price of U.S. crude is heading for a precipitous decline that could force the nation’s production surge to slow, according to a BofA Merrill Lynch forecast.

The benchmark price for domestic oil could drop to $50 a barrel in the next two years, the lowest level since 2009, analysts wrote in the annual market outlook. Currently, the West Texas Intermediate price for crude is hovering around $85 as oil extraction rises in the country.

Thought we were running out of fossil fuels? New technology means Britain and the U.S. could tap undreamed reserves of gas and oil

Thirty years ago, I was Secretary of State for Energy in Margaret Thatcher’s government, and one way and another I have been a close observer of the energy scene ever since.

In all that time, I have never known a technological revolution as momentous as the breakthrough that has now made it economic to extract gas from shale.

“Peak Oil” is Nonsense… Because There’s Enough Gas to Last 250 Years.

At bold face, his conclusions confound the difference between a resource and a reserve. Furthermore, they ignore the fact that it is not the quantity available, but the rate at which it may be recovered - and this not only as a technical but economic reality (this is the “reserve”) – which is the determinant of whether and when oil or gas will “peak”.

US as oil production king needs an asterisk

“We do agree that the US will likely become the world’s largest liquids producer for a short time,” the report said. “But the higher percentage of NGLs in the US’ liquids profile will almost certainly leave the US short of Saudi’s true crude oil production.”

The report continued: “On a total liquids basis, our 2015 forecasts imply near-record US liquids production vs. history; however, for crude oil it corresponds to levels last seen around 1990.”

Peak Oil or Peak Energy? – A Happy Solution

As I noted a few weeks ago, shale gas will add about 0.5% to the growth of US GDP next year, in a year when we will be lucky to get 2%. This is a huge driver of jobs and growth. And it is not just in North Dakota; there are shale gas plays all over the US and Canada. Continental Resources announced a major new shale gas field in Oklahoma in October, comparing its geology to that of the Bakken.

The US will be exporting natural gas within 3-4 years from McAllen, Texas, and other LNG ports are in various stages of permitting. Natural gas in Japan is over $15, compared to $3.78 this morning in the US. Europe is in double digits ($11.83). There is an arbitrage available here. Even an economist can do the math.

But our real advantage may not come in exporting raw gas but rather in the chemical products you need gas to make. Not just fertilizers but feedstocks for plastics and other organic chemicals.

Peak Oil – An Outdated Idea?

One of the important features of Saudi Arabia is that it acts as the ‘swing’ producer for the OPEC group. Or, in other words, it varies its national output up or down according to how much the other OPEC producers are exporting, so as to ensure that the volume of OPEC oil hitting the market is reasonably constant. A very generous and selfless act, as far as its fellow oil states are concerned. But what’s interesting this time is that November’s OPEC production, including the Saudi ‘swing’ contribution, was still only 30.78 millionbpd – the lowest level in almost a year, and a good 20% less than was normal in the 1980s.

Does that mean that the world’s appetite for oil is diminishing, then? It hardly seems so right now, with winter coming on in the rich northern hemisphere, and with China’s industrial output still soaring. No it doesn’t.

OPEC ministers signal no change in output targets

VIENNA -- OPEC oil ministers signaled Wednesday that they have agreed to stick to present output targets while remaining undecided on who should fill a senior post coveted both by Saudi Arabia and arch-rival Iran.

The 12-nation cartel is pushing out more than 31 million barrels a day - over 1 million barrels more than the ceiling it has agreed on. That output is the highest in four years, when calculated over 12 months. Robust U.S. production and anemic world demand due to flagging economic growth have added to the mix, resulting in unusually high crude inventories. OPEC predicts even less demand next year.

Iraq-Saudi OPEC standoff over next oil curbs

VIENNA (Reuters) - A new rivalry at the top of the OPEC oil group has emerged, pitting up-and-coming Iraq against undisputed cartel heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

Having overtaken Iran as OPEC's second biggest producer, a rejuvenated Iraq is beginning to worry Riyadh.

At Wednesday's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries the opening salvos were fired in the struggle over who takes responsibility for cutting output if oil prices, now at a comfortable $108 a barrel, start falling.

After 20 years of war, sanctions and civil strife that left its oil industry in disarray, Iraq is no mood to consider curtailing output just as it starts to take off.

'Healthy competition' to lead Opec

The Saudi Arabian candidate, the oil ministry adviser Majid Al Muneef, is in the running and challenged by a candidate from Iran and Thamer Ghadban, a former Iraqi oil minister seen as a possible compromise between price hawks represented by Tehran and doves led by Riyadh.

With such a divisive race, Opec delegates are prepared for there to be no winner at all.

Forecast drop in Alaskan oil output brings fiscal challenge

(Reuters) - Oil production from Alaska's declining North Slope fields is expected to fall 4.5 percent this fiscal year, posing a growing challenge for the state's finances, Alaska's Department of Revenue said this week.

North Slope output should drop to an average 552,800 barrels per day (bpd) in the 12 months ending June 30, down from 579,100 bpd in fiscal 2012, the Department said in a semiannual release on its website earlier this week.

Output is expected to fall another 2.6 percent to 538,400 bpd in fiscal 2014.

Crude Rises as IEA Boosts Demand Forecast, OPEC Meets

Brent crude rose to a four-day high after the International Energy Agency increased its oil demand forecast for 2013 and as OPEC ministers met in Vienna to discuss the group’s production limits.

Futures climbed as much as 0.9 percent in London, a third straight advance. Global oil consumption will expand to 90.5 million barrels a day next year, more than previously forecast amid signs of a rebound in Chinese demand, the IEA said in a report today. There is consensus among OPEC members to keep output limits unchanged, Ecuador’s Minister of Non-Renewable Natural ResourcesWilson Pastor told reporters at the group’s headquarters in Vienna today, before closed-door talks began.

5 states with the cheapest gas

States impose gasoline taxes and fees, in addition to federal gasoline taxes. These taxes can vary significantly from state to state, affecting regional prices. It's not surprising then to find that the states with the lowest gas prices tend to have among the lowest fuel taxes. The states on this list are below the median in terms of taxes and fees.

States with refineries also tend to have lower prices because oil can be moved to local stations at much cheaper prices, which results in lower prices at the pump. Most of the states on this list have refineries located within its borders. Texas, which has among the cheapest gas in the country, has 26 refineries, more than any other state in the country. Louisiana has 18 refineries, the second most of any state.

North Dakota, California traffic deaths are up, NHTSA says

WASHINGTON -- Traffic deaths nationally were down last year to their lowest level since record-keeping began in 1949.

But not in North Dakota, where they were up 41%, the biggest increase of any state.

Fourteen states, including California, recorded an increase in motor vehicle fatalities, even though the 32,367 traffic deaths last year were down 1.9% from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The traffic safety agency this year projected a record low in 2011 traffic deaths as motorists drove less, perhaps because of high gas prices and a still-difficult economy. On Monday, the agency released updated numbers, confirming 1.10 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

Egypt Importing Gas for First Time as Exports Disappear

Egypt, a natural-gas exporter to markets from China to Chile, is set to become an importer for the first time just as the new government needs energy shipments to revive an economy weakened by civil unrest.

Gas producers including BG Group Plc have curbed local production even as demand from electricity plants jumped. That’s prompted the government that took power after Hosni Mubarak was ousted to plan a liquefied natural gas import terminal as soon as May. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s biggest provider of LNG, has begun studying how to supply Egypt.

Mena able to handle gas crunch

A looming gas crunch in the Arab world can be offset by tapping unconventional reserves, according to a state-backed financier for regional energy projects.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is home to proven reserves of 88 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, more than 40 per cent of the world's total, says the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation.

How Norwegian oil wealth and Swedish migrant work have reversed the centuries-old Scandinavian power dynamic

In the late 1960s, oil was discovered off the coast of Norway. A few years later, the government-owned Statoil was founded, though it didn’t post a profit until the 1980s. The resulting oil boom has made Norway one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is currently valued at roughly $600 billion. From 1999 to 2009, the average Norwegian family saw an increase in annual income of about $17,000. But with a population of only 5 million, Norway’s booming economy has been short one thing: workers. That’s where the Swedes came in. Current estimates of the number of Swedes living and working in Norway hover between 80,000 and 100,000. it’s thought that there are 50,000 Swedes in Oslo alone, which is about 10 percent of the city’s population. One town in Sweden is even paying its unemployed youth to go to Norway to find work.

Kurdistan oil wrapped in red tape

Bureaucratic red tape is hampering efforts to ramp up oil production in Iraqi Kurdistan, with companies struggling to procure equipment and visas.

Egyptian army to host unity talks as crisis deepens

(Reuters) - Egypt's army chief will host national unity talks on Wednesday, seeking to end a growing political and economic crisis in the Arab world's most populous nation.

The meeting scheduled for 1430 GMT was called in response to a wave of protests since President Mohamed Mursi awarded himself sweeping powers on November 22 to push through a new constitution shaped by his Islamist allies, which is due to go to a referendum on Saturday.

PetroChina to Buy BHP Stake in Browse Venture for $1.63b

PetroChina Co., Asia’s biggest oil producer, agreed to pay BHP Billiton Ltd. $1.63 billion for its holding in Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s proposed Browse liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia.

World’s Largest Profit at Gazprom Pays for Putin’s Pipes

The world’s most profitable energy company is being punished by investors who are concerned it’s also the biggest spendthrift.

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas export monopoly, will beat Exxon Mobil Corp. to earn $37.9 billion in 2012, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Yet its shares have fallen 18 percent this year as the state-run company uses its cash to finance the industry’s largest capital expenditure program, including an export terminal in the Far East and undersea pipelines to Europe, where demand is forecast to drop.

East-west pipeline is in national interest, Oliver says

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says a pipeline that could ship western crude oil to eastern Canada is in the national interest.

Oliver toured the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John on Tuesday, where he said the pipeline would help Canada find new customers for its energy products.

Enbridge Pipeline Faces Scallop-Farmers Fight

A line of yellow buoys marking the boundaries of a scallop farm outside Prince Rupert, British Columbia presents the biggest challenge Enbridge Inc. may face in its bid to connect Canada’s oil sands to Asia.

The aboriginal communities on British Columbia’s northern coast, already a port for ships to load grain and coal sent by rail from Canada’s interior, are expanding shellfish farming and ecotourism, said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations. The native group seeks to develop an economy based on renewable resources and has attracted investment from former Prime Minister Paul Martin and Chinese companies.

BP Guilty Plea in Rig Crew Deaths Set for January Hearing

BP Plc’s guilty plea in the 2010 deaths of 11 crew members of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico will be considered by a federal judge in New Orleans on Jan. 29.

BP announced Nov. 15 that it reached a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to plead guilty to 14 counts, including 11 for felony seaman’s manslaughter, and pay $4 billion to end all criminal charges related to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Ford mileage claims to face review from EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency is stepping in to review mileage claims for two of Ford Motor Co.’s two newest hybrid models.

The move was triggered by a report from Consumer Reports magazine that the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford C-Max Hybrid delivered substantially lower fuel economy than the maker has widely promoted in its advertising. The federal agency has become particularly sensitive to the issue following the discovery that South Korean carmakers Kia and Hyundai fudged the fuel economy figures for 13 of their own products.

SolarCity Cuts Proposed IPO Pricing, Increases Size of Placement

SolarCity Corp., the solar power provider led by billionaire Elon Musk, cut the proposed pricing of its initial public offering while increasing the number of shares offered.

Solar Installations Surge on Lower Costs and Government Support

The number of solar installations grew strongly in the nation’s residential, commercial and utility sectors in the third quarter, largely as a result of falling costs, a federal investment tax credit and state programs that support renewable energies, the solar industry’s main trade group reported on Tuesday.

Taking the Table to the Farm: Portraits of Radical Off-the-Grid Living

“Over the years I’ve come to realize that most people are not going to, nor do they have any desire to, radically change their lives. Most people can’t walk away from the kids’ schools or their jobs or their mortgages, or whatever. They just can’t, and it would be asking too much for them to do it. But they can take some steps in just teaching themselves — learning more about gardening, learning more about food preservation, and taking care of their own health. So there are things people can do to become a little more self-sufficient ... if there’s any hope at all of being able to transition into a less chaotic life.”

Tightest Corn Crop Since ‘74 as Goldman Sees Rally

Three consecutive years of smaller U.S. corn harvests are driving inventories of the world’s most- consumed grain to a 39-year low and spurring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to predict that prices will rise near record highs.

Global stockpiles will drop 11 percent to 117.61 million metric tons by Oct. 1, or 13.6 percent of what will be used for food, ethanol and livestock feed, the lowest ratio since 1974, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report.

Is Mechanical Flame Weeding for Crops Growing in Popularity?

Flame weeding using propane is a USDA approved organic weed removal method. It affords an opportunity for organic farmers to save time and money in their weed removal efforts. Furthermore, propane prices are currently reasonable, as shown by the following ten-year price graph.

Detroit Narrowly Approves Vast Land Sale

Measured by acreage, it is the largest land sale in the city’s history. Some declare that it may herald a reinvention of Detroit from motor city to urban oasis for local agriculture, but many others are skeptical.

Dozens of residents turned out at the City Council session to argue against the sale, contending that neighborhoods are far better served by many small urban agriculture operations that contribute to the food supply than large-scale corporate purchases like the Hantz Farm deal, which remains vaguely defined.

A Rising Tide of Noise Is Now Easy to See

Today — to the dismay of whale lovers and friends of marine mammals, if not divers and submarine captains — the ocean depths have become a noisy place.

The causes are human: the sonar blasts of military exercises, the booms from air guns used in oil and gas exploration, and the whine from fleets of commercial ships that relentlessly crisscross the global seas. Nature has its own undersea noises. But the new ones are loud and ubiquitous.

Water Pollution and the Farm Economy

By exempting farmers from restricting fertilizer-laden runoff from their fields, the United States is making no headway on the water pollution front, a new study suggests.

Drought and Economy Plague Sheep Farmers

Over the last few years, skyrocketing costs, a brutal drought and plunging lamb prices have battered Mr. Bartmann and the 80,000 ranchers across the country who raise sheep — from a few to several thousand. It is the latest threat to shadow a Western way of life that still relies on the whims of summer rains, lonely immigrant sheep herders and old grazing trails into the mountains.

“For the sheep industry, it’s the perfect storm,” Mr. Bartmann said, glancing out his office window here at a bleating sea of wool. “The money is just not there.”

Why Rivers No Longer Burn

Protecting our nation’s waters may seem like common sense today, but the idea of nationally uniform, tough standards against polluters was both original and radical. Thinking big, the Clean Water Act’s preamble declared that the nation’s waters would be swimmable and fishable within a decade, with no discharges of pollutants within a dozen years. These weren’t idle boasts.

Remember a similarly bold claim in 1960 that the nation would land a man on the moon and return him safely within a decade? This was an age of technological optimism. Water pollution posed a national threat, and a national mission was necessary to turn back and clean the tide.

Barge Captain Steers Rocky Course as Mississippi Shrinks

The worst drought in 50 years has cut the river depth by two-thirds in some places, creating a low-water choke point between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois, for the $7 billion worth of grain, coal and other commodities that typically move this time of year. Barring extra rainfall, the Army Corps of Engineers predicts the river will be too shallow in coming weeks for the tow boats that push barges down the 180-mile (290 kilometer) section of the river.

Carriers such as AEP River Operations LLC, owner of the Capt. Bill Stewart, are rushing to get shipments though in case the river is shut to barges. The extra traffic, narrower passage and shallow water have turned the trip into an obstacle course for the 5,600-horsepower boat as it nudges its 22,000-ton load down the twisty, muddy river at about 9 miles per hour.

What does obesity have to do with climate change? Plenty, say some scientists

Food prices are indeed a mechanism that links obesity and poverty. As incomes decrease, energy-dense grains, sweets, and fats become the best way to provide daily calories at a manageable cost.

… A rise in food prices caused by climate change will lead to higher, not lower, obesity rates in the United States. The spikes in food prices observed in 2008 and again in 2010 were highest for the healthier foods, particularly vegetables and fruit. The current drought conditions have damaged crops and will lead to food-price increases in 2013, especially for dairy, eggs, and meat. As food prices continue to increase, refined grains, added sugars, and vegetable fats will replace healthier options, first for the poor and later for the middle class.

Deutsche Bank Raided in CO2 Probe Producing Five Arrests

Deutsche Bank AG’s Frankfurt headquarters were searched by police and five employees arrested as part of a tax-fraud probe linked to the sale of carbon- emission certificates.

Prosecutors are probing 25 bank employees, Guenter Wittig, spokesman for the Frankfurt General Prosecutor, said in an e- mailed statement. Five employees were arrested over obstruction of justice and money laundering allegations, he said. He didn’t identify any suspects.

Keystone Review Meaningless Without Climate Assessment

The U.S. environmental assessment of a new Keystone XL pipeline route from Canada will be meaningless unless it considers the effect mining of oil sands has on climate change, opponents of the project said.

‘Fracking will see targets missed’

Britain will miss its climate change reduction targets if Lancashire’s shale gas industry takes off, it has been claimed.

Professor Kevin Anderson, of the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester, said shale gas as a “transition fuel” on the way to a low carbon economy would see the UK fail to meet international goals to curb climate change.

Lack of will, cash hinder world efficiency standards

(Reuters) - Climate talks in Doha last week highlighted the weakness of carbon targets as a tool to limit climate change while a lack of international financial and political support may equally undermine an alternative, technology-led approach.

Why latest failure of global warming talks may be a success

The weak outcome of the climate change talks in Doha only add to the momentum toward solutions at the local level, where values on the common good are more easily shared.

South Africa Says U.S. Should Adopt Carbon Budget by 2020

The U.S. should provide more detail about its probable emissions and consider installing a U.K.-like carbon budget to take advantage of global emissions markets by 2020, said a South African climate negotiator.

The U.S. should prepare to “take on a budget,” which is an emissions limit for a set period of years, starting by 2020, Alf Wills, the African nation’s chief negotiator, said Dec. 8 in an interview in Doha. In the meantime, many richer nations need to start making commitments comparable to that deal, which sets targets for 37 countries, he said.

Why Climate Change Denial Is Just Hot Air

Powell looked at 13,950 articles. Out of all those reams of scientific results, how many disputed the reality of climate change?

Twenty-four. Yup. Two dozen. Out of nearly 14,000.

Re: “Peak Oil” is Nonsense… Because There’s Enough Gas to Last 250 Years.

My bold. Are they stupid, or do they just assume we are? My bet is the second. I may be wrong.

You should read the article Jedi, it does not claim that gas will replace oil. The article actually puts down such claims and supports peak oil. I think the title is meant to be a bit of sarcasm.

At some point, reckoned to be around now, conventional crude oil production will reach a maximum, and then fall relentlessly. It must – this is the nature of a finite reserve. In principle, so long as that “hole” in the output of crude oil can be filled from alternative, unconventional sources, all is well, but once the loss of conventional production exceeds the provision of the latter, the overall sum will pass into the negative; in other words, global oil production will have peaked.

Ron P.

I wrote I may be wrong :c) I never read the "denialist" articles, I want to be informed, not to debate. But I am thanksfull they are posted here, it keeps me informed about the trends in media, which I want to be. The title of that article ticked me to off it as a denialist piece.

Re: How Norwegian oil wealth and Swedish migrant work have reversed the centuries-old Scandinavian power dynami above:

Funnyest piece I ever read on TOD. And a good intro towards swedish/norwegian relations. Recomended read for those who have an interest in the area.

Oslo is now the largest foreign swedish city, beating the past record-holder London who is only at 35 000 according to my sources. Norway have stolen two very good friends of mine, when they both found boyfriends there and moved over. I am a bit bitter.

But I will gladly let the norwegians have their 15 minutes of oil wealth. Swedish steel and timber exports will still be here, long after people no longer can afford to buy our product.

For more on how we scandinavians see ourself, check out this web comic:

The only thing a Swede fears is the Kalevala.

From the former Franconian Fiefdom of Austrasia

Nah, thats for the finns (swedish colony for 600 years).

It's the Ragnarök, anything less than that is a picnic.

Barring for some new age loanwords, we are still using a linguistic fossils from the times when the Romans became citizens anew.

Nowadays the place is better known as the land of the small black cloud.

From Google news today: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-12/bernanke-critics-can-t-fight-bo...

Bernanke Critics Can’t Fight Bonds Showing No Inflation

Maki predicts the central bank will continue buying bonds at its current monthly pace of $85 billion after the expiration of Operation Twist by year-end. Under the program, announced in September 2011, the Fed has been swapping $45 billion of short- term Treasuries for longer-term debt.

No Limit
Since September, the Fed also has been buying $40 billion of mortgage-debt securities a month in an effort to boost growth and create jobs. The central bank didn’t put a limit on the size or duration of the purchases.

At 85 billion a month QE is 1020 billion or 1.02 trillion a year.

Add another trillion in annual deficit comes to 2 trillion artificial stimulus per year, and that doesn't count the money used in operation twist.

But get this from the linked article:

That confidence in Bernanke’s ability to keep inflation in check bolsters policy makers’ case for expanding their third round of so-called quantitative easing at the two-day meeting that began yesterday.

Even though there are now monthly QE's and still substantial borrowing, there's little to no inflation? Bernanke is a wizard or there's something I'm not getting here. How can we reach into the till and pull out conjured up currency and not cause inflation?

Easy because our measures of inflation don't really measure inflation at all. Case in point- if we are expected to save for college and retirement- is that not a "cost of living item" as much as food and shelter. What portion of a household budget do those items constitute? As real interest fall and stock multiples increase relative to income the cost of those two items goes up. Furthermore, property taxes (taxes in general) are not part the CPI. Again which part of economy has the least opportunity for productivity growth (want fewer cops using remote technology, larger classroom sizes, less time with your doctor)- the government sector.

However, since they don't figure in the calculation of "inflation" we are left with a measure that excludes the things going up in cost while it only factors the things the things that are most subject to market forces. The fact that the measure shows any inflation at all is amazing.

The solution lies to your quandry lies in the fact that the Fed is creating new debt as debt is being destroyed through deleveraging...

Think of the Red Queen applied to debt. Our monetary system is like a shark which must continuously swim, in our case debt must continuously increase or the system collapses..

And yes, Bernanke is the "Last Wizard of Rational Thought", those familar with "The Stand" will appreciate the moniker "The Printing Dude"....

It all holds together (sort of) until the dollar is no longer good for purchase of imported oil. I figure another 7-8 years unless the House of Saud is deposed...

I agree. I am surprised that an oil, NG and food exporter like Russia is not demanding payment in gold. Iran is already selling NG to Turkey and getting paid in gold (Turkey pays in Lira which is then used to buy gold which is shipped to Iran via Dubai).

The only reason Iran makes that arrangement with Turkey is because US policies prohibit their trading in dollars. They would prefer to have dollars than gold, but would prefer to have gold than Lira.

Russia could do the same thing. Take payment in any currency and buy gold. They don't because it wouldn't make any sense. They would just be adding transaction expenses and shipping costs.

Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc. are perfectly free to accept payment in dollars, euro, or anything else. They can then exchange any of those for any other. But balancing reserves between dollars and euros is enough. Currencies are a relative game and both the euro and dollar are unlikely to fall relative to the things Russia wants to buy.

If you or they don't agree with this, then they can just long gold or buy gold, they don't need to denominate trade in it.

I agree. It does not matter in which currency they sell their oil and NG. What matters is the currency in which they store their trade surplus.

Actually Russia buys gold:

But they buy it from local producers and pay in roubles for it.

the Fed has been swapping $45 billion of short- term Treasuries for longer-term debt.

The word "swapping" is important here. These operations do not push large quantities of money out into the general economy.

And if you look at the Fed balance sheet, they are running out of short duration assets to swap...

But yes, Twist was a sterilized intervention, the MBS purchases not so much so....

The word "swapping" is important here. These operations do not push large quantities of money out into the general economy.

I wasn't even addressing swaps, instead questioning what will be a trillion dollar QE at 85 billion a month and another trillion in annual deficits.

Well the article is correct if taken at face value, bond markets should see a panic selling after all these QE announcements but people keep buying bonds. You can only draw two conclusions from this...either all retail buyers have been eliminated and central banks and other governments are the only buyers of treasuries or people are so desperate for safety that they can't help ignore all the signs of an impending bubble in bond market. The cost of refinancing has never been lower in US or anywhere else for that matter, I think most countries are running negative real interest rates since at least 2008.

Everyone keeps saying that it's unsustainable but it shows no signs of stopping.

Don't quote me on the number but the Fed is responsible for buying ~80-90% of *new* issuance since 2011...
I'll look around and dig out the reference when I have a chance

or people are so desperate for safety that they can't help ignore all the signs of an impending bubble in bond market.

Wiseindian, you are wise. That makes a lot of sense because how many other options are there to make money from investments these days? Bank interest - no, stocks - they keep floating in the same range, real estate - good luck, so there's a minimal rate of return on those bonds but they are the last vestige for supposed safe investment (that is until shtf).

Invest in solar!

Great return. Very safe.

I have seen equipment to manufacture solar panels for sale from bankrupt company a short while ago.

well you can TRY to invest in solar but as pointed out in the NY Times by
Robert Kennedy Jr and David Crane today:


Second, state regulatory agencies and local governments impose burdensome permitting and siting requirements that unnecessarily raise installation costs. Today, navigating the regulatory red tape constitutes 25 percent to 30 percent of the total cost of solar installation in the United States, according to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and, as such, represents a higher percentage of the overall cost than the solar equipment itself.

I can testify to the incredible blockage by local zoning boards personally.
I actually signed a contract for solar panels to supply my house's electricity with a grid connection LAST YEAR. The panels have been sitting in a warehouse left over from a large industrial solar panel installation because of the building permits, rejection of the building permit as a Variance for a Solar Carport over my existing driveway as too close to the street, to the property line and consuming too much of my lot. Ahem, sorry but a driveway ALREADY is taking up my lot area, obviously abuts the street and in most cases is situated close to the property line. I have had 2 hearings and still not approved. Rejected the first time saying they needed to know how it would fit into the decor of my community so they needed a pretty picture which was supplied. Not accepted the 2nd time for I still do not know what reason just that I needed to hire a lawyer who knows why I should have a variance from idiotic zoning decisions like this which is costing me many hundreds of more dollars.
I have already paid for building permit, site survey since both the County and Town lost the original from their records, Class C Variance. It is ridiculous!!

I could and should have had these panels installed and ready by March or April last year and still fighting City Hall.

I can testify to the incredible blockage by local zoning boards personally.

A couple of years ago I was responsible for preparing permitting documentation for grid tie PV installations and taking them to zoning boards in a number of different counties in South Florida. Not only did I encounter blockage every where but almost every county seemed to have completely different sets of rules for permitting! I could tell quite a few horror stories. The worst ones are about the closing inspections where the inspectors didn't seem to have a clue what they are inspecting. One inspector in particular just couldn't seem to wrap his mind around the fact that the wiring for the 12 Volt DC pump and small PV panel on the Passive Solar Hot water system wasn't part of the grid tie package... Redoing the drawings for that alone cost an extra couple of hundred...

I figure in another 20 or so years this will all be business as usual >;-)

"I can testify to the incredible blockage by local zoning boards personally."

Indeed. The local regulations are often very inconsistent, abitrary, and ever-changing. I had a guy at a planning office tell me that he wanted a cut-off switch on the roof. "On the roof?" I asked. "Yeah, so fireman can shut if off." Really? Why not on the side of the house where you could walk up to it and turn it off without getting on the roof of a burning building!

I wonder if the Federal government & DoE could force a bit of harmonization and create a standard set of regulations that are reasonable. At the very least, they could create a 'model code' that could be adopted by local agencies . . . and then perhaps sweeten the deal by giving some incentives to the areas that adopt the model code.

Panel prices have plummeted such that the 'balance of system' (BOS) cost (the price of everything else except the equipment) has become one of the most expensive aspects of a solar system. So if the DoE really wants to move solar forward, they should work on that problem. And I know they are working on it . . . but I haven't seen any results yet.

I had a guy at a planning office tell me that he wanted a cut-off switch on the roof. "On the roof?" I asked. "Yeah, so fireman can shut if off." Really? Why not on the side of the house where you could walk up to it and turn it off without getting on the roof of a burning building!


Why have you not seen any results? If they are working on it then they get funds. If they have results, funds cease.


I invest in water, land, food growing, tools, knowledge, food storage items and toilet paper (I buy 3, use 1, store 2). I live in a trailer on land owned by someone that has title to the land, not a bank. I can live here as long as I live. I have no children and no husband or boyfriend. I don't need more money each year returned to me on the investments I have. Do tools procreate on their own? Plants do, but they need things like sun, water and minerals. The only thing I can see that we are getting more of is Sunlight. Everything else is just a juggling of the things already here on Earth.

Money is just a space keeper, a Zero, to let us know to Carry the Whole numbers to the next column. We have been using stored Sunlight for a long time, be it trees, or those rocks that burn, or flow. We will sooner rather than later get to the point that all the Interest of the past stored Sunlight, runs out. And we go back to the Plants that burn point again.

JHK, has that book "The world made by hand" I can't afford to buy it yet. But We are heading back to the days of less.

Wasn't it just recently mentioned that the US Gov't was going to refigure how Inflation was Figured, ( so to make it a better indicater it is implied )( when likely it will be to muddy the numbers still further toward Us NOT having any Known Inflation). Soon We will only see rosy skies and rainbows and Know that we are living in a land of flowing Milk and Honey, with No known bad things going to happen, Cause the Government says so.

Time to increase the Toilet paper stocks I think it will be the new Gold coins.


Third round? I count that it will be the fourth round, but admit that counting the programs is a bit of a distraction. It's popular at ZeroHedge to refer to the last FED program as QE-Infinity. And Japan is somewhere in the QE double digit count. It works - or more like doesn't blow everything up - until it doesn't.


Cullen Roche at Pragmatic Capitalism has a detailed explanation as to why QE is not inflationary - he discusses its flaws - but causing inflation is not one of them.


As a rule I don't think much of the acolytes of the High Priests of Modern Monetary Theory, especially when the connection between energy and the economy elude their grasp, not to mention being in some kind of weird denial over PO....

As for inflation in the classical sense, no QE does not necessarily lead to it. QE is all about the dead money becoming lodged on the central banks balance sheet. That money has and will forever have a velocity of zero....


I pointed to the Roche material in good faith. There you will find a detailed reasoning as to why QE is not inflationary (as well as its shortcomings). Your ad hominen (In Capitals!) added nothing to the discussion - then you compound it by calling him a PO denier which he clearly is not.

As an example - a year ago he had an article on PO which directly quoted and referenced Robert Rapier (well known to TOD readers)

And to quote him "We can’t ignore the fact that real resources are a real constrain(t) to economic growth."

Well if so he has changed his tune since I first went there some years ago when PO was tut-tuted
(and I stand corrected)....

The Fed's balance sheet is currently at abnormally high duration, and Ben is basically forced to print the coupon on the outstanding debt. Twist ended because the Fed ran out of short term debt to swap.


SOMA holdings are curently at duration of ~7 years

The Fed will soon reach insane levels of leverage where any significant upward move in long term interest rates will render it insolvent (not that anyone would call thier chips in)...

Given bond payments are remitted to the Treasury, the fraction of outstanding US debt held by the FED is essentially couponless or effectively zero maturity i.e. the debt has been monetized...

Now those excess reserves are lendable, but that assumes that there is lien free collateral to support the expansion of credit. Peak oil and the housing bubble took care of that...

And I laugh when they talk about reducing and unwinding the balance sheet when the need arises. We have passed through the event horizon and there is no turning back. MMT would be correct in telling you that things still appear to be normal, but like a real life Black Hole, that unescapeable singularity that awaits is beyond the mathematical tools to describe it...

So at what point does the Bond Market become irrelevant? When the fed owns 27% of the 10 year equivalents? 50%?

Ben may have kept the car outta the ditch for a few more years but I still don't think of much of MMT...

PS It would appear that Japan has finally rolled over and is in the process of collapsing, the vanishing trade balance was the last prop.... Chalk up another "victory" for QE....

From whatever I read I think Cullen Roche is trying to say that since bond yields are tanking there is a very high demand for govt bonds and hence it's not like the govt is using Fed exclusively to buy it's debt. That's the core of his argument. Am I correct ?

But if I am reasoning correctly this could just as easily mean that the primary market is devoid of small time retail buyers and is completely saturated with institutional buyers who are convinced that they will always be able to sell their treasuries regardless of what's the yield because the Fed will always buy them. Doesn't this kind of translate to an automatic 'Fed monetizing the Govt' kind of scheme ? with the additional benefit that the purchases on the secondary market fund the buyers (read banks and hedge funds) as well. To me it looks like it's theoretically possible to run this as a kind of insider game and continue it like that giving an outward appearance that all is well.

Can my reasoning be negated ? We could probably look at the breakup of who is buying treasury bonds and in what quantities. Unfortunately I don't have access to that info. Would appreciate if someone can post it. One can also look at how many savings bonds are being bought ? Ones which cannot be resold.

That's how I read it as well: The government sells bonds to private parties, and the fed buys bonds from private parties. Therefore the fed doesn't finance the debt.

This reasoning has the same structure as this: "A farmer sells potatoes to the supermarket, and I buy potatoes from the supermarket. Therefore I don't finance the farmer."
I always try to read things in the most positive light possible, so I don't want to believe this is what he actually argues. But if he isn't, he sure doesn't make his case clearly.

Van der Spoel:
I agree with your interpretation and I think Cullen for whatever reason choses not to see that the fed is a huge marginal buyer, thus setting rates. There really is no way to negate that.
I think what he's hung up on is the factoid that in theory a government which issues it's own currency only has to issue bonds to soak up excess currency, not to raise funds (because the country can simply create more currency units i.e. print money).
The way monitization works is that the treasury holds an auction. Primary dealers are required to bid for the bonds on offer (which is why you can never have a failed auction - an auction where there is less demand than supply - removing a constraint on government borrowing). Then the Fed announces which bonds it will buy (in the "open" market) and those same primary dealers turn around and sell the bonds to the fed. In other words, monitization is a subsidy to primary dealers.
The fed then takes the bonds and credits the accounts for the primary dealers with dollar reserves, which the PDs then can lend out. Except that they don't, they park it at the same fed they just sold bonds to.

The fed buying bonds per se is not inflationary. First of all, a lot of the bonds they buy are maturing / prepaying so to simply keep the balance the same they have to buy a lot of bonds every month. When you look at the distribution of maturities of treasury debt you see that it is very frontloaded i.e. most of the outstanding debt of the US is <5 years in maturity. There are relatively few 10 years and 30 years in existence.

Secondly, when the fed buys bonds in the secondary market they inject reserves into the banking system. Banks can use those reserves to create deposits (by lending it) or they can choose to park it at the fed and receive 25bp/year. Try to get a mortgage. You'll find out in a rejection letter that banks by and large prefer to keep their money parked at 25bps with a zero Basel risk weighting versus lend it to you at 300bps but get tagged with a risk weight greater than zero. Their balance sheets are not exactly in great shape (think lots of defaulted mortgages, European PIIGS debt etc).

Just like having a lot of food in your kitchen does make you fat having large reserves in the system doesn't cause inflation. Eating the food in the kitchen however does make you fat, and if banks were to use those reserves to create deposits by lending them (and people usually don't take out a loan without the intention to spend it) then you can have a lot more of dollars chasing the same quantity of goods and services, driving up prices which is inflationary. As long as that's not happening the fed can buy bonds all day (and night) long.
Will this run out of track at some point? Of course, and it either will be fine because the economy has truly recovered (very doubtful, especially taking into account peak resources) or it could get ugly.


It is interesting to note that "Shale Oil" from the Bakken is not from shale at all but from sandstone/dolomite.

The Bakken Boom An Introduction to North Dakota’s Shale Oil

Figure 2. Example of Horizontal Drilling in the Bakken

Anyway, from this same (2010) article:

The Bakken is a continuous oil accumulation characterized by “sweet spots.” Not every well has a 2,000 b/d IP rate (although some have had rates as high as 4,000 b/d). Some companies may have less acreage but higher total production than others. The notable “sweet spots” in the Bakken are the Elm Coulee field in Montana and the Nesson Anticline and Billings Nose in North Dakota. These spots are deemed sweet because of their production rates, understood to be linked to natural fractures in the rock allowing oil to flow into the wellbore at higher rates than other parts of the Bakken. However, as more and more drilling activity takes place West of the Nesson Anticline and even in Montana, the risk associated with new acreage is shrinking. Sweet spots themselves are becoming less important as knowledge of the geology has grown.

Question: Does anyone have any idea as to how many years these "sweet spots" can be drilled before they must move into less productive areas of the Bakken, or other shale fields?

Ron P.

There are slides


and audio


from the recent talk

Shale Oil: A New Age of Oil Abundance?
Tuesday, 04 December 2012
Prof. Mark Sephton & Fivos Spathopoulos (Imperial College London) present to the group on the subject of Shale Oil.

at the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas


I hope David Cameron and George Osborne were listening.

Ron - Until someone who knows the play better shows up I'll toss out an answer. As you know each "sweet spot" will have an aerial limit. Might be enough for a half dozen wells or a couple of hundred. They won't know until they define the limits with poor wells. I suspect that many of the sweeter spots had been identified during the course of the first 50 years of Bakken drilling. Vertical wells are very capable of indicating sweet spots. They just don't create the success rate/flow rates of horizontal wells.

As you point out the Bakken isn't a typical fractured shale reservoir. Here's a somewhat odd way to envision the reservoir dynamics. Due to the better porosity/permeability of the non-shale portion of the Bakken it acts like a giant horizontal sponge which the fractures in the surrounding shale source rocks intersect. The Bakken doesn't have great reservoir metrics but it's much better than the tite shales. Thus a hz well in the Bakken can not only produced great initial rates but also has a bit of a conventional reservoir dynamic. Thus it will have a longer life (and a better cum) than the shale reservoirs. But as much as half or more of that cum will take decades to recover at rather low rates compared to the initial rates. But still much better long term economics than the pure shale plays.

I'm sure there are some unknown sweet spots left to exploit. But I also suspect not as many as some would hope. When oil prices jumped up I'm sure a great many Bakken geologists/engineers went to their file cabinets and pulled out maps of sweet spots they've known about for many years. Spots that could be very sweet if prices got high enough. Every geologist (including the Rockman) has files of such potential sweet spots in every oil/NG trend in N. America. I have at least a half dozen NG sweet spots I would jump onto just as soon as NG get above $X/mcf. I'm in the process of trying to get dozens of residual oil sweet spots drilled along the Texas cost I've known about for 20 years. I just had to wait for prices to get high enough to justify the investment.

Hi Rockman,

It seems the Bakken and Eagle Ford get a lot of attention, but the EIA has mentioned the Permian Basin (in W. Texas) of late. I did a little research on the Permian, which (as I am sure you know) has produced a cumulative 30 billion barrels. I guess there are a number of different tight oil plays spread over many counties. Do you suspect that these plays will be as productive as the Bakken and Eagle Ford? An example below of what look looks like hype:


Some facts here (but not so much on tight oil):




I've heard billions of barrels in Cline alone. Some say 30B barrels left in W. Tx, or more.

But that's no big deal -- not quite enough infrastructure and high current operations costs, but a pretty easy area to drill. Bazhenov shale is where the BIG deposits are...and bigger headeaches.

The real questions are: What price can the world economy support? How much climate change will result?

DC - The west Texas plays have already been much bigger than any of the shale plays. The MSM doesn't highlight it but that basin has been extremely active since oil prices increased. As I've mentioned before operators had thousands of viable locations in the files cabinets collecting dust. Viable if prices got high enough.

They have.

Rock - Interesting that you mention 'sponge'. When I first came to grok PO, in attempting to explain it to others, I used the analogy of trying to suck the moisture out of a sponge. Imagine a sponge in an enclosure - like an oval sponge that perfectly fits a soap dish. Now imagine getting the liquid out of it with a straw. One can imagine actually sucking some out initially, but the second half - not so much. You'd pretty much have to be able to pick it up and squeeze it, and even then, some moisture remains.

Seems that with tight oil fracking, we must be past the easy sucking part...

ASPO-International reports from the ASPO-USA meeting.

From "Seeking Alpha" yesterday. A little common sense is beginning to quell some of the exuberance of the shale oil boom.

The Simple Reason American Oil Production Growth Will Slow Significantly

The mainstream media has now gotten a hold of the American oil boom story and has come up with such grandiose ideas such as the United States becoming an oil exporter and invented the catchy name "Saudi America".

I'm here to throw a bit of a wet blanket on this.

(click to enlarge)

Ron P.

The following is a link to a satellite picture of North America at night:

This is my first attempt to provide a jpg to my comments. This is a smaller version of the above picture:

Denver is a little north of half way between Chicago and LA. The Bakken field is about 3/4's of the Denver - LA distance to the NNE of Denver. It looks bigger than most metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, NY, or Dallas-Ft. Worth.

It's impressive.


I read somewhere that the brightness is due to the flaring of natural gas

Edit to add

Ron - Great chart...thanks. As they say "...worth a thousand words." And to make a stronger point as to how the domestic oil biz has changed over the years: imagine a typical large conventional field with comparable URR. The payout period would be similarly short: 1 - 2 years. But the production rate would hold flat for at least several years (7+ years for the bigger fields) compared to the dramatic drop in the shale wells. And when of one of those old heritage fields was discovered it led to a dozen (and maybe a 100 in the larger fields) of low risk development wells. Wells that could be easily and cheaply (a point or two above prime) financed and thus wouldn't require diversion of cash flow to pay for them.

How much are the bankers loaning to drill undeveloped shale acreage? The only metric I've seen offered was from Chesapeake several months ago: of the $23+ billion they needed for their future drilling budget they said their bankers would only loan them $4 - 5 billion. Which explains why they've sold over $12+ billion of their assets including some of that "high potential" Eagle Ford acreage.

That's an interesting curve. I'd guesstimate the red area under the curve was about 4 or 5 times the yellow area under the curve. Given that one definition of money is that it represents energy (with which you can do work), then does it imply an EROEI of circa 5 for this kind of unconventional oil?

I'd guesstimate the red area under the curve was about 4 or 5 times the yellow area under the curve

I've a fair eyeball for volume and would estimate yellow right around twice a large as the red area (including the lightest shades of red). A bit lazy to do the triangle rectangle thing and my math is too eroded to attempt anything more sophisticated.

I won't touch the rest of your money/ERoEI comment.

Nearly right. Yellow 2.4 times red. I measured it as 506 to 211 units of area, assuming the yellow started at the 2-yr mark. Actually it starts a bit earlier.

Regarding Solar Installations Surge on Lower Costs and Government Support, above, it seems that folks/businesses are warming up to PV as being a more viable alternative due to lower PV prices and incentives, and I like to think, in part due to the smug satisfction that many earlier adopters exibit about their installations. One of my most conservative friends who used to make jokes about my "PV dreams" called last night. He wants a backup consult on installing PV at his business and home. While he is planning to use a local firm to do the installations, he wants me to provide second opinions.

I pulled the trigger on ordering another 3KW of PV this morning. Including a new controller and other balance-of-system stuff (my labor), and since my wife insists on using all available govt. incentives (first time ever for us), I estimate adding another 3KW to our existing system will cost 81 cents per watt. I'm adding 1KW of crystalline panels, maxing out our current controllers, and installing 2KW of amorphous panels and new controller to compliment our crystalline arrays. Without incentives, estimated cost would be @ 1.18/watt. I oversized the system (battery bank, DC load panel, all that) years ago to allow for expansion. These will be fixed arrays mounted on the roof.

Got PV?

I almost installed PV this summer but backed down because I don't have a south facing roof. Also, my roof is architecturally interesting and therefore doesn't have enough flat surface area for a lot of PV installation. Another issue is that we have massive trees in the lot behind our house and they cast a shadow on the roof after mid-afternoon.

Unfortunately PV is not going to be practical for many people unless the total cost of installation drops to the point where you don't have to think about how much electricity you can get from a given surface area.

It now looks Iike maybe we're getting our permits closed prior to the end of the year, so won't miss out on 10k in state rebates. Hawaii created a panic by changing the rules even for systems permitted in 2012; if not closed out by Dec 31, new rules with far lower rebates apply. That decision will certainly be sued, but apparently not by me now. Typical of Hawaii to announce a program without budgeting for it properly. Local history is replete with green initiatives that sound good but quickly peter out.

Our problem was the electrical contractor. You can do everything else with a grid-tie system yourself, but if your permit is issued through a licensed electrical contractor who turns out to be incompetent or a scammer, you're held hostage. We've had to tap-dance pretty fast to bribe exorbitantly and twist arms to close the permits and fix his incorrect hookups, while more-than-idly wondering if he's deranged enough to be a danger. Paid for the permitted hook-up in July when it was first done wrong, and now it's pulling teeth to get it closed in December. That's a problem with grid-tie: you need a licensed electrician to do the grid interconnect safely, and it turns out this state will license apparently about any doofus with at least one thumb. The one we hired has twice mis-wired it egregiously, and the latest rebuild is as yet un-inspected. But the inspector is sympathetic to our situation and the incompetence of the contractor, so we may skate through. Though I'm going to have to go on the roof and make repairs after what the contractor did.

Though even GETTING a state inspection is an art in itself, since the state's changing of the rules has solar firms and individuals clamoring for inspectors' time before 2013, like a run on toilet paper on rumors of a dock strike, leading to a near-impossible backlog. Mark my word, there WILL be lawsuits, and probably a class action. Just not by me. (Anyone want the domain PVlawsuit.com? It seems I won't need it.)

In contrast, the off-grid system I'm using at the moment was 'way more complex, was easy to put together, and has worked flawlessly for years. As is often the case, involving "other humans" is the sticking point in many of my plans.

I feel your pain. We may have to skip the NC state tax credits since they specifically ask for a "Certificate of Inspection". I'm done with inspectors... seems like they have to justify their existence by find something wrong they don't like that costs more money. The last guy objected because my primary battery cables are home made (4/0 high grade welding cable, triple crimped and soldered, about 200% oversized). After all of the mods I've made since then, a visit from the inspectors would likely cost me more than the credit is worth. Best to stay under their radar. I've discovered that 'off grid' has several meanings/advantages, similar to your brand of activism.

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to rack up 728 kilos of PV before year's end. I'm thinking wood will play a part. These are going above our master suite... nice way to get some shade come summer.

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to rack up 728 kilos of PV before year's end. I'm thinking wood will play a part.

Have you considered a bamboo structure? This might catch your fancy:



Bamboo is an extremely strong fiber; with twice the compressive strength of concrete and roughly the same strength-to-weight ratio of steel in tension. In addition, testing (Janssen '97) has shown that the hollow tube shape gives a strength factor of 1.9 over the equivalent solid. The reason is that, in a beam, the only fibers doing work are in the top (compression) and bottom (tension). The center is dead weight.

The strongest bamboo fibers have a greater shear strength than structural woods, and they take much longer to come to ultimate failure.

I've done some fences & trellises with bamboo. Drys & cracks after just a few years. How do these structures last?

Bamboo is interesting - knew a guy who wanted to build a plane out of it, but the raw plant isn't the way to go. It first has to be treated for the mold that it carries with it and will turn it to mush in short order. If it's "distilled" down into the fibers and then the fibers used as a laminate it can be as strong or stronger than carbon fiber.


How do these structures last?

Simple, you have to prepare them properly! I've been a member of a Brazilian forum for bio construction for a few years and have looked into this a bit.

There's lots of info on Google: http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/archive/index.php/f-111.html

I also own a few good books on Bamboo construction I can recommend "Grow Your Own House" By architect Simon Velez

BTW I'm in the process of buying some land down in Brazil and I may be relocating there for a while and one of the things I have planned is building with bamboo.

Perhaps it's time to stop doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, cuz that's just nuts! >;-)

I am from Eastern India, we use bamboo in everything, from rooftops to fences to walls. It's just like wood, how long they last depends on the weather and how well it has been treated. They last pretty long if treated properly, chemically treated bamboo lasts longer. Untreated fences last anywhere from 2-6 years before termites get to them. Bamboo integrated into the structure of the house lasts for a very long time. I hope this helps. The primary advantage of bamboo is it's flexibility which wood lacks. They are also excellent against wind and earthquake primarily because of this property.

What kind of structure are we talking about ? and what kind of climate ?

Thx all for feedback. Will check into links. This is a low priority for me, so was looking for some quick and easy advice, as we're just using it for simple garden purposes at present. Although now that I think about it, I did build the frame for an operable batch solar water heater cover out of bamboo as well. That's held up 3+ years so far. Could make more use of it here in our IC, as we have a pretty good little forest of it. Temperate-humid climate (20F this morning) hot, humid summers (I go north). I know there are many species, but don't know what ours is, nor structural differences btwn them. Have installed bamboo flooring for folks - beautiful stuff. But not interested in processed product nor chemical treatment for our purposes. Just want to know how to make use of a free, self-replenishing resource for what projects we might.

It's funny how different areas are. I put our first little PV system in about 30 years ago - all of 77 watts; but it could keep the fridge going if the power went out. Anyway, my wife and I decided to put in a large PV system (3.6kW) 13 years ago when California had a buy-down program. To get the money, you had to have a building permit and the system "inspected". Being in the boondocks zoning wasn't an issue.

So, I install the system and call for an inspection. The inspector arrives and asks, "What am I suppose to inspect?" No lie! I told him the main purpose was to assure the State that the system existed. With that, he signed me off. I showed him what I had done and he complimented me for my fine work.

FWIW, I also installed a 1.5kW wind generator on a 40 foot mast at the same time - he didn't care about that either. I got it free with the buy-down program.


I'm assuming you dropped a decimal place 728 kilo(watts)?
I've wondered about manufactured woods products, they cost more than straight wood, but supposedly weather better. Even redwood plus lots of water seal might not last out the panel lifetime. Then there might be a fire issue, if a panel shorts, can the mounting spread the fire.

728 Kilograms? 1600 pounds...

Blew my mind a bit too but per his link...

A Full Pallet (28) of SUN-A-100 WATTS 2800 Watts Total

"Module is glass to glass laminated"
Dimensions 1400mm×1100mm×7.1mm(55.1 inches x 43.3 inches x 0.3 inches)
Weight 26.0kg (57.3 lbs)

57.3lbs/module * 28 modules = 1,604.4 lbs

728 Kilograms would be correct. Sorry for the confusion. I must be channeling a past life. "Comin' into Los Angeleez, Bringin' in a couple of....."

Ghung, if your PV panels are not mounted parallel to the roof with L-brackets, then use EMT (Electric Metallic Tubing). It is easy to bend, crush and drill holes through it. Mounts that are manually tiltable in altitude to adjust for the seasons are easy and inexpensive to make.

Best to stay under their radar. I've discovered that 'off grid' has several meanings/advantages, similar to your brand of activism.

No kidding. Being able to just put the stuff up yourself, and do the wiring & stuff at your own pace, is fun. The permit stuff is a pain. But they got the total rebates so low that I couldn't help myself... 65% total fed & state, and that's with electricity at 35 cents a kwh. In a sunny climate. IF we get the rebates. But as I said the other day, we just decided the rebates were a good excuse to put up more than we need, so in addition to zero-ing out our electric bill, we'll be supplying some of our neighbors' power. Nobody will know unless they read comments here. If I mentioned to anyone that we were installing more than we needed, I have no doubt they would pass a law against it, or audit me, or some damn thing. Regulators go after anything unusual here. So putting in a 9.6kw system for a house that only uses half that even when it's rented downstairs might strike them as excessive.

Now having the grid-tie system permitted and inspected while not drawing attention to the offgrid system on the same roof has been a nice exercise in jedi mind-tricks and lines-of-sight. It's well designed, but I don't fuss with wire colors and there are all sorts of custom made bright yellow caution signs warning of existential danger, electric shock, nonstandard spacetime, acid burns, high amperage flesh-melting, etc with skulls and lightning bolts and stick figures being dissolved & other imagery to keep the natives from poking it with conductive objects. But that same wall of safety labeling would probably cause an inspector's head to explode.

Question for small scale hydro application:

(Looking for frank assessment and comments and or advice from science/engineering people. My email is in profile.

We have reduced consumption with new windows, insulation to r 60 attic, heat with wood, and pre-heat hot water with wood stove before it enters conventional HW tank 40 gal John Wood residential. I have really agonized over pv array every time I read Ghungs and others comments....but we live on the grey west coast at 50+ north, in a valley that is overcast most of the winter. In the summer lighting needs are very minimal, use clothes line, etc., so our electricity needs are quite low when the sun does make pv tempting.

I have just finished constructing a 2 metre dia windmill (3 blade) which I will use to pump water summers to a garden area storage system made from two cast off propane pigs. It should work out just fine. We get huge and dependable westerlies most of the summer. (My pond is 100 metres from the garden)I hate running the pump.

What I would like to do next is construct a 'floating nozzle in river' hydro system that floats to accommodate tide fluctuations and freshets. Specifically, our house is on a river...watershed area (km2):1336.7

mean annual discharge (m3/s):63.3

Summer Base Flow (%mad):17.4

We live quite close to the ocean where the river is broad and wide. I haven't measured the flow rate, yet, but estimate the current to fluctuate between 5 and 20 kts, with a winter average around 15. What I want to do is construct a tethered ramp-like nozzle anchored to the shore, which will direct flow and concentrate to a wheel system I have yet to design. It has to be snugged in to shore and be able to be manipulated because when the river is running in flood 200 foot trees (6-8 ft diameter) with stumps attached are not uncommon....but they stay just off shore and won't cartwheel into my proposed anchoring area. We do get major tidal fluctuations being this far north. This would be useable in all seasons but summer as the flow pretty much stops then and current will even run upstream with wind and tide effects.

Has anyone seen a system such as I have described? I will draw up some plans over Christmas and could forward them on in a .dwg CAD format with more flow information if anyone is interested. My neighbour wants to build a wheel based on a river boat paddle wheel design but those are not very efficient. I think it would work much better with a directed and concentrated flow from a nozzle system.

Thanks in advance for any links, ideas, comments. For long stuff please email.


Hey Paulo,

I haven't checked any of this out but a quick google search turned up some mini floating hydro generating ideas.

No longer in production:

This one for your paddle wheel inspired friend

The Aquair is still in production (and always has been for thirty years or so). It is made by us at Ampair (www.ampair.com) over in the UK.

The device that you were looking at is actually called the UW100 which we have also been making for about twenty years, see http://www.ampair.com/hydro/uw100. There is a naming confusion in the USA as the Aquair is a device intended for yachts whereas the UW100 can be used in particular riverine applications although that is not the primary market. For some reason the USA keeps on trying to reverse the names and it causes endless confusion when people order spares.

Having said that your flow rates don't look correct. It is very rare to find rivers flowing at 20 knots as they would rapidly erode their banks if they did. We really don't recommend the UW100 for situations such as the one you are describing. The UW100 is designed for continuous flows of 7 knots, and that will also erode a riverbank very happily. I doubt very much if the UW100 would work in your location.

A home made floating paddlewheel is likely to be best for you in my opinion.

The Aquair is still in production (and always has been for thirty years or so)

My apologies! I trying to multitask and doing so quite poorly. The site had a notice: "We do NOT sell these any longer". That's quite different from no longer in production.


Nice pdf on the subject, including pictures and diagrams:


This is the best short Reference Article on In-Stream Turbine Technology we have found:

"State of River Energy Technology"
Jahangir Khan, Powertech Labs, British Columbia, Canada. 2006.

Maybe you should give Mr. Kahn a call.

In '08,Hydrovolts founder Burton Hamner proposed to install offshore wind and wave turbines off Washington St coast and produce Hydrogen (at sea), then transport hydrogen to the abandoned,unfinished Satsop Nuke plant and produce and distribute electricity.
That plan was later reduced to no hydrogen , direct transmission lines from ocean turbines.

The link from the original project has been deleted,
this one - http://hydrovolts.com/GraysHarbor/the_project.htm
But the reduced plan's link is still active -

Sorry to break the thread from water wheels, but I thought I'd share the potential of Mr Hamner's'08 Hydrovolt theory.

Right now,the remnants of Typhoon Bopha are interacting with the West Coast - http://www.atmos.washington.edu/cgi-bin/latest.cgi?ir_enhanced
How much of this energy could have been harnessed to power our lives ? It's only limited by lack of imagination and innovation.

Hydrovolts is still active and installing hydro-systems Globally.

This Wiki article has some links
I visited the wreck of a paddle wheel system (Tyenna River, Tasmania) that was destroyed by floods. I guess both a wind turbine and low head hydro are immersed in the working fluid. However unlike a paddle wheel the wind turbine can opt out of extreme flow by feathering the blades and braking the drive mechanism.

I think a water diversion system be it pipe or channel is best. If you have upstream river access install a takeoff pipe at least 20 metres vertically higher than your site. Run that water through your generator which outfalls back to the river on your place.

Thanks all for the comments. Yes 20 kts may be too high. I'll do the tennis ball toss and stopwatch thing when the flows return to normal and get a graph going. It is probably 10-12...just seems like twenty when it is honking along. I always gauge water speed by how much rpm I would have to carry to dock a seaplane. 20 kt is pretty scary.

I will definitely check out the links, but will still build my own as that is 90% of the fun. I am taking a welding course in Feb and may do one out of stainless.


I'll do the tennis ball toss and stopwatch thing

As a hydrologist can I request that you don't, and use an orange instead? Depending on what you're after it may even give you a better reading since they float lower in the water, still quite visible, but really, I don't want to see your tennis ball five years from now when I'm walking on the beach.

Yeah Weasel,
point taken.

I don't even own a tennis ball, don't know why I mentioned it. Actually, I did flows for years as a fisheries contractor until I had enough data for a staff gauge to take over. Unfortunately, being tidal it won't work where I live...too many variables.


I would do that run of the river application but in our floodplain valley 20 metres would be miles and miles upstream. We are pretty close to tidal with low gradient. As for diversions Fisheries would string me up. It has to be totally non impact. I do have a dock system but have been grandfathered in. There is no way my stairs and anchors would ever be allowed nowadays. Dock gets pulled out in Sept before fall floods. I will do this and post photos as it progresses.

Thanks again

A water wheel would make a great welding project.

Pic: Rutten Co, Belgium

I want I want I want!!

Would be an issue to rust seal all those welds though.

Interesting the blades are offset and appear to be flat. To exagerate, I can see that the offset would dampen vibration much like a v-8 runs smoother than a one lung diesel. I would think the blades would work best with a slight cup to them. I installed a michell turbine with a constant header tank and those wheel blades were cupped.

This is exactly what I envision except smaller scale. I had thought an inclined plane would increase the flow rate but the force of flowing water at 10lbs/gal cdn it is probably more than any anchoring system i woild like to make. I would also like to hinge it with a shear pin so that if I get hit with a log it will fold back on itself and I can at least salvage parts as opposed to seeing the whole mess carried away. The parts could all be loosely safety cabled or bridled to the onshore float with a line going back to a tree stump or deadman.

I have visited fish wheels that size on the klini-kleene river Knight Inlet and they manage to hold them in during fall floods. Those were welded aluminum and were use to catch and count spring salmon to extrapolate for enumeration estimates. Unfortunately, aluminum is too expensive for me with my current welding skills, although thinking about it I may have a line on one I could borrow from a local college.

Thanks for this great pic....Paulo

Biggest Iowa Borrowing Fueled by Natural-Gas Plunge: Muni Credit

The Iowa Finance Authority plans to offer $1.2 billion in debt as soon as today to help fund the construction of a $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant in the southeastern part of the state by Orascom Construction Industries (OCIC), Egypt’s biggest publicly traded company.

"The debt will be sold into the short-term market as tax-exempt securities due in one year and rated AAA yield 0.2 percent, about one-third below the average since 2009"

Money is unbelievably cheap in America. In South Africa we are paying through the nose for electricity, partly because of high interest rates.

[Eskom] needs higher tariffs to help repay its R180bn ($21bn) debt, which includes a dollar-denominated bond worth $1.6bn, a €500m debt instrument as well as export credit agency funding and loans from the World Bank and African Development Bank.

Eskom is effectively paying interest of around 10% on its offshore debt once exchange rate fluctuations are taken into account, a significant premium given that benchmark interest rates are close to zero in the US and just 1% in the eurozone. (my bold)



Why Climate Change Denial Is Just Hot Air
Powell looked at 13,950 articles. Out of all those reams of scientific results, how many disputed the reality of climate change?

Twenty-four. Yup. Two dozen. Out of nearly 14,000.

Well, I guess the conspiracy in the climate community is even larger then we thought...


Yeah, but it's amazing just much Faux news has been able to extract from that tiny sliver. They've convinced their lemmings so completely they are incensed over what they perceive as a deliberate ongoing AGW hoax. Now that's marketing! Take a tiny sliver and expound on it ad infinitum until their blind followers fall in line and repeat at the water cooler all the dimwitted anti-AGW punch lines verbatum.

Yeah, but it's amazing just much Faux news has been able to extract from that tiny sliver.

Sort of like giving smallpox infected blankets to just a few Indians... it spreads like wildfire through the tribe because they have no built up immunity to the virus.

Great analogy.

The smallpox analogy isn't quite right based on smallpox deaths in the Americas after the arrival of Cortez. The tribes would have already went through 1 disease filter in the late 1400's.

(And while there is a claim of biowarfare WRT blankets and the US - the historical record supports a British written idea to pass diseased blankets but I've not seen a US papertrail from top brass to the field to do such during the Indian wars.)

(And while there is a claim of biowarfare WRT blankets and the US - the historical record supports a British written idea to pass diseased blankets but I've not seen a US papertrail from top brass to the field to do such during the Indian wars.)

In reality my point had nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not there was in fact an attempt to spread smallpox to Indians via blankets. OK, that might even be a myth for all I know! Though Wikipedia has this to say:

The point of my analogy was that Fox News' audience is simply not prepared to reject false information and many of the memes propagated by Fox, are deliberately designed by a very slick group of highly savvy individuals to spread quickly throughout a wide audience who is ill equipped to critically assess the merits of such information.

Could be that "cut cocaine" might be a better analogy, since the users actually seek out the product to self-medicate against reality, regardless of what horrid contents may actually be "in" it.


Side effects may include.....

It's not that amazing. The American right wing entertainment/information complex is run by the most sophisticated marketing people alive. They've spent two decades building immense brand loyalty. Once you have that, you can frame anything as Us vs. Them and keep your group intact, more or less.

It's amazing from the standpoint that their viewers for the most part are apparently unable or unwilling to do any fact checking. Afterall, we are in the era of the internet. Someone should inform them they are not automatrons - they are capable (theoretically) of independent thought. Like I've always said, "If you can't lead others, at least lead yourself." But those people cannot decide on anything unless one of their appointed leaders tells them what to think.

It is not all that sophisticated. You just need to lack morals and journalistic ethics. You throw out some old Bircher conspiracy theories. Then you keep repeating the ones that get some traction. Be sure to throw in some veiled sexism/racism/etc.

It has become so popular and so profitable that it has destroyed the right. There are so many hucksters out there spewing crazy venom for profit that reality and realistic policies have become casualties. They scratch their heads when no one wants to vote for the guy who thinks that raped women don't become pregnant. They are confused when their conspiracy theory about 'Never said terror' gets laughed in a nation-wide debate.

Oil Covered Pundits: Media Fails To Disclose Guests’ Industry Affiliation 94 Percent Of The Time

Major news companies have been giving a platform for fossil fuel-backed “experts” to pen arguments against clean energy without disclosing the author’s connections to the industry, a new study from the Checks and Balances project finds.

Across sixty major news outlets, in the course of five years, the group found that major publications only disclosed oil industry ties six percent of the time, even when the authors represented organizations that receive hundreds of thousands — sometimes millions — of dollars from oil big wigs like the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil.

Report: Fossil Fuel Front Groups on the Front Page

Fossil fuel-funded front groups, commonly referred to as “think tanks” or “institutes”, have been secretly influencing the media and the public on energy issues by moving pro-fossil fuel messaging.

These groups, and their proponents, have been quoted on average every other day for the past five years in 60 of the largest mainstream newspapers and publications. Despite having received millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests, such as ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, these groups’ financial ties to the fossil fuel industry are rarely mentioned.

Fossil fuel-funded advocacy groups’ failure to divulge their ties to the fossil fuel industry in one story is regrettable, but doing it in over 1,000 stories appears to be planned deception.

Here is a summary of the report findings (download a PDF of the report here): ...

Seraph. Yes. Thanks for these stories. We all need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that there exists anything resembling a 'free press' any longer. Not sure how close to such it ever was, but certainly since I've been studying it beginning 20+ years ago, all we have is a megaphone for corporate interests. The only exceptions are marginalized. The only exceptions of which I am presently aware are Democracy Now and Pacifica Radio. I'm sure there are others. I'm also sure almost nobody has heard of them.

What we have in the US is a faux debate between the ultra-far-right totally-in-the-pocket-of-MOMCOM Fox News, and the not-quite-as-completely-far-right rest of the MSM, also beholden to MOMCOM, but with perhaps the tiniest bit of ameliorative conscience. Note I said perhaps and tiny. PBS, NPR... independent, public, unbiased - right? Forget it. Start with ADM and go from there...

Sadly the conservative plan to corrupt PBS/NPR (partial defunding, leading to dependency on big money donars) has worked.
Probably Al Jazeera is still mostly uncorrupted.

Is Conservative Media One Big 'Racket'? (Ask Dick Morris)

The nasty "racket" accusation highlights what's happened as Republicans have handed over more and more of their branding and marketing to media personalities whose ultimate barometers of success (ratings and personal income) differ from those who run political parties (getting candidates elected to office).

In the business of media self-promotion, and particularly the carnival barker variety that powers so much of the conservative movement via Fox News and AM talk radio, it's inevitable that the goals of the "conservative entertainment complex," as writer David Frum dubbed it, would collide with the retail politics of the Republican Party. (Frum has charged the complex with having "fleeced and "exploited" its followers.)

Remember when Glenn Beck charged fans $125 to sit through the taping of his radio show? Or when he charged $500 if they wanted to attend a meet-and-greet before the show? And that was after Beck banked $32 million the previous year. More recently, conservative pundits and outlets have rushed to cash in on election spending by renting their emails lists, while Fox News' Karl Rove lightened wealthy donors' bankrolls by $300 million via his failed political groups.

The "racket" implication also extends beyond the media world and into the Tea Party, which Fox has faithfully touted as a "grassroots" movement. That feel-good characterization was hard to square with the recent revelation that former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey stepped down as chairman of FreedomWorks, an influential Tea Party non-profit group, with a staggering $8 million golden parachute. (He will reportedly be paid in $400,000 installments, annually, in "consulting fees.")

As Media Matters detailed, Morris and conservative news outlet Newsmax Media operated something of a right-wing boondoggle during the recent election season. Cashing in on his television platform, Morris aggressively fundraised for a super PAC he advised, which then appeared to to funnel money back to Morris through rentals of his email list. Morris' Super PAC for America paid Newsmax roughly $1.7 million for "fundraising" in October and November. It turns out a significant portion of the super PAC's money likely went to renting Morris' own email list, which is operated by Newsmax Media.

As Rachel Maddow noted last night, while highlighting the Media Matters report, "What these financial reports seem to indicate is that donations to Dick Morris' super PAC, substantially, just end up going to Dick Morris."

Karma - it's real after all!

One line says it all: "It's conservatism as an ATM."

There was a time when "conservatism" meant trying to 'conserve' the values and the things that are important. The common weal held a significant place. Now it's all jumbled with plunder and self aggrandizement - carnage masquerading as carnival.

In case you aren's sufficiently depressed, read the comments following the article on that site.

Maybe you didn't know that peer reviewing was part of the conspiracy. Apparently one must lack any qualifications to hold a valid scientific opinion.

Of course peer review is part of the conspiracy! Omg, OMG! didn't you read the climategate emails?? The 'gatekeepers' (use scare-quotes often!) are effectively prohibiting skeptical views to be published. No wonder the overwhelming majority of published peer-reviewed articles is pro-CAGW...

...which is how the conspiracy theorists simply expand the conspiracy to fit their world-view.

Why Climate Change Denial Is Just Hot Air

You know, it is difficult to critically analyse articles like these without oneself being labelled a "denier". The debate has become politicised and laden with emotion. I recall that the scientists did this deliberately in order to force politicians to sit up and take notice.

For the record, I believe in AGW, with reservations. I don't think we know enough to make confident predictions over the long term (say, further than 50 years out from now).

Powell searched the "Web of Science" database, a commercial listing of journal articles. I don't have access to it. I browsed their "Highly Cited Research" in the field of Ecology/Environment to get a feel. It is overwhelmingly English language, and overwhelmingly American institutions. Which suggests they will be strongly correlated, because of having studied under the same professors using the same textbooks, and with their research funded by the same institutions.

He searched for "global warming and "global climate change". How many of the 13,950 articles were written by climate scientists on climate matters, and how many by associated scientist on related matters e.g. a study of agriculture in drought conditions would probably cite "global warming" but would not be a contribution to the climate science involved, it would accept the current climate model as a given. I think the 13,950 number is seriously inflated.

Further, although he cites the existence of 24 "denier" articles as proof that publications are not biased against such papers, I think in reality the bar for such papers is set way, way higher than for papers supporting the current paradigm, so they have little chance of being published.

It's a bit like nuclear power. The early heavy hitters (Adm. Rickover et al) cut a deep channel in one direction and the bulk of the money and effort has flowed down it. With the result that as current technology falls into disfavour there is nothing to take its place.

Science needs its heretics.

For the record, I believe in AGW, with reservations. I don't think we know enough to make confident predictions over the long term (say, further than 50 years out from now).

It really doesn't matter one whit what any of us believes or thinks for that is not science and it has no impact whatsoever on the underlying reality.

What matters is the actual science done by scientists based on good data from the real world.

RealClimate currently has a few videos of presentations from the recently held American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco, They are all pretty good but I would highly recommend watching The Nye Lecture: Elizabeth Morris: “Hot Ice and Wondrous Strange Snow: Three-Phase Mixtures or Something More?”, Not because it directly supports AGW but because it gives a fascinating peak under the hood as to how the scientific process actually works in real time!

"Data always beats theories. 'Look at data three times and then come to a conclusion,' versus 'coming to a conclusion and searching for some data.'" [The former will win every time.]

--Matthew Simmons,


It really doesn't matter one whit what any of us believes or thinks for that is not science and it has no impact whatsoever on the underlying reality.

I can't agree with that. Certainly our beliefs won't change the laws that govern the universe.

But "science" as I understand it is the development of a model that most nearly matches reality, and it exists as a set of rules and datapoints in the minds and reference works of scientists. Science is the condensed, peer-reviewed essence of their beliefs.

Further, "doing science" costs money and is funded by society because people believe there is or will be some net benefit in doing so.

And, if "science" turns up something so alarming that humanity is threatened unless millions of people take expensive and unwelcome action, you better hope that their belief in the science is enough to get their a$$es into gear.

So it really does matter what people believe.

And, if "science" turns up something so alarming that humanity is threatened unless millions of people take expensive and unwelcome action, you better hope that their belief in the science is enough to get their a$$es into gear.

You have a pretty good grip on what science is Aardvark, but apparently you have not a clue as to what governs the actions of masses of people. Science has turned up something that is so alarming that humanity is threatened unless millions of people take expensive and unwelcome actions. But they won't do a damn thing.

So it really does matter what people believe.

Of course it does. But they don't believe a word of it. People believe to be true what they desire to be true. Or at least the vast majority of them do. And the vast majority of people do not wish to believe that humanity is threatened. So they won't believe it. It is much more comforting to believe that science is mistaken.

Or even if they do believe science, they then in turn believe that "science" will think of something to fix it. And if action needs to be taken to fix the problem then others will take such action. They will not need to take any action themselves that adversely affects their lives.

Ron P.

So it really does matter what people believe.

Yes. As to what collective action will be taken. In which case I agree that the masses' contorted belief will prevent is preventing us from doing anything useful.

But as to the underlying reality, as Fred says (and this seems stating the obvious), belief matters not one whit.


Meta-beliefs is the name of the play.

The usual way to mediate this: For not to believe a thing, you have to believe that. Below that, credit, erm...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics#Meta-ethics, check out the main article at your own risk, didn't risk the nerve to sift through it.

Finally, this description intervenes within a layer often called psyche. There are others.


But "science" as I understand it is the development of a model that most nearly matches reality, and it exists as a set of rules and datapoints in the minds and reference works of scientists. Science is the condensed, peer-reviewed essence of their beliefs.

...So it really does matter what people believe.

Yes! Actually you have a point there. Though what really matters is if a particular belief is true or not. Science is the best tool we have that allows us to distinguish whether or not a particular belief is or is not true.

The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true.

A false belief is not considered to be knowledge, even if it is sincere. A sincere believer in the flat earth theory does not know that the Earth is flat.

Specifically with regards AGW, the science seems to be telling us with a rather high degree of confidence that this is true. What we collectively will do or not do with that knowledge is another story.

My suggestion to anyone who thinks that we can't possibly know what will happen 50 years into the future is to go ahead and cancel all their insurance policies, After all, insurance is expensive... I should know, I just spent a few hours last night haggling over prices for wind and flood insurance coverage for our condominium with an insurance broker.
Our building has been standing for 48 years, 2 miles from the beach in South Florida >;-)

And, if "science" turns up something so alarming that humanity is threatened unless millions of people take expensive and unwelcome action

Science actually says that not taking action is expensive. Think about physical costs moving cities/harbours away from current sealevel, frequent agricultural disasters, flooding/drought damage etc. and non-physical costs like mass migration, racial tension, food scarcity, job insecurity. Taking action has other benefits as well: less polution from e.g. coal plants, less foreign dependence for energy, less need to invade other countries for resources, less funding of terrorists due to oil payments to shady states. Etc.

Economists like Stern, Krugman and many more argue for years that not taking action is actually more expensive. Recently the world bank made similar statement.

Why Climate Change Denial Is Just Hot Air

Or perhaps it is 'let you and him fight' so that the robber barrons can line up a new Government mandated trough to divert money from solutions to their pockets.

It's a bit like nuclear power.

Go on....

The early heavy hitters (Adm. Rickover et al) cut a deep channel in one direction and the bulk of the money and effort has flowed down it.

So we are going to accept Rickover as 'expert' and 'picking a path'? Ok.

With the result that as current technology falls into disfavour there is nothing to take its place.

And there is evidence that, after seeing how the 'expert chosen path' was working out - Adm. Rickover changed his mind.

"In May, 1983, my father-in-law, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, told me that at the time of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident, a full report was commissioned by President Jimmy Carter. He [my father-in-law] said that the report, if published in its entirety, would have destroyed the civilian nuclear power industry because the accident at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous than was ever made public. He told me that he had used his enormous personal influence with President Carter to persuade him to publish the report only in a highly "diluted" form. The President himself had originally wished the full report to be made public.
In November, 1985, my father-in-law told me that he had come to deeply regret his action in persuading President Carter to suppress the most alarming aspects of that report."

Well, yeah I agree, the debate has become politicized. But I recall the think-tanks, marketing bureau's and industrial lobby groups who tried to muddy the waters with pseudo-science tactics developed during the tobacco wars which forced the scientists to make their already highly crystallized case clear. I highly recommend science historian Naomi Oreskes' book the American Denial of Global Warming (presentation ) for an in-depth analysis.

I'm sure many people are willing to engage and discuss without namecalling if someone has an thoughtful comment of well-researched critique that hasn't been debunked a thousand times before.

The WoSc is a collection of international journals and nearly every country is contributing to these journals. Of course the language is English but the journals are nowhere near all Anglosaxon. I see many German, Iranian, Baltic, Swiss, Dutch, Japanese, Singaporean etc. journals listed. The suggestion that the conclusions in climate science is simply based on a biased selection and narrow scholar base is unsupported.

Further, although he cites the existence of 24 "denier" articles as proof that publications are not biased against such papers, I think in reality the bar for such papers is set way, way higher than for papers supporting the current paradigm, so they have little chance of being published.

Well, when science has come to a broad agreement after several decades research where thousands of researchers and tens of thousands articles and multiple lines of independent evidence provided their collective opinion, someone comes along and says: "Hey you guys you have it all backwards" (which is the case with these 24 publications) wouldn't you be a bit extra skeptical?
Or put it another way: if someone assumes in a paper as a fact that gravity exists, should reviewers be very skeptical of that claim? And how about a paper that claims that gravity does not exist?

I don't think that number of 13950:24 is inflated. We're not talking about being skeptical about some little part of AGW (which there are many parts of), we're talking about denial of AGW altogether.

I agree that science needs it's cranks who keep the community sharp. Every section of science has such cranks, but the question is should we create policy based on these cranks. This is what currently is done: the mainstream says: take action, the few cranks say: don't take action. Politics has so far followed the advice of the cranks. It is the world upside down if you ask me.

For the record, I believe in AGW, with reservations. I don't think we know enough to make confident predictions over the long term (say, further than 50 years out from now).

There are a number of reasons that long-term predictions are actually more certain than short-term ones.

  1. There's variation over the short term: there's currently less solar activity than normal, for instance. Also, El Nino confounds the picture. Over the long term, these things average out.
  2. There's a lot of termal inertia in the oceans. Over the short term, that makes predictions more difficult. Over the long term, the inertia matters much less.
  3. Records of past geological eras don't have a resolution of years. So they can only show equilibrium climate for a certain CO2 state, but not how fast the transition goes. For instance, the last time CO2-levels were at their current height, sea level was 25 meters higher than today. Without further human intervention, we can be fairly certain this will happen again (long term). We're not so sure when exactly it happens (short term).


The scientists are against denial ~14,000 to ~24 as you say, but so are religious people more and more as well:

While nearly 4-in-10 (36 percent) Americans believe that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in what the Bible calls the “end times,” more than six-in-ten (63 percent) say the severity is due to global climate change.

The December PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service, finds religious disagreement on what is behind the severe weather. A majority of white mainline Protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (60 percent) believe the disasters are the result of climate change, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants believe the storms are evidence that we are in Biblical “end times.”

(News Release, see also End of World Doom vs Science Doom).

while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants believe the storms are evidence that we are in Biblical “end times.”

Is that what is meant by 'Self Fulfilling Prophecy'?

I think it is quite obvious this IS the end times. Not the first end time in the history of this planet, we have had five before. And here comes the sixth. Anyone who don't see this comming is just not looking at the facts.

FOR ALL - "The U.S. environmental assessment of a new Keystone XL pipeline route from Canada will be meaningless unless it considers the effect mining of oil sands has on climate change...". Truly I don't like raining on the enviros' parade (like greenie). The environmental assessment of Keystone will be meaningless whether such considerations are made or not. The expansion of the transport system moving that Canadian oil to Texas refineries has not stopped for one day as a result of the POTUS not signing the permit. The fed permit is only for that very short leg that physically crosses the border. As been explained numerous times the bottle neck isn't at the border but at Cushing, OK. In fact, it was just announced that Canadian crude export to the US hit a new record high in 2012. Cushing to Texas flow has already increased via a p/l reversal by 150,000 bo. New p/l's (that don't require fed permission) will expand that number to 800,000 bopd in a few of years. The Canadians should expect higher prices for their crude at that point. And that will increase incentives to expand tar sand development. I suspect some of the recent suspension of some projects is to just wait for the transport expansion and higher oil prices.

I think the only not so shiny silver lining to the tar sands is that they will slow the expansion of coal IMHO.

So why do they want to build the Keystone? Sounds like it isn't really needed.

The Canadian export pipelines are all running at capacity now, and oil is backing up in Canada. North Dakota oil is being carried by the same pipelines, and it is backing up in ND, too. This wasn't predicted to happen for a couple of years, but oil production in Canada and ND is exceeding expectations. So, the Keystone expansion is becoming critical.

In the absence of more pipelines, companies are starting to move more and more oil by rail. It's more expensive than pipelines, but the railroads don't need anyone's permission to ship oil - they've been doing it for over 100 years. The tracks are already in place, and they can ramp up capacity to as high as necessary just by adding tank cars and locomotives.

Bill Gates now owns 12% of CN Rail, and it has tracks that extend all the way from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. They are well positioned to take advantage of any pipeline limitations, and I'm sure Gates knows that.


Some observers in the military see that as a mistake:

In an interview with HuffPost Live Thursday, former U.S. Army Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson spoke out against the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, warning that "all Americans should be outraged" about the national security implications of the project.

"I want to stop paying big oil and I want to start seeing a green economy in this nation," he told host Alicia Menendez. "And big oil is pushing Keystone, and Keystone is essentially going to maintain the status quo for another 25 years. And during that time I can only imagine the impact it's going to have on our environment and, indeed, our national security."

Gen. Anderson said that "all Americans should be outraged about the potential implications for our national security" because the pipeline "keeps us hopelessly addicted to oil."

(Brigadier General On Keystone XL Pipeline: 'All Americans Should Be Outraged'). It looks as if the epigovernment made that decision which is not in any one nation's interest.

If Americans didn't want to be addicted to oil, they should not have built their huge Interstate Highway system and the elaborate freeway systems on which people could drive on for free. They should have built high speed rail between cities, light rail systems in the cities, and leveled high taxes and tolls on autos and roads. That is what the Europeans did.

Not building the Keystone XL system just means their money will go to Arabs instead of Canadians because most Americans have no option except to drive everywhere.

Re: Egypt Importing Gas for First Time as Exports Disappear.

Lots of detailed background information and chronological list of relevant headlines is available at Egypt's Natural Gas Trends and Potential Impacts.

Originally published in Feb, 2011, this post is still highly relevant.


You couldn't pay me enough to try to run that place. They are in for some collapse as petrochemical resources run thin, climate change effects get worse, the water supply dwindles, the population keeps growing, and the Islamic rage overflows.

...the population keeps growing...

For how long?

Just curious, how is that just about everyone assumes that the population will somehow magically continue to grow, even after the oil starts to run out, changing climate exacerbates the dwindling water supply problem and Islamic rage explodes from the powder keg of an already severely strained civil society?

Color me skeptical... Then again, perhaps you have already included massive die off in your collapse scenario?

You can maintain population growth under those scenarios. Just add more poverty, shorter life span, more disease and more misery. Hungry people means more people on the same food. Has been done before, will be done again.

Now if you cut food supplies even harder, then you'll see a pop decline. But that is a fast decline scenario.

My understanding is that the "Arab Spring" in Egypt was largely due to increases in the price of bread. There's not much difference between current food supplies in Egypt and a lot of hungry people.

Egypt imports something like $14 billion in food every year (I can't see the exact amount quickly) and has to find the money to pay for it from somewhere. In recent years this has come from oil exports, gas exports, tourism, and foreign aid (mainly from the U.S.). The country became a net oil importer a while back; now it has become a net gas importer; and the tourism industry's not doing too well since riots hit the headlines.

There are only about four countries in the world which produce a large enough food surplus to be significant for supplying the food imports Egypt needs to prevent mass hunger, and these countries (U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand) have a history of wanting money for the food they export.

So I would not be at all surprised to see a population decline in Egypt.

So I would not be at all surprised to see a population decline in Egypt.

And now imagine what might happen if on top of everything else we have a couple of years of major droughts hitting North America and Australia... couldn't happen right?


A new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) indicates a pattern of global drought in some of the world’s most densely populated areas.
Most significantly, the US, Australia, Canada, and even Europe, major food producers, are predicted to be hit severely.
The study was undertaken using an “ensemble” of 22 computer models and previous global studies. Even if this study is partly right, it predicts major changes in food production and quality of life.

So I would not be at all surprised to see a population decline in a few places other than Egypt as well.

And we have 350.org, 450.org, 550.org, 650.org, 750.org do I hear 850.org? Going once, going twice! Sold to the little Alien from Venus.

"And now imagine what might happen if on top of everything else we have a couple of years of major droughts hitting North America and Australia... couldn't happen right?"

Well, it's a good thing that we've been putting all of that excess into storage and not just burning it in SUVs! /sarc

Also from early 2011, Egypt becomes a net oil importer:

Rather than starve people also migrate to countries with jobs, food, water. I know many Egyptians now in the U.S., Canada and Germany.

UPDATE 4-Iraq, Saudi on OPEC collision course over next oil curb

According to some in the G.W. Bush administration, invading Iraq was suppose to "break the back" of OPEC. Well so much for that idea.

Water Pollution and the Farm Economy

If they plant Miscanthus grass around the farm fields, the grass uses the nutrients, grows taller and there is less run off into rivers. We grow fuel crops that reduce oil imports which also upgrades that marginal land for future farming of food crops.


Be careful when using underground water too. The feds have allowed it to be polluted with toxins by drillers and miners.

Dredd is an appropriate name, I see possibilities, not doom. We can reclaim billions of gallons of water from power plant cooling towers to irrigate Miscanthus. No extra water nor nutrients required, just land and sun used to make synthetic gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. We can tell OPEC to keep their oil and people on here can quit betting when we will run out.


"I see possibilities, not doom."

Doom is a possibility. You see what you want to see citizen.

Indy to replace entire fleet with electric, hybrid

Indianapolis wants to become the first major city to replace its entire fleet with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in a move the mayor says is designed to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign-produced fuels, city officials said Wednesday.

Mayor Greg Ballard signed an executive order Wednesday mandating the city to replace its current sedans with electric vehicles. The city will also work with the private sector to phase in snow plows, fire trucks and other heavy vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, and it will ask automakers to develop a plug-in hybrid police car as one doesn't yet exist.

Indianapolis, the 12th largest city in the U.S. with a population of 825,000, hopes to complete the switch by 2025.

Researchers Examining Electric Vehicles and the Power Grid

As plug-in electric vehicles become an ever more central part of America's daily life, University of Notre Dame researchers are anticipating what that development will mean for the nation's power grid.

Specifically, the researchers are working to anticipate and solve optimization problems critical to various parties, such as PEV owners, commercial charging station owners, aggregators and distribution companies, at the distribution and retail level of the emerging PEV system.

Maybe they should change the Indy 500 into an electric car race! That would be very cool.

Indy is boring...http://youtu.be/O3v-mb7Uhdk (Toyota Electric on Nurburgring)

Nope. Indy is noise. EV not enough noise. I witnessed the demise of the gas turbine there for the same reason.

that last one in '67 was a cool car, wasn't it? It nearly won, too. Sounded like a vacuum cleaner going by.

I don't want to be near when a battery-laden car hits the wall at 200 mph.

would make for a very interesting change in the race due to electrical shorts.

The Indy race cars use ethanol.

Our Republican mayor has given free land leases on lots only to be used for organic gardening. He has also expanded the bike lanes by many times in his short tenure. He usually has a group bike ride organized when opening a major new lane. On one of the group rides, my wife rode next to him for a few miles but I didn't want to get in between him and his bodyguard.

"The Indy race cars use ethanol."

That's a recent mainly PR based change - they were running Methanol for years before that.

I think part of the attraction is the (obscenly) loud noises of those engines. An electric car race just wouldn't provide that sort of sound (or polluted air).
Of course the electric race would be either underpowered -or short, as the energy content of batteries is a lot lower.

What about giant slot cars? You have a track with, say, six slots, and the cars carry some battery power so they can jump slots and draft/steal the other guy's electricity/push him off/whatever.

But would the motorheads go for it enough to pay the big bucks to attend? These are for profit events after all.

Had to get in my licks on a little cornucopianism the other day, for those in the mood:


I gotta say, it was a touch out of character. The BAU crowd is getting so desperate sounding to mine ears of late that my usual reaction is becoming more of a yawn...


Which Nickname are you using on this thread ? :)

I say it was fairly obvious...

Could be 2 or 3, chubasco ?

That'd be my guess too.

Solar Power Prices to Continue Falling Through 2025, Experts Say

Prices for solar modules—the part of solar panels that produce electricity—will continue to fall, in line with the long-term trend since 1980, according to a survey of experts by Near Zero, , a nonprofit energy research organization. However, for prices to keep falling for the long term will require continued committment to research, such as on materials used for making solar modules.

On average, global installations per year are not expected to increase much from the record level in 2011, but the total installed solar capacity is expected to soar to 300 gigawatts by 2018, and 600 GW by 2025.

More information: The report on the survey's results can be downloaded from Near Zero's website at: http://www.nearzero.org/reports/pv-learning

Near Zero sounds like the right name for the outfit. I'm not sure they actually exist.

The reports are fairly cleverly done, but seem to be just summaries of a small number of survey responses.

I take their numbers with a grain of salt. They make the assumption that current prices are anomalously low, and prices will snap back up to the old trendline. I am of the opinion, that the recent gains, although they are driving quite a few producers out of business won't be reversed. If that is the case, prices for modules have already blown away their predictions. Of course they are correct about the importance of BoS. I'm not sure the general assumption BoS will drop at the same rate as modules, is likely. I suspect BoS will be harder to cut down. Although the BoS soft costs for small projects does currently have a lot of low hanging fruit. But once BoS is dominated by physical stuff, mounts, wiring etc. I think it becomes really difficult to push these down.

One way is to go to all DC. I am thinking of doing this in my house. Of course, it would be far less expensive if it became the norm.

Back to Edison and Sun.

With DC got to choose your voltage. Assuming you choose a lowish voltage, say 12 or 24volts, any decent amount of power requires a lot of voltage. That implies either very thick wires (lots of copper or aluminum), or a low of power wasted heating said wires.
They are trying to push voltages for collecting and inverting for utility scale systems up to a thousand volts for this reason.

I think that you mean with low voltage any decent amount of power requires a lot of CURRENT, meaning thick wires.

Um, ah- Yea, fellas, I seem to remember vaguely some chatter about power being proportional to the product of voltage and current in DC, so if one is low, the other's gotta be high for the same power, or something like that anyhow.

For direct current

Watts = Volts * Amps

1kw = 1000v * 1 amp, or 500v * 2amp, etc etc etc

I take their numbers with a grain of salt

Which numbers? My reading of the report is that they expect the long term continuation of price declines to continue. However they have identified both roadblocks and areas that could help the trend to continue.

The point about considering the total cost of installation as the real cost instead of just module prices is very relevant. This helps identify the increase of efficiency as an important area for R&D as it greater efficiency lowers BOS costs and hopefully overall costs.

The only problem is that even reaching 600Gw capacity by 2025 only produces 2% of CURRENT global electricity use, not 2025 electricity use. Despite the $147b (p7) spent in 2011 (globally) on PV installation, it is nothing more than a drop in the bucket of what is required.

Drilling Methane Emissions Lawsuit: New York And 6 Other States To Sue EPA

PITTSBURGH — Seven Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states announced plans Tuesday to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, saying it is violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from oil and gas drilling, which has boomed in nearby states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a news release Tuesday that the EPA is violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address the emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and the oil and gas industry is the largest source of emissions in this country. Other major sources come from landfills and livestock.

Climate Modelers See Possible Warmer, Wetter Northeast Winters by 2070

A new high-resolution climate study by University of Massachusetts Amherst climate scientists, the first to apply regional climate models to examine likely near-term changes in temperature and precipitation across the Northeast United States, suggests temperatures are going to be significantly warmer in all seasons in the next 30 years, especially in winter. Also, they project that winters will be wetter, with more rain likely than snow.

The projections assume that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise, increasing atmospheric CO2 from about 400 parts per million (ppm) today to between 500 and 600 ppm in 2070. Bradley and Rawlins acknowledge that this outlook represents the "most aggressive, most troubling higher emissions trajectory scenario" for CO2 levels, but they point out that so far there is little evidence that society will act to appreciably change the current rate of increase.

More information: www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012JD018137.shtml

It already feels that way here in eastern PA now. We'll see what winter has in store this year but it seems to be turning into the rainy season.

My wife planted snapdragons 2 years ago. Instead of dying, they survived the last winter, and they look set to survive this one. If our climate is going to turn all Dutch-temperate, I at least have a way of getting my backyard to do some serious carbon capture.

My worry for earthly places that used to get a seasonal freeze, but no longer do: termites.

The northeast native termites are still a problem even though winter temperature may reach 0-10F and ground freezes from Dec-Mar.

The termite to worry about is the Formosan termite.

The Formosan subterranean termite is often nicknamed the super-termite because of its destructive habits. This is because of the large size of its colonies, and the termites' ability to consume wood at a rapid rate. A single colony may contain several million individuals (compared with several hundred thousand termites for other subterranean termite species) that forage up to 300 feet (100 m) in soil. A mature Formosan colony can consume as much as 13 ounces of wood a day (ca. 400 g) and severely damage a structure in as little as three months. Because of its population size and foraging range, the presence of a colony poses serious threats to nearby structures. Once established, Formosan subterranean termites have never been eradicated from an area.

Formosan termites are rarely found north of 35° north latitude. They have been reported from eleven states including: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Their distribution will probably continue to be restricted to southern areas of the United States because the eggs will not hatch below about 20°C (68 °F).

The termites around here survive with temperatures below 0 F (-18 C).

So far this seems like an unseasonably warm winter here in New York State. Three months of winter rather than five months of winter, I love global warming.

I'm in NY State, too (Finger Lakes). Yes, AGW hasn't been too bad around here - no Sandy (but we did have flooding from Lee), warmer winters, drier summer (but not terrible). But we're still pretty dependent on the Midwest/Great Plains for grains, so the drought there is undoubtedly affecting us in other ways. It is comforting to know that we've got these large fresh water bodies (Great Lakes and Finger Lakes) if ever needed, but let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Whereabouts in the Finger Lakes Region, if you don't mind me asking?

Here in the marginally-finger-lakes city of Rochester we get our city water mostly from Hemlock Lake via buried pipe... no need to wait for AGW to push us to tap those natural beauties, we'll do it now thank you. ;)

Waste Wattage: Cities Aim to Flush Heat Energy Out of Sewers

Around the world, and more recently in the U.S., cities are realizing that the water leaving our homes and offices—specifically, warm and hot wastewater—is an astoundingly powerful source of energy. One estimate is that Americans flush 350 billion kilowatt-hours of energy into the sewers each year—roughly enough to power 30 million U.S. homes. Cities are taking notice, and taking steps to install sewage heat recovery systems to get a piece of that energy resource.

... In a sewage heat recovery system, a heat pump is used to capture the warmth of wastewater and transfer it to the clean water stream that is entering homes and businesses. It all operates as a closed-loop system, meaning that the dirty water never touches the clean water. But the warmth of the sewage water helps heat the water that is then used in showers, washing machines, dishwashers, or even in radiators to help heat buildings.

The first big wastewater heat recovery system in North America is in Vancouver, British Columbia, providing 70 percent of the energy needs to the community known as the Olympic Village.

... [Other] sytems are designed for installation in individual buildings, rather than on or near city-owned property, so they captures the heat from wastewater going down drains even before it leaves the building. At this point, the wastewater heat is an even greater resource; because of building insulation, the wastewater is about 70°F (21°C).

... a system at a group of townhouses in Vancouver reduced their energy usage by 75 percent Diagram

ReTherm heat recovery technology and here

or Heat Recovery System For Residential Waste Water

... new project for Ghung, jokuhl, et.al (actually, I think your already doing it)

I'm a little perplexed by the layout of these heat recovery setups, as they are only in contact with some 2 feet of the drain pipe. It would seem to offer a very minimal amount of transferrence.

I'm all for the idea, but maybe it should divert the drain water into a transfer tank when the temp is high enough to justify the capture, and then use a heat pump to draw the most BTUs from it as feasible.

Two things make it work quite well:
- The wastewater flows in a film on the inner wall down the pipe. This ensures a rather large surface area. The exchanger needs to be perfectly vertical for this.
- Counterflow has a higher heat recovery efficiency (well-know industrial process technique).

Ofcourse 100% recovery is not possible with a passive setup like this, but the vertical position ensures a larger surface area than a horizontal construction and the smooth inner pipe with no standing water makes sure there is no or little fouling that reduces efficiency.

Sure, I get these parts of the concept, but considering how quick drainwater is racing down that pipe, it really has no time in contact with the HX section to remove all that much heat from it.. it just seems that it's sort of a half-measure.

My Apt building Shower Drainpipe goes right next to the Heat Pump in the cellar, so maybe I'll get a chance to try some kind of recapture scheme one fine day! Maybe a second-stage of Preheating..

Good versions of this type of vertical heat exchanger will collect over 60% of the excess energy from the wastewater. Not too bad I say for such low tech solution and relatively little material involved.

If you somehow have a constant stream of warmish water then I'd suggest a water2water heatpump which would extract much more available energy with only little input.

Have been doing this in my various homes/apts for 25+ years - albeit manually. Got started when I first lived in a municipality where one had to pay for water by volume. Catch shower water in tub, then use for flushing toilet. Saves water, captures all the 'waste' heat, and avoids bringing gallons of sub-room temp water into the house, saving yet more heat. Clunky? Yes. Onerous? Just another habit/chore - takes maybe 3 mins after a shower. Have always fantasized about an automated system. But even this one doesn't save any water, and I could never justify the cost, given that my system is free. Only do this in winter. Here, now, spring to fall, we shower outside anyway. Nothing like an outdoor solar shower under the stars.

Stand in the manhole of a main municipal sewer and it's warm and steamy. Surprisingly, it doesn't smell of sh#t. Rather, it has a sealed bathroom/laundry/sickly sweetish smell.

I have a DIY heat exchanger like that installed. Just 2 copper pipes, one smaller inserted into a bigger diameter. Together with two T's and some fillers they make a nice heat exchanger for the shower. I haven't been measuring it but I can definitely feel the temperature difference between the incoming and outgoing municipal water.

They would fail at my trailer. I rarely use hot water from the tap. I do have small black barrels I use to heat water during the day for use in cold frames at night. Or in the summer to have a warm rainwater shower outside. It seems like a lot of effort to gain waste heat, when they could just limit the use of hot water in the first place, and save more energy than making new do-hickies.


Henry Waxman Shouts Into Wind on Climate Change

It’s another beautiful December day in Washington.

And Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has sent his 21st letter requesting a hearing on climate change, this time on a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers that says we are on our way to a four degree centigrade world, and possibly six, instead of the two degree warming that governments hoped could be achieved. Find the other 20 letters here.

Waxman notes that despite the enormous costs of limiting carbon dioxide emissions, it would be a lot cheaper than a catastrophic warming.

Sen. Boxer Announces Plans to Form ‘Climate Change Caucus’

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that she’s forming a “climate change caucus,” and argues that Hurricane Sandy “changed a lot of minds” on the topic.

Sen. Coons predicts GOP support for bill to boost renewable-energy investment

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Wednesday that he is optimistic enough Republicans will rally behind his renewable-energy financing bill to get it passed next Congress.

The bill would extend a tax structure known as a “master limited partnership” to renewable energy firms. Supporters say the tax code change would help move capital to projects involving solar, wind and biofuels.

Master limited partnerships in the U.S. have reached a market capitalization of $350 billion, with more than 80 percent of capital funding devoted to oil-and-gas projects.

Defeated Republican Preaches Heresy Backing a Carbon Tax

Bob Inglis blames his efforts to combat global warming for the intra-Republican challenge that cost him his South Carolina congressional seat in 2010. Since the loss, he has traveled the nation making the case to students and grassroots Republican activists that a carbon tax is both good policy and politics.

Because of Inglis’ “heresies” on climate change, immigration and the bank bailout of 2008, he drew four challengers in a Republican primary in 2010. And he was defeated by Trey Gowdy in a run-off. Once elected, Gowdy signed a pledge to oppose a “climate tax.”

8 companies ordered to stop illegal labor practice at Fukushima nuclear plant – ‘We knew it was illegal, but we had no other choice to secure profits

(Asahi Shimbun) – The government will order eight companies to end an illegal dispatch arrangement that allowed a subcontractor to instruct workers to labor under dangerous conditions at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

The labor ministry has already called on plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Energy & Systems Inc., a TEPCO group company, to enhance monitoring over subcontractors at the plant.

The decision means the ministry has effectively acknowledged that an illegal structure of multilayer contractors threatened the safety of workers. TEPCO has consistently denied any illegal setup.

also TEPCO unable to locate source of leak in Fukushima reactor

The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is grappling to locate the source of a leak of highly radioactive water in the crippled No. 2 reactor, and will continue trying to pinpoint the cause next week.

Nuclear fuel in the No. 2 reactor melted following the earthquake and tsunami disaster last year.

A huge volume of highly radioactive water, used to cool down the fuel, has since been leaking from the reactor, TEPCO said

Nuclear power emerges as new Japan campaign issue

The future of nuclear power in Fukushima-scarred Japan has emerged as a major campaign issue for the first time in weekend polls, but experts warn little thought has gone into how to replace atomic energy.

Sunday's vote comes as a rising tide of anti-atomic sentiment is forcing an energy policy rethink, putting the fate of a power source that once generated about one-third of Japan's electricity in doubt. Recent opinion polls suggesting about 70 percent of the electorate want atomic power phased out.

Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power's recent admission that it knowingly played down the risks to the plant before the tsunami disaster added to a feeling that Japan had been duped by a powerful industry in league with its regulator.

Pesticides: Now More Than Ever

Rachel Carson ... “Silent Spring,” ... 50 years ago

How quickly we forget. As usual, there are catalysts for this column; in this case they number three.

I was impressed by a statement by the American Association of Pediatrics — not exactly a radical organization — warning parents of the dangers of pesticide and recommending that they try to reduce contact with them. The accompanying report calls the evidence “robust” for associations between pesticide exposure and cancer (specifically brain tumors and leukemia) and “adverse” neurodevelopment, including lowered I.Q., autism, and attention disorders and hyperactivity. (Alzheimer’s, obviously not a pediatric concern, has also been linked to pesticide exposure.)

This reminded me of recently disclosed evidence showing that ...

also Brain and nervous system damaged by low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides

Study Reveals New Factor That Could Limit the Life of Hybrid and Electric Car Batteries

Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers examined used car batteries and discovered that over time lithium accumulates beyond the battery electrodes – in the "current collector," a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car's electrical system.

... Previously, the researchers determined that, during aging of the battery, cyclable lithium permanently builds up on the surface of the anode, and the battery loses charge capacity.

This latest study revealed that lithium migrates through the anode to build up on the copper current collector as well.

Melting Polar Ice Could Release Old Viruses

In 1999, Russian scientists famously dug a long-dead frozen woolly mammoth out of the Siberian permafrost. Other things lurking in the frozen earth may be more alive - and more dangerous. Scientists warn that global warming could release ancient bacteria, viruses and fungi from frozen lakes, glaciers and permafrost. If this happens, humans could become exposed to viruses and diseases they have not encountered in thousands of years.

Frozen viruses may have been making their way back into the environment for centuries, even without global warming. Scientists theorize that periodically melting Arctic lakes release previously frozen influenza viruses, which are picked up by migrating birds and transported toward human populations. One virus seems to have reappeared in the 1930s, the 1960s and, most recently, in 2006, when a Siberian lake melted, a biological warfare researcher told Wired in 2009. "This phenomenon may take place regularly, far beyond what we witness," said Dany Shoham of Israel's Bar-Ilan University.

Many viruses won't remain viable after freezing, but others are more adaptable. Influenza, for example, has the properties that would allow it to survive the ice and the ability to transfer between animals and humans once it is out," Shoham told The Independent in 2005.

also Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed - video

It's like watching 'Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes', says filmmaker James Balog. He's describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice. After weeks of waiting, the filmakers witnessed 7.4 cubic km of ice crashing off the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland.

Wow . . . there is the premise for the next pandemic or zombie movie . . . an ancient virus locked up in the ice core has been released due to global warming . . .

It makes sense. I seem to remember them digging up some frozen bodies from Alaska in order to obtain a specimen of the 1918 flu virus.

For viruses, I am more worried about that genetic engineering is cheaper and more available than ever. If someone wanted to make a virus and kill us all, it is very much possible now. Heck, even a movie style zombie virus is possible now, if someone with money made an effort. And it gets more and more easy every year with more science progress.

But yes, something we long lost immunity agains may very well lurk down there. Another risk factor for Hollywood scrips makers to make cash out of.

"genetic printers" are at 25K or so and there are articles like this http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/6832 (DIY plant genetics)

I'd guess that any loosely supervised post-grad biology degree student would have access to the knowledge to make exactly what you have expressed a fear of.

They made a computer game based on the movie. It worked very well as a sequel.

Lake Erie Wind Farm Proposal Wins $4 Million in Federal Funding

A regional team including researchers from Case Western Reserve has won $4 million to design a wind farm in Lake Erie – along with the possibility they can compete for $46 million more to build it.

Energy Dept. to Underwrite 7 Wind Projects

The federal government is stepping up its efforts to kick-start the offshore wind industry by awarding $28 million in grants to seven projects that are developing varying kinds of power-generation technology.

New from Congressional Research Service ....

Loss of Federal Pensions for Members of Congress Convicted of Certain Offenses

... makes one wonder - Which member of Congress criminal requested this report?

what is real and true and what is false and imaginary? we pick and choose what information to believe.

big corporations and billionaires do pay "learned people" to "present facts".

i notice of late the end of peak oil and hydrocarbon stocks for hundreds of yeers. all accounts i read is 250 yeers for uhmerika not the whole world. still, a prudent person wood have plan b.

which i may present here for yur consideration:

"Cassini Spots Mini Nile River On Saturn's Moon Titan
Scientists deduce that the river, which is in Titan's north polar region, is filled with liquid hydrocarbons because it appears dark along its entire length in the high-resolution radar image, indicating a smooth surface."

i say we go get that juice. we will need it. best to figger everything out now.

but what does this mean????

Dec. 12, 2012 1:53 PM ET
"Lower Great Lakes levels reveal Mich. shipwrecks
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — The remains of a wooden steamer built 125 years ago recently were uncovered in Michigan because of lower Great Lakes water levels.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports sections of the 290-foot steamer Aurora, which burned in 1932, and parts of at least four other shipwreck hulks were exposed by the receding waterline at Grand Haven near the edges of Harbor Island.

The Aurora is in the Grand River, which flows into Lake Michigan nearby.

Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates members and officials with the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven have surveyed the area. Valerie Van Heest, director of MSRA and a maritime historian, says this offers a rare chance to see wrecks without having to scuba dive.

The Great Lakes are shrinking because of drought and rising temperatures."

AND....i posted recently about the helium shortage. still folks use it recreational and for suicide, so a shortage might save lives. take note.

AND....can cuba become a net energy exporter, (to the usa)?
Cuba sugar cane marabu weeds 'could be turned to fuel'
But to one British firm, the aggressive weed is less a problem than a valuable resource.

Havana Energy has just signed a $50m (£31m) investment deal to build a renewable-energy power plant in central Cuba, supplying one of the country's biggest sugar mills as well as the national grid.

It's sad when being only slightly above mediocrity is considered 'special' ...

U.S. Math, Science Achievement Exceeds World Average

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013

• Global grain reserves hit critically low levels
• Extreme weather means climate 'is no longer reliable'
• Rising food prices threaten disaster and unrest

World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.

Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.

"We've not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year," said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.

"We've not been producing as much as we are consuming" is technically incorrect. Post-harvest losses are much greater than the difference between production and consumption. In other words production is greater than what is consumed.

These days, I catch myself thinking "if their own governments so clearly don't care about the people of Uganda and Zimbabwe, why should I care?" I guess I'm suffering from compassion fatigue.

On the larger topic, there'll be plenty of food...for those who can afford it. See also: governments that don't care. Food shortages are caused by political failures and political failures alone.

We can eat more than we grow, if we take it from inventory. Which is why inventories have decreased on average for the last 10 years or so.

JW - I believe what gregvp is saying is that there are really 3 volumes involved - what is grown, what is 'counted' after losses btwn harvest and delivery, and consumption. So while what you say above is true, and foreboding, what gregvp says is not in conflict with it, just making the technical pt. that raw production (what we grow) may still in fact be greater than what we consume, even though inventory is shrinking because those post-harvest but pre-consumer losses are not 'counted'...

Yeah I see that after re-reading. Two different items, that both adds to the problem. Then add the food-to-fuel programmes discussed further up, it gets worse still.

Yep. Got food?

Got food?

That's better

There is what I think is an important debate amongst (residential) building energy efficiency nerds between Net Zero and Passive House. I fall on the Passive House side of the debate as I think if we have any hope of reducing emissions to zero ASAP and no later than 2040 then we have to do everything possible to reduce demand.

It's a lot easier to meet (edit - regional electric) demand with renewables, particularly peak, if demand has been greatly minimized.

Passivhaus versus Net-Zero Energy Buildings

Not all houses are solar-ready — and PV ain’t pretty

The Passivhaus (or nearly zero energy building) vs. net zero debate has become an ongoing discussion that rears its nerdy head every few months. It really first took grasp shortly before Martin Holladay published his Net Zero versus Passivhaus blog. Recently, the topic has made its way into several conversations – and my arguments for nearly-zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) or NZEBs + renewables always spark a lively conversation. I was asked to put together a post collating my thoughts on why achieving Passivhaus should take priority over zero-energy buildings, or at least before adding renewables.

P.S. The video at the bottom of Mike Eliason's post is cute! Romantic Low U-values.

What do you mean PV is not pretty? If you have a pitched roof it blends in fairly well, and dark blue is not a loud color.

The 'not all houses are oriented correctly to make of PV' is a better argument. Mine is one of them. But there is an out-building. The house roof faces SE, and the out-building roof faces SSW. The least shaded end of the house would support 8 or 10 250 W panels, and the outbuilding would support another 8. So I could get 2 to 2.5 kw out of the house in the morning, and another 2 kw from the outbuilding from about 11 AM to about 5 when the trees will get in the way.

I could also put a vertically mounted tracking array at the NE corner of the garden and get power from that from 10 AM to an hour before sunset.

Don't think it all has to go in one place.

What do you mean PV is not pretty?

There are a lot of people who think so. I'm biased, because I know the value of the power, so they look beautiful to me. But, we at TOD are like that, we can't judge how Joe and Jill Sixpack will respond, our brains function differently.

You want PV to be pretty?

Make it so #1!


I wonder if they have the ability to dope the panels in such a way that a teeny-tiny amount of certain frequencies of light would be reflected so as to make the panels appear more blue, or green, or other colors. It would obviously be giving up a little bit of efficiency but would it make some people more likely to buy them if they could get them in colors?

Many frequencies are not used so could be inckuded and reflecting IR might be a good idea.


...to make the panels appear more blue, or green, or other colors.



That is neat! The green ones are just stunning - the crystalline flakes make it look like a jumble of plants on the ground.

The EIA has information comparing oil production by different countries.

Total Oil supply for the US for the days in the Week ending Dec 7 was 11.33 million barrels

The US is getting very close to Saudi Arabia in total oil supplied (which includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, ethanol and other liquids and refinery processing gains.

Crude oil,Natural Gas and Other Liquids for the US for the days in the Week ending Dec 7 was 10.22 million barrels

The US is almost overtaking Russia for #2 in crude oil, natural gas liquids, ethanol and other liquids.

US daily crude oil production added 35,000 barrels per day and natural gas liquids and renewable fuel added 99,000 barrels per day in the most recently reported week. Crude oil production is at the highest level in 18 years. Crude oil production is up nearly 1 million bpd since the same time last year


The Univ. of Maine's Advanced Composites group is taking more steps towards using floating turbines out in the Gulf of Maine.

Of course, the Bangor paper is the most fun one to get the story from, since the comments usually has the best from the Knuckledraggers who keep trying to convince anyone who'll listen that 'Wind doesn't work.' ...


That turbine, a one-eighth scale version of the turbines that would be used in the future offshore wind farm, will be floating in the Gulf of Maine next year, likely between April and August.

.. I didn't even look down at the comments yet. I hope they don't let me down!

According to the IEA's Highlights of the latest OMR OPEC crude oil production increased by 75 kb/d to 31.22 mb/d in November, led by higher output from Saudi Arabia, Angola, Algeria and Libya.

However according to OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report OPEC's crude production fell by 207 kb/d to 30.781 mb/d. Not only that the OPEC MOMR said said Algeria was down 17.5 kb/d, Angola was down 32 kb/d and Saudi was down 47.5 kb/d. The IEA's OMR had all three with higher production in November.

All that was according to OPEC's "secondary sources" but based on "direct communication" Saudi was down 231.6 kb/d to 9.492 mb/d. That is when the folks who compile the OPEC MOMR called and asked Saudi what they produced, they said "9,492,000 barrels per day.

But whether you believe those "secondary sources" or their "direct communication" the MOMR has dramatically different figures than the IEA's OMR. And the IEA has OPEC production, in November, 431,000 barrels per day higher than OPEC says it was.

The IEA OMR has non-OPEC production up by .7 mb/d in November. I wonder if that is as accurate as their OPEC figures?

Ron P.

The IEA in Highlights of the latest OMR dated 12 December 2012, states:

OPEC crude oil supply inched up by 75 kb/d to 31.22 mb/d in November,

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Repot for December 2012, states:

November OPEC crude production
in million barrels per day, according to secondary sources
down 0.21 in November
November 2012 30.78
October 2012 30.99

Is "crude oil supply" the same as "crude production"? I think supply is production plus withdrawal from stocks.

In the OPEC OMR for Dec. 12, 2012, the "31.22 Mb/d" number is located in table 10.1, Summarized supply/demand balance for 2012, mb/d, on page 78. It is the value of OPEC crude oil production for the first quarter of 2012.

Is "crude oil supply" the same as "crude production"? I think supply is production plus withdrawal from stocks.

I have never heard that one before. No, I don't think the IEA tracks withdrawal from stocks, or negative withdrawals from stocks. How would they track that? OPEC does not ever report production to the IEA, they only estimate it. And they sure don't report their stock levels to anyone.

The production numbers from the IEA are always way off from those reported by OPEC, JODI or the EIA. Sometimes they are higher and sometimes they are lower. But the numbers from the IEA are higher far more times than they are lower. Following the IEA numbers you will notice that the numbers from one month never match the numbers from the last month. They revise without telling you they revised.

Ron P.

I thought the IEA's Highlights of the latest OMR is a summary of OPEC's OMR for December 2012. Therefore there should no discrepancy. The OPEC OMR uses different terminology, "supply" and "production," to describe what you think is the same thing. I do not know if they mean something different or not.

No, you are mistaken. The IEA OMR seldom, if ever, ever come close to reporting what the OPEC OMR reports. I know because I follow them both very closely... every month.

Also the IEA OMR is all liquids and the OPEC OMR is crude only. The OPEC OMR does have revisions but they are usually well under 100 kb/d for total OPEC production. The IEA OMR data is often revised as much as half a million barrels per day, and almost always the revisions are down.

The OPEC OMR only reports total oil production and what they call supply is crude only.

The IEA OMR also only reports total oil production and what they call supply is all liquids.

Neither has a different definition for supply and production. They are the same thing.

The IEA OMR Highlights does report OPEC crude. But you can check it yourself, IEA reports 31.22 mb/d while OPEC reports 30.78 mb/d, for November. That is a difference of 440,000 barrels per day. The IEA had OPEC production increasing while OPEC said their production dropped by 208,000 barrels per day. As I said, not even close.

The EIA does report, in their monthly OMR Full Report, OECD stocks. But nobody reports OPEC stocks, not even OPEC themselves. So there is no way the IEA could have any idea as to inputs or withdrawals of OPEC stocks.

Ron P.

Concerning Price plunge approaching for U.S. crude, BofA forecasts from above:

The Bank of America forecast does not mention that the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas, might be completed by 2014. This section of the pipeline is supposed to move about 500 kb/d out of Cushing which might be enough to relieve the glut for a while and increase the price of WTI to approximate parity with Brent.

I believe the Seaway reversal is complete, and higher capacity pumps will come online early next year as well. This will result in a 400Kbpd drain.

Other pipelines to pull some liquids from Midland to the Gulf are underway too, which will further help alleviate the backup from Midland through Cushing, which is a BIG deal:

"A $20 discount for WTI crude in Midland versus WTI Cushing is about 30 times the published pipeline tariff from Midland to Cushing on the Basin pipeline ($0.69/Bbl). "

"The second new dimension to regional crude supply was precipitated by comments last week by Kinder Morgan that they are contemplating repurposing an existing natural gas pipeline that runs from El Paso to California, to carry 300 to 400 Mb/d of crude from the Permian Basin to California refineries. "


Pipelines aren't rocket science. All they need is a reasonable guarantee of volumes and they WILL be built. Talked to a big midstream supply chain guy and he said he'd placed an order for $300M of pipe for 2013 delivery.

Prices will adjust such that much more oil and gas WILL be produced. It WILL be burned. Resistance is futile. We must individually decide how to react to these eventualities and the climate changes that result.

Saudis cut oil output to lowest in a year
(Registration required but available via Google.)

Saudi Arabia has cut oil output to its lowest level for a year as a combination of surging US crude production and weakening economic growth sapped demand...

Meanwhile, figures published on the eve of the Vienna meeting of Opec showed that Saudi Arabia pumped 9.5m barrels a day in November, the lowest level in a year and down from the 30-year high of 10.1m b/d set in June.

It is interesting to note that when oil production is lower in Saudi Arabia it is because they "cut" production. But if the same thing happens to other nations it is because production "declined" there. As in Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan’s Socar Reduces Oil Output 2.1% in First 11 Months

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan’s crude oil output declined in the first 11 months from a year earlier as production fell at a BP Plc-led field in the Caspian Sea...

Output at the BP-led Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field, where Socar is a partner and which provided 78 percent of Azerbaijan’s oil output last year, slumped 12 percent in the first half.

Ron P.

Oil at $60 or $120 Doesn’t Prevent U.S. Supplanting Saudis


Even if U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil drops 30 percent from the current $86 a barrel, oil companies will boost production as new technologies allow them to extract crude from shale formations, said Ed Morse, the global head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc.

“The Saudis really need to balance their budget at about $95. For the U.S. producers, that is more than ample.”

Article is of the same ilk as those of the last month or so in this regard(US becoming oil kingpin), but this today gives more of a price basis. Not that I buy it.

I love it - just cast the "new technology" spell and everything is now possible. Well, I suppose you have to get the wand action right too - it's all in the wrist, but with a bit of practice you can find yourself believing anything at all.

The selling off of the public electricity generation and distribution systems over the years has set up a situation where PV threatens the profits of now entrenched corporations.

I find it strange because they can (and do) charge you just for being attached, and they get mid-day "peaking" power for off-peak rates in most cases (net metering)...and they don't have to outlay any money up-front for the expanded capacity.

B.C.’s gas export plans on same scale as Alberta’s oilsands, Premier Clark says

VICTORIA — Premier Christy Clark says her government’s plan to export liquefied natural gas to Asia is British Columbia’s economic equivalent to Alberta’s oilsands.

In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press, Clark said B.C.’s LNG development ambitions will transform the economy, but the province must act quickly before the opportunity evaporates like gas into the atmosphere.

Experts in the LNG industry do not completely agree with Clark’s Alberta oilsands comparison, but are on board in describing the opportunity as monumental and one that should be fast tracked.

“This is huge,” said Ron Loberec, Deloitte’s Canadian resources spokesman. “It’s a no-brainer. Australia is going to make tens of billions of dollars out of these gas contracts. You’ve got to say yes to something.”

Recent Alberta government statistics indicate royalties from the oilsands were $3.7 billion in 2010-2011.

The Canadian Energy Research Institute reported Alberta can expect $350 billion in royalties and $122 billion in provincial and municipal tax revenue from the oilsands over the next 25 years.

About 151,000 Albertans were directly employed in the oil and gas extraction and mining sectors in 2011, about one of every 14 jobs in the province.

As a BCer and definitely not a fan of Christy Clark I have just one thing to say about her NG acumen and chance to succeed.

ha ha ha.

CNOOC promises billions in new spending - if oil prices stay high

CNOOC Ltd. has committed to spend an additional $5-billion to $8-billion on oil and gas development in North America as part of its deal with Ottawa to acquire Calgary-based Nexen Inc., but the promise is elastic in terms of the time frame and subject to continued high oil prices.

The company will also report annually – though confidentially – to Industry Canada on how it’s meeting its Investment Canada undertakings, Xu Xiaojie, an academic who also advised both CNOOC and China’s state council on the deal, said in an interview Tuesday.

CNOOC released a list of commitments on the weekend but did not include the capital spending promises. The commitments include a listing on the TSX for CNOOC Ltd.; an effort to retain Nexen’s management and employees; and commitments to support oil sands research and social and community projects now backed by Nexen.

CNOOC has also promised to make Calgary its new headquarters for North and Central America, incorporating Nexen’s Canadian and American operations and CNOOC’s own $8-billion worth of assets in the hemisphere. While details remain unclear, the Chinese company’s additional spending commitments would likely be earmarked for that region, but the undertaking has no time frame attached to it and provides flexibility if commodity prices take a nose dive.

Nexen has assets around the world, including the Long Lake project in the oil sands and acreage in B.C.’s Horn River unconventional gas play, as well as projects in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Yemen. Long Lake has been a particularly troublesome project, with production well below the 70,000 barrels per day that was expected.

In addition, I would comment that over half of Nexen's production comes from the UK North Sea. However European Union authorities have already rubber-stamped their approval on the takeover.

Georgia nuclear plant delayed at least 1 year

ATLANTA — Construction of a first-of-its-kind nuclear power plant in Georgia will be delayed by more than a year, likely causing hundreds of millions of dollars in extra costs, according to a report from a state-hired monitor.

The first of the new reactors at Plant Vogtle was supposed to be finished on April 1, 2016, with the second reactor a year later.

Southern Co. officials have said that schedule has slipped to November 2016 for the first reactor or even early- to mid-2017. In a report filed Friday, nuclear engineer William Jacobs Jr. said he believed the first reactor will be completed no earlier than June 2017.

All the while, the Georgia rate payers are being charged for the construction, even though they aren't getting any "juice" from those reactors. The delay will increase the eventual cost per kWhr...

E. Swanson

"All the while, the Georgia rate payers are being charged for the construction, even though they aren't getting any "juice" from those reactors. "

If they don't pay as they go, then they have to pay twice as much to cover the interest. There is no winning in that situation.

Oil at $60 or $120 Doesn’t Prevent U.S. Supplanting Saudis


(Someone might have posted this but I didn't see this when I searched : not sure how good OD search is)

With the fed holding rates until 2015 it's a good bet that oil remains high priced.

Too bad we aren't investing in thorium. The oil drum has been optimistic about this.
Pie in the sky??


From article:
Opponents point out that thorium reactors are technically challenging, are still unproven, and still produce radioactive waste.
the United States (10% of the world’s) could supposedly power the entire United States at current energy levels for the next 10,000 years.

Thorium is a good idea. I favor fast neutron reactors with spent fuel rod reprocessing. We only use 1% of the energy in the fuel rods, fast reactors will get the rest out and provide the material needed to start thorium reactors as well.

Thorium reactors versus three billion people starving to death due to lack of energy to farm, I will take thorium reactors.

Sold - just take them to some other planet.

Mexico oil refinery explosion 9/19/2012.


Watch excruciating scene at lower right after the explosion.

Another view:


PMEX is not happy at all these videos got released.

Disaster Map Predicts Bleak Future for Mammals

Mammals could be at a greater risk of extinction due to predicted increases in extreme weather conditions, states a paper published today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Lead author of the paper, ZSL's Eric Ameca y Juárez says: "Approximately a third of the species assessed have at least a quarter of their range exposed to cyclones, droughts or a combination of both. If these species are found to be highly susceptible to these conditions, it will lead to a substantial increase in the number of mammals classified as threatened by the IUCN under the category 'climate change and severe weather'."

In particular, primates - already among the most endangered mammals in the world - are highlighted as being especially at risk.

Study Finds the Cheapest Emergency Food to Stockpile

Storage foods for an emergency such as an earthquake that meet all daily energy requirements can cost as little as $2.22 per day according to a new study by the University of Otago, Wellington. The identified foods were: flour, rice, pasta, vegetable oil, whole grain oats, sugar, and peanut butter.

The research used a mathematical technique called "linear programming" which assessed New Zealand foods by price and nutrition data. This computerised method works out "optimised solutions" – such as the lowest total cost to provide a set amount of dietary energy or all required nutrients.

The research also looked at the cost of a collection of foods which did not require any cooking, such as food that could be eaten directly out of a can or after soaking. The cost of these foods was slightly higher at $3.67 per day to provide enough energy for one man. The specific foods were: whole grain oats, vegetable oil, dried peas (which need sprouting), breakfast biscuits (like Weetbix), sugar, peanut butter, sultanas, and peanuts.

... What! No "Dinki-Di" dog food?

People who are not into camping would be advised to purchase some type of camping stove so they are able to cook during an emergency and a water filter in case there is a boil water advisory.

The research used a mathematical technique called "linear programming"

They could have just called my wife. That's what we bought.

I'd throw in a few spices plus salt. Nothing worst than eating bland food, day after day - 'cept maybe not eating at all.

oh, we did. Large sack of salt for general use, and a lot of pepper for whatever meat wanders by. Not that we're preppers. Sometimes it's just nice not to go to the store for a long time.

Documents Reveal Alberta Colludes With Industry In Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Review

A pipeline safety review conducted by the Alberta government last summer was done with the oil and gas industry’s interests in mind, according to recent documents released to Greenpeace through Freedom of Information legislation. The documents (PDF) show the review, commissioned after a series of back-to-back pipeline incidents across Alberta raised public concern, was coordinated internally between government and industry, and appears to have required industry consent.

Greenpeace campaigner Keith Stewart told the Canadian Press “there’s a difference between talking to industry and asking for their approval.” “It looks like industry got to write the terms for this review,” said Stewart.

Industry representatives were given an advanced overview of the review’s structure which included pipeline integrity management, water crossing practices and emergency response.

No government communications were addressed to the group of landowners and environmental organizations that pushed for the review in the first place.

GOP Aide Asks: ‘Why Don’t We Wait A Few Months’ To Deliver Sandy Disaster Relief?

The Senate Appropriations Committee has unveiled a new $60.4 billion bill that would help pay for recovery efforts after Sandy. The funding request is part of an existing military and veterans affairs bill, thus allowing the House and Senate to consider the bill at the same time. However, Republicans in both chambers say the President and Democrats have not provided enough evidence that the full $60 billion is needed.

“Can I verbalize that stinky look on my face?” asked Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) earlier this week, as he talked about the bill.

One House aide suggested that Congress “wait a few months” before deploying the emergency funds. From The Hill:

“It wasn’t an official bill request … it didn’t have the justifying documents [113 dead bodies don't count],” a House aide said. “They said they did not have time to complete the justification … why don’t we wait a few months so they can do that?

The Terrible Cost of Not Fixing the Filibuster Sooner

Under Lyndon Johnson there was one filibuster, and the public knew about it because a Senator had to talk all night. In the last few years there have just a few been more than one and the public doesn’t know about it at all. How many filibusters have there been? Harry Reid writes in Politico: “Since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans have mounted 380 filibusters.”

Here’s the thing. The public hates obstruction, and would apply the right amount of pressure if they knew about it. That is how democracy is supposed to work. But the public does not know that obstruction is occurring. The silent filibuster tactic has been successful because people don’t see it. And that means that democracy isn’t working the way it should.

A Simple Fix – Make Them Talk...

The art of the filibuster: How do you talk for 24 hours straight?

Harry Reid said it was a mistake not changing the rules when he had the votes. The Constitution says a super majority is required for veto overrides, amendments and impeachments. There is NO 60 vote rule in the Constitution.

I'm ok with the ability to push for a 60 vote threshold, because it means that on things of importance that a slim majority can't run amok. But that should spark a very public debate of why it's important enough to push to a higher threshold.

The most interesting example is the "Disclose Act" which Republicans filibustered. Being able to silently kill the bill meant that no Republican had to get up and talk about how secrecy in campaign donations is a good thing, and having to disclose how money was given to political campaigns and super pacs was somehow going to be bad for the country.

Imagine how comically Orwellian it would be to see someone argue in favor of secret political donations. "It would be the end of Democracy if corporations had to say on whom their millions were spent! The End of Democracy!"

Study: Colorado River can’t meet long-term demand

The Upper Colorado River Basin — including Summit County — could see deficits in its compact obligation to deliver water downstream as often as once every five years by 2040, according to a massive new Bureau of Reclamation study released this week

Can the U.S. adapt to climate change? Let’s ask the Colorado River Basin.

A sizable chunk of U.S. agriculture relies on that water — about 15 percent of the nation’s crops and 13 percent of its livestock. The river even helps irrigate parts of Mexico and provides drinking water as far south as Tijuana.

... the best estimates suggest that demand will continue to outstrip supply, much as it has in the past decade. By 2060, the shortfall could reach 3.2 million acre-feet, or about five times as much water as Los Angeles uses each year. The amount of irrigated farmland is also expected to shrink significantly.

When scientists talk about the need for “climate adaptation,” this is exactly what they mean.

Oil May Be Seeping From Deepwater Horizon Site

CBS News has learned that BP is set to embark Thursday on the fifth day of a little-known subsea mission under Coast Guard supervision to look for any new oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In September, a new oil sheen was spotted about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. Tests confirmed the oil came from the infamous Macondo well underneath the Deepwater Horizon. BP's underwater vehicle observed oil seeping from the well's containment dome and, after a remote operation, declared the leaks plugged on October 23. The company and the Coast Guard said it wasn't feasible to clean up the slick, and that it didn't pose a risk to the shoreline.

But more oil continues to surface. Slicks and sheens of varying sizes and shapes have been documented by satellite photos, as well as aerial video recorded by the non-profit environmental group "On Wings of Care."

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., helped lead the original investigation of BP after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, and says it's deja vu: BP is NOT turning over videos and information requested by Congress.

"Back in 2010, I said BP was either lying or incompetent. Well, it turns out they were both," says Markey. "This is the same crime scene, and the American public today is entitled to the same information that BP was lying about in 2010 so that we can understand the full dimension of the additional environmental damage."

Duo create GravityLight: Lamp that runs off of gravity (w/ video)

London based designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves have created what they are calling the GravityLight, an LED lamp that runs off of nothing but gravity. The purpose of the lamp is to provide people in third world countries with an alternative to kerosene lamps which cause burns and lung ailments to millions of people too poor to afford any other source of light.

The lamp is as simple as it is inexpensive. A cable hangs from a gear mechanism holding onto a plastic bag filled with dirt or rocks. The energy created by gravity pulling the bag downwards is enough to power an LED bulb for up to half an hour. Riddiford and Reeves have posted their creation on the fund sourcing site indiegogo and thus far pledges have doubled the $55,000 goal.

The two expect the GravityLight to originally sell for just $10. After ramping up, they expect that cost to drop to just $5.

More information: www.indiegogo.com/projects/282006

It is not powered by gravity, what nonsense. It is powered by whatever lifts the weight against gravity. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, any more than a spring or weight driven clock mechanism is a bad idea, but why must people constantly obscure how energy flows. It is not that hard a concept. It is simply a human muscle powered light.

...and why does the bag have to be plastic?

If they can put together all the pulleys, gears, & generator for $10, and make it rugged enough to last a while, more power to them.

Yes. Effectively, it's a replacement for a battery that doesn't require people to pay money for or find batteries. Ideal for people who are poor or in undeveloped areas, probably for cheapskates as well.

There are clocks that work on just this principal - they typically have a pendulum and lots of bells and whistles like chimes and fancy decorations. They are colloquially called "grandfather clocks".

I have an analog watch that is wound by a flywheel that is powered by the normal motion of my wrist.

more power to them.

Ha! Nice pun there!

Microgrid powers 'World Green City'

The Office of Naval Research (ONR), a leader in the exploration of renewable power, played a major role in the development of a new "World Green City" unveiled here on Dec. 12 as a prototype community powered by alternative energy sources.

Located on the new Saluang-Keelek campus of Chiang Mai Rajabhat University in Northern Thailand, the World Green City now includes about 20 buildings over 200 acres operating on renewable power from solar cells.

The DC system takes power from an array of solar cells and delivers it to houses, businesses, classrooms and offices on the campus without having to convert to alternating current (AC). This saves money and eliminates the need for DC-to-AC power conversion equipment, and the associated losses of the conversion process. The research also features innovations in the development of smart microgrids, which manage power production, storage and distribution.

US Banks Face 'Credible' Hacker Threat, Researchers Say

Dozens of US banks face a "credible" threat from hackers based in Eastern Europe who are planning large-scale attacks next year, a security firm said in a report released Thursday.

The report released by McAfee Labs supports the conclusions of researchers at another security firm, RSA, which first drew attention to the campaign expected to target 30 US financial institutions.

McAfee, owned by Intel [a disinterested 3rd party], said the so-called Project Blitzkrieg "is a credible threat to the financial industry and appears to be moving forward as planned."

Russians Set to Make Big Withdrawals from U.S. Banks — Without Having Bank Accounts. Cybercriminal Start-up Recruiting Botmasters for Massive Attack.

... and this would differ from Stuxnet, Flame, General Dynamics Malware Development: Project C, Thinthread, et.al. How?

Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans

In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens, even if they are not suspected of a crime, according to a news report.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases holding information on flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and other data, and to store it for up to five years, even without suspicion that someone in the database has committed a crime, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.

Polish energy advisor: keep using coal for energy

WARSAW, Poland — An advisor to the Polish government says the country should keep using its coal for decades to come, despite a European Union policy of replacing the polluting fossil fuel with cleaner sources.

FYI: Geminid meteor shower set to peak Thursday evening

Should be a good one. New moon, and our local forecast is for clear skies.

Just came in. Saw some good ones!

China Asks Army to be Ready for Regional War

China said it was normal for its marine surveillance aircraft to fly over the disputed Diaoyu islands after Japan scrambled fighter jets to intercept the Chinese aircraft early on Thursday.

Within hours of the incident, Communist Party of China (CPC) general secretary was quoted by the state media as ordering the largest armed forces in the world, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to be ready to win “regional wars.”

Thursday also marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of an episode known as the Nanjing Massacre, when the Japanese Imperial Army troops entered Nanjing, the then-Chinese capital and triggered large-scale violence

Chavez suffers 'complications' from surgery

Venezuelan president suffered "bleeding" that needed "corrective measures" during cancer surgery in Cuba, minister says.

Former Supreme Court magistrate Roman Duque Corredor said a president cannot delegate the swearing-in to anyone else and cannot take the oath of office outside Venezuela.

If a president-elect is declared incapacitated by legislators and is unable to be sworn in, the National Assembly president would temporarily take charge of the government and a new presidential vote must be held within 30 days

They have upped his condition from "stable" to "favorable". The swearing in is on the 10th of January. That gives them 4 weeks to recover him. It is very likely that he will make it. And if he doesn't make it?

The rules are clearly laid out, and supported by the national assembly, military, national electoral council etc.

Always good to have a clear line of succession. If something happens, at least the country doesn't have to get into a big fight over what comes next.

New nuclear plant, Hinkley Point C, design unveiled

The design for the first UK nuclear power stations to be built for 25 years has been granted approval.

... clever how they put the emergency diesel generators in the basement.

Better than the original plan....

Insurance Industry Paying Increasing Attention to Climate Change

... For example, insurers have brought at least 130 products and services to market encouraging the spread of more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings by paying claims that encourage rebuilding to a higher level of energy efficiency after a loss. At least 65 other insurance industry products address the risks and opportunities of the renewable energy industry.

Pay-as-you-drive insurance policies, now numbering nearly 3 million, offer auto insurance based on number of miles driven rather than a fixed premium. GPS technologies verify driving distances, and policyholders benefit from a more accurate insurance premium. The price signal of lower premiums for miles actually driven could reduce U.S. driving by 8 percent, and oil use by 4 percent, reducing the cost of driving by $50 to $60 billion per year because of a lower chance of accidents and reduced traffic congestion

Science Article Full Text: Insurance in a Climate of Change

Study: Wind blew deadly gas to U.S. troops in Gulf War

WASHINGTON -- U.S. bombings of Iraqi munitions factories in January 1991 released a plume of sarin gas that traveled more than 300 miles to affect American troops in Saudi Arabia, although military officials claimed at the time that chemical alarms triggered by the gas were false, a study released today shows.

The Jan. 18, 1991, bombings of the munitions plants in Nasiriyah and Khamisiya blew a plume of sarin gas high above a layer of cold, still air -- also called the boundary level -- and into a swift wind stream that carried the gas to Saudi Arabia, said the study conducted by researchers Robert Haley and James Tuite and published in journal Neuroepidemiology.

Their report shows satellite images depicting a yellow patch of gas in the air above where U.S. troops were based. "You can see it," Haley said. "This is simple. ... There it is. There's no doubt."

Veterans suffering from Gulf War illness tend to fall in three categories:

•Syndrome 1, or cognitive and depression problems.
•Syndrome 2, or confusion ataxia, which is similar to early Alzheimer's disease.
•Syndrome 3, or severe chronic body pain.

Those with Syndromes 2 and 3 had a highly significant correlation between alarms and symptoms, while Haley said Syndrome 1 does not appear to be connected.

... Happen to know some veterans from an intelligence unit in a FOB in SA. They all have Syndrome 2&3. So keep believing your government will let you know when a reactor is 'leaking'

also Senator Hutchison Notes Findings on Study of Gulf War Syndrome


Truth and consequences: Oil, gas and the economy

Oil production in the United States is growing, but the nation is not about to become oil independent. Unlike Las Vegas, where what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what results from drilling oil may not stay in the U.S.

Producers will seek the highest price they can get per barrel and export a large amount of oil to Asia and Europe. Further, the oil boom may be short-lived as drilling for tight oil or oil from shale proves too expensive. Gas prices seem only peripherally related to oil production or supply. Rather, prices appear based more on weakness in demand tied to the economy, changes in auto technology and, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggests, possibly a good deal of price management and obfuscation on the part of producers, refiners and distributors.

I thought U.S. law forbids the export of crude oil. The most they can do is swap it.

CSP 2012: Concentrated Solar Power Review
A review of CSP projects around the world. More of them than I had thought. For me the startling news were the huge Saudi plans:

Saudi Arabia revealed details this year of its King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A. CARE) $109 billion solar development program. They include a CSP target of 25 gigawatts by 2032. The first round will open to bids in 2013 and industry insiders say the Saudis are talking to all major CSP developers.

The Saudi ambitions, it is thought, are at least in part due to the as-yet little-developed CSP supply chain. Because it is largely a manufacturing industry not unlike that for traditional power generation hardware, it offers Saudi Arabia the opportunity to build a blue-collar jobs base.

I just finished reading Karen House's book "On Saudi Arabia", its obvious the country needs to create jobs for its bored citizenry or risk unrest. In any case I hope something like this goes ahead. We might want a mature CSP industry to exist, if other means of storing solar energy don't pan out.

I wonder how much energy SA needs to feed and water its population?