Drumbeat: December 26, 2012

New York City’s Law Tracking Energy Use Yields Some Surprises

In courting tenants over the last six years, 7 World Trade Center has trumpeted its gold LEED rating, an emblem of sound environmental citizenship.

But when it comes to energy efficiency, the young 52-story tower is far from a top performer, according to data released under a city law that tracks energy use in New York buildings. It had a score of 74 — just below the minimum of 75 set for high-efficiency buildings by the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program.

On the other hand, two venerated show horses from the 1930s, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, sailed to an 84 and an 80 as a result of extensive upgrades of their insulation and mechanical systems.

And the MetLife Building, a 1963 hulk looming over Grand Central Terminal? It scored 39. Still, solace is at hand for MetLife’s owners: the Seagram Building, Mies van der Rohe’s bronze-toned 1958 masterpiece on Park Avenue, posted a 3.

Crude Rises as U.S. Lawmakers Prepare to Discuss Budget Measures

Oil rose in New York for the first time in three days as President Barack Obama will cut short his vacation for talks to avert spending cuts and tax increases that threaten the economy of the world’s biggest crude consumer.

West Texas Intermediate gained as much as 0.7 percent before Democrats and Republicans convene tomorrow for talks aimed at avoiding more than $600 billion in automatic measures known as the fiscal cliff, which are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. Crude stockpiles in the U.S. probably fell last week to the lowest in 10 weeks as imports decreased, a Bloomberg News survey showed. The volume for all WTI contracts was down 85 percent on the 100-day average.

Adnoc to offer cheaper diesel in Dubai

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is expanding its fuel retail network into Dubai, bringing relief to loss-making retailers in the emirate and offering businesses access to cheaper priced diesel.

Vitol’s Malaysian Unit to Sell Ship Fuel at Port Near Singapore

Vitol Group plans to start sales of marine fuel, or bunkers, to a port in southern Malaysia as it seeks to supply ship owners that moved from Singapore, the world’s second-biggest container port.

Kuwait's oil exports to South Korea booming

Kuwait's crude oil exports to South Korea in November surged 74.4 percent from a year earlier to 14.06 million barrels, or 469,000 barrels per day (bpd), latest data released by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation showed.

Kuwait''s crude oil exports to China up 18.9 percent

BEIJING (KUNA) -- Kuwait's crude oil exports to China jumped 18.9 percent in November from a year earlier to 864,000 tons, equivalent to around 211,000 barrels per day (bpd), the latest government data showed.

U.S. Northeast May Start 2013 Colder Than Normal, Rogers Says

Energy traders look to long-range forecasts to gauge potential fuel use. Below-normal temperatures in the large cities of the Midwest and Northeast may increase demand for energy to warm homes and businesses, pushing up natural gas and heating oil prices.

Japan's JX sees Jan crude refining down 1 pct y/y

TOKYO, (Reuters) - Japan's top oil refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp plans to refine 6.33 million kilolitres (1.28 million barrels per day) of crude oil in January for domestic consumption, down 1 percent from a year earlier, a company executive said on Wednesday.

Its December crude refining for domestic consumption was estimated at 6.19 million kl, up 11 percent from the year-ago period but below a prior projection of 6.35 million kl (1.29 million barrels per day), Tsutomu Sugimori, the company's senior vice president, told reporters.

BP to Supply LNG to Indonesian Utility for 20 Years From 2013

BP Plc signed an agreement to supply liquefied natural gas from its Tangguh plant in Indonesia to the country’s state-owned electric utility PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara for 20 years.

BP will provide a total of 23.96 million metric tons of LNG, or the equivalent of 28 cargoes, during the contract to Listrik Negara starting in 2013, Johanes Widjonarko, deputy chairman at Indonesia’s interim energy regulator SKMigas, said in Jakarta today. The fuel will be supplied through a floating storage and regasification unit in West Java, the agency said in a separate statement.

Rosneft Expects 2012 Oil Output Up 2.5% At 122 Million Tons

Russia's largest oil company, state-controlled OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS), expects its crude output in 2012 to be up 2.5% from the previous year at 122 million metric tons from 119 million tons, the chief executive said Wednesday.

LUKoil Cuts West Qurna-2 Oil Output Plan

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s largest privately-owned oil company LUKoil has cut its oil output plan for the West Qurna-2 oilfield in Iraq by 30 percent, LUKoil Overseas confirmed on Wednesday.

The plan was cut from 1.8 million bbl/d to 1.2 million bbl/d in line with an Iraqi request, LUKoil Overseas head Andrei Kuzyayev said.

Pipeline blast, quake strike 2014 Olympics Russian host Sochi

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, has been hit by a gas pipeline blast and a mild earthquake, a government spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Irina Gogoleva, of Russia's Emergencies Ministry, said no one was hurt and there was no apparent damage to the city's infrastructure after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake was reported at 0242 local time on Wednesday (2242 GMT on Tuesday).

Ukrainian energy company to get $3.7bn loan from China

PanARMENIAN.Net - Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz will receive a $3.7 billion loan from China to finance a program to substitute gas with coal, the Ukrainian government’s press office said on Wednesday, Dec 26, according to RIA Novosti.

Iran Says ‘Irresponsible’ GCC Raises Regional Tensions

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council was risking a regional crisis with its unfounded criticisms and heightened military focus.

The GCC this week announced it will coordinate air, land, and marine forces under one structure, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said after a meeting of heads of state in Manama. Sheikh Khalid also called Iran’s nuclear program a “very serious” threat.

Iran playing war games in Strait of Hormuz

Iran is planning naval maneuvers in international waters near strategic Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of world oil supply passes.

According to the official IRNA news agency, Iran's navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the maneuvers will begin on Friday from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern part of Indian Ocean in an area of about 400,000 square miles.

Iran claims to have stopped new cyber attack

A power plant and other industries in southern Iran that were targeted by Stuxnet computer worm has been successfully rebuffed and prevented from spreading.

Iran's nuclear enrichment efforts were hit hard in 2010 by the Stuxnet worm, which was also blamed for problems at industrial plants and factories.

Tehran accused Israel and the US of planting the malware.

Iraq impasse costing $20 million a day

Iraq is losing US$20 million (Dh73.5m) a day, cutting into the country's budget, after oil exports from the Kurdish autonomous region halted because a deepening political crisis is delaying payments.

At the heart of the dispute are fundamentally different approaches in giving foreign companies access to the fields.

Aluminum Glut No Bar to Gains as Barclays Says Sell

The record glut in aluminum will be no bar to rising prices because of delays in getting metal from warehouses, even as Barclays Plc advises investors to sell and Morgan Stanley says it has the worst outlook of any commodity.

Sinopec, Conoco to study shale-gas in Sichuan basin

BEIJING -- Conoco signed an agreement with Sinopec Group, to study shale gas exploration in the Sichuan basin, it said on its website, marking the official entrance of a third major international oil company into China's shale gas industry.

Minister 'misleads' over fracking

In an interview on Radio 5 Live, Mr Hayes, said “the idea that that water will get into the main water table has been categorically denied”.

“The claim that the water used in fracking gets into the aquifer was categorically refuted by the Durham University study earlier this year,” he said.

However Prof Richard Davies, who led the study, said the water table can be contaminated if the drilling is too close to the water table.

Should Cities Ban Fracking?

Twelve years ago, the International Energy Agency predicted increased U.S. imports of natural gas and oil. This year, it claimed the United States will soon be a net exporter of natural gas and oil. Why the change in outlook? The United States figured out how to tap its unconventional energy resources by blasting chemical-laced water into “hydrocarbon kitchens” deep underground—a process you probably know as fracking.

But the United States has not figured out how to regulate this new era of fossil fuel extremism. Exemptions, trade secrets, and nondisclosures have allowed profit-making to proceed without adequate monitoring. At the state level, the same agency is often responsible for both regulating and promoting mineral development. The Texas Rail Road Commission’s first priority is to get minerals out of the ground. Commissioners survive on campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and host Facebook pages that openly demonize the EPA. Texas’ inspectors are each responsible for more than 1,000 wells, and in 2010 nearly 140,000 out of 260,000 wells in the state went uninspected.

Are 'green' vehicles more than a niche?

After adopting an ambitious fuel-economy standard this year, the government and environmental advocates now face the more-complicated challenge of meeting the goals.

A new report by the Consumer Federation of America says that demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles is growing and will be sufficient to meet expected changes in the auto industry, but some experts disagree with this outlook.

China opens world's longest bullet train line

BEIJING – China on Wednesday opened the world's longest high-speed rail line that more than halves the time required to travel from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in southern China.

The opening of the 1,428 mile-line was commemorated by the 9 a.m. departure of a train from Beijing for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later.

China has massive resources and considerable prestige invested in its showcase high-speed railways program.

What wealthy Chinese want for Christmas: a bike

HONG KONG - Rich Chinese are buying bicycles that cost more than the average citizen makes in three years, motivated by nostalgia for the days when two wheels were the primary means of transport.

China is now the world's biggest auto market, but high-end bike sales are expected to grow by 10 percent a year as they become a status symbol for wealthy executives.

Green energy can lead to stability and development

In the past few years, the GCC countries have individually dealt with the consequences of the close relationship between economic development and climate change. This issue has been significantly affecting economic and social development programmes as well as the provision of energy sources and economic diversification.

This new approach is called by some as the “green economy”, based on the foundations of sustainable development that ensure the permanent supply of clean energy and raw materials necessary for growth — by preserving available resources without harming the environment and reducing the negative impact of climate change on development.

People Hate Losses and That Affects U.S. Budget Talks

Many people have been interested in giving teachers an economic incentive to teach better, by telling them that if their students improve their test scores, they will get some extra money.

Unfortunately, the record is pretty mixed; if teachers are promised bonuses, students don’t seem to do a lot better.

But consider an ingenious study by Harvard economist Roland Fryer and his colleagues, tweaking the usual way of creating incentives. Instead of promising teachers a bonus, researchers gave teachers the money in advance, and told them if their students didn’t improve, they would have to give it back. The result? Student math scores shot up.

Why does a threatened loss of an advance payment have such a big effect, when teachers aren’t much influenced by the promise of a bonus? The answer lies in one of the central findings of behavioral economics, which goes by the unlovely name of “loss aversion.” In short, the prospect of a loss focuses the human mind. Even if people don’t care a whole lot about gains, they will work hard, and possibly fight, to avoid comparable losses.

Food vs. Fuel in 2013

In coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency’s to-do list will include setting a standard for the amount of advanced biofuels that refiners will be required to blend into gasoline and diesel supplies in 2013. The question is tricky because production in one category, cellulosic fuel from nonfood sources like corn cobs, stalks, wood chips and garbage, has not met the target set by Congress. The E.P.A. has the authority to adjust the quotas as needed, but the issue is complicated.

In Hopes of Healthier Chickens, Farms Turn to Oregano

Off and on over the last three years or so, his chickens have been eating a specially milled diet laced with oregano oil and a touch of cinnamon. Mr. Sechler swears by the concoction as a way to fight off bacterial diseases that plague meat and poultry producers without resorting to antibiotics, which some experts say can be detrimental to the humans who eat the meat. Products at Bell & Evans, based in this town about 30 miles east of Harrisburg, have long been free of antibiotics, contributing to the company’s financial success as consumers have demanded purer foods.

But Mr. Sechler said that nothing he had used as a substitute in the past worked as well as oregano oil.

Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment

In June, Bauer and other agency scientists accompanied game wardens as they executed six search warrants on growers illegally sucking water from tributaries of the Trinity River. At one, he came upon a group of 20-somethings with Michigan license plates on their vehicles, camping next to 400 plants. He followed an irrigation line up to a creek, where the growers had dug a pond and lined it with plastic.

"I started talking to this guy, and he says he used to be an Earth First! tree-sitter, saving the trees," Bauer said. "I told him everything he was doing here negates everything he did as an environmentalist."

The man was a small-timer in this new gold rush. As marijuana floods the market and prices drop, many farmers are cultivating ever bigger crops to make a profit. They now cut huge clearings for industrial-scale greenhouses. With no permits or provisions for runoff, the operations dump tons of silt into the streams during the rainy season.

Scanning Google Earth in his office recently, Bauer came upon a "mega grow" that did not exist the year before — a 4-acre bald spot in the forest with 42 greenhouses, each 100 feet long.

As Forests Disappear, Examining the Mechanisms of Their Death

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Everywhere, trees are dying.

The boreal forests of Canada and Russia are being devoured by beetles. Drought-tolerant pines are disappearing in Greece. In North Africa, Atlas cedars are shriveling. Wet and dry tropical forests in Asia are collapsing. Australian eucalyptus forests are burning. The Amazon basin has just been hit by two severe droughts. And it’s predicted that trees in the American Southwest may be gone by the end of this century.

But as this astonishing transformation of landscapes continues, scientists have a confession to make: They do not fully understand how trees die. Certainly warmer temperatures, lack of water and insects play a role. But in each region hit by heat, drought or bugs, some trees remain standing.

Protected Tigers, Burning Bright

Tigers have delivered a bit of holiday cheer: populations are on the upswing, it turns out, in some protected areas in India and Thailand. In a field often dominated by news of felled forests and population declines, wildlife conservationists have taken heart from this development, while noting that tigers have a long, long way to go if they are to claw their way off the endangered species list.

Pollution from car emissions killing millions in China and India

An explosion of car use has made fast-growing Asian cities the epicentre of global air pollution and become, along with obesity, the world's fastest growing cause of death according to a major study of global diseases.

In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries. Other causes of air pollution include construction and industry. Of these deaths, says the study published in The Lancet, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia, including India.

Iraq urges Arab action on climate change

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s most senior energy official called for co-ordinated Arab action on climate change while Egypt’s environment minister proposed a regional green fund at a conference in Baghdad on Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein Al Shahristani warned of the risk of flooding, and also pointed to desertification and sandstorms affecting Iraq in his call for regional efforts to combat climate change.

California Law Tests Company Responses to Carbon Costs

Nick Kastle, a company spokesman, said it would almost certainly pass on the new costs to makers of ketchup and frozen pizza, which would be likely to share the extra costs with consumers. “People nationwide are going to be affected by AB 32,” he said.

But many economists said they think such a cost-centric analysis ignores the jobs and economic activity that the law could generate. Emission and efficiency standards for cars, buildings and appliances in California over the last four decades have succeeded in cleaning the air, making residents’ per-capita energy use rate among the lowest in the country and spurring innovations and new industries, like the one that arose around catalytic converters.

Smaller Colorado River flows predicted

NEW YORK (UPI) -- A projected drop in the Colorado River's flow could disrupt longtime water-sharing agreements between farms and cities in the U.S. Southwest, researchers say.

Climate modelers at Columbia University report a predicted 10 percent drop in the river's flow in the next few decades may signal water shortages for some 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River Basin for water.

Re: New York City’s Law Tracking Energy Use Yields Some Surprises

The eighty-three year old Chrysler Building earns an 84 and the best that the Seagram Building can do is a 3? You've got to be kidding me.

Still, the biggest drain could be the International-style landmark’s most lauded features. The Seagram’s single-pane glass curtain walls, far less efficient than treated or double-pane windows, and its luminous fluorescent ceilings work against energy conservation, he said.

Mr. Schumm said his company was exploring alternatives like applying an insulating film to the glass and switching more than 9,500 lighting tubes to more efficient LED lights.

Tubular LED lamps are a joke and luminous ceilings are an especially cruel one. These band-aid type solutions aren't going to fix the problem; this building requires a comprehensive overhaul of all its major systems.


These band-aid type solutions aren't going to fix the problem; this building requires a comprehensive overhaul of all its major systems.

Yep, and it might be smart to end stupid LEEDs certification to begin with!

Distinguished Lecturer Series: Building Science - Adventures in Building Science


LEED certification
It is difficult to underestimate the impact that the US Green Building Council has had on making homes, buildings and communities more energy and water-efficient, less toxic and more sustainable.

When I did my first LEED project over a decade ago there was no other recognized clear, objective criteria for designing and building better buildings. Energy efficient meant just meeting the local or state building code. Hardly anyone had heard of Low-VOC paints, sealants, adhesives. No one considered the value of sourcing local or regional materials.

The market for green building has exploded since then and the USGBC has been one of the most significant contributors in this shift. Architects, engineers, general contractors and sub-contractors have all adopted practices for all projects, not just LEED certified projects. Manufacturers and suppliers have responded by re-formulating their products to include more recycled content, and reduced off-gassing, the levels of known carcinogenics and gases with high GHG potential.

Is LEED perfect? No, but neither are ASHRAE standards or building codes. But the USGBC has an open, transparent and member-driven process that fosters continuous improvement.

What is the alternative to a neutral 3rd party committed to market transformation of the design and building of better buildings? Perhaps more government regulation? More trust in the market to deliver sustainability if customers want it? Doing nothing, and the planet will take care of itself?

Any large, complex undertaking can be criticized. And critical feedback can foster improvements or they can be criticisms that are intended to derail authentic efforts to make better decisions and investments.

Every single LEED credit has a stated purpose (Design Intent), rationale and strategy for accomplishing a clear objective. One may argue with this or that specific intent or suggest that the strategy is flawed or even call into question the rationale (why should we reduce what goes into a landfill?) But I have never seen any justification for designing and building buildings that are indifferent to honoring and respecting the beauty, abundance, and biological diversity of this living planet.

It is difficult to underestimate the impact that the US Green Building Council has had on making homes, buildings and communities more energy and water-efficient, less toxic and more sustainable.

Tell you what, watch Dr. Lstiburek's presentation at the YouTube link I gave above and then come back to me on that, OK? He obviously strongly disagrees with your assessment and backs up his disagreement with solid science and examples. If you can show where he is wrong, I'll gladly eat my hat!

To be clear, his opinion is that the impact the US Green Building Council has had on making homes, buildings and communities is to make them LESS energy and water-efficient, MORE toxic and LESS sustainable. Though to be fair they've had an awful lot of help from civil engineers and architects who don't understand the basics of building science.

Again, don't take my word for it, listen to Dr. Lstiburek's lecture, it's quite eye opening.



P.S. Those darn pesky laws of thermodynamics somehow manage to mess up everything we want to do, even building science.
We really need to work harder on repealing these laws!

I'm only ~ 10 minutes into that presentation - and I love it !

Give me numbersssssss.

A local private school recently constructed a classroom building. They are very proud that it was certified LEED Platinum. That sounds impressive, but they spent $1,000 per square foot to build it. This in a Hawaii climate in which no building ever needs either heating or air conditioning. Apparently LEED must take no account of construction cost in their standards. If so, their recommendations may not be sustainable at all.

I'm eager to watch the link Fred shared, but I think it's also useful to keep in mind that architecture and the building/real estate industries carry a lot of legacy attitudes around ego, publicity and money that will for some time now combine in very unfortunate ways with a lot of 'showpiece' building projects.

Some get it. Some don't.. but I don't think it will be helpful to abandon the whole thing because we can point out SOME hideous failures that are tied to it.

Again, I'm happy to see the examples of where it's been going wrong.. but I'm really not surprised that they are out there, OR that they become these prime examples of people's continued disappointments.. Let's just keep a sincere eye out for some babies tumbling down this Bathwater-fall.

I'm eager to watch the link Fred shared, but I think it's also useful to keep in mind that architecture and the building/real estate industries carry a lot of legacy attitudes around ego, publicity and money that will for some time now combine in very unfortunate ways with a lot of 'showpiece' building projects.

Note that in my comment I said we should end STUPID LEEDs certification... I have no problem whatsoever with SMART LEEDs certification precisely because of your point above!

At the end of the day EVERYTHING we do must be based on sound scientific principles... I know, this gets old after a while but it is true!

"Nature can not be fooled"
Richard Feynman

RE: Embodied Energy

I'm at that point in the clip and I've read many discussions on TOD as to the concept.

My question:

Is there a standard for calculation of embodied energy ?

Except for a few sectors of the US economy, there is a close relationship between cost in dollars and embodied energy. See this paper on the subject.

Good find! Unfortunately that is a pdf scan and not subject to google word searches. The most google will find is text from the abstract, e.g.

.. there is a strong relation between embodied energy and dollar value for a 92-sector U.S. economy if the energy required to produce labor and government services is included

Been convinced of that for a long time, great to see a study that rigorously analyses it !

But I'm afraid that won't be enough to convinced the guys who are convinced this cheap imported apple is a shame because you know some much oil has been burnt to transport it compared to the locally produced one that's twice the price.

Except the locally produced one contains more oil in the inputs used to produce it than was necessary to transport the other one on by very far the most energy efficient transport mode ever created, large size cargo ships.

Is there a standard for calculation of embodied energy ?

Howard Odom's eMergy may be what you seek.

The "standard" is a photon - but is modified by "human effort". The assigning of these values is explained in the book eMergy accounting.

It is difficult to underestimate the impact that the US Green Building Council has had...

In this quote the writer is saying that the Green Building Council has had almost no effect, i.e. he is agreeing with Dr. Lstiburek.

Good editing eye, but of course we know what he really meant.

I heard a fine comment on the radio last year, where the commenter said, "I can't overemphasize this enough.. " which struck me as a funny counterplay, tho' maybe it works out right.. but it reminded me of my early childhood downhill skiing technique, when I would be pointed straight downhill, full tuck, poling like crazy, but also in a solid snowplow. Funny Humans!

I think the Europeans are far ahead of us here with the passivhaus:
Very discouraging that there are so many known solutions and such resistance to their implementation.

But we have .... http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/ ... opps ... violates most principals of passive design. but it's got $10/watt union installed PV on the roof... I'm still trying to define a luminous ceiling, and can one be had that's efficient.

I watched the whole lecture and it was great, but I didn't see much about LEED except a comment during the Q&A. Most of his ire was directed at architects who still haven't learned where to put the vapor barrier and insulation in a commercial building. Lstiburek's presentation is well worth watching for the information presented and even more so for his attitude.

I watched the whole lecture and it was great, but I didn't see much about LEED except a comment during the Q&A.

You might want to watch the first ten minutes or so of the lecture again. He spoke specifically about LEEDs calling it a cruel pathetic joke. He also presented graphs comparing 150 LEEDs building's performance to 350 non LEEDs buildings and as he said there was no significant statistical difference, which he then used in joke directed towards architects in the audience telling them that no statistical difference meant that the performance was the same...

Either way, as you say the presentation is well worth watching for the information presented.

LEED is a point scoring exercise. It's priority isn't necessarily energy efficiency.

Henry Gifford Continues His Case Against LEED

Gifford v. USGBC drags on, with a focus on claims of false advertising, deceptive practices, and illegal monopolizatio

Posted on Jun 22 2011 by Richard Defendorf

Sometimes it seems as if debates about how best to increase the energy efficiency of buildings – and about the relative importance of energy efficiency in green building – are bound to outlive the buildings themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course, for people who want to see green building flourish while building science and building materials improve.

One of the developments sparking long and fevered discussion on these subjects is the lawsuit filed against the U.S. Green Building Council by Henry Gifford, an occasional GBA contributor and the owner of Gifford Fuel Saving consultancy. Gifford’s suit, originally filed in October as a class-action, was amended in February to focus on claims of false advertising, deceptive practices, and illegal monopolization, while its original common law, racketeering, and class-action components were dropped. Three plaintiffs also were added to the complaint. Alleging that USGBC misrepresented the performance of LEED certified buildings and altered study results to support its performance claims, Gifford’s suit seeks an injunction against USGBC and monetary damages for lost sales and profits.

Not sure what has happened with Gifford's suit since 2011? Have to do a bit more research.

Would it be worth it, do you think? Money-wise, I mean.

I think buildings are the low-hanging fruit of energy use these days. Almost half of US energy consumption is for buildings - more than transportation or industry. But we aren't going to be building a lot of new structures in the current financial climate.

To convert to tubular LED lamps? No, it would be a horrific waste of money and a tragic loss of a valuable opportunity to do so much better.

I don't know if the lighting in this building is currently T12 or T8, but eye-balling the pictures of the interior and judging by the relative brightness and uniformity of coverage, and allowing for the fact that roughly half the light will be lost inside the plenum and a portion will be absorbed by the opal diffusers, I'm guessing that the lighting load is perhaps six and eight watts per sq. foot. By comparison, the average lighting load of the New York Times Building, with its advanced lighting controls, is less than 0.4-watts per sq. ft. Thus, without knowing the actual facts, we could be looking at a lighting system that uses fifteen to twenty times more energy than its best-in-class counterparts.

Arguably one of the better tubular LED lamps presently available, the Philips 19-watt 19T8/END/48-4000 has a nominal rated life of 40,000 hours and an initial light output of 1,650 lumens (86.8 lumens per watt). A Philips Energy Advantage XLL 28-watt T8 lamp has a nominal service life of 46,000 hours and supplies 95.8 lumens per watt when driven by a 0.77 BF NEMA Premium ballast. The former will set you back $50.00 to $70.00 when it comes time to replace it and the latter about $2.50. The numbers simply don't add up.

Long and short: they need to ditch the luminous ceiling, as iconic as it may be, and start with a clean slate.


Since we're on the subject of lighting, I came across the Phillips "Hue". Listed for $199, I'll let others decide if its worth the price.


The LED technology inside every hue wireless LED bulb is a little bit special. That's because it can display different tones of white light – from warm yellow white to vibrant blue white. Of course, it can also recreate any color in the spectrum. Naturally.

Control them from a smartphone app (available through the Apple Store). I question the claim that it can "recreate any color in the spectrum", but being able to output a range of color temps may be handy.

The perfect product to separate the mentally incompetent from their maybe not-so-hard-earned money (not unlike the Apple iPhone itself).


Digging deeper, $199 gets you a 3 bulb starter pack with the wifi controller. Single bulb is about $60 US. I'll wait for the early adopters to bring the price down a bit ;-/

Android app available for the non-Apple crowd.

I'm afraid I can't find a single kind word to say about this product. The 9.7-watt L-Prize for $40.00, sure, although, admittedly, even that's a stretch for most of us. A lamp that changes colour by way of your smart phone? Nein, danke.


A request to all: Does anyone have a copy of an engineering journal article that Leanan posted about a year ago about how an older smaller house that has been carefully retrofitted for energy efficiency can be as good as a modern LEED(?) house simply due to the fact the older house is typically smaller? I should have saved the article when it was linked. I am in need of continuing inspiration as I labor to make this fixer-upper better.

Happy Holidays to all at the Oil Drum, particularly to Leanan, SuperG, Community Moderator and all the other staff who make the Oil Drum possible. I greatly appreciate hearing about others' labors to waste less energy and value the suggestions (sometimes I even try a few). Best wishes for (voluntary?) energy reduction for all.

Not sure if this is what you were looking for... that said this paper really made me rethink things when I first read it.
Small is Beautiful

U.S. House Size, Resource Use, and the Environment/i>

by Alex Wilson and Jessica Boehland


As house size increases, resource use in buildings goes up,
more land is occupied, increased impermeable surface results
in more storm-water runoff, construction costs rise, and energy
consumption increases. In new, single-family houses constructed
in the United States, living area per family member has
increased by a factor of 3 since the 1950s. In comparing the energy
performance of compact (small) and large single-family
houses, we find that a small house built to only moderate
energy-performance standards uses substantially less energy
for heating and cooling than a large house built to very high
energy-performance standards. This article examines some of
the trends in single-family house building in the United States
and provides recommendations for downsizing houses to improve
quality and resource efficiency

That's it, thank you. Copy now downloaded and will be printed out.

The ability to choose color from the entire spectrum sounds gimmicky, but if this lamp can be tuned from, say, 2200K to 4000K there would be some value to me. Especially if it can be integrated into a larger lighting control system via DMX. All of this does appear possible with a bit of effort. It's not that I would want to turn the living room green, but that I might want to slightly adjust the shading of a room to evoke a mood. We're not used to being able to adjust lighting this way so maybe it's tough to see the point, but I do lighting controls for a living and would welcome another dimension of adjustability.

The Hue bulbs are ZigBee compliant.

Slashgear test them out, including compatability with other ZigBee controlled lighting.

No Android, no chance. Wouldn't go for it anyway though.


No, I meant the "comprehensive overhaul of all its major systems."

In my opinion, yes. Like the Lever House, this is an architectural gem that will likely be around for a very long time to come. Today's energy costs are high and its probably safe to say that they will trend higher in the years to come; however, when this building was built, energy costs were declining in real terms and the expectation was that they would continue to do so going forward. Thus, what might have been a trivial consideration in its day may not seem so trivial now.

Without knowing anything about the building's internal systems and whether they've been updated over the years, I'm guessing that the mechanicals were state-of-the-art in their day, but that the emphasis was put squarely on comfort and not energy-efficiency. So, for example, the HVAC system would likely incorporate re-heat for humidity and temperature control, i.e., the supply air is first chilled and then re-heated where necessary. Today, we would use "Canadian heat pumps" to extract heat from the building's core where it is typically several degrees warmer and re-distribute this heat to the perimeter where it is needed or, alternatively, store it in basement tanks for future use. Space permitting, we might also create ice overnight during off-peak hours for coolth (demand charges in NYC are amongst the highest in North America).

In a competitive marketplace, you need to demonstrate to prospective tenants that you're a good corporate citizen and that you care about the environment; frankly, a score of "3" tells me that you don't give a damn and/or that the building is out-of-date or poorly maintained. If I were looking to lease space, I could not in good concious select this building, no matter how attractive it might be in every other respect.


A score of '3' probably also tells that costs are likely to be high.

You may like this one



Very true; these costs are ultimately passed on to the tenant, so a woefully inefficient building such as this is akin to playing with a loaded gun.

Thanks for the link to the Guardian article. The following sentence just blows me away:

If all the UK's supermarkets put doors on their fridges, the electricity saved would be roughly double the output of the giant Drax coal-fired power station in Yorkshire, Europe's second largest.

I hope the other majors will pull their heads out of their collective butts and follow Co-op's lead; this sort of waste is simply inexcusable.

Our "hometown team" (Sobeys) have replaced just about all of their open shelf display cases with closed door units, and they claim that this has cut their refrigeration loads in half.

See: http://www.sobeyssustainability.com/en/Retail-Stores/Reducing-Stores-Env...


The absurdity of open cold displays has been standard practice at US grocery and convenience stores for decades. I think it comes down to market research, the chance that a customer will make an impulse buy of ice cream is more important (to the store) than the cost of the power.

That's most certainly the rationale but, regrettably, no glass door will ever deter me from adding that 2-litre tub of ice cream to my cart !

I suspect their thinking will come around eventually as energy costs continue to rise, or perhaps the matter will be resolved through more stringent energy standards. Supermarkets, as you can appreciate, are heavy users of electricity and their refrigeration systems typically account for about half of their overall requirements; if you can cut that portion of the load in half, then the annual savings are likely to be in the six figures. You'll have to sell a lot of Coca Puffs each year to beat that.


It's not the ice cream. Ice cream needs to be kept too cold. It's the refridgerated produce: eggs, milk, cream, butter, yogurt, etc.

It's not done for impulse buy reasons - no one buys a pound of butter impulsively - it's to keep people moving through a heavily-traveled section. If you have to stop and open a door for every gallon of milk or carton of eggs, that section gets jammed very fast.

That makes sense, and matches what I see in grocery stores. Frozen stuff has doors. It's deli products, meat, eggs, and dairy that are open cases.

I have seen some stores that have hanging strips of plastic in front of the dairy case. They're maybe 6" wide, so you can easily slip your hand between the strips and pull out your carton of milk or eggs.

FWIW, the milk coolers at Sobeys all have doors.


If the U.S. Farm Bill is not passed, we could see the price of milk double to about $7 a gallon. Stores will need to take account of this one way or another.


I believe that in some stores where there is year around AC requirements that the cold air leakage from the produce coolers is used as part of the Air Conditioning supply. This would not work well for things like ice cream, or other items that must be kept in the mid thirties or below as the evaporator temperature for a freezer would place a much higher compressor load than a produce cooler running with an evaporator temp of 45º F ( 7º C) close to the evap. temperture of the AC unit.

There's probably better ways of dealing with congestion - not that that's really an issue in most stores.

One other thing to think about is the whole idea of what should be refrigerated. An easy example is eggs. Why are they refrigerated in North America when they are left at room temperature in so many other places?

I will buy a 6-pack of local micro-brew impulsively!

A local grocery here in the PNW called PCC sells a lot of local and natural foods, which I like, but they still offer "natural" paper coffee filters from Germany(!) and have plenty of open coolers, mostly for beverages and cheeses....baby steps I guess.

Jay Leno's Garage LED Shop Lights: http://youtu.be/SeROsV_yePs

He starts off by saying that as his shop gets bigger his energy usage is going down because of efficiency upgrades and that during the day he's "pretty much off the grid" because of the solar panels on the roof. The products he uses are from "Titan LED."

Here's a direct quote:

On the heat factor, with the LEDs, what you find with the fluorescents or the metal halides is that they're 90 per cent heat, only 10 per cent light, whereas the LED is just the opposite -- it's going to be 90 per cent light, only 10 per cent heat.

This is point where I say "I don't think so".

In any event, let's look at the numbers: the Titan tubular LED produces 1,328 lumens and consumes 16-watts, so it generates 83 lumens per watt. Thus, a 4-lamp twin-tandem fixture such as what Jay uses in his shop would supply 5,312 lumens and consume 64-watts.

That same twin-tandem fitted with four Philips 28-watt T8 lamps and a 0.77 BF NEMA Premium ballast would supply 8,393 lumens and consume 86-watts; that works out to be 97 lumens per watt. Watt for watt, the T8 is going to provide about 17 per cent more light.

We're told that these lamps retail for $73.89 and the product has a nominal service life of 75,000 hours. In terms of lamp replacement costs, you're looking at $3.94 per thousand hours operation for a single 4-lamp fixture. The Philip T8 lamp at $3.50 has a nominal rated life of 38,000 hours, so the lamp replacement cost for a comparable 4-lamp T8 fixture is 37-cents per 1,000 hours operation; the difference in cost is more than TEN fold.

As I said above, tubular LED lamps are a joke.


90 per cent light, only 10 per cent heat.

I have to disagree with that part too.

I bought off e-bay a 30 watt chip & 12V driver. Mounted it on a heatsink 3"X3.5"X1.25". It got really hot, at one point it I saw smoke coming off the surface of the chip. Had to add a small fan in order to run it continuously.


Beta model, I plan to reconstruct into reflector housing.

A low cost building energy savings plan


Related In Philippine Slums, Capturing Light In A Bottle

Sheila Royeras, her husband, her mother and two young daughters live in a single-room cement apartment in a poor neighborhood in Manila, Philippines. Like many such homes, it's mostly dark during the day, except for a small ray of sunlight that enters through an open front door.
Illac Diaz inspects a solar light bulb with Siplicio Mondas, 73, in Manila. Diaz heads the nonprofit MyShelter Foundation, which is overseeing this solar lighting project.

But this is about to change.

On this morning, volunteers and local government workers arrive to hang low-tech solar light bulbs from the corrugated metal roof. The bulbs are very simple, very effective and the ambitious plan is to put them in 1 million homes this year.

Hey wiseindian, I don't know who came up with the idea first but I saw a Brazilian doing the same thing a couple of years ago.

Language warning: It is in Portuguese.

We have shared the same tube video, mine has subtitles in English that's all :D

The retrofit of the Empire State Building was done by folks from the Rockey Mountain Institute, Amory Lovins shop. Yes, there are many possible improvements in our buildings, but we are still building more energy guzzling buildings, such as the typical metal industrial box. They go up quickly and have little insulation, which hits hard when the heat or A/C is switched on. And, once built, they will be very difficult to retrofit...

E. Swanson

I guess holiday sales were a disappointment, despite the strong start.

U.S. holiday retail sales growth weakest since 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. holiday retail sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers' rising uncertainty about the economy.

A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.

Your post is in line with what Brandon Smith wrote on Dec 19: Global Economic Slowdown Signals Sad New Year. http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1226-global-economic-slowdown-signals...

The quote below is preceded by a graph of the BDI, Baltic Dry Index (sorry, not sure how to post such). Good read.

Notice how each year since 2008 there is a spike in shipping rates indicating a rise in demand for materials at the onset of the Christmas season, which is the natural progression of things. Yet, also notice that this spike in demand grows smaller with each passing year. In 2012, the increase has been almost nonexistent, meaning that we are likely very close to going down the drain.

Some pundits may argue that November’s Black Friday sales were tremendous, and this signals a recovery in spending and consumption. I would point out that such numbers are deceiving. High sales during the most discounted day of the Christmas buying season is not necessarily a good thing. What it really reveals is that a majority of shoppers were looking for the lowest prices possible because of a lack of personal savings. It is a sign of desperation, not revitalization. Full season numbers have not yet been released, but when they are, I believe we will see a fantastic spike in sales on Black Friday followed by a complete flatline for the rest of the year. Obviously high consumption has not been sustained, otherwise, worldwide manufacturing and shipping would be in much better shape.

I gave a total of $100 in cash to 5 great nieces/nephews this year. Bought nothing. Youngest sister just sent text exclaiming that her oldest finally got a marriage proposal accompanied by a pic of a big ring. Sis' real interest, I'd wager, is a grand baby. My never-to-be-sent reply: "Great! I hope she postpones having children indefinitely as 200,000 people are added to the world each day."

An item on Britain's Sky News today said Boxing Day sales were the biggest ever. But this is not considered a harbinger of good times. It is canny shoppers waiting for the post-Xmas deep discounts because they can't afford to pay full price.

I don't feel sorry for them. Note that the headline says "Sales GROWTH Weakest since 2008". Another way to phrase it would be " US holiday sales highest ever"

What kind of commentary is it on our society that we gauge the economy on a holiday with social pressures to purchase gifts in dollars to match how much we love each other? And based on that socially forced form of consumption we determine the health of the economy? And if that debt driven experience is only slightly more than last year, then we really should worry about the state of the economy? Did we as Americans fail our vendors, fail our willingness to give of ourselves the love we really know we feel because we were too tight fisted with the payola, fail to be patriotic enough to know our spending habits would either propel our economy forward or cause it to stall out? I ask you where's the patriotism, where's the love?

Well, if one feels one needs to spend money at Christmas, spend it on local goods and services with people you know. Spending money at big box stores makes an empty and soulless experience even more so. I am not really a Christian but I still feel there is value to what should be the meaning of the Christmas experience, peace and good will towards all. Help people by spending locally and, hopefully, with people in need.

If anything, this is the time of the year that helping this nebulous, abstract thing called the economy should be low on our priority list. Helping and serving others directly makes more sense and seems to be closer to what Christmas should be about. I think it likely that Christ would not support any of the shopping rituals that have been adopted over the centuries.

If the only way the economy can be hoped is excessive crap bought by consumers, then let us call the whole thing off. The so called affluent society was a mistake in the 60s when Galbraith wrote about it and is a mistake now as written about by Kunstler. We don't need more salad shooters and big screen TVs; we do need more livable, walkable, bikable cities and more solar energy and wind energy.

Chris Nelder is out with his annual oil price forecast. Oil and gas price forecast for 2013 Bold his.

Third, global spare production capacity is well above the price-spike-inducing danger zone of roughly 1 percent, and should remain comfortable. It’s currently around 2 mb/d, according to EIA, and could grow to 3.3 mb/d by the second quarter of 2013, more than 3.5 percent of demand.

My call is that Brent will average around $105 in 2013, and WTI will average around $90 - $95.

For the record, I once again won the bet this year with some oil-literate friends by predicting at the start of the year that Brent would average $105 in 2012; the actual average as of this writing (a week before press time) is $111.72. Curiously, that’s just $0.60 lower than where Brent traded on the first trading day of 2012.

Well I think he is pretty close but my call is Brent at $110 or perhaps a little higher. I think spare capacity is closer to zero. It is certainly not 2 mb/d. That's what it was back in 2010 when OPEC was producing 2 mb/d less than they are today. I think all OPEC nations are producing flat out today.

Ron P.

I recently participated in a meeting between a delegation from ASPO-USA and senior EIA/DOE officials. I think that there will be a summary of the meeting coming out from ASPO-USA, but it was a very cordial meeting. I gave a brief presentation on net exports, and the most interesting thing I learned is that no one at the EIA has done any modeling on global net export trends, assuming generally increasing consumption in exporting countries (I hope this will change in the future).

The following chart shows the 2000 inflection point in production for the ELM:


A new chart (which I showed the EIA folks) lists the rate of change numbers for three years preceding, and six years after, key inflection points--for the ELM (Export Land Model) and Six country Case History, Saudi and global data.   Note that the only estimates are for the post-index (post-inflection point) CNE depletion rates (the bottom row, from left to right).   All other values are actual data points (the top four rows, from left to right).  And of course, for Saudi and global data, the three years preceding the 2005 inflection corresponded to a doubling in annual global crude oil prices, as did the six years following the 2005 inflection point.

The following chart shows the rates of change (in dark green) for production and net exports in the three years leading up to key inflection points (or Index Years) in production for:  the Export Land Model (ELM), the Six Country Case History*, Saudi Arabia, Top 33 net exporters in 2005 and ANE.  The ELM inflection point was defined as 2000.   The Six Country inflection point was 1995.  The Saudi, GNE and ANE inflection point was 2005.

The rates of change in production and net exports for the six years after the inflection points are also shown, in orange.  And also shown are the post-Index year estimated CNE (Cumulative Net Exports) depletion rates.  The estimated six year post-1995 CNE depletion rate for the Six Country Case History was 16%/year.  The actual value turned out to be 23%/year.

For the ANE column, on the right hand side, production is defined as GNE.  


*Six Countries:  Indonesia, UK, Egypt, Vietnam, Argentina, Malaysia

Note that for the ELM and first three actual case histories, going from left to right, the rate of increase in net exports on the upslope exceeded the rate of increase in production.  After production stagnated, or began to fall, the rate of decline in net exports exceeded the rate of decline in production (or virtually flat production rates). 

Regarding ANE, on the far right hand side,  note that because the rate of increase in Chindia's net imports (CNI) exceeded the rate of increase in GNE on the upslope, from 2002 to 2005, the rate of increase in ANE was less than the rate of increase in GNE. Therefore, we saw a steady decline in the GNE/CNI ratio from 2002 to 2011:


What is almost completely overlooked, even in Peak Oil circles, is the critical importance of the final row, estimated six year rates of depletion in post-index year CNE (Cumulative Net Exports). As Ron has noted, depletion marches on, irrespective of year to year changes in production rates.

This chart shows the change in post-Index Year Estimated Remaining CNE, by year, for the Six Country Case History, Saudi Arabia, GNE and ANE (The Index Year, the key inflection point for each area, is Year One on the chart, and is 1995 for the Six Country Case History, and 2005 otherwise):

Post-Index Year CNE = 100%

The CNE estimates were based on extrapolating the six year post-index year rates of change in the ECI ratios (ratios of total petroleum liquids production to liquids consumption) for the Six Countries, for GNE and for Saudi Arabia. The Available CNE estimate (post-index cumulative ANE) was based on extrapolating the six year (2005 to 2011) rate of change in the GNE/CNI ratio.

Note that the actual remaining post-index year CNE value for the Six Country case history, after six years, was 25%, instead of the estimated 39%.

And note that the question is not whether we are depleting post-2005 CNE--just as the question for the Six Country Case History was not whether post-index year CNE were being depleted--the question is the actual slope of the depletion line for each measure of post-2005 CNE. In other words, it's not a question of whether we are depleting the post-2005 Net Export Fuel Tank; it's a question of how fast we are depleting the post-2005 Net Export Fuel Tank.

Hi Ron,

Are you including Iran as part of OPEC? Due to sanctions, Iran may not be producing at full capacity, otherwise I agree that all OPEC nations besides Iran are producing at capacity. There is also a possibility (however small) that Iraq's capacity may increase. I think such an increase will follow the IEA's Iraq Outlook "Delayed Case" where output only rises to 4 MMbo/d by 2020 and 5.3 MMbo/d by 2035, though instability in the region could result in even this scenario being optimistic.


Iran could increase production if sanctions were lifted but that cannot be counted as "spare capacity" that could be brought on line within 30 days. Spare capacity is supposed to be there, able to come on line within 30 days, if there were a sudden surge in oil prices.

Of course sanctions could be lifted but that would be another story. At any rate I expect Iranian production to continue to decline after sanctions are lifted. Not from where they are today of course, but after an initial increase, back to not quite where they were before sanctions, then decline from there. They are investing almost nothing in upstream production.

It looks like Iraq may produce less oil the latter half of December and possibly well into next year due to the Kurdistan problem. We will not be seeing any great increase in Iraqi production any way soon. They will be a non-player in the peak oil drama which will play out in the next few years.

Ron P.


I am more on the fence than you about a near term (0 to 3 years) decline. Rising North American output may offset declines elsewhere, then maybe Iranian and Iraqi output may offset declines in 3 to 5 years. If you are predicting a plateau for 5 to 7 years, I agree, if there is no economic crash in the mean time. If there is enough world demand to keep real oil prices rising at about 5 to 7 % per year (about what real oil prices have done since 2003, though not smoothly) then optimistically we might extend the plateau out to 2025 (2020 would be more realistic).

Under such a scenario (plateau to 2025 for all liquids in barrels of oil equivalent) the decline which follows would be quite steep, it would be better if a gradual decline started by 2015, so that a transition to alternatives would begin, so I hope your prediction is correct and mine is not.

I think it is unrealistic to expect such a transition to occur smoothly, but it might be less catastrophic if the decline is more gradual initially.


Oil plateau until 2020/2025? OMG. That would mean peak oil is to be expected together with peak gas and peak coal? And with steep declines afterwards!


Due to substitution, certain degrees of elasticity and the refusal of the masses to comprehend whatever peak, that is indeed what I expect to happen in the forseeable future. Everything will be just fine (except some groups falling off the cliff a little bit earlier: Greece, other PIIGS, US lower middle class, ...) until "peak all" hits us without any mercy.

I agree that it will be less catastrophic if the decline is more gradual initially. So the Greek are the lucky ones, right?

Mark Lewis at Deutsche Bank has average annual price of Brent at $113-$115 next year...


His forecast is at the end.

Presentations from the National Governors' Association ...

Governors' Energy Advisors Policy Institute

The NGA Center hosted a Governors' Energy Advisors Policy Institute on May 30-31st in Washington, DC. The institute provided an opportunity for governors' energy advisors from 32 different states to examine a comprehensive suite of energy policy best practices with state peers as well as private sector and federal experts. The institute focused on key energy technologies, how to link economic development and energy, key partners in energy financing, domestic energy markets, and approaches to state energy planning.

State Strategies for Accelerating Transmission Development for Renewable Energy

The nation’s governors are advancing new ways to develop transmission that will bring more renewable energy into the market and support businesses in their states. State Strategies for Accelerating Transmission Development for Renewable Energy, and the accompanying white paper, examines successful state efforts governors can use to accelerate transmission development for renewable energy to help meet a variety of energy diversity, economic development and environmental goals.

Over the next decade, demand for electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal will drive the need for new transmission capacity. Transmission developers have proposals to meet that new demand, but the planning, siting, financing and cost allocation of transmission lines present challenges to governors and other policymakers. Generation facilities that are fueled by renewable energy resources are often remotely located, and building transmission lines that bring the electricity they generate to market can require the involvement of multiple state and federal players, increasing those challenges.

Ten Trends to Track: State Policy Innovations to Advance Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Ten Trends to Track: State Policy Innovations to Advance Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy and the accompanying white paper present governors with 10 recent policy innovations. The list includes actions that cover the following four approaches and focuses on measures that can be pursued despite the budgetary constraints that many states face:

■Redesigning utility incentives to invest in energy efficiency;
■Increasing consumer access to information and financing;
■Removing regulatory barriers to residential solar power; and
■Creating new ways to reduce the energy used in state buildings and fleets.

Emerging Trends in State Renewable and Alternative Energy Standards

State and Local Plug-In Electric Vehicle Workshop: Getting Ready Together

NGA Experts Roundtable on Industrial Energy Efficiency and CHP

Clean and Secure State Energy Actions: 50 States Policies

Related to Iran claims to have stopped new cyber attack in DB ...

Cyberattack—the silent nightmare

In Michigan's worst techno-horror story, the state's major utilities get hacked in the wintertime. Power in the state shuts down, and nobody can figure out how to regain control of the systems needed to turn it back on. Millions of people are left in the dark and in the cold.

also NSA targeting domestic computer systems in secret test

Newly released files show a secret National Security Agency program is targeting the computerized systems that control utilities to discover security vulnerabilities, which can be used to defend the United States or disrupt the infrastructure of other nations.

The NSA's so-called Perfect Citizen program conducts "vulnerability exploration and research" against the computerized controllers that control "large-scale" utilities including power grids and natural gas pipelines, the documents show. The program is scheduled to continue through at least September 2014.

"Sabotage or disruption of these industries can have wide-ranging negative effects including loss of life, economic damage, property destruction, or environmental pollution," the NSA concluded in a public report (PDF) discussing industrial control systems and their vulnerabilities.

The 190 pages of the NSA's Perfect Citizen files, which EPIC obtained through the Freedom of Information Act last week, are heavily redacted. At least 98 pages were completely deleted for a number of reasons, including that portions are "classified top secret," and could "cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security" if released, according to an accompanying letter from Pamela Phillips, chief of the NSA's FOIA office.

But the portions that were released show that Raytheon received a contract worth up to $91 million to establish Perfect Citizen, which "enables the government to protect the systems," especially "large-scale distributed utilities," operated by the private sector.

The focus is "sensitive control systems," or SCS, which "provide automation of infrastructure processes."

and NSA Denies It Will Spy on Utilities

... blowback will be a b!tch.

Food for thought: non-networked PV and wind turbine powered places (houses, individual businesses) will do just fine ; )

Nate Silver's comments:


He notes that a majority of US House of Representatives members are either liberal Democrats or Tea Party Republicans, making it quite difficult to get a majority vote in the House on a compromise bill.

Average Voter Is Unable To Accurately Assess Politicians, New Research Shows

A new study has thrown doubt on the ability of the average voter to make an accurate judgement of the performance of their politicians, showing that voter biases appear to be deep-seated and broad.

In a series of novel experiments, researchers ... found that voters are susceptible to these biases even when given financial incentives to behave otherwise and when the information necessary to avoid these biases was readily available.

This in turn makes voters vulnerable to being manipulated by politicians. The findings suggest that incumbents who associate themselves with good news for which they bear no responsibility, implement policies that generate good news close to elections at the expense of overall voter welfare, and use rhetoric that encourages people to focus on how they feel in the here and now, ignoring the long-term, could benefit at the ballot box.

Huber said: "Our results suggest severe limitations in humans' ability to accurately and impartially judge the performance of politicians. This is a worrisome finding for democratic accountability because it creates a breeding ground for politicians to manipulate their electorate."

and Republicans 'No Longer a Normal Governing Party,' 'Unfit for Government'

"Our results suggest severe limitations in humans' ability to accurately and impartially judge the performance of politicians. This is a worrisome finding for democratic accountability because it creates a breeding ground for politicians to manipulate their electorate."

My doom-o-scope tells me that this goes beyond cluelessness, cognitive dissonance, manipulation or simple ideology; not simple obstruction, but opression:

Political Ponerology is a study of the founders and supporters of oppressive political regimes. Lobaczewski’s approach analyzes the common factors that lead to the propagation of man’s inhumanity to man. Morality and humanism cannot long withstand the predations of this evil. Knowledge of its nature – and its insidious effect on both individuals and groups - is the only antidote.


Aquired Deviations
Inherited Deviations


Psychopathy: The Cause of Evil
Ponerology: A New Science

Susceptibility: The Natural World View
The Genesis of Evil
Signs and Symptoms of Evil
Causes of Evil
Communicability or Ponerization


That sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for the link.

Our results suggest severe limitations in humans' ability to accurately and impartially judge the performance of politicians.

That's been a problem for as long as there have been politicans and snake oil salesmen.

That's how they windup pwning you.

"not simple obstruction, but opression:"

From various articles:

According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a "criminal activity" or even "domestic terrorism." even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

Though the FBI observed that the Occupy movement planned to protest peacefully, the bureau passed information about demonstrations to the New York Stock Exchange (NYX), Zions Bank (ZION) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

The documents show that the FBI discussed the Occupy movement with representatives of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 19, 2011, roughly one month before protestors planned to congregate in Manhattan to demonstrate against what they saw as the greed and corruption of the financial sector.

Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America.

“These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity,” she writes. “These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The council also instructed companies to refrain from publishing the assessments. "Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know without prior approval from an authorized FBI official," the council wrote.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the F.B.I. has come under criticism for deploying counterterrorism agents to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on organizations active in environmental, animal-cruelty and poverty issues.

“The F.B.I. recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in constitutionally protected activity,” said the spokesman, Paul Bresson. “While the F.B.I. is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on First Amendment activity. In fact, the Department of Justice and the F.B.I.’s own internal guidelines on domestic operations strictly forbid that.”


The Dawning of Domestic Drones
"The idea of watchful drones buzzing overhead like Orwellian gnats may seem far-fetched to some."


My take on the quote "To a hammer everything looks like a nail" is when you build a hammer and let it sit idle it starts looking for a nail.

Derrick Jensen has been writing eloquently and passionately about this topic for decades now. He's radical, yes. But largely right. Power flows down. What else would law enforcement agencies do but protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful? Protect the Constitutional rights of the little people? Only in our deluded fantasies.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes wrote circa 1875 "the law serves the convenience of the dominate group in society". It has never served you or me.

The mocking and controlling behavior exhibited by these federal agencies against their targets, appears to be part of the manipulative cycling which Dr. Meloy speaks of. This makes even more sense when we consider Dr. Lobaczewski's premise, which states that the controlling psychopathic faction of a society (the financial elite), will recruit lower-level psychopaths to do their bidding. These lower-level deviants naturally seek employment in law enforcement, security, the military, politics, or other positions which they believe will offer them power.

The Psychopathic Influence

Never heard of the word before. Guess I have a mini research project ahead.


RE: Ponerology

Sounds like the discipline that Sigmund Freud spoke about as a need in the disciplines of psychology:

The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities.

(Social Dementia Causes ...). Freud did not have the time or energy to do it but expected something to be done after him.


RE: "A new study has thrown doubt on the ability of the average voter to make an accurate judgement of the performance of their politicians, showing that voter biases appear to be deep-seated and broad."

The discipline of Agnotology is the study this and related maladies. Government and fossil fuel industry propaganda are suspected sources of the impairment.

Additionally, politicians are becoming known for their saying one thing and doing another, which is not the fault of the voters, it is the fault of the politicians.

When accountability goes so does democracy.

Thus, it requires of us to look at the facts in a given situation before we know if the culprit is the politician who lied or the voter who was ignorant of the relevant issues in any particular election.

Re Nate Silver's coalition grouping,
the XKCD authors provide a historical perspective

Decarbonizing Urban Transport Might Bring Considerable Benefits

In BAU scenarios with relatively low additional demand (demography; trend in transport policies) more efficient cars due to suggested 2020 regulation will lower GHG emissions about 40% until 2040. But the ERL-study focused most on urban transport policies. These were clustered into three classes: “Pull” policies that attracted citizens into more efficient modes, such as tram-ways, bus rapid transit, and bicycles; “Push” measures that made the use of CO2 and energy intensive modes less attractive, e.g. reduced and more expensive parking space; and “Land-use” policies that enable the use of public transit and cycling by increasing accessibility on short-to-medium distances.

The study reveals that the combination of pull, push and land-use measures reduces CO2 emissions by an additional 40-70%, measured from the technology BAU scenario, and brings per capita emissions down to around 0.6t annually. The pull scenario brings only a small contribution, as many commuters prefer to stay in their cars. However, if push measures are added on the pull measures, a significant modal shift is expected: Car driving becomes more expensive, and additional space for walking, cycling and busses makes those modes even more attractive. Land-use measures such as densification and the prohibition of big boxes outside the city proper contributes a few more percentages to decarbonizing.

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute.
--- President Abraham Lincoln

As taught at by the Air Force ... US Military Influence Operations

- Definitions
- Federal resources
- Joint resources
- Army resources
- Navy/Marine resources
- Air Force resources
- Influence Operations
- Influence Theory
- Influence History
- Influence Tools
- Marketing & Advertising
- Propaganda and Counterpropaganda
- Deception
- Books & Monographs
- Links

Links: see also perception page, especially memes, knowledge representation and semiotics and subliminal perception, priming and reflexive control

storytelling (more effective communication), and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

also Detecting Online Deception and Responding to It


The military learned these dynamics from civilians, Edward L. Bernays being the father of it.

By the time the NAZI empire wanted to use propaganda he ("The Father of Spin") had already brought it forward for a few decades, and they loved it.

Now, many decades later it is incredibly sophisticated beyond what those early propagandists could have expected.

Modern day propagandists brag about being able to literally change the brain of citizens with their modern techniques.

From the dairy to the highway, a plan to make fuel from waste

Dan DeRuyter knows his expensive digester that generates electricity from dairy manure is not paying off.

But he has new hope. A Seattle energy company has a plan to turn the manure into compressed natural gas to fuel trucks, selling it cheaper than diesel.

I don't think the new plan is going to work any better. One of the main reasons that his power sales rate has fallen so much is that natural gas prices is cheap. The digester seemed to work fine and should have been profitable or close at the original $0.07/kWh. And electricity is a higher value (in BTU terms) product than natural gas. I don't see why moving upstream and competing directly with gas is only to help, especially if he is not near a gas supply line. The costs of compressing gas aren't huge, but they do exist. So he will basically be adding costs and another process to try to move into a lower value market that may or may not materialize.

If he can wait a few years the NG (and thus electricity) price will increase. The current low price is causing a lot of aberrations recently that people will regret later, including long-term electrical supply contracts (with future price linked to NG), investments in LNG facilities, fertilizer and plastics factories, closing of coal-fueled power plants, etc.

Pakistani bank ready to raise fund for IP pipeline project

The National Bank of Pakistan says it’s ready to issue bonds to raise funds for the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, projected to cost USD1.2-1.5 billion, would enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.

Euro-Bound Algerian Gas Pipeline Faces Unsure Future

Europe’s efforts to expand their reach to North African gas reserves could take a hit in the coming months as the fate of a long-delayed pipeline project was pushed back once again, leading some to conclude it is dead in the water.

First discussed nearly a decade ago, the Galsi Pipeline project was proposed as a link between Algerian gas reserves and Northern Italy, by way of Sardinia. The effort would provide an 8 billion cubic meter link between the Mediterranean coasts under the guidance of project partners Enel, Hera , Snam and Edison.

For Algeria, the pipeline would allow new export options for planned increases in production and the introduction of shale efforts in the country.

For Europe, the line would help further an energy diversification effort aimed at reducing the need for less reliable reserve options to the East, building on existing lines through Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, via Spain. Finally, for Italy, the pipeline would add to the already 35 percent of their gas demand provided by Algerian reserves.

U.S. Sailors Sue Japan Over Fukushima

Lead plaintiff Lindsay R. Cooper claims Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) intentionally concealed the dangerous levels of radiation in the environment from U.S. Navy rescue crews working off the coast of Japan after the March 10, 2011 earthquake and tsunami set off the nuclear disaster.

"TEPCO pursued a policy to cause rescuers, including the plaintiffs, to rush into an unsafe area which was too close to the FNPP [Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant] that had been damaged. Relying upon the misrepresentations regarding health and safety made by TEPCO ... the U.S. Navy was lulled into a false sense of security," the complaint states.

... The plaintiffs claim the government deliberately misled them: "the Japanese government kept representing that there was no danger of radiation contamination to the U.S.S. Reagan ... and/or its crew, that 'everything is under control,' 'all is OK, you can trust us,' and there is 'no immediate danger' or threat to human life, all the while lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdowns at FNPP.

...no danger of radiation contamination to the U.S.S. Reagan

?!... The engineers aboard a U.S. CVN are highly qualified to detect radiation contamination. Something doesn't add up here.

It can still be valid to sue over such misinformation.

Japan was trying to thread a pretty fine needle there, and made some very unfortunate calls, which should be held up to the light.

It just seems like this could open a can of worms for the Navy. The brass I worked for would have been unlikely to accept the word of TEPCO, or the Japanese Govt. for that matter. Easy enough to do their own testing. They must have had solid assurance from their chain-of-command that there weren't any problems with the reactors,, or there's something else we don't know (my guess). If there was any indication suspicion of reactor damage, the Pentagon would have had the Reagan testing like crazy, if only to avoid false alarms from their own equipment and dosimeters.

It would seem more likely that they are simply calling them out on a very dicey diplomatic Faux Pas.. perhaps a bit of a public warning shot against trying such glaring and disprovable disinfo in the future. Not unlike how Christie Whitman and the EPA was called to the mat for their 9-11 pretensions of safe air quality in downtown NYC.

?!... The engineers aboard a U.S. CVN are highly qualified to detect radiation contamination. Something doesn't add up here.

Perhaps it is not huge stretch of the imagination that despite being qualified to detect radiation, they simply didn't think it necessary to question TEPCO's honesty and their claims about safety, at least in the early stages of the rescue operations. Therefore blindly sailing into a contaminated area and only then realizing that they had been exposed.

Depending upon the nature of the plume, and the know inability of ships to stop on a dime and turn around, not being warned of a potential radioactive plume could still be an issue. detection (oHH s%$#@ we've got a problem), is different from avoiding exposure.

The US Navy did indeed detect potentially dangerous thyroid dose levels at least 10 times higher than that admitted by the Japanese government. That fact was contained in information released under FOIA. The US Ambassador to Japan was briefed by the Navy on their findings. However these readings may have been from the USS George Washington, which made an emergency escape run from the Tokyo area. Sadly detailed reports of radiation measurements from the Reagan have not been accidentally released as far as I know. What was really measured by their helicopter crews closer to Fukushima would be interesting to know. Which is probably exactly why we don't know it.


The George Washington, while docked for maintenance in Yokosuka, detected radiation from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.[36] It then was ordered to leave port before scheduled, with a smaller than normal crew, to avoid the radioactive plume. Because of the lack of crew, the warship was unable to continue to provide aid.[37] While at sea, the carrier made two visits to United States Fleet Activities Sasebo to exchange crewmembers and take on maintenance equipment. The ship returned to its berth at Yokosuka on 20 April 2011.[38]

Fukushima Operator Seeks Yet More Money

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it had newly estimated the compensation costs at 3.24 trillion yen [$38 billion], up 697 billion yen [$8.1 billion] from its last calculation in March.

The utility has increased the estimate three times since it originally put the sum at 1.1 trillion yen [$12.8 billion] in October last year [290%/y-y increase], seven months after a massive earthquake and tsunami sparked reactor meltdowns at the plant, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate.

TEPCO said it had already received about 1.5 trillion yen [$17.5 billion] in such aid.

Reading this days DB I see a few links to articles about growing Kuwait oil exports. Then it occurs to me we never discuss Q8 a lot here. Why don't we?

Oil jobs luring some youth away from college

For most high school seniors, a college degree is the surest path to a decent job and a stable future. But here in oil country, some teenagers are choosing the oil fields over universities, forgoing higher education for jobs with salaries that can start at $50,000 a year.

... Even gas stations are enticing students away from college. Katorina Pippenger, a high school senior in the tiny town of Bainville, Mont., said she makes $24 an hour as a cashier in nearby Williston, N.D., the epicenter of the boom. Her plan is to work for a few years after she graduates this spring, save up and flee. She likes the look of Denver. “I just want to make money and get out,” she said.

Meanwhile, enrollment at Dawson Community College in Glendive, about an hour from Sidney, has fallen to 225 students from 446 just a few years ago, as fewer local students pursue two-year degrees.

Wide-Scale Tax Evasion in Greece Accounts for 28 billion Euros in Unreported Taxable Income

At a tax rate of 40 percent, that’s a revenue loss responsible for nearly one-third of Greece’s deficit in 2009 or almost 50 percent of the deficit in 2008, according to the study co-authored by Margarita Tsoutsoura, assistant professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Nikolaos Artavanis, PhD candidate, Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

Using bank data on household borrowing, the paper finds that highly paid, highly educated professionals are at the forefront of tax evasion in Greece: doctors, engineers, private tutors, financial services agents, accountants, and lawyers. Morse contends the findings are troubling from a perspective of inequality in the financially struggling country.

... legislation, including a 2010 bill addressing the widespread tax evasion, has been slow to win approval. Morse asserts that it may not be mere coincidence that the majority of Greek Parliament members’ professions correlate with the largest tax evaders’, even excluding lawyers. “Industry associations are strong,” Morse suggests. “Parliament members face enormous loyalty pressure.”


Pentagon Preps Stealth Strike Force to Counter China

The U.S. military has begun a staged, five-year process that will see each of its three main stealth warplane types deployed to bases near China. When the deployments are complete in 2017, Air Force F-22s and B-2s and Marine Corps F-35s could all be within striking range of America’s biggest economic rival at the same time. With Beijing now testing its own radar-evading jet fighters — two different models, to be exact — the clock is counting down to a stealth warplane showdown over the Western Pacific.


There is some additional danger here that may not meet the eye, and of all things it is the residue of the policies of Mao:

"The basic dilemma for the war planners stems from the deployment of the two types of missiles on the same Second Artillery bases with fundamentally different capabilities and purposes," Lewis and Xue say.

The article notes that Beijing's nuclear missiles exist to deter a nuclear first strike on China, and are only to be used in extremis. At the same time, the conventional weapons on the formerly all-nuclear bases must be ready to strike first and hard.

Targeted enemies and their allies will not immediately be able to distinguish whether any missiles fired are conventional or nuclear.

This means that those enemies may justifiably launch on warning and retaliate against all the command-and-control systems and missile assets of the Chinese missile launch base and even the overall command-and-control system of the central Second Artillery headquarters.

In the worst case, a self-defensive first strike by Chinese conventional missiles could end in the retaliatory destruction of many Chinese nuclear missiles and their related command-and-control systems.

"That disastrous outcome would force the much smaller surviving and highly vulnerable Chinese nuclear missile units to fire their remaining missiles against the enemy's homeland," Lewis and Xue warn.

"Escalation to nuclear war could become accelerated and unavoidable." Policies that have led to conventional and nuclear weapons doubling up at the same base could cause, rather than deter, a nuclear exchange.


Beijing's overall defence strategy has evolved significantly in recent decades. According to the authors, China's revolutionary leader Mao Zedong directly shaped the policies for the Second Artillery, the nation's strategic missile forces.

(The Most Dangerous Moment in Recorded History). The build up of arms in the oil abundant middle east and around oil hungry China are harbingers of very dangerous days ahead.

This Scientist Wants Tomorrow’s Troops to Be Mutant-Powered

Among his duties at Scitor, Herr was tasked with “red teaming” the performance-enhancement/military biomodifications field on behalf of the Defense Department in order to assess the approach America’s rivals are taking to the technology.

Herr says he achieved a breakthrough in his red-teaming in 2010, while in Boston attending what he describes as a “totally academic, non-military” conference on gene therapy, which typically involves “infecting” a person with a specially tailored virus that can modify DNA and in principle, cure a disease or correct a defect.

But fixing genes is hard. Damaging them is a lot easier, one of the speakers at the Boston conference admitted. “He said if our goal was figuring out how to create muscular dystrophy, we’ve been very successful, but if our goal is to treat it, we’re far from the goal,” Herr recalls. “He meant it as a laugh line. But I’m sitting in the back thinking … it’s kind of scary. They know how to break us but don’t know how to fix us.”

In one dire scenario, an army might attack its enemies by changing their physiology to make them dumber, slower, more afraid. In The Atlantic recently, two researchers even discussed the possibility of governments or terror groups genetically assassinating enemy leaders by tailoring cancers specifically to the target’s DNA. The authors pointed out that the U.S. State Department already surreptitiously collects DNA samples from foreign dignitaries.

... the Bourne Legacy?

Um, Hugo Chavez?

I mean, if there's a foreign country leader that "they" might want to experiment on with these techniques, one who survived the other attacks such as election manipulation and military coups, that would be it, no?

Something missing in that article is just exactly how they plan to deliver the genetic alterations into the enemy combatants? For our own troops, isn't the hard part not necessarily being more physically or mentally capable, but instead avoiding injury or death? In that regard wouldn't exoskeletons to deflect shrapnel and bullets be a better strategy? But I suppose the defense dept. being as well funded as it is, does R&D in many fields.

Maybe some day people will join the Armed forces to get the free genetic alterations.

Lukoil/Statoil's West Quarma project doesn't show up on the Megaprojects list anywhere I can find. Peak rate at 1.2 million bpd with first production in just over a year. Bad news for doomists.

Sometimes bad is bad, this ain't one of 'em.

I don't think it's good to find any way to accelerate climate change. Thinking it's great to have a way to put yet more CO2 into the atmosphere is bad.

Not bad isn't great, bad for doomists is good enough for me, for now.

Water injection may be seen as primative technology if/when CO2 becomes abundently available, imo.

Well, ExxonMobil has decided to quit West Qurna 1 and Statoil is out of West Qurna 2. Petrochina may move in, but it looks like western companies are heading for Kurdish oil and dropping out of non-Kurdish-Iraqi projects. There is no doubt that there is a huge amount of oil in Iraq, but considering the political and security situation there, the production gains you quote may still be a few years away.

Presuming it does pan out to 1.2 mbd, how much will that reduce oil prices worldwide? Is that additional amount of oil a game changer?

Ontario only place in North America to forecast negative growth in demand for electricity
Needs being offset by conservation, official says

OTTAWA — Energy conservation will curb Ontario’s growth in demand for electricity to the slowest pace in North America over the coming decade, according to government and industry forecasts.


“This isn’t because economies aren’t growing and our population is not growing, and it isn’t because people aren’t buying things,” says Chuck Farmer, director of planning policy and approvals with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).

“It’s really because the growth is being offset by energy efficiency in one form or another and I think that’s quite a success story.”

See: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Ontario+only+place+North+America+forecast+n...

Actually, Ontario is not the only province that's projecting negative growth. Nova Scotia Power's ten-year supply and demand forecast likewise calls for falling peak demand in each of the next ten years due to greater energy-efficiency (2,098 MW in 2013, decreasing to 2,053 MW in 2022).


Harper's cabinet mulls massive Chinese resource project in Arctic

Another massive Chinese-owned resource project is before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet.

It would be hard to exaggerate the proposal's scope. Centred at Izok Lake, about 260 kilometres southeast of Kugluktuk, the project would stretch throughout a vast swath of western Nunavut.

Izok Lake would have five separate underground and open-pit mines producing lead, zinc and copper. Another site at High Lake, 300 kilometres to the northeast, would have another three mines.

MMG also wants a processing plant that could handle 6,000 tonnes of ore a day, tank farms for 35 million litres of diesel, two permanent camps totalling 1,000 beds, airstrips and a 350-kilometre all-weather road with 70 bridges that would stretch from Izok Lake to Grays Bay on the central Arctic coast.

MMG plans a port there that could accommodate ships of up to 50,000 tonnes that would make 16 round trips a year — both east and west — through the Northwest Passage.

Izok Lake would be drained, the water dammed and diverted to a nearby lake. Three smaller lakes at High Lake would also be drained. Grays Bay would be substantially filled in.

Used to be the ugly Americans with the money stripping the planets resources. Now it is the ugly Chinese with money stripping the planets resources.

Same ship, we're all aboard. Different set of hands on the wheel.

More Sun weirdness. A paper by Richard C. Altrock which manages to not use the word "quadrupolar" but concludes that the "rush to the poles" may not complete in the Sun's Southern hemisphere (although a possibility the South will finally reverse in 2014 remains).

Forecasting the Maxima of Solar Cycle 24 with Coronal Fe XIV Emission

Richard C. Altrock (Air Force Research Laboratory, Sunspot, NM USA)

...the solar maximum smoothed sunspot number in the northern hemisphere already occurred at 2011.6 +- 0.3. In the southern hemisphere the Rush to the Poles, if it exists, is very poorly defined. A linear fit to several maxima would reach 76{\deg} in the south at 2014.2. "

So we seem to have confirmation of the Hinode team's "quadrupolar" finding that the North reversal has already occurred and that the South reversal may not complete at all.

So we still seem to be on the possible path to entering a Solar Grand Minimum as this cycle winds down. Or the Sun might wake up again in a year's time. Overall Sunspot numbers and Flux are currently continuing on a generally downwards trend.

There hasn't been even a single M-Class solar flare in December (so far). Last December there were 8 M Class flares. 10.7cm Solar Flux is currently 20% lower than in December 2011.

Back in June 2011, Altrock was quoted as saying
Sun's Fading Spots Signal Big Drop in Solar Activity

"Cycle 24 started out late and slow and may not be strong enough to create a rush to the poles, indicating we'll see a very weak solar maximum in 2013, if at all," Altrock said. "If the rush to the poles fails to complete, this creates a tremendous dilemma for the theorists, as it would mean that Cycle 23's magnetic field will not completely disappear from the polar regions. … No one knows what the sun will do in that case."

If the models prove accurate and the trends continue, the implications could be far-reaching.

"If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades," Hill said. "That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate."

Part of the Fallacy... Is that we classify flares by only those which reach Earth proper.

I.E. Energetic particles hitting an instrument on GOES sat in Geostationary orbit around Earth from a spinning object, 93 million miles distant. Where the equator takes 26 days, and the poles takes 34 days to complete a cycle, and from a sun spot that occupies no more than a couple degrees of the surface in either axis at any given time, and there is rupture of a magnetic field confluence.

Thus one might be reading too much meaning into such a limited data set..

Part of the Fallacy... Is that we classify flares by only those which reach Earth proper.

I.E. Energetic particles hitting an instrument on GOES sat in Geostationary orbit around Earth from a spinning object, 93 million miles distant.

What do you mean by "Part of the Fallacy"? And your statement is incorrect. You appear to be confusing Flares with CMEs,



Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X according to the peak flux (in watts per square metre, W/m2) of 100 to 800 picometre X-rays near Earth, as measured on the GOES spacecraft.

You see - nothing about "energetic particles" here - just EM Radiation. As long as the flare is on the earth facing side of the Sun the surge in electromagnetic radiation from the Sun will hit and be recorded. A CME on the other hand is directional and showers us with energetic particles (or misses completely) but that isn't how we classify a flare.

Choose one?




Climate Chaos won't begin to cover what will happen with two conflicting inputs to the existing barely stable at the best of times climate.

Yes and it is perhaps wise that most solar physicists are now following advice (stated at a conference) to keep their egos in check and their mouths shut (at least with public speculation) until they have a better handle on this.

After all it was just a few years ago that the general prediction of solar physicists was that this cycle was going to be a very large one - OOPS. They'd look really stupid if a new Grand Minimum was announced as "confirmed" and then the Sun ignored them again and increased output.

But yes, this really could throw a spanner in the works. On the plus side it will help confirm (or not) solar variation forcing models of the climate if we do indeed enter a new Grand Minimum and can monitor it as it progresses.

Now the Sun is really playing silly.


Solar Update
12/28/2012 by Kevin VE3EN at 16:00 UTC

Updated 12/28/2012 @ 16:00 UTC
Solar Update
Solar actvity has nearly flatlined. Sunspot 1635 continues to decay as it makes its way towards the western limb. All other regions remain quiet.


What's up in Space Friday, Dec. 28, 2012

SOLAR CYCLE UPDATE: 2013 is only days away, and according to most forecasters, Solar Max should be approaching as well. But is it? Barely-increasing sunspot counts and anemic solar activity suggest an interesting possibility: Perhaps Solar Max is already here

...So far, Solar Cycle 24 is underperforming even compared to the panel's low expectations.

There is still a strong chance that Cycle 24 will rebound and peak in 2013 as expected. It might even be a double-peaked cycle like the cycle before it. As 2013 nears only one thing is certain: we don't know what will happen. Stay tuned.

Although I don't know where they got "Barely-increasing sunspot counts" from as the smoothed number is not barely increasing. It is dropping and has been since February 2012. And even on a monthly basis December will be lower than November.

Interview with Chevron CEO John Watson ...

Chevron's CEO: Affordable energy is crucial

... AP: Can the industry continue to produce oil and gas at a price that can keep the world economy growing?

WATSON: I think so. We want to produce at a price our customers can afford, and I think there's ample resource to do that for the foreseeable future.

AP: People on all sides of the energy debate have long complained about the lack of a comprehensive energy policy in the U.S. Are we wishing for something that just can't happen in this country? And if not, what would it look like to you?

WATSON: Historically the United States has had a wonderful energy policy. We're blessed with a diversity of resources. We have oil. We have gas. We have coal. We have nuclear. And renewables. And as a result, one of our biggest competitive advantages has been affordable energy. You need a strong economy and you need affordable energy to fuel that economy.

AP: Do fossil fuel producers bear the responsibility for curbing greenhouse gas emissions?

WATSON: We have the responsibility to deliver our energy in an environmentally sound fashion. The greatest advancements in living standards in recorded history have taken place in the modern hydrocarbon era. I don't think that's coincidental. Our leaders have to make a decision. Do they want that to continue or do they have a better solution for us? So it's not my call.

AP: Will fracking be curtailed in this country?

WATSON: I see very little obstacle to it, notwithstanding all the rhetoric. Now it's being done in some different areas. People aren't used to it, and there have been legitimate concerns expressed, like truck traffic at a simple level, but also concerns about water supplies. They're understandable anxieties. And so we have to work through those with the governments. I think in due course we'll do that because they'll see the advantages to it.

S - "We want to produce at a price our customers can afford, and I think there's ample resource to do that for the foreseeable future." Such statements are easy to understand if you know the code we use. "Customer" = A FF purchaser who can afford to buy our product at the current market price. If you can't afford the oil/NG you're not a customer. Thus all "customers" by definition will have able resources available to them...at least all they can afford to purchase. In the same way all future demand for FF will be well supplied: all who can afford to buy the available FF in the market place will have all they require available to them. IOW demand isn't what you want/need but what you can afford.

Largest wind farm in Kansas to begin operation soon

The largest wind farm to be built in Kansas is set to begin operations by the end of the year.

Flat Ridge 2, jointly owned by BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, is on a 66,000-acre site covering parts of Harper, Barber, Kingman and Sumner counties in southern Kansas.

The project has 274 wind turbines, each with capacity to generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity or a total of 438 megawatts. That's enough to supply electricity to 160,000 homes.

Besides being the largest wind farm in Kansas, the $800 million project is the largest ever to be built all at once, instead of in phases.

... U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who represents the 4th District of Kansas, said the American Wind Energy Association's [Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Phaseout] plan didn't pass the laugh test. The wind industry is made up of multi-billion dollar companies who can stand on their own two feet, he said. He also would consider a phase-out but only if it quickly moved the industry off the taxpayer dole.

Continuing subsidies and mandates for renewables is a contentious issue. The industry wants to have it both ways since they like to brag about the rapid uptake of wind and solar as proof it's a winner yet they complain when the help is removed.

In Australia the Climate Change Authority just recommended keeping Australia's renewable energy target of about 20% by 2020
The renewable energy certificates that have to be bought by electricity resellers are worth $30-$40 per Mwh.

I have a couple of problems with this decision
1) carbon tax was supposed to be the sole means of reducing emissions
2) a climate commission shouldn't be concerned with any particular technology.
Carbon tax plus a renewables target is getting two bites at the cherry. To help wind power if necessary increase the carbon tax from $23 to $50 per tCO2. After all it is revenue neutral. Evidently the fine people at the climate authority are way too hip to recommend helping nuclear for example, not that it is any of their business anyway.

"Carbon tax plus a renewables target is getting two bites at the cherry."

Gosh,, if the 'cherry' represents the extinction of countless species, our own perhaps, bite away.

"1) carbon tax was supposed to be the sole means of reducing emissions"

Sole means? With this sort of strategy, we're screwed.

"2) a climate commission shouldn't be concerned with any particular technology."

IMO, the climate commission,, all of us, should be concerned with, and promoting, any/all technologies that give us a snowball's chance in hell of getting past the damage we've done. It's become a WTF? thing. I submit that a sense of urgency is a good starting point.

As it turns out the climate commission said the very things their political masters the Australian federal government wanted to hear. Now I call upon them to say something about coal exports. As in; are they are good for global emissions or not?

I highly doubt the Climate Change Authority will endorse nuclear power as a viable route to reduced CO2 emissions. Paraphrasing the pig in Animal Farm, everybody is equal, but some are more equal.

kansas GOP Gov. Brownback wants the tax breaks to continue or there will be job losses from the equipment manufactures that will shut down.It's only pork when you don't receive it.

Why Solar Installations Cost More in the U.S. than in Germany

The most marked difference is in the cost of acquiring customers. German installers spend seven cents per watt of installed capacity on things like marketing and designing systems for specific customers. U.S. installers spend 10 times that amount. Costs for permitting, connecting the systems to the grid, and having them inspected are also far higher in the United States. The Germans spent only three cents a watt on these things, while U.S. installers spend 20 cents, in part because of larger amounts of paperwork and the fact that U.S. installers have to pay permitting fees.

Some of it is chicken versus egg problem. Customer acquisition costs are high because the overall cost of the system is too high, and many customers balk. If we could install for anything close to the price (per watt) in Germany, customer acquisition would be easy -just sign here! We of course have to work on all sources of excess cost.

Saudi Arabia Must Review Its Oil Subsidies, Former Adviser Says

Saudi Arabia will need to reduce fuel subsidies that are becoming an ever-greater fiscal burden as its population grows, a former adviser to the country’s oil minister said.

The world’s biggest exporter of crude has a domestic fuel subsidy bill exceeding 162 billion riyals ($43 billion) a year, according to Mohammad Al-Sabban, an independent Saudi-based economist and energy consultant. ... “Rapid growth in consumption is a real problem that can’t continue in any way. There is a general conviction on that on all levels in the kingdom.”

Citigroup Inc. said in a report Sept. 4 that the kingdom may need to import oil by 2030 if its domestic crude use continues to outpace gains in production.

The country, the de-facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is losing potential export revenue by selling oil domestically at $5 to $15 a barrel when international buyers pay more than $100, said al-Sabban, who was a senior economic adviser at the ministry of petroleum and minerals before retiring this year.

Greece: The odyssey

On the surface, many cities still looks prosperous, but the nation's deep crisis is clearly reflected in the windows of hundreds of empty shops. More than one million Greeks are unemployed, which is one-quarter of the workforce, and the country is facing a youth unemployment rate of 58 percent.

... Up until a month ago, Kostas Bozas was a city banker. Now he is unemployed and has moved to his father's house in a village outside Thessaloniki, going back to his roots in search of a future.

"I come a from a steady job, and now at the age of 50 it's the right opportunity to become a farmer ... my father will teach me the things he knows from his father."

Thousands have taken the road back to farming in recent years - while the rest of the economy is in free fall, the farming sector is actually adding jobs.

... The steady shift to the farms and villages appears to be an unstoppable force fuelled by desperation in the cities, inspired by hope for a better, less anxious life. Some will flourish, others may fail. But all have taken a bold decision not to wait for the government or anyone else - their futures are now in their own hands.

Have US Police Forces Become Too Militarised?

In the last decade, the US department of homeland security, established after the September 11 attacks, has handed out tens of billions of dollars in grants to local police.

Local law enforcement agencies have used that money to acquire battle gear designed for war rather than public safety.

An investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that some police departments have been transformed into "army-like forces" because of the equipment they use.

... They say it is needed to go up against well-armed criminals.

But the most visible use of that equipment has come as they dispersed largely peaceful protests like those seen at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Entrepreneur receives funding for 'tornado' power generator


I don't see how that's supposed to work. Gotta envy the grant though. Real tornadoes operate across H2O phase state changes in between very warm and very cold air. Seems like what this fellow is making is a dust devil.

Last X'mas train from Sydney to Newcastle CBD

Wanton destruction of bus ramp in Sydney continues