A gentle cough about where electricity comes from

Jerome a Paris seems to feel that I am being somewhat hard on Gazprom, and that I should recognize that they are a good provider with a more than adequate reserve, and that I should therefore, I suppose, shut up.

At the risk of being a tad repetitive, let me therefore explain, and clarify, some of my concerns. To begin let me state that very obviously Gazprom and Russian interests are not the same as those of the West. Gazprom has every right to run their business to their own advantage, and that is not the major point of concern. However, what has to be of concern to the governments of each nation that it supplies with natural gas, is the reliability and price of the product that it is marketing. If those countries come to rely increasingly on Russian supply, then any disruption in that supply can have significant domestic consequences. Typically these shortages seem to fall in the winter, at a time where, as we learned from Colorado last spring, severe weather can limit production from gas fields. It is at those times that domestic power consumption goes up. And while not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, I have to cough gently and point out, to some of our readers (though not Jerome), that electricity does not magically appear out of an outlet.

The power shortage that I wrote of that concerns the Moscow mayor will cascade back to the fuel that powers the generator stations. And that, increasingly, is natural gas. I was told, on one of my visits over there, that the Moscow Coal Basin is no longer that productive, and the coals are lignite and low grade bituminous and the major mines of the Don Basin are now in Ukraine. Thus one finds that power stations in the region are largely powered by gas
As a major power-generating center, the region has six electric power plants, including the Shchekino Novomoskovsk and Cherepets thermal power plants (Shchekinskaya, Novomoskovskaya, and Cherepetskaya GRES) and the Aleksin, Pervomaisk, and Efremov cogeneration plants (Aleksinskaya, Pervomaiskaya, and Efremovskaya TETs). Power generated by the region meets 60-65% of regional demand, while the shortfall is purchased on RAO UES of Russia's (RAO EES Rossii) wholesale market.

Three of these power plants use natural gas and coal from the Moscow basin as fuel, one of them operates on gas and fuel oil, one on gas only, and one on imported coal and fuel oil. Gas makes up more than 92% of the fuel balance of AO Tulenergo's power plants, coal makes up about 6.5%, and fuel oil makes up the remainder. At Cherepets, the region's most powerful thermal plant, coal from the Ekibastuz, Kuznetsk, and Karaganda basins makes up 85.5% of the fuel and fuel oil, 14.5%.

It is one of the concerns, not mainly for Russia, since they do have the natural gas for their own plants, but it has to be of concern to those countries, whether in Europe or America, where an increasing number of power stations are being persuaded to use natural gas as their primary power source. The limitations on this supply, which Dave in particular has articulated in several cogent articles, and the reliance on a single source, or pipeline to provide that supply, in not prudent.

I can understand that Gazprom want the reassurance of having a confirmed customer before they make the major investments that will be needed in new fields. It is, as Jerome says

Neither big pipelines not big LNG projects are built on the basis of market mechanisms. They require long term "take-or-pay" contracts (i.e. the buyer has to pay whether it needs the gas or not) that cannot be cancelled; price formulas set for the whole duration, and strict contractual terms on all parties in the chain: the gas provider, the transporter and the buyer. This is the only way to finance these investments, as they need a minimum of visibility for anyone to pitch in the multi-billion dollar amounts needed before a single molecule can flow. All oil&gas companies know this, and use the same kind of contracts, because it's the only way this business works.
However that concern goes both ways, and it is the long-term reliability of supply that has to concern governments. Stating that Britain has some cause for concern
the UK is running out of natural gas faster than expected, as North Sea production is now in rapid decline. This has created, in the absence of available alternatives (and also due to an accident as a storage facility) some brutal natural gas price spikes (up to the equivalent of 240$/bl of oil equivalent - see Countdown to 100$ oil (22) - gas shortages in the UK - 240$/boe), and panic within the Blair government, worried that it would be blamed for its lack of foresight. (see EU Energy reform = give Britain access to the continent's cheap spare capacity);
means that, regardless of cause, they now have to find an answer. Can sufficient natural gas be supplied to the UK in the face of their declining supply and increasing demand?

And what about the longer term concerns in the US about supplies of LNG? As Nate pointed out the announcement that Exxon will not be allowed to book the new reserves at Sakhalin that they are finding beyond the limits of the current leases, raises a worry. Not that Russia don't have the right to do this. But when this is added to the pressures that Shell are seeing with Sakhalin 2, and the fact that Russia is now considering China as a more significant customer, has to give those who might have been counting on Russian LNG a bit of concern, for where else might they find an alternative supply?

I guess, now that they are re-opening talks on developing Shtokman, we will find out whether this is a general attitude change, or just due to local issues. Though if American companies are frozen out, it will just add to the concerns as to where the needed supply might come from in the quantities required.

And again an apology that, while I would like to continue this discussion further, for the 3rd Sunday in a row I will be over the Atlantic, and, I suspect, with very limited Internet access for the next short while. But I hope to pick this up, perhaps with some additional viewpoints, after a couple of weeks.

I suspect that Gazprom will be able to supply all the full price paying customers.  As for the FSU customers paying the friends and family rate, they need to be stockpiling sweaters.

It's a bit unfair to suggest that I'd like you (Heading Out) to shut up. I'm certianly not saying that one should not worry about security of supply, but I am certainly saying that the issue is being hyped by people with other motices as well, and is being polluted by other games being played.

  • the West has no reason to doubt Gazprom's ability to fulfill its commitments. Thr Ukraine dispute proved that Gazprom will favor its reliability to the West over its income form Ukraine (it caved to Ukriane BEFORE any deal was reached) and all the European buyers know it well, since the 1993 and 1994 episodes, which were substantially similar to the one this year)

  • meanwhile, the EU Commission, in its ideological drive to create "competition", is try to ditch ther long term contracts that are at the core of the gas industry in Europe, and, in doing so, is directly threatening Gazprom's long term ability to finance its future investments. Gazprom is understandably miffed at this, and that conversation has been going on for years with, again, a good chunk of the industry (and DG TREN - the energy directorate) much closer to Gazprom's position than to the Commission (the competition and internal market directorates)

  • inside Russia, Gazprom has to deal with the fact that it is obliged to deliver gas at low prices to users, starting with power plants. It is in a long running campaign to get these prices increased. Creating the impression of shortages, and getting those clients that are able to to pay higher prices on the grey market for additional supplies are good things from Gazprom's perspective. They do not signal per se that there is a supply problem - just that there is a suply problem at low subsidized prices.

  • some doubt Gazprom's ability to put more reserves online and to increase production when it will be needed. Why should it invest for capacity that can only be sold at low prices now. When it really needed extra production, it quickly ramped up Zapolyarnoye. Do people actually realise whant it means to put 100 bcm/y on line in less than 5 years and for a few billion dollars? Gazprom just created another Shell in terms of production size) out of thin air. When it will be needed, more fields, whether from Yamal or elsewhere, will come on line when needed. Remember that there is a history of skepticism that Gazprom can deliver - skepticism which has each time been contradicted by facts. People said that Blue Stream would never happen. It did, and Gazprom cornered the Turkish market. People mock the much delayes Yamal-Europe pipeline. But it WAS built. Only, it's the "Europe' bit (i.e. the Western branch from Western Russia to Germany via Poland) which was built, thus ensuring that Gazprom had the requisite export capacity for the 2000 decade. So no I don't buy the "Gazprom won't make it" arguments.

  • deliveries to China will happen from fields that are totally separate from those that send gas to Europe. Westenr Siberia is simply too far form China to make it worthwhile to build pipelines between the two. It just does not make sense. China is just not a credible threat, and if it's believed in the West, it's just because our politicians and pundits are too stupid to leanr about the industry or because they have ulterior motives in generating energy-linked geopolitical tensions.

  • as I've written before, my contention is that the tensions with Russia are being whipped up by those that are trying to hide their own incompetent policies (Blair), that are trying to wrest some power (the EC trying to get a role as an energy policy maker in lieu of the States, and trying to exert its power over the EDFs and E.Ons of the continent) or that have generally happy to whip up the atmosphere of fear and conflict (and scapegoating) rather than looking for real solutions to our energy problems - solutions that might impact the profits of their friends in the oil and military industries (Cheney).
Nice post, as usual, but of all the contributors on TOD I wish you used a spell checker.  It can be very hard to keep up with the typos.
Jerome, big thanks for this. It has been a long term necessity for someone to uncover the double standards with which Russia and russian businesses are being treated by the Western governments.

The most important point IMO is that this campaign is purely political. I agree with you, and I think some circles exploit the negative image of the ex-USSR which Russia inherited to use it as a scapegoat for their own incompetent policies. I only expect this trend to worsen in time. We (US, West Europe) will become the "innocent victums" of those evil energy producers (Russia, Iran, etc.) or competitors (China).

The distant end of the Gazprom pipeline, Italy, is fully paying, and yet got 6,5% less gas than contracted in the period 17.1 to 16.3.06. The source of the data is ENI, you find a graphic display at www.energiekrise.de news, if you stroll down a bit. http://www.energiekrise.de/news/imaqes2006/04aug_italgas.gif
So is the ukrainian cock up a cover up for a strained supplier ?
The prospect of FSU gas import dependence seems to mortify some European countries. For example both Denmark and Germany now seem to have reached 'peak renewables' in marginal cost terms. According to TOD posters increased coal and nuclear are likely despite earlier pledges to the contrary. Russian gas seems like a poison pill that makes former vegetarians now prefer to eat steak.
I cannot see a peak renewables in marginal costs, neither in Denmark, nor in Germany. Just think about the coming offshore wind farms. These are certainly more expensive to build, however they will deliver much more electricity with lower fluctuations. There are many, very huge parks being planned in the North Sea.

Other forms of renewables are almost untapped. Think about the deep geothermal energy to produce electricty. There are several projects going on here in Germany right now. Here we have the opportunity to gain experience in this very elegant form of renewable energy. Which will be as well a new field of work for geologist and drilling companies.

Other renewables will fo as well a significant job. I can see many, many buildings without s solar thermal collector on the roof. There is still a lot of space for it.

The extension of renewables will go on. Higher prices for imported natural gas from Russia will only help to accelerate this process. Markets need some pressure to develop and the best way of pressure are higher prices.

greetings from sunny Berlin, marotti32

This article implies that Germany at least needs new coal plants to meet electricity demand over the next 15 years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/20/business/worldbusiness/20eurocoal.html?ex=1308456000&en=a692e5 0cc3a0de27&ei=5088&partner=rssny

The 8 new plants described will generate 3-4 times the annual production of electricity from Germany's current Wind installations (10 GW peak from memory.)

A much better piece than yesterday.  Although GAZP, Russia and market mechanisms seem antithetical I suspect/know that the expected increase in domestic gas prices is causing siginficant increases in investment in gas production for doemstic consumption.

Turning it in to electricty and the hot water that I have just washed in is an entirely different story.

Apologies, HO. I'm always spoiling your threads. Oil is my thing, I'm trying to get myself up to speed on Gas.

As a sidelight - we need a second auto thread round about the time HO posts. It's about time, Folks. We don't need an editor. Just an autothread/openthread.

Anyway, I'm just posting here because I'm sure JEROME will see it.

Jerome, excellent work, as always. Not going to get into the debate you got going here with HO and others.

I'm just concerned with numbers you posted in your Thursday DKos file. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/9/7/81746/22730

I left the last comment there yesterday morning.

I was hoping that when I clicked on the Energy Bulletin Link I would get some stuff from Simmons International. Instead I got a very small editorial from Matt and an addendum from Peak Oil Review.

Can somebody tell me exactly what "Peak Oil Review" is and who their "Editors" are? Clicking on the link leads to an ASPO page.

Because, Jerome, the numbers and the tables you produced are from these people. I'm not saying they are wrong. I'm saying the whole deal is highly misleading.

Somebody produced a table from BP numbers and attempted to draw some pretty large conclusions from the cherry-picked results. Simmons' words as an introduction are also extremely vague.

I have produced numbers regarding imports/consumption/exports here in the past that are by far more detailed than what we see in this Peak Oil Review table. I am currently working on an even far more detailed, up-to-date, and extensive review. It was sad to see Simmons say in his second sentence of the article you referenced that,"I have not have had to check..." Maybe he needs an editor.

I also find it odd that Energy Bulletin is publishing a piece with Simmons in one half disparaging BP and in the second half all the data supporting claims is from BP.

I fail to see how China, Gabon, Uzbekistan, Syria, and (especially)Cameroon belong anywhere near these tables. These inclusions should have raised some alarm bells.

Typo, Simmons said...

At the end of August each year, the IEA updates the past 15 years' reports with all the latest revisions. I have not had time to check and see how big any revisions have been.
I'll be happy to see your numbers when you have them and, if appropriate, post the appropriate correction on ET if anything I posted based in Simmons' article is false or misleading.

But I think that the numbers I focused on, and the conclusions drawn, should stand, i.e. that the biggest oil producers, and in particular those wit hte ability to increase production, are also substantially increasing their internal consumption, thus eating in their additiona lexport capacity, while those that are in decline are also seeing storng demand growth, thus compounding the need for more substitute exports).

Basically, demand growth is very strong, especially since the decline in the FSU stopped.

You got it. Thanks for responding. I'll be sending you something in next few days. I'm adding the Simmons/POR numbers to my database right now. There are some huge differences from EIA numbers as far as ordering and(I think)overall significance.

And again, I'm not calling anybody wrong here. I'm trying to practice Love. But there are most definitely different ways of looking at numbers.

I would urge you to take a look at the case of Equitorial New Guinea and place it on your top/bottom 20 list.

Keep up the good work,
OilCEO a Boston


I took the EIA 2004 list of top 10 net oil exporters (total liquids) and compared their 6/06 production to their 12/05 production (EIA crude + condensate).   For consumption, I guesstimated that their 2006 crude + condensate consumption was probably about the same as their 2004 total liquids consumption (Arab producing countries showed about a 5% increase in oil consumption in 2005 versus 2004).  

In any case, that exercise led to an estimated annual decline rate of 9.2% in net crude + condensate exports (based on 12/05 to 6/06 data) from the top 10 net oil exporters.  

IMO, we are in the calm before another round of bdding for declining net oil exports.  

Two questions:  (1) Do you agree with the "calm before the storm" premise regarding net exports and (2)  Do you foresee falling, stable or increasing oil production in Russia a year from now (relative to current production)?

BTW, I think that we are seeing a developing campaign worldwide to blame declining oil production on mismanagment of oil reseves by national oil companies (NOC's), e.g., Saudi Aramco.  

To some extent this might be true, but I think that it is a rounding error.  Once the big fields roll over and go downhill, in most cases all better technology can do is to slow the rate of decline.  I believe that this line of reasoning--NOC's are to blame for falling production--will be used to justify military takeovers of oil exporters.

Jeffrey J. Brown

Oil CEO,

'Peak Oil Review' is in fact published by ASPO-USA. The editor is Tom Whittle, whose articles on peak oil in the Falls Church News-Press are often republished in the Energy Bulletin.

Much appreciated. Thank You.
Tom Whittle?

Tom Whipple twhipple(a)erols.com

I also find it odd that Energy Bulletin is publishing a piece with Simmons in one half disparaging BP and in the second half all the data supporting claims is from BP.

While we're on the topic, i.e. off-topic:

The only good reason for disparaging BP is that they have in the past been overly conservative in their reserve estimates  -- they almost got as much stick from Odell et.al. as did Colin Campbell for initially predicting the peak to occur in 1989 (or thereabouts).

This is all very well explained in an excellent article by Roger Bentley titled 'Global Oil and Gas Depletion', which you will find here (PDF file).

Perhaps it is partly because they tend to rely on BP's definition that peak oil forecasters err by paying too little attention to the magnitude of the yet-to-find fraction. As everybody probably knows, BP defines 'proved reserves' as follows:

Proved reserves of oil- Generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in thefuture from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. [my italics]

known reservoirs? No wonder peak oil analysts find it so difficult to accommodate discoveries such as Chevron's recent GOM mini-elephant.

Apologies for reinventing the wheel.

If you're ever in Middlefield, California, take the free tour of the CalPine geothermal electricity plant. It's absolutely amazing, and the best part is after you see all this .... stuff, and the old engineer giving the tour tells you, "You know, people just don't understand how much work goes into this, they think you just get eletricity by flipping a switch."

Call for assistance here!  :-O
  How much does anyone know about the Propane futures market and propane marketing in general?  

Who ever heard of futures prices dropping like a sack of shiiit in Sept. on Oct. futures, coming right into the demand season....there is something fascinating going on here...:-?

I will tell you what, if you folks, especially the ones who in the petro trade, will give me any information and or links to good info, (not just the promo stuff from the LPG producers associations), I will do something you all did not think possible, and leave with a short post for the night :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout  :-)

Roger: I brought up the propane futures market here a few months ago: What seems totally weird is the seeming lack of correlation between NG prices and propane; one would think they would move in generally the same direction, but eyeballing some charts seems to indicate this is not the case. As for why, have not a clue - unless BP is back in the game playing manipulation.
Propane, also known as Liquified Petroleum Gas, is a product of oil. Oil prices are down. It's stored in saltdome storage caverns, like Mt. Bellvieu (Barbers Hill) and the caverns are full because of the short US winter last year. So no conspiracy is needed, and although the guys at BP are stupid I doubt they are that stupid.
My propane supplier (I use propane to heat my domestic hot water) says the US Gov. was buying quantity for Iraq over the summer.  Maybe the gov. has stopped buying?  
Since HO says he'll be out of town, I'll attempt to hijack this thread again.

HO is one of my favorite editors here. It is even easier to say that now that Stuart is gone. (Oh! c'mon - you know I'm just saying that - I love the rest of you, too).

The disagreements between Dave and HO on the one hand and Jerome on the other are extremely interesting. Especially since their views on so many other topics are so similar.

In a note to Jack: Jerome's diary http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/9/7/81746/22730 has a link to a very long comment by an HiD concerning oil markets -  http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2006/9/6/213625/6185#4

The second link is on the European Tribune. HiD is a guy or gal whose stuff I have read before. They seem to be quite knowledgeable. I wish HiD would post here. (Maybe he does?)

Anyway - Chris Cook chimes in for several lengthy comments and mentions Iranian Oil Bourse. Thought you might find that of interest.

HiD is a former oil/oil products trader for one of the big oil majors. He posts fairly regularly at European Tribune. He has an interesting "Countdown to $50 oil" diary right now: http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2006/9/8/8621/91135.

Chris Cook has been posting quite a lot in recent times on ET as well, both on his Iranian oil bourse work as well as for the potential for LLPs to be used to create new financing structures in the energy structure. (I'll say upfront that I'm skeptical on both fronts, but the discussion has been interesting)

Thought I'd drop in a little fiction. The year is 2015.  It is 12:35 Central standard time and a fusion burp unleashes a few billion photons from the surface of the sun. Only one in 10 billion actually heads in the direction of the earth, but less than 9 minutes later that energized photon hits the surface of a six month old, 45% efficient, thin film solar panel on the roof of a home in St.Louis. This breaks loose two electrons and they flow through circuits to a super capacitor which is part of the PV energy collection system on the home. Placed on the house 5 years ago it has recently been upgraded to allow supplying both power for the home and for the one electric car the 12 occupants own. There the electrons sit until they are suddenly transferred to the nanotech lithium ion batteries in the electric car about to be driven by one of the occupants. As it turns out, her short trip to the corner store does not use these electrons and they later find themselves traveling through plug in  additional circuits to the electric grid as part of the distributed electric generation and storage system of which this house is a part. The distributed electric generation and storage system is the brainchild of present energy secretary Roger Conner, and his brainstorming trust of Bob Shaw and Don Sailorman.  Roger, and his under secretary Stuart Staniford, were both, interestingly enough, part of the Rogue peak oil Blog, The Oil Drum, which had predicted the problems before the "BIG Upheaval" and the loss of the internet.
    The world is just starting to adjust to the turmoil created when it became obvious that oil production worldwide was starting to decline which caused the localized Mad Max wars of 2008, the subsequent  quiet revolution in 2009, and the present world population of 4 billion.. The imposition of Marshall Law by President Pelosi ( She was third in line when the terrorist bomb blew up the White House in 2007) in January of 2009 stopped the turmoil, the catastrophic freefall of the various American currencies, including the Yergins, and allowed the creation of the Combined Americas, which was now competing with the Asian bloc (China, including what used to be  the middle east, eastern Russia, all of India, the Stans,  Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia) and the European conglomeration which includes Turkey, western Russia and the rest of old Europe and Africa. Somehow we avoided nuclear exchanges but the economic wars were almost as debilitating, as were the Chinese land wars which viciously quieted the muslim uprisings. All mideast oil is presently under the control of the Asian bloc.
The first item of business, for the Combined Americas, after securing all oil and gas production under one central control, (adios Hugo) was the Electric car Apollo project, which interestingly enough did not include any of the previous big three auto makers. Much of the industrial capability of the rust belt was taken out by the fairly rapid Mad Max wars of late 2008, which also decimated much of the sunbelt but, fortunately little of central and South America. This project was managed by Robert Rapier and was already to the state of 45% replacement of the fleet. The addition of the distributed generation and storage system was implemented in 2012 and, under the control of Rapid Transit Intl. chairman Alan Drake, a long time advocate of electric mass transit, the electric grid was back to 30% and was expected to provide widespread minimal service within 7 more years. Population is still falling but time will tell how well we cope. The unemployment rate is estimated to be down to 28%. There are few wild animals or pets left but food sources are beginning to crop up as more people learn organic techniques. It looks like we may recover, over time, but it has been one hell of a ride.
Excellent stuff. You need to work on this and definitely expand. I would suggest cutting out references to the Oil Drum. After all, we all know who everybody is. It is that much funnier and interesting when we get to see each other in a different light. I hope you pursue this idea.

Sailorman has published the first of a trio of post peak novels for young adults on the linked site. I would caution, some of the material is for adults. Also beware the website layout and  any problems with the font. His editor must be a complete idiot. But I've been assured the minor problems will be corrected soon. I guess we should call it the Beta version.

The Adventure's of C.C. Eggum

How did that apostrophe get in there?
That was just me. I can't spell. I mean I can't type. I don't know actually. That's kinda weird. Anyway, it musta definitely been me.
brainstorming trust of Bob Shaw and Don Sailorman.

So nice to see Don "God Clearance" Sailorman back working for the government.

Two of five people dead in 8 years... that's too pessimistic to read at Saturday afternoon. Good piece though.
The world has collapsed once because of lack of energy.
-> yet people can afford to use the car for short trips to the corner store?

I like it, thanks for the honorable mention :-).....great imagination....do you think we can get a mention in there of what the "hackers" might be working on by then though....something like....


I like your mention of "the Electric car Apollo project, which interestingly enough did not include any of the previous big three auto makers."

If you want to see why the big makers won't be in the picture, in America or otherwise, check the disclaimer at the bottom of the link above:

"BMW (UK) Ltd has requested that we mention they have no involvement with this project and that such conversions invalidate warranty!"

The hackers are trying to give them stuff on a silver platter, and they are too blind to take it, they should be paying to be involved....hard to feel sorry for um' ....

Roger Conner known to you as ThatsItImout

It is a mystery to me how there can be a Gazprom thread without the name "Putin" occurring in it, so there you have it.  

You could have at least given us a photo. Go have a cup of coffee. Too bad we can't link Dr. Strangelove to Gazprom in some esoteric way. Hmmm. It's Saturday. Loosen up a little. Plus, HO's out of town. Nobody guarding the hen-house until Leanan gets in at 9. Do you smoke?

Electricity does not magically
appear out of an outlet

Would somebody please jack their electric bills up by at least 33%?  They need a big slap in the face that will end the associating between "wind farms" and "controversy".
Firm files for wind farm
Union Leader Correspondent
Friday September 8, 2006

The company proposing a controversial wind farm on Lempster Mountain has filed its application with the state Site Evaluation Committee.

The action marks the first step in the evaluation process for what could be the first major source of wind power in New Hampshire and one of the first new wind power sources in New England in more than decade.

In July, the SEC said it would review the plan, simultaneously rejecting the developer's request for a speedy review. The state's involvement will add paperwork and delays to the start of construction, which developer Community Energy Inc. fears may cause it to miss up to $15 million in federal tax credits.

The state committee unanimously voted to oversee the project after residents and town officials petitioned it to do so.

Great, all the grass roots support is so out-of-touch with Peak Oil it's pathetic.

My favorite opening statement to a newbie is: Everybody's heard of Global Warming but have you heard of Peak Oil? It immediately creates the correct associations that enable them to feel the size and scope of the issue.

Going back to the article I see this unbelievable statement:

The SEC examines energy projects, but has never reviewed a renewable energy project before. Typically, it oversees larger-scale power facilities, such as the Seabrook nuclear power plant. This also marks the first time the petition process has been used to trigger such a review.
Never underestimate the awesome power of lemmings going over a cliff.
Is there a way we can hook turbines to the cliff to catch the lemmings?
I love the image.  Wish I could draw.  Hmmm...wonder what my kid's doing....
He's in the backyard blowing up frogs with the toy rocket engines you gave him for Christmas. At least that's what I was doing before I discovered minibikes, comicbooks, and girls.

Don't worry about drawing. That is a black art. Learn html. A little html goes a long way. I'm pretty sure Step Back is already working on this lemmings thing.

It's not lemming power.
It's called Gravity.
Mother Nature owns all of it ya know.

The only "power" had by a lemming going over the ledge is the power for a last moment "Oh Oh" whether thunk or uttered out loud.

Still, there's a little gravitational energy there. You could run an overshot water wheel off of 'em for example ... I loved the lemming cartoon you posted the other day:
You could run an overshot water wheel off of 'em for example ...

I suppose one could draw some deeper insight from your observation, like:

We power our non-negotiable way of life by using those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

They died so we could be free ....
... to gas up cheaply.

These non-cartoon pictures always make me sad. Behind each box is a family, ... a mother, father, siblings, cousins, who all invested a lifetime of love, hope and effort into raising a young person, from babyhood through toddler, teenager, college graduate. And for what? For this? Something has gone terribly wrong here.


I'm seeing a red bar at the bottom of your post. Almost the exact height of a row. I'm not sure if you are seeing that. I don't know what it is or if you tried to put an image there? Maybe it's just my computer?

Your biggest fan.

red bar at the bottom of your post

You should be seeing a picture of a lemming going over the edge saying "oops"
Comes across fine for me via FireFox. Do you use that alternative browser? What's it called? A IE O's U? Y?

Here is the link in text form:

That is totally weird. I always use firefox for this site. All day yesterday, I was getting red bar. (So you don't know what I'm talking about?). Just now when I clicked in, I also got red bar. I read your comment, then went to your website, came back cuz I needed to reference comment to verify where it was - and lo and behold, them little buggers wuz jumpin' off. I'd tell you I'm not crazy, but I'm sure you've heard that one before. So it's working. I'm just seeing things.
I'd tell you I'm not crazy,

Got the same weird result with Opera 8.5 on Linux.

Just some (guessed) wizardry from the blogspot.com hosting.
In order to alleviate their bandwidth load they disable "hot linking" of images from their site.
If the image is not embedded in one of THEIR pages the server refuse to send it.
But once you have accessed the original page including the image, the image is in your browser cache and though the server still deny access the browser use the cached image instead.
The nasty trick is that the poster (step back in this case) has NO WAY to know this happens because having most probably loaded the source page the image IS available to him no matter what.

Isn't technology wonderful in making you "believe in the devil".

This reminds me a very good one of the same vein which is well known to hackers since long, long ago.

Some day an user of an early time-sharing system ran into a "devilish" problem:

Whenever he stood up while typing his password he could not login, whereas everything worked fine when he was SITTING!

The "devil" was once again wrongly blamed!

He was a touch typist and when sitting did not have to look at the keys, when standing his typing "automatisms" didn't worked and he HAD to look at the keys, too bad one key was mislabelled...

I think many unexplainable "supernatural" feats rely on this kind of mechanisms, so much for the fairy tales!

Calm down. It's called a bug.
No, a feature, cannot be fixed in any way spare of making the browser even dumber (never showing the denied image).

Quite a feature. That's why we call it a bug.
Ho! Ho! Weak answer, not on good day, running low?

Does not compute. Error. That's why we call it a bug.
Plausible Deniabilty. Oh, you are funny. Get rid of the "(Us)" in parentheses. I think the "me" works fine. How come you got the one dude in outline with the label "next". I always like the term "next." Just paint it on the 2nd one in line's back. Anyway, just some thoughts. Cheers brother. I'll seeya when I seeya.
Plausible Deniabilty. Oh, you are funny. Get rid of the "(Us)"

That's an old post. I intended to go back and fix it up. Never did. The "I" versus "We" was intentional. Most people are too humble to say "I" am special. But they have no compunction in saying "We" are special, we being whatever group they happen to belong to. For example, "We Americans are special. We have a special kind of ingenuity called Yankee ingenuity. That makes us smarter than everybody else on the planet. Even if bad things happen(-ned) to "them", it will not happen to "Us" because we've got these special attributes. We are immune."