The October 2008 Energy Update

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The October 2008 Energy Update

  • The election in the US is next week and I'm not sure who to vote for.

    Well, I find that a pretty scary statement, especially from someone who is as articulate and well-reasoned as you seem to be. God help us all if there are sufficient numbers of Americans who would express thoughts in a similar vein.

  • He's clearly going to vote Republican - he called the US a company 😀

  • Oil companies forsake all alternatives, as they cut profits. Care for profits is above everything. I don't mean just alternatives for fuel (ethanol, hydrogen from plants) and energy (wind, solar, tidal), but also for materials like plastic, motor lubricants, etc.

    There are several useful plants that grow well in harsh land without much water, if nothing else they suck CO2 from atmosphere and accumulate solar energy, which is a lot cleaner than solar panels. Solar panels look as clean energy, but it's not as a lot of energy is used for production and a lot of water polluted, which is one of reasons for their high price.

  • He's clearly going to vote Republican...

    I know Steve well enough to vouch for him: If he says he's undecided, he's undecided. Although pundits and the partisan would disagree (on both sides), I completely understand people who are undecided, even now. It's that kind of race during these kind of times.

    I agree with you on going green, Steve. For me it's not so much about the oil and environment; it's about security. I take nothing away from the environmental folks. The environment has become more of a concern since I learned I'm going to be a grandfather. That's an admission of shortsightedness and selfishness, but it is what it is.

    I see an opportunity for a win-win. We can gain more security and help the environment by reducing our dependence on oil, foreign and domestic.

    Like you Steve, I'm impressed by Mr. Pickens' plan. I like the concept of a technological bridge. I don't know if wind is the answer or not, but I think Pickens' plan has a practical and pragmatic "architecture".

    I believe both US presidential candidates will make changes regarding US energy policy if elected. In my observation, both have adjusted their positions - even during the campaign - to include better and more practical plans. I admire them equally for so doing. I don't think anyone has the perfect plan as of 30 Oct 2008. The person leading the US had better be flexible and open to new and different ideas. They should also be willing to cross the ideological / philosophical boundaries of their party for better ideas. I see those traits in both candidates, so I'm optimistic we'll see some push similar to the moon shot of the 60's to accomplish this.

    :{> Andy

    Andy Leonard, Chief Data Engineer, Enterprise Data & Analytics

  • Actually I think every country should do this, but especially the larger companies like the US and China

    Maybe this is a sublte commentary on where the country is heading? Although the country has not been on track to post a profit lately, we have certainly done everything possible to make sure the largest profits possible were being garnered by some companies.

  • ok... so i had a real nice reply typed up... then it errored when i hit reply. Oh well... now you just get a semi bulleted rant.

    Take small steps. Replace your roof with steel. If you put down foam sheeting on top of your existing sheeting and then the steel you gain R and you also will not have the roof noise that people complained about before. It is not like standing in a steel pole building. Replace appliances with more efficient ones as they need it. Plan for future green solutions (solar, geothermal, in floor heating, wind) as you remodel.

    Plan for your childrens childrens children. There was once a rule of 7 generations used. All decisions were made on how they would impact people 7 generations into the future. Be selfish and have a good sense of self responsibility.

    As a 27 year old i cannot afford to drop 10 grand that will have a 50 % return over 30 years when we have a functional solution now. But i can plan and budget to implement in the future. Those of you who are further along financially can still plan future but also start to implement to better the technology.

    A huge issue is also need. Do you NEED that? Turn off things like servers, vcrs, printers, fans, etc. Take some time instead of just convenience. Use technology wisely. How often do you use the server in your basement? make it WOL.

    Take some small steps. We cannot expect to turn this around individually but it takes all of us to do something big or small to move forward.

    I am not a treehugging dirt worshipper. That is my wife. We have quite the discussions. She feels that no cost should be spared to go green. I see it as a progression as we have time, money and reason. I am far more utilitarian about it. There are just some common sense stuff we can do. And remember. A working semi efficient appliance is still more efficient than sending it to the scrapyard to buy a new more efficient appliance. You need to take disposal and manufacturing into account.

  • This is the type of thing that we ought to start requiring on more buildings.

    This is a dangerous thing. Who is "we". If it's the government that's a bad idea. Government solves nothing. It may put a band aid on a problem, but they solve nothing. it is the ingenuity of the people and the push from consumers that should drive this sort of thing, not a government mandate. Let's face it, the people of the US (and probably other countries) are demanding more fuel efficiency, driven by the cost of gas, and the automakers are responding by designing more hybrids and seriously taking a look at electronic[/url] and fuel cell [/url]vehicles. That was driven by the market, not by the Government.

  • Like Steve, I'm not the biggest fan of Mr. Pickens, but I appreciate that he at least has a plan to get us started.

    Energy is both a security and economic issue. As long as massive amounts of our resources are traveling outside of our borders, we're going in the wrong way financially. Not all of the money goes to our enemies (lots go to Canada, for example) but a lot of it goes to countries that are clearly set to destabilize both us and other free democrocies.

    I appreciate that this is not a primarily political site, but since the topic is here, I don't think the democrats can put their hearts and souls into a truly varied effort in this matter. The best solution has to take into account all sources, including known ones like nuclear and oil. All of the people who don't want offshore drilling, all or the people who don't want fossil fuels in general (such as "clean" coal), and all of the anti-nuclear people are in the democratic party. Even if the presidential candidate of that party can be gotten to the point of "I'll consider the options" (at least that's what he says publicly) for these energy sources, his party won't let him get very far. And wind, solar, and biofuels just aren't going to fill the gap for decades. Whatever you think about social issues or economic structures, the democrats are bad news on energy and security. We won't get anywhere on solving other problems if we are unsafe and broke.

    “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”

  • Being undecided is good. At least I think so. Our legal system (should) function like that in court, I'm giving all candidates another week to do/say something that I can believe in. As an FYI, I'm leaning Libertarian more than anything.

    No commentary on large companies, but on the state of the world. China, the US, we are large companies. We have the ability to sway how things work in the world. I'd like to see our governments trying to push things forward because companies do work for profits, often work too hard, and forget there's more than profit. I wish we had more consortiums, or maybe university research into basics and practical applications. Then licenses for those products to all companies, but perhaps preferential for those companies that participate and help fund research.

    It can't be all commercial because they look for ideas/products that are profitable, not necessarily better for the environment/security.

    T Boone is an oil/gas guy. Seeing him convert to wind is a nice idea. Not necessarily sure that he has the best solution, but he's betting his own money on making a difference. He could do anything, including going for more gas/oil work, but he's putting money into alternative, renewable energy production.

  • First, anthropogenic global warming is a hoax. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a vital nutrient for plants so lets drill for oil, gas and mine for coal.

    Solar energy is too diffuse ie 160 W/m2 . It takes square miles of solar panels to generate similar quantities of electricity as a small traditional power plant.

    Wind is unreliable because peak efficiency is only achieved with winds over 31 mph. The German experience shows that you only get 30% of the rated power of the turbine at best and you still need backup traditional power for when the wind stops blowing.

    They key to our energy future is E=mc2. Fission energy is clean, safe and reliable and we can do it now. If the Carter executive order preventing the reprocessing of nuclear fuel is reversed we could eliminate 90% of the waste and create fuel while we make electricity ie the plutonium breeder cycle. Fusion is the future.

    Biofuels are not smart if it is based on growing things. It will compete with farmland and cause food prices to rise. It only makes sense if it is based on waste reduction.

    Government needs to get out of the way and let the ingenuity of the american people to innovate. Government's sad attempts to regulate and pick winners and losers circumscribe the art of the possible and prevent unexpected from happening. Government is incapable of solving this problem because it has to resort to force and coercion.

  • Being undecided is good. At least I think so....I'm giving all candidates another week to do/say something that I can believe in.

    In many cases, yes. But in this case?

    Your economy is shot; I've been reading about the fundamental rottenness of the US economy for several years. One candidate has almost no idea about the economy.

    You're engaged in a war that most other countries condemn, and many of your own citizens also. Yet one candidate will stay in Iraq "for 100 years if necessary".

    One VP candidate is hideous, and it's deeply frightening to see anyone taking this candidate seriously. One heartbeat away from the presidency, etc.

    Either candidate is a major improvement on the present incumbent, that's quite clear. But in the eyes of most of the world, you've not had such a obvious choice for such a long time.

    Really, you need to elect 2 presidents. One for the rest of the world where many of us yearn for a decent and honourable America to be restored if it's not already too late. And one to look after domestic affairs in one of the less civilized nations of the world. Gun control, public health, capital punishment, corporate America - just 4 areas where you are so far behind most of the rest of the world.

  • Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a vital nutrient for plants

    Now I'm not a scientist, but logically, haven't we increased the amount of CO2 being output and decreased the amount green stuff on the ground that sucks up that CO2?

    Seems like, if we don't now, we will soon (generationally speaking) have a CO2 gap. Not as bad as a facial hair gap, but perhaps more difficult to fix.

  • Gap? This a non problem that does not need fixing. The CO2 concentration has gone from 280 ppm in 1850 to 380 ppm today. You worry about something that makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere. It is the limiting nutrient for plants. Plant growth increases dramatically when CO2 increases. We have already seen improved crop yield as a result so lets keep on burning oil, gas and coal.

    The Northeast US was deforested at the beginning of the twentieth century. Now the forest is almost entirely grown back. As countries get richer the environment improves.

  • There is no one solution to oil. I actually think Oil will continue to exist. Each house, will use a different alternative source.

    In other words we will have hybrid energy, since alternative energy will never replace oil completely. One thing that I am surprised is that Africa and other developing countries should install alternative energy.

    I understand that Europe and North America cannot change quickly since there are already have the infrastructure.

    But Africa and other countries who are building an economy can start using it immediately.


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