Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: 2011 – A Pivotal Year?

DECEMBER 29 2010 - Wall Street is getting nervous. As oil prices continue to creep up and as more evidence accumulates that the age of ever-growing energy production and economic growth  is coming to an end, a specter is haunting the great investment banks and brokerage houses of New York. 

For five years now Wall Street and its chorus in the financial media have ignored or denied that global oil production has reached a plateau after 150 years of steady growth. Those who did admit to a problem were quick to assert that the markets would find substitutes first in the form of endless quantities of coal waiting to be exploited and more recently 100 years' worth of shale gas would come seamlessly to the rescue.

The nervousness of course is that once global energy production starts to decline, capitalism as we have known it for the last few centuries will no longer be the same. While some new form of an economic system will evolve, the transition is likely to be long and painful. Many, if not most, jobs in the financial industry will simply melt away. Hence, for many, putting off the fateful day when we have to admit the inevitable is much preferred solution. More >>>

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Road to energy security links entire region

Dec 28, 2010 - The array of solar panels lining the outskirts of Masdar City are but one indication of the Emirate's ambitious plans for harnessing the power of the sun. Shams 1, the largest  concentrated solar power plant in the Middle East being built in Madinat Zayed, is another.

And this week's announcement by Al Maskari Holding to invest in Libya's solar market is a third. As we reported yesterday, a Dh11 billion commitment to Libya's energy market will partly include "the best solar resources in the world", according to Sheikha Aisha Al Maskari, the chairwoman of Al Maskari Holding.

The Abu Dhabi-based family company is investing in Libya for the same reason that other local entities have invested in Sweden, Qatar, and Spain: the national energy policy links the UAE not just to the region, but to the world. More >>>

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Time of the Demagogues

Wednesday, December 22 2010 - The transition from 200 years of cheap and plentiful fossil fuels to an era without will go through many phases as it gradually dawns on the body politic what is happening.

A few weeks ago Virginia's U.S. Senator Mark Warner noted that the global warming debate was not so much a scientific one as it was religious. On one side were the apostles of science and on the other was the "American way of life."

When Election Day came, it was no contest - the American way of life won hands down and numerous veteran politicians were sent packing. In state after state, "cap and trade" was widely perceived as the implacable enemy of all Americans hold dear - prosperity and economic growth.

Now it shouldn't take long for one to figure out that the good times we have enjoyed for the last 200 years or so were based on cheap energy. More >>>

Can a 'Global Thermostat' Turn Climate Change Around

Global Thermostat sounds too good to be true: It's a startup company that aims to address the threat of climate change by capturing carbon dioxide from the air, and then making productive use of it.
The CO2 could be used to help plants grow faster in greenhouses, as a feedstock for algae, for enhanced oil production, as an ingredient in bottling plants, as a natural refrigerant, or as a circulating fluid in a geothermal energy installation.

While Global Thermostat calls itself "a carbon negative solution," its technology is in practice a form of geoengineering. It would appear, however, to be less risky than better-known geoengineering techniques such as solar radiation management or marine cloud whitening.
"We've faced skepticism about the solution because it's so radical," says Graciela Chichilnisky, a co-founder and managing director of Global Thermostat. But, she says, a carbon negative solution to the climate crisis will be needed "to contain rising levels of atmospheric carbon because we procrastinated too long and carbon emissions reductions do not suffice." More >>>

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red is about to become the new green, if researchers from the University of Illinois are on the right track. They’ve developed a new super-efficient strain of yeast that can easily break down red seaweed into biofuel. 

The new development could help small island nations and other sea-bound regions grow biofuel crops without giving up scarce land resources that are needed to grow food. But it also opens up some challenges down the road as human use of the marine environment increases.
Biofuel from Red Seaweed

When it comes to extracting fuel from non-food biomass, seaweed has general advantages over land crops. The most obvious one is the relative absence of hard fibers that are difficult to break down into sugars. Marine biomass degrades much more easily than land crops, but there is still a catch. When red seaweed is broken down it yields both glucose and galactose (a less “sweet” form of sugar), and until now it has been difficult to find an efficient fermentation process for galactose. The University of Illinois team identified three genes in a common microbe, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, that can be pumped up to increase galactose fermentation by 250 percent. More >>>

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gulf States Consider Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies

One big problem in getting everyone to reduce use of harmful fossil fuels is that gas is too cheap some places. The worst offenders pay the least for gas, and it has long encouraged grotesque over- consumption.

Most of Europe has long since adjusted to its high gas prices, with the UK now paying $6.60 for a full gallon, Norway and Denmark; $7.41 and $6.89 respectively. Even in Hong Kong, gas costs $6.87, according to a report published this year by US-based research firm AIRINC that collated global gas price data from around the world in US dollars.

But gas guzzling Americans, currently screeching at the prospect of topping $3,  pay only $2.85. Middle Eastern drivers are even worse. UAE residents pay even less, currently just $1.57. Kuwaitis pay only  85 cents and at the very bottom of the Gulf state list, according to Arabian Business, are the Saudis who pay just 45 cents a gallon! More >>>

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DALLAS, Dec. 16 -- Lockheed Martin will demonstrate its Intelligent Microgrid system for electrical power distribution at Fort Bliss, Texas. 

The demonstration at an Army Brigade Combat Team complex is part of a project by the U.S. Department of Defense's Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.

"Government installations must meet challenging new energy reduction and renewable energy mandates, as well as address critical energy security objectives," said Gil Metzger, director of Intelligent Microgrid Solutions at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Our Intelligent Microgrid Solutions provide the efficiency, reliability and security necessary to satisfy such demanding requirements for our customers."

An Intelligent Microgrid manages the distribution of electrical power generated by various sources, continuously balancing loads and supplies while ensuring that all elements of the grid perform at peak efficiency, whether they're connected to a larger grid or operating in an isolated mode.  More >>>

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Climate-Vulnerable Island States Get Boost For Moving Into Renewable Energy

Some of the smallest and most vulnerable island nations in the world will benefit from a new initiative signed off in Cancun last week, aimed at increasing these countries’ access to renewable sources of energy.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Government of Denmark, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recognising the disproportionate harm of climate change for small island developing states and aims to support island countries to scale up their renewable energy efforts and shift to greater energy efficiency.
An 80 million Danish kroner (€11 million) pledge of support from the Government of Denmark has helped kick off the initiative, which is expected to help island states from the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Islands regions transition to low-emission, climate-resilient development paths.
World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick jointly signed the agreement with Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada and head of AOSIS; Lykke Friis, Denmark’s Minister for Climate and Energy; and Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. Zoellick said the initiative supports a group of nations that have been among the most active and most vocal at climate negotiations for many years.
“Small island developing states have been sounding the alarm about climate change for years now and have earned the title of ‘the conscience of the climate convention’,” Zoellick said. “They are leaders in taking actions on adaptation, and the World Bank Group has increased support to them for this purpose. This new initiative extends this support to clean energy, which will contribute to mitigation and also help reduce the islands states’ very high import bills for fuel.”
Breaking oil dependence
Because of their size and remoteness, most small island developing states are heavily dependent on imported petroleum for their energy needs. Some countries spend an estimated 25 – 50 percent of their GDP on imported oil, which leads to very high domestic electricity costs.
“Reducing fossil fuel consumption is a ‘win-win’ for small island developing states”, said Helen Clark of the UNDP. “It reduces the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the rise in global temperatures, while at the same time improving energy security and freeing up national spending for investment in climate-resilient development.”
One of the expected benefits from this renewable energy initiative will be the freeing up of “fiscal space” for governments to spend on development and climate-resilient action.
“Climate change has the potential to derail all the good work that countries have undertaken for decades to overcome poverty and boost growth,” Zoellick said. “In countries with the possibilities of renewable energy sources, overall development is undermined if governments are spending so much on imported fossil fuels.”
The World Bank and the UNDP will facilitate the trust fund that will be established from the memorandum of understanding.
For additional information:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Future of Government

In case you missed it, a couple of weeks back the International Energy Agency in Paris got around to disclosing that the all-time peak of global conventional oil production occurred back in 2006. Despite that fact that this declaration was tantamount to announcing the end of the 250-year-old industrial age, few in the mainstream media noted the event and it was left to obscure corners of cyber space to ponder the meaning of it all.
It is also worth noting that oil is back in the vicinity of $90 a barrel and even Wall Street economists, who are paid to be eternally optimistic, are starting to talk about oil going for$110-120 a barrel in the next year or so.
In the meantime, the talking heads, pundits and even hard-headed reporters chatter on about the slow but persistent economic recovery that is supposed to be taking place. As the effects of last year's near-trillion dollar stimulus start to be felt, every statistical twitch upward is hailed as proof that normalcy will soon return. Realists, however, call this twitching "bottom-bouncing" and are convinced that far worse is yet to come. More >>>

Monday, December 6, 2010

Richard Branson has long argued that business must step up and tackle both climate change and peak oil as a matter of urgency.  

From proposing waste-based biofuels in aviation, and even towing planes to the runway, through to setting up a carbon war room and warning of $200 a barrel oil, he has definitely made some big, bold moves in the greener business sphere. (I remain unconvinced by his arguments for green space tourism though.) Now the man is taking on the shipping industry, creating a comprehensive energy efficiency rating system for all ocean-going ships. The result, he hopes, will be empowered exporters, importers and even vacationers on cruises, who will now be able to pressure companies to use only the greenest vessels.
According to John Vidal over at The Guardian, the launch of is intended to create a global database showing the engine size and CO2 emissions of nearly 60,000 ships—and thus mobilizing significant pressure on fleet owners to green up their act and start using cleaner and more efficient ships. The scheme's architects have high hopes for the database which, they say, could cut emissions by as much as 25%. More >>>

America's Greenest Governor Discusses Smart Growth, Clean Energy

Mon Dec 6, 2010  Not many eco-leaders are tougher than the Governator, but even Arnold Schwarzenegger runs a close second to Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. 

In a single term, Ritter has worked wonders at advancing a clean energy future for Colorado, establishing a precedent for other states to move past dirty coal and earning Greenopia’s title as America’s greenest governor. In this Q&A, Ritter reports on energy security, leadership, and what’s next.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Peak Coal is Moving Closer Too

Those following the issue have known for years that peak oil was very close, but coal was always thought to be another issue entirely. Official estimates, made many years ago however, talked about 300 years' worth of coal being left which to most of us is synonymous with "eons." Neither we, nor our children, nor grandchildren, nor our great-grandchildren can expect to be around that long.

However, in recent decades, there were a number of developments that are now raising questions about the centuries-of-coal-left estimates. The most spectacular of these developments came after World War II when the Chinese got their act together and began to grow their economy, and did they ever grow it! We all know that economic growth takes prodigious amounts of energy, and while China did have quite a bit of oil, they had huge amounts of coal; something over 180 billion tons of the stuff is left according to recent Chinese estimates. This was second only to the U.S. and Russia who are currently estimated by BP to have more than 200 billion tons each. As we have come to learn, these numbers are always rather suspect for there is good quality coal and bad quality coal. There is cheap and easy-to-get coal and expensive hard-to-get coal. As with oil, it is the rate at which you can exploit it that counts - not the theoretical reserves. More >>>

Friday, November 26, 2010

Spanish Looking to Build Largest Wind Turbine in World

Offshore wind energy is gaining momentum. 

As I wrote yesterday here on Cleantechnica, the U.S. is finally looking to move forward fast on this promising clean energy source and the nation’s first offshore wind farm is finally on its way to being built. Just a couple month ago, I wrote about the opening of the largest offshore wind farm in the world, built in the UK. But since then, China has started construction on an even larger wind farm and South Korea has announced it is planning a massive offshore wind farm that will be even two-and-a-half times larger than that one. More >>>

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: Did We Vote Ourselves to Extinction?

By Tom Whipple  

November 17 2010 The disconnect between the American body politic and reality grows larger every day. 

In reviewing hundreds of pages of commentary on the election, one searches in vain for analysis that even come close to describing what is happening to the nation - i.e. we are in the midst of a massive deflating credit bubble and running short of affordable liquid fuels at the same time. There seems to be general agreement that the new balance of power in Washington means two years of gridlock. Despite an occasional bow in the direction of bi-partisanship, the new majority in the house is saying quite openly that it will work to lower taxes, cut spending, will stop any efforts to deal with climate change, and will spend the next two years investigating everything it can about the Obama administration in hopes it will be so discredited in two years that the President can't possibly win another term. Whether this agenda is what the voters thought they would get on November 2 when they voted yet again for change is another question. More >>>

Thursday, November 11, 2010

IEA releases World Energy Outlook 2010, “peak oil is an inevitability”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) today launched its eagerly awaited World Energy Outlook 2010 at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Hotel in London. At the press conference, Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA, began by saying that “recent events have cast an veil of uncertainty over our energy future. 
In the wake of recession, the pace of economic recovery certainly promises to have a major impact on energy markets over the next few years.” He highlighted the importance of government actions to energy security and climate change and explained that while considerable progress has been made in the past 12 months in terms of reducing fossil fuel subsidies and the promotion of low carbon technologies (partly due to commitments made by Copenhagen), such policies are not binding. 
Mr Tanaka went on to say that the new edition of the WEO marks a departure from previous efforts, in that it makes projections not just based on current policies (the so-called business-as-usual scenario), but also on likely policy developments (the new policies scenario), as well as the 450ppm scenario in which global warming is kept below 2˚C, a result that is now “very very difficult” to obtain. In fact, the WEO 2010 indicates that thanks in part to the collective failure of Copenhagen, the cost of achieving this goal has increased by US$1tn, since the publication of the WEO2009. More >>>
Executive Summary of World Energy Outlook Click Here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Has the World Already Passed “Peak Oil”?

New analysis pegs 2006 as highpoint of conventional crude production

 National Geographic News - November 9, 2010
This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge

The year 2006 may be remembered for civil strife in Iraq, the nuclear weapon testing threat by North Korea, and the genocide in Darfur, but now it appears that another world event was occurring at the same time—without headlines, but with far-reaching consequence for all nations.
That’s the year that the world’s conventional oil production likely reached its peak, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Vienna, Austria, said Tuesday.
According to the 25-year forecast in the IEA's latest annual World Energy Outlook, the most likely scenario is for crude oil production to stay on a plateau at about 68 to 69 million barrels per day.
In this scenario, crude oil production "never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006," said IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010. More >>>

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moscow and Chávez agree nuclear pact

Hugo Chavez
October 15 2010  -President Hugo Chávez has announced a deal for Russia to build a nuclear power station in Venezuela, as well as making further arms purchases and establishing a binational bank.

“Venezuela is on its way to getting nuclear power. I hardly need to say so, but I’ll say it anyway: for peaceful purposes, of course,” said Mr Chávez on Friday during his ninth visit to Moscow. “They’ll say that we are going to build atomic bombs. No we are not . . . Nothing is going to stop us, we are free, sovereign and independent.”

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, said: “Our intentions are absolutely pure and open: we want our partner Venezuela to have a full range of energy possibilities.” More >>>

Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, said that Russia declined to be specific about the time- frame for the construction of the power station. “Maybe in 10 years, maybe earlier,” he said. More >>>

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Peak Generation: Another military report is targeting future oil supply concerns.

Military Reports Leading The Charge In Peak Oil Debate 
02 October, 2010
Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Environment, published September 27, is the third military consideration of a future of scarce oil published so far this year. It states that 77 per cent of the US Department of Defense’s “massive energy needs” are met by petroleum – but “given projected supply and demand, we cannot assume that oil will remain affordable or that supplies will be available to the United States reliably three decades hence.” To remain as an effective fighting force, the entire US military must transition from oil over the coming 30 years. More >>>

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Energy security: reduce demand to boost efficiency

Energy security is an issue facing the world as a global community and although technology will improve, the best way to cut demand is to use the energy we have as efficiently as possible. 

As life becomes more uncertain, energy prices keep on rising and terrorism and geopolitics threaten to disrupt supplies, more and more people are seeking security and self-sufficiency through renewable energy. In the US, one million homes are estimated now to be “off-grid”, independent of outside suppliers.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Plotting The Coming Oil Shock

28 August, 2010 A study based on the Hubbert model of peak oil suggests a coming global oil shock may begin as early as 2014 – which ties in with the timeline suggested in a variety of other reports and statements.

Peak oil, the concept that geological constraints dictate a time must come when oil production reaches its natural limit, makes it clear a diminishing supply will soon be on a collision course with soaring demand. Despite getting a showing online, and in the occasional business report, it’s yet to break into the mainstream media. More >>>

Monday, August 23, 2010

World's Quickly Running Out of Helium

It may not match peak oil in terms of a global crisis, but the world is running out of another non-renewable resource: helium.  

According to a report in the The Independent, scientists estimate the world may have little more than 25 years left of the gas. What will the kids do without their balloons!?!?! (Watch TIME's video on the helium crisis)
The problem stems from a U.S. policy which has driven down the price of helium artificially. The U.S. holds a massive store of the gas in the U.S. Natural Helium Reserve, but this must be sold of by 2015. "In 1996, the US Congress decided to sell off the strategic reserve and the consequence was that the market was swelled with cheap helium because its price was not determined by the market. The motivation was to sell it all by 2015,"  Professor Robert Richardson of Cornell told the Independent.

Helium accumulates on earth through the gradual degeneration of radioactive rock, with no means of artificial synthesis currently in existence. The world running out of helium could spell the end for certain technologies like MRI scanners (where helium is used as a coolant) and some nuclear technology.
Richardson told the Independent he believes the price of the helium used to fill a typical-sized balloon should be set at $100, to better reflect the gas's scarcity Read more >>>

Friday, August 20, 2010

They Died Before the Oil Ran Out

The FINANCIAL -- There is an open secret in the oil industry that dare not speak its name: peak oil. Well, two did speak its name and gained no acclaim for it. 

One, M. King Hubbert, died years ago. The other and the most controversial, Matthew Simmons, died at his Maine summer home Aug. 8.

The peak oil idea is simple: Oil is a finite commodity, and one day we are going to use up all of it.

Hubbert, a geologist, began speculating on the effects of the gradual decline in worldwide production in the 1950s. He expressed this in a simple graph, which became known as “Hubbert’s pimple.” More >>>

Friday, August 13, 2010

Matthew Simmons Showed the Supply of Oil Is Finite

The late Matthew R. Simmons’ greatest contribution was showing that the supply of oil is finite, said Edward Morse, the New York-based head of commodities research at Credit Suisse Group AG.
Simmons, an energy investment banker and leading proponent of the “peak oil” theory that claims the Earth is running out of crude, died Aug. 8 at 67 in an accidental drowning at his home in North Haven, Maine, local officials said. He made “remarkable contributions” in making the energy market transparent and helping the U.S. understand Saudi Arabia, Morse said.
“Perhaps the most important thing he drew attention to was the nature of decline,” Morse said in a radio interview today with Tom Keene on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” “Decline curves are real and they have to be dealt with and it’s an issue of policy as much as it is of investment.” More >>>

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Will Small Businesses Survive Peak Oil?

From Yahoo to Virgin, big business is waking up to the threat of peak oil.  

So much so, that Virgin bross Richard Branson believes we should bemobilizing for peak oil as if for war. But what about the little guy? It's often assumed that because peak oil will make global shipping a challenge, that we'll just transition back to smaller, more local economies. I suspect the truth will be a little more complicated than that.

As much as we TreeHuggers like to espouse the virtues of local business and human scale economies, there can be few businesses out there—big or small—that find themselves immune to the threat of rising energy prices or economic volatility. And as recent events have shown, while corporations may find themselves on shaky ground, there is often a helping hand out there to stop the giants from failing. Will that be the same for the small operators? A small social enterprise in the UK is aiming to ensure that we head the problem off before it becomes a crisis . More >>>

Thursday, August 5, 2010

China threatens U.S. energy security

PARIS, July 20 (UPI) -- A rising energy appetite from the booming Chinese economy creates concerns for energy security in the United States, political analysts said. 

The International Energy Agency said in Paris that the surging Beijing economy has redefined the global energy sector as China passes the United States as the world's largest energy consumer.
The IEA in its latest report said China outpaced U.S. energy consumption by 4 percent in 2009. The United States, the report said, has been the largest energy consumer in the world since the dawn of the 20th century.
David Pumphrey, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said China's economic growth could affect U.S. energy security. More >>>

Friday, July 9, 2010

Solar Impulse Lands After Successful Night Flight

After flying for more than 26 hours, pilot André Borschberg has completed the first ever night flight by a solar-powered airplane. The Solar Impulse aircraft touched down at 9 a.m. local time at its home airfield in Payerne, Switzerland, after breaking records for the highest and longest solar flight in history.
“I’ve been a pilot for 40 years now, but this flight has been the most incredible one of my flying career,” Borschberg said in a statement. “Just sitting there and watching the battery-charge level rise and rise thanks to the sun. And then that suspense, not knowing whether we were going to manage to stay up in the air the whole night.”
After taking off early Wednesday morning, Borschberg spent the day climbing to higher altitudes and charging the polymer lithium batteries using the nearly 12,000 solar cells. As the sun was setting, the airplane known by its Swiss identifier HB-SIA was near its maximum altitude of 28,097 feet (8,564 meters). At this point the team had fully charged batteries and maximum potential energy to descend slowly through the night.

Read More

Monday, July 5, 2010

Switching Off Your Lights Has A Bigger Impact Than You Might Think, Says New Study

ScienceDaily (July 1, 2010) — Switching off lights, turning the television off at the mains and using cooler washing cycles could have a much bigger impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power stations than previously thought, according to a new study published this month in the journal Energy Policy.
The study shows that the figure used by government advisors to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide saved by reducing people's electricity consumption is up to 60 percent too low.

The power stations that supply electricity vary in their carbon dioxide emission rates, depending on the fuel they use: those that burn fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) have higher emissions than those driven by nuclear power and wind. In general only the fossil fuel power stations are able to respond instantly to changes in electricity demand.

Dr Adam Hawkes, the author of the new study from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, says the government should keep track of changing carbon emission rates from power stations to ensure that policy decisions for reducing emissions are based on robust scientific evidence. The new study suggests that excluding power stations with low carbon emission rates, such as wind and nuclear power stations, and focussing on those that deal with fluctuating demand would give a more accurate emission figure. More >>>

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Real Gulf Crisis

At last report BP was making progress on the relief wells that are being drilled to plug the runaway well in the Gulf. 
The London Times reports that BP hopes to penetrate the casing of the leaking well and start pumping in well-sealing mud in about two weeks. Let's hope something works.
In the next few weeks, or if things do not go well, perhaps months, the leaking well will be plugged, fishing hopefully will resume, the tourists will return, and the whole matter will be left to lawyers who will spend decades arguing how much New Orleans strip clubs that lost business during the oil spill should be remunerated by BP. More >>>

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Speech to the Nation

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16 2010 : This was not the speech we were waiting for. The one in which the President goes on national television and says "My fellow citizens - Our nation and indeed the  whole industrialized world is about to face one of the greatest challenges to befall mankind for many centuries - the rapid depletion of our supplies of oil and other fossil fuels has begun... very soon you will no longer be able to afford to drive your cars."

Of course, the President can't say that. The reaction would be totally unpredictable. Equity markets could collapse, there could be a run on gas stations, banks, food stores, or who knows what else. There would be calls for impeachment. It is far safer to break the bad news to us gradually and let people figure out what is about to happen themselves.

The President's speech on Tuesday night had two objectives - quell the firestorm of criticism over what the federal government should or should not be doing to stop and mitigate the effects of the great Gulf oil spill and, the long term issues, of U.S. energy policy. More >>>

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gulf spill may lead to higher oil prices

The BP oil spill in the Gulf is all over the news these days. It is tough to not turn on the television and flick through stations that depict the ecological devastation and destruction. 
Sadly it is likely to take years for this unmitigated disaster to be cleaned up. The long term social, ecological and economic effects will be horrendous.

Behind the surface of this fiasco lurk other issues and opportunities.

The US moratorium on offshore drilling may set the stage for a much higher oil prices in a few years time. The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) makes up approximately 25 percent of the world's deep/ultra deep offshore oil. In fact, more new oil was produced last year from fields in the US GOM than any other region in the world.

By placing a moratorium on deepwater drilling the naturally steep decline rates of deepwater oil wells will result in much lower production by 2011. Morgan Stanley estimates that if GOM drilling is permanently banned, production from the GOM would be virtually zero in a four- to five-year period. More >>>

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peak Oil and Apocalypse Then

Based on the past experience of Japan, North Korea and Cuba, an Oxford researcher identifies three possible responses to peak oil: Predatory militarism, totalitarian retrenchment and  socioeconomic adaptation.

Oil is the backbone resource of industrial society, but the Oil Age will come to an end, someday. Thepessimists say the world reached maximum oil production in 2008.Middle-of-the-road optimists say peak oil won’t occur until 2030. Either way, production is already past its peak and on a terminal decline in 54 of the 65 largest oil-producing countries in the world, including Mexico, Norway, Indonesia and Australia. It’s been declining in the lower 48 states of the United States since 1970.

What will happen when cheap oil is no longer available and supplies start running short? More >>>

Friday, May 28, 2010

How The Global Oil Watchdog Failed Its Mission

25 MAy 2010 - 12 years ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) discovered that Peak Oil would threaten the prosperity and stability of our societies. Yes, they knew it. While some IEA officials tried to inform the world about this game-changing event, it appears that others had different priorities.

In 1998, the IEA team working on the influential World Energy Outlook (WEO) made a detailed and authoritative assessment about the future of oil production. The team was composed of the world's finest energy experts, amongst whom Jean-Marie Bourdaire, coordinator of the study, Ken Wigley, Keith Miller and the man who would later become Chief-Economist of the IEA, Dr. Fatih Birol.

By using confidential databases and sophisticated expertise, they reached a dramatic conclusion: Peak Oil, the moment when global oil production starts its irreversible decline, would happen well before 2020, around 2014. More >>>

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oil, risk and technology: Choices we need to make

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico should be a wake-up call to governments and energy companies, argues William Jackson, raising deep questions about our addiction to oil. Compensation may be paid for immediate damages - but what about the wider environmental harm?
The world changed one summer's day in 1858.
In a field in Pennsylvania, in the United States, the world's first specially constructed deep well struck oil.
The trickle of oil from the Earth, long extracted by humans in small amounts, became a torrent.

It is time to look again at the technology and risks involved in getting the oil our societies are addicted to
Relatively easy to find, extract, process, store and transport - and above all cheap - liquid oil quickly became our most important energy source to cook, heat, cool and transport things.
From plastics to supermarkets, and from globalised industry supply chains to the layout of our towns and cities, almost every aspect of human life has been radically altered over the past 150 years by oil.
Although cheap and plentiful oil has given many people choices and freedoms that never existed before, our addiction has been costly, measured in increased air and water pollution, rampant land use change, overharvesting of our seas, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and consequent climate change, acid rain and urban sprawl. More >>>>

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ignoring Calls for Moratorium, Shell Seeks to Drill in Arctic Seas This Summer

Shell yesterday pushed ahead with plans to drill in the Arctic Sea this summer, defying calls for a moratorium on offshore exploration in the pristine wilderness following the Gulf of Mexico disaster.California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, this month scrapped plans to allow offshore drilling in the state for the first time in more than 40 years and environmentalists have called for a halt in the Arctic after President Obama opened up the area to drilling for the first time last month.

Friday, May 14, 2010

IEA Releases Two New Studies On Solar Energy

New Photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Technology Roadmaps
11 May 2010
Solar electricity could represent up to 20% to 25% of global electricity production by 2050. This important finding emerges from two new IEA studies: the solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) roadmaps launched by IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka in Valencia, Spain during the Mediterranean Solar Plan Conference hosted by the Spanish presidency of the EU. read more...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

12 perspectives on the Gulf Coast oil spill

12 Fresh Angles on the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, Neatly Packaged

Santa Rosa, CA (2. April 2010) With the media coverage on the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill largely centering on the volume of the spill and efforts to stem the outflow,
Post Carbon Institute offers 12 additional important angles, each tackled by one of the Institute’s 29 acclaimed Fellows. For further perspectives, information and insight contact the Institute. More >>>

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hawaii Hikes Oil Tax

Gas prices, power bills and shipping costs will rise after the Hawaii Legislature voted to override a veto of a $1-per-barrel tax increase on oil products.

Hawaii already has the most expensive electricity rates and gas prices in the nation, and they're expected to become even more costly when this tax increase takes effect in July. Island drivers paid $3.58 per gallon of regular unleaded Thursday, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.The petroleum tax is one of 11 measures that will become law following veto overrides by lawmakers Thursday. Others include requiring contractors to hire 80 percent Hawaii residents for public projects, taxing estates worth more than $3.5 million and preventing the closure of welfare offices. More >>>

Sunday, April 18, 2010

No 10 Mw Solar for Kaua’i Hawaii

A 10-megawatt solar power project that would have boosted the amount of renewable energy on Kaua'i isn't moving ahead at this time.

The reason? The Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative wouldn't agree to pay what the developer wanted for the electricity.

The stalled project provides a glimpse into a not-so-often discussed portion of green energy as the state drives toward adoption of sustainable power projects: Going green could translate into higher electricity prices in the short run for Hawai'i residents.

Utilities are being offered and, in some cases, agreeing to wholesale power purchase contracts that could translate into people paying slightly more for power than they do now. Proponents say it will help stabilize energy costs and lower energy bills in the long run. More >>>

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ontario Adds 2.5 Gigawatts of Renewables

ONTARIO, Canada (TheStreet) -- Ontario has awarded 184 renewable energy projects for a total of 2.5 gigawatts of alternative energy, under its feed-in tariff scheme for projects of more than 500 kilowatts in size, the most favorable FIT scheme that exists in North America.

Solar companies, including Canadian Solar(CSIQ) most prominently, have pegged the Ontario market as an important growth driver as FITs are reduced in some European countries, led by the German FIT reductions. Canadian Solar has committed to building a module assembly manufacturing plant in Ontario. More >>>

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wind Energy Investment of $65 Billion May Curb Fossil Fuel Use

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- China WindPower Group Ltd., Iberdrola SA and Duke Energy Corp. will lead development of an estimated $65 billion of wind-power plants this year that let utilities reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

The estimate from Bloomberg New Energy Finance assumes a 9 percent increase in global installations of wind turbines this year, adding as much as 41 gigawatts of generation capacity. That’s the equivalent of 34 new nuclear power stations. More >>>

Monday, February 22, 2010

Driving main culprit climate change and global warming

Road Transportation Emerges as Key Driver of Warming

For decades, climatologists have studied the gases and particles that have potential to alter Earth's climate. They have discovered and described certain airborne chemicals that can trap incoming sunlight and warm the climate, while others cool the planet by blocking the Sun's rays.

Now a new study led by Nadine Unger of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City offers a more intuitive way to understand what's changing the Earth's climate. Rather than analyzing impacts by chemical species, scientists have analyzed the climate impacts by different economic sectors.

cars on a highway
Figure 1. Motor vehicles give off only minimal amounts of sulfates and nitrates, both pollutants that cool climate, though they produce significant amounts of pollutants that warm climate such as carbon dioxide, black carbon, and ozone. Credit: NASA's Langley Research Center
+ Larger image

Each part of the economy, such as ground transportation or agriculture, emits a unique portfolio of gases and aerosols that affect the climate in different ways and on different timescales.

"We wanted to provide the information in a way that would be more helpful for policy makers," Unger said. "This approach will make it easier to identify sectors for which emission reductions will be most beneficial for climate and those which may produce unintended consequences."

In a paper published online on Feb. 3 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Unger and colleagues described how they used a climate model to estimate the impact of 13 sectors of the economy from 2000 to 2100. They based their calculations on real-world inventories of emissions collected by scientists around the world, and they assumed that those emissions would stay relatively constant in the future. More >>>

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Virgin's Richard Branson takes on peak oil

A report out of Britain funded by Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson and other British business leaders warns that peak oil is looming in 2015. The controversial idea that growing oil demand will soon outstrip more finds is capturing the attention of governments.

London - Long-accustomed to being dismissed as alarmists, the arguments of those warning of an impending peak oil crisis are now being bolstered by support from multi-billionaires like Richard Branson.

A major report funded by the Virgin Airlines owner and other British business leaders warned this week that the world is running out of oil and predicts shortages and price spikes as soon as 2015. A future of painful hikes in the cost of food, heating, and travel in a world unprepared for surging oil prices was forecast by the Industry Taskforce for Peak Oil and Energy Security. More >>>

Sunday, February 7, 2010

White roofs can cool your homes and the planet

White roofs can cool cities

05 February 2010 CITIES can battle the "urban heat island" with paint. Highly reflective white roofs could cool cities by an average of 0.6 °C, according to a global simulation.

Dark city surfaces like roofs and roads absorb and radiate heat, leaving cities up to 3 °C hotter than surrounding areas. A team at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, combined climate models with a simulation of how temperatures are modified by city landscapes.

They found that in a hypothetical world in which cities sported highly reflective white roofs, urban temperatures were on average 0.6 °C cooler than in cities with existing, mostly black roofing materials. In the real world, says lead author Keith Oleson, the benefits might be slightly less as rooftops get covered in dust (Geophysical Research Letters, in press). More >>>

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nuclear power plans in Africa, Middle East

Dec 29 (Reuters) - Many countries in Africa and the Middle East have said they want to develop civilian nuclear programmes to meet rising power demand.

Nuclear is seen by many as a long-term solution to high fuel costs and an effective way to cut carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector.
A fall in fossil fuel prices since summer 2008 has made nuclear power less attractive than it was when oil CLc1 was above $147 a barrel in July 2008. South Africa is the only country in the region with an operational nuclear power plant.
Below are the nuclear aspirations of countries across Africa and the Middle East. More >>>