Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It is still all about energy

Whether the subject is the trade deficit, or the value of the dollar, or the destruction of the USA middle class, or the failure to address pollution problems, eventually all the topics simply must address the subject of "where does the energy come from?"

We CAN actually fix this.  But... It will be very expensive and difficult.  Now I argue the massive expense is the good part, but the economic zeitgeist does not seem to agree with me. (yet?)
The oil 'peak' has been reached
Posted by Luis de Sousa on September 29, 2010 - 9:28am in The Oil Drum: Europe 
Jorge Nascimento Rodrigues is perhaps the only journalist in Portugal aware of the issue of oil scarcity. During the past few years, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with him several times, bringing the Peak Oil message to a larger audience on an almost regular basis. Last weekend, the largest weekly newspaper in Portugal (and among the diaspora), Expresso, had another article in its Economy section, penned by Jorge with a few thoughts on present events and trends. Samuel Foucher kindly provided an updated version of one of his graphs to illustrate the article. 
The alarm has sounded: the scarcity of oil will affect everyone, say analysts
'Peak' oil is no longer debatable. The projections for the year, the five-year period, or the decade when global oil production would start declining "are now a part of history", says Luís de Sousa, member of ASPO-Portugal and contributor to the blog "The Oil Drum", talking to the Expresso. "The period of peak is already being lived. Predicting it is no longer relevant", he adds.
According to this specialist, the vast majority of the important mathematical and accounting models of oil production used by entities independent from the oil industry all point to a similar time period when oil production reaches a maximum and begins to decline. This is a period of about a decade centred between 2008 and 2010, and the maximum oil produced is between 78 and 85 million barrels daily.
Luís de Sousa emphasizes that since 2005 world liquids production has been bound between 80 and 82 million barrels per day, clearly in agreement with those models. This plateau "has been sustained by the increase of natural gas liquids, with pure crude [petroleum] in decline since 2005".
Recently, the 'peak' has returned to the spotlight because of a secret report by the Future Studies group of the German Centre for the Armed Forces Transformation, a military think tank working for the Berlin Ministry of Defence. The study was published by "Der Spiegel", causing considerable concern by those less used to the issue and its geopolitical implications. more
And to show what sort of alternatives are possible, there is always the good news from the wind crowd.
America Has Enough Offshore Wind To Power Itself Four Times
Vincent Fernando, CFA | Oct. 12, 2010, 3:16 AM 
America has enough untapped offshore wind power to power itself four times, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
While the U.S. has the largest amount of land-based wind power capacity, NREL believes the U.S. is missing a huge opportunity to tap offshore winds since it doesn't yet have any offshore wind power to speak of.
There are around 20 American offshore projects being planned according to USA Today, but they are just scratching the surface of an enormous untapped resource says NREL:
"The United States is fortunate to possess a large and accessible offshore wind energy resource. Wind speeds tend to increase significantly with distance from land, so offshore wind resources can generate more electricity than wind resources at adjacent land-based sites. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that U.S. offshore winds have a gross potential generating capacity four times greater than the nation’s present electric capacity. While this estimate does not consider siting constraints and stakeholder inputs, it clearly indicates that the U.S. offshore wind capacity is not limited by the magnitude of the resource." more

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