Friday, April 25, 2008

Senator Lugar's (Indiana) audacious speech

Senator Lugar's speech* reflects the major points in this blog: We, as a nation must have the political courage to think in completely different terms, in how we solve our growing energy problems. (In other news, oil hit $119 a barrel, today.)

Lugar Announces Energy Plan: Senator Lugar's address to the Richard G. Lugar-Purdue University Summit on Energy Security.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Public / Private Partenership example: Moving "green" forward

Michigan is leveraging $1.7 million (state funding) into $50 million (private funding). How it's done.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Corn ethanol is not the answer.

More reasons why corn ethanol is not the right answer to energy independence: [1] High food prices & more pollution & [2] Dramatic increase in water use.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Grid-Guzzling Hybrids?

Business week just ran a brief story about the potential impact of electric cars on the utility grid.
Shift (foreign) oil demand to (domestic) utilities, then watch the price of gas drop to $1 a gallon... while keeping our U.S. dollars at home. In parallel, focusing on high-density energy storage to increase wind-farm (and even wave-energy) capacity utilization may well match the demand increase - in a renewable fashion.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Californians' power bills to bankroll climate institute

This is (potentially) a great concept. It could be accelerated by focusing on significant power-generation improvements (i.e., help utilities profit from investing in new technologies that have a secondary effect of reducing carbon release). Who knows, maybe they'd even provide matching funds if they were allowed to keep more of the profits. However, it may just be a process to raise money for more research, without the necessary focus on commercialization. Time will tell.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oil Company Exploring More Utility Power Production?

Contrary to Exxon's perspective, Christophe de Margerie (CEO of Europe's largest oil company, Total) concludes that demand for oil is outstripping supply (the root cause of price increases, not "greedy oil execs").

"Perhaps the best measure of Mr de Margerie's gloomy outlook for the oil industry is his eagerness to get Total into nuclear power." Why would an oil exec look to do this?"

Maybe... electric vehicles?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

History repeats itself (1973=> 2008)

Once again, some members of Congress seem to be more interested in appearing to do something (to get reelected) than actually solving the energy problem. They got air-time to grill oil execs. Here we go again. We are headed down the exact same path we did after 1973... which absolutely did not solve the problem!

Due to the OPEC-led oil-shock of 1973, Congress applied a "windfall profits tax" in 1980. This reduced oil companies ability to find better ways to produce oil. Effect? Oil companies can't pump more oil due to demand increases generated by tremendous growth in China & India. Prices went up. This unintended consequence is the exact opposite of what Congress wanted: lower prices. Government at work.

And on the other side, the U.S. government is providing $10 to $20 billion in subsidies to these very same companies. Money that could be used for finding renewable, low-carbon solutions - other than inflation-inducing ethanol (which also requires burning to work).
Government at work.

Bottom line: If we just let the market-forces take care of itself, stop subsidizing oil companies and focus on real solutions instead of grand-standing for political purposes, perhaps we could let the market sort itself out. Gasoline at $10 a gallon would be incentive enough for profit-minded entrepreneurs and investors to solve the problem. What's next, price controls? This would be yet another folly - that would further delay Solving Our Energy Problems.

Albert Einstein said - “We cannot solve our significant problems from the same level of thinking we were at when we created these problems.” This much is clear.

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