Thursday, July 31, 2008


Senators Conrad (D-North Dakota) and Chambliss (R-Georgia) leading a "gang of 10" to implement some good old-fashioned bipartisanship to move this country forward regarding energy strategy. Not sure what they're going to come up with, but the first (extremely important) step is to work together, instead of cross-purposes.

I faxed a letter to both of them, attaching "The Presidential Speech I'd Like to Hear" and a link to my new book (free to blog readers - for the time being). Working title: “The High Price Of Gasoline… and what to do about it. How to solve our energy problems, once and for all.” Perhaps a true bipartisan solution will evolve?

You can send your support to them, too. Contact information: Conrad & Chambliss. Tell your U.S. Representatives to LISTEN to them.


Energy Independence by 2025

This blog started in June of 2005. Research that drove to this conclusion was begun in 2003. In June of 2008, McCain came up with his speech and said" ... In a world of hostile and unstable suppliers of oil, this nation will achieve strategic independence by 2025." Better late than never.


McCain & Obama support anti-carbon measures

One thing is for certain, starting in 2009, there will be change in the US regarding carbon production. Obama supports a carbon tax and McCain a Cap & Trade system - with similar results. Just as oil prices have more than tripled, electricity prices are set to increase. It seems accelerating significantly more cost-effective renewable energy technologies (to market) is in order.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Excellent Information at Green Car Congress

Mike Millikin at Green Car Congress has put together an excellent website, chock full of great information and resources. They are covering many different perspectives, from vehicles to fuels, energy, emissions and policy. Well worth checking out!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Our "leaders" should be ashamed of themselves!

When there are only two views* (instead of doing what is necessary to enable the U.S. to become energy-independent), bickering and partisan politics rules the day. Shame on Congress!

* Democrat & Republican


Loren Steffy's blog worth checking out!

Loren Steffy has a very insightful and thoughtful blog. Many topics are covered, including his view on energy solutions.


Airline Biz Blog sends open letter to Mr. Bush

Well worth the read!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Replay of the 1970s? Oil price increases = electric bill increases

Interesting correlation: In the 1970s, oil-fired power plants rightfully had to increase their prices. The OPEC-led oil embargo caused our home heating bill to rise. It seems the EXACT SAME things are happening today:

=> Republican President
=> Unpopular (unjustified?) war
=> Oil price spike
=> Electric bills increasing

I wonder... if (when) oil prices drop (for a little while), will we all just go back to sleep... and forget that we need to solve our energy problems, once and for all?

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"Low-Carbon consolidation" begins.

Électricité de France is close to buying the British Energy Group, the country’s largest producer of nuclear power, for as much as £12 billion ($24 billion) to get control of its eight nuclear plants and the land where more could be built, a person with knowledge of the takeover plan said Friday.


Desire for political power trumps need for renewable power. Again.

Once again, the "leaders" of this country are too busy blaming each other for the mess we are in, relative to energy. This is indeed shameful. And although it should be unbelievable, sadly, it isn't. It seems there is exactly zero compromise. The outcome will be exactly as it was after the 1973 OPEC-led oil embargo: Higher prices.

Please read "The Blame Game" portion of my new book (working title): "The High Price of Gasoline... and what to do about it: How to Solve the World's Energy Problems, Once and For All." Then get a copy to your Senators and Congressmen & women.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SNAFU: $1.7 billion Utility spends $258K a year on R&D. Consumer groups says that's "too much!"

It is interesting to note that PGE (Portland General Electric), a $1.7 billion a year company is only spending $258,000 on R&D. How can new technologies (like high-density energy storage - to level the effects of wind power variability - and therefore lower rates to consumers) be developed on that budget? They can't.

PGE is (rightfully) trying to increase it to $2 million a year (still insufficient), but consumers' groups think that's too much. It seems these very groups (who want to lower rates, even though fundamental energy costs are increasing), are against PGE's request for more research dollars. This will have the effect of raising rates higher, later.

We have met the Enemy and He is Us.

"In the end, the Citizens' Utility Board's Jenks... recommended that instead of granting the company an increase in its operating costs, the public utility commission should impose a 1 percent across-the-board cut."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Are speculators to blame for the price of oil?

According to Rich Lowry, blaming speculators is a waste of time, and even illogical. Whatever we do, let's not discuss supply and demand. It might lead us to the "wrong" conclusion (i.e., different from our beliefs).

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wind-to-Hydrogen Project

Senator Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) sponsors a $2 million wind-to-hydrogen project.

"Basin Electric Power Cooperative, with U.S. Department of Energy funding arranged by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, developed a cutting edge research project to turn intermittent wind energy into a value-added energy source that can be stored and used as needed.

The electrolyzer, an integral part of Basin Electric’s Wind-to-Hydrogen project, was delivered to the NDSU North Central Research Extension Center in Minot in June 2007. The unit was manufactured in Belgium and supplied by Hydrogenics Corp., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It takes power from wind turbines, and runs the electrolyzer to break apart water (H2O) into oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H2). The Wind-to-Hydrogen project was was dedicated on July 21, 2007. The station is the first in the region."

In other (oldish) news: Boeing flies first Hydrogen-powered plane.


T. Boone Pickens enters the fray... in a big way.

Check out his URL. His video, and his testimony in front of congress. Bottom line: the US is sending out $700 billion per year. This is bankrupting this country. Leadership is needed.


Andy Grove: Disruptive Technology Needed

"Transportation uses more than half of the petroleum consumed in this country. If we don't convert a large portion of the transportation sector to electricity, we cannot make real progress toward energy resilience.

"The forces of disruptive technology would eventually bring improvements in battery technology, ultimately allowing the production of an all-electric car with satisfactory driving range. The move to electric miles also has the added advantage of helping to mitigate a major environmental threat. A shift from petroleum-based vehicles to electricity-based ones would move the locus for addressing carbon emissions from millions of individual vehicles to far fewer centralized electricity-generating plants. Controlling emissions thus becomes an industrial task, easier technologically. Estimates indicate a potential reduction of carbon emissions of around 50 percent."

"We must mobilize all segments of our economy to accelerate the process."
Andy Grove, former chairman and chief executive of Intel Corp. from 1987 to 1998

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Biofuels report

Well said: "Corn ethanol provides the kind of cautionary tale that should give us pause and reinforce the need for clear and critical thinking based on science and economics rather than wishful thinking and vested interests." Continuing... "corn ethanol is estimated to contribute to energy independence at a cost that is 15 times more costly than fuel efficiency standards and 28 times more costly than a gas tax".

Corn ethanol is just bad business. It is also entirely subject to the fluctuations in oil. Should oil drop precipitously, corn ethanol will be unable to remain in production.


EIA: About time for real change?

News report: Oil prices are too high and threaten the global economy but also open the way to huge energy and pollution savings by spurring new technologies and policies, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Giant False Start on Biofuels in Europe

Europeans now determine that biofuels might not be such a great idea. I hope Washington D.C. learns from this - soon.

I am not sure why it requires several studies to determine the negative impact that bio/ethanol has on food prices and Climate Change. [A] It requires land, water and crops to get the feedstock to the "ready" state that oil is already in, and [B] people still need to burn it - to for energy. This is another example of ready, fire, aim. Worse - it is lessons people's belief and resolve to do the next "great solution", and wastes precious time and money going in the wrong direction.

My suggestion? Stop, think, plan and verify which path(s) to go down, before moving forward. It's called "physics meets project management". Let science, problem-solving processes and a more formal approach trump politics and group-think, and you will see real solutions develop.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Carbon Emmissions from China 5x> than reductions from Kyoto.

Researchers calculate that between 2000 and 2010, the increase in China's emissions will be more than five times greater than all the reductions expected under the Kyoto Protocol.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Ross Perot is back

Ross Perot just posted a new website, sharing his opinion on the financial state of the U.S. and what needs to be done to avoid significant economic (& dollar-value) decline. His "Charts" are worth checking out.

His plan is to strengthen the dollar with a prudent fiscal and monetary approach. By implementing his approach, we would see the price of oil drop, or at least moderate. This does not solve the peak-oil problem, nor climate change, but it is a major component in driving the price of gas


What effect does the falling dollar have on the price of oil?

With the price of a gallon of gasoline at about $4.50, since 2000 until the beginning of 2008, the falling value of the dollar accounts for nearly $1 of this price. In other words, it would be $3.50 if the dollar had kept the same value of the year 2000. If the dollar had actually strengthened by the same amount as it weakened, the price of gas would be nearly another dollar less, or almost $2.50. So, a question might be: "How do we strengthen the dollar?"

The two-page analysis. Sources for this analysis are: Decline of the dollar since the 1700s; Price of the Euro (Inverse value of the dollar); Price of Oil

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama uses pages from 2005 Energy Independence Fund idea

According to Obama's website:
  • Invest $150 Billion over 10 Years in Clean Energy: Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. A principal focus of this fund will be devoted to ensuring that technologies that are developed in the U.S. are rapidly commercialized in the U.S. and deployed around the globe.
  • Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund: Obama will create a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund to fill a critical gap in U.S. technology development. Obama will invest $10 billion per year into this fund for five years. The fund will partner with existing investment funds and our National Laboratories to ensure that promising technologies move beyond the lab and are commercialized in the U.S
These are the suggestions made in 2005 (and before).

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Oil prices ready to drop?

Many opinions about this. We certainly have an oil bubble, and those who are speculating will be hurt most when oil drops. But a drop will likely be short-lived and not too severe (unless we start seeing large-country / world-wide depression - then all bets are off.) Short of that, for the long term (due to the many factors described in this blog - not the least of which is simple supply & demand), the price of oil will continue to rise. Another opinion: U.S. News article by James Pethokoukis.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Correlation between the falling dollar and rise in oil prices

What is the correlation between the falling dollar and rise in oil prices? One view.
An alternate view.And a third opinion.


"Learning From the Oil Shock"

Excellent Newsweek article (by Robert Samuelson) about learning from the oil shock. Balanced and insightful.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

SAIC's Report on Peak Oil

Although they would not describe it as such, SAIC's "predictions" are, unfortunately, coming true.

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Portland, Oregon's approach to Peak OIl

This comprehensive report-of-findings from Portland "Peak Oil Task Force" is an exceptional body of knowledge and piece of work. Well done!

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"Green Gold Rush"

[1] A UN Environment Program (UNEP) study said more than 148 billion dollars of new funds were invested into the quest for cleaner energy last year. The massive demand for solar, wind and bio-fuel energy was being powered by prevailing climate change worries, growing support from world governments and rising crude oil prices, the UN agency said. Article, here.

[2] In other news.

[3] Stay up to speed, at Yahoo.


A little humor...