The Energy Thread

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But I can't be too optimistic either

rubber belly hand necker (CaptainLorax), Wednesday, 25 January 2012 03:16 (four years ago) Permalink

those are "Generation IV", or closed-cycle reactors. they sound nice but won't be ready until 2030 at best, more likely 2045+. also, the economics of Generation IV are likely to be terrible.

SELF DEPORTATION (Z S), Wednesday, 25 January 2012 03:17 (four years ago) Permalink

oh boy new deep water drilling leases for the Gulf!


Full Frontal Newtity (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 26 January 2012 18:01 (four years ago) Permalink

carbon capture and sequestration

This makes me furious - just another path for shifting the burden and the waste to third-world countries that won't benefit from the power generation.

Jaq, Thursday, 26 January 2012 18:28 (four years ago) Permalink

The Press and the Pipeline

A Media Matters analysis shows that as a whole, news coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline between August 1 and December 31 favored pipeline proponents. Although the project would create few long-term employment opportunities, the pipeline was primarily portrayed as a jobs issue. Pro-pipeline voices were quoted more frequently than those opposed, and dubious industry estimates of job creation were uncritically repeated 5 times more often than they were questioned. Meanwhile, concerns about the State Department's review process and potential environmental consequences were often overlooked, particularly by television outlets.

SELF DEPORTATION (Z S), Thursday, 26 January 2012 18:47 (four years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

more of a geopolitical thing, but this Iran/EU oil embargo thing is getting really, really interesting.

Besieged by international sanctions over the Iranian nuclear program including a planned oil embargo by Europe, Iran warned its six largest European buyers on Wednesday that it might strike first by immediately cutting them off from Iranian oil.

tmi but (Z S), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:23 (four years ago) Permalink

China and Iran have been working on a bilateral barter system (oil for goods/services) for 6+ months now. The EU sanction related devaluation of the Iranian rial has been beneficial to Iranian non-oil exports and employment.

Ultimately, these sorts of sanctions have largely just accellerated the shift of Iran from the western to the Chinese sphere of influence.

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Charts for Z S:

From Dr. Yardeni's Oil Market Intelligence

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Thursday, 23 February 2012 19:16 (four years ago) Permalink

Thanks for those, Sanpaku! I knew that oil consumption in the developed world had curtailed, but I don't think I realized the extent to which it's dropped off in the past 5 years.

Z S, Thursday, 23 February 2012 22:44 (four years ago) Permalink

on a somewhat related note,

In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us".

...The paper urges governments to:

• Replace GDP as a measure of wealth with metrics for natural, built, human and social capital – and how they intersect.

• Eliminate subsidies in sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture that create environmental and social costs, which currently go unpaid.

• Tackle overconsumption in the rich world, and address population pressure by empowering women, improving education and making contraception accessible to all.

• Transform decision-making processes to empower marginalised groups, and integrate economic, social and environmental policies instead of having them compete.

• Conserve and value biodiversity and ecosystem services, and create markets for them that can form the basis of green economies.

• Invest in knowledge through research and training.

"The current system is broken," said Watson. "It is driving humanity to a future that is 3-5C warmer than our species has ever known, and is eliminating the ecology that we depend on for our health, wealth and senses of self."

Z S, Thursday, 23 February 2012 22:45 (four years ago) Permalink

and now for something completely different

flagp∞st (dayo), Saturday, 25 February 2012 16:34 (four years ago) Permalink

I was listening to the local radio news, and a reporter was aghast at how keystone was using eminent domain to build the pipeline where landowners didn't want to sell. For me the way the media has starting covering this is laughable. For the 7 years that I have worked on pipelines, they all use eminent domain, and have been since pipelines started being build. # years ago when I was working for exxon we had 2 landowners who refused to sell, one who meet us with a shotgun. Exxon took both of their land rights. Where was the media then? When highways are built, powerlines, etc. It's just common practice. I don't mean to make light of people losing their land, but I thought most people know to take the money offered or they will take your land and you'll have nothing. I don't understand why everyone is so upset about This pipeline?

JacobSanders, Saturday, 25 February 2012 17:48 (four years ago) Permalink

And as far as the media focusing on the loss of jobs and keystone. When the pipeline is built from Cushing, OK to the Gulf, it would employ all of my labor union, as well as the Operator union Welders, and Teamsters. Labors alone would bring home at least 80,000 a year and that's just a basic labor. Operators would gross around 120.000 and teamsters a little less, and these figures are without a base amount of overtime. My union hall only has around 400 hands and they probably would either have to hire new hands or dispatch from Louisiana's labor hall. That means a lot for Texas and my union.

JacobSanders, Saturday, 25 February 2012 17:59 (four years ago) Permalink

One facet of the high gasoline prices on the coasts has been the current and imminent shutdowns of a number of refineries, representing in aggregate 5% of U.S. capacity. For the past decade, imports of heavy, sour crude grades have increased while light sweet crude grades are scarce. The bottom of the barrel effect. The Libyan revolution greatly exacerbated this. Its cost prohibitive to retrofit older, smaller, less capital intensive refineries to handle heavy sour grades, so Sunoco and some others are exiting the business.

Marcus Hook, Pa. (Sunoco), 175,000 bbl/d (idled)
Philadelphia, Pa. (Sunoco), 335,000 bbl/d (still searching for buyers)
Trainer, Pa. (ConocoPhillips), 185,000 bbl/d (idled)
St. Croix (Hovensa) 350,000 bbl/d (shutdown)

At the moment, it seems the local California price spike is mostly due to annual maintenance shutdowns for the switch-over to its California-only summer formulation, but the East coast is going to see shockingly high heating oil bills next winter, particularly if Sunoco can't find a buyer for its Phladelphia refinery.

And if your gasoline arives via the "stranded" pipeline network serving the Cushing, Ok. hub, international tension hasn't effected your wallet much. That will change once the ca. July reversal of the Seaway pipeline provides a initally 150,000 bbl/d (400,000 bbl/d by 2013) outlet to the Gulf coast.

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Saturday, 25 February 2012 19:18 (four years ago) Permalink

Oh, 1000 words:

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Saturday, 25 February 2012 19:19 (four years ago) Permalink

this may be the worst Friedman article of all time. even by Friedman standards this is
singularly awful:

AN e-mail came in the other day with a subject line that I couldn’t ignore. It was from the oil economist Phil Verleger, and it read: “Should the United States join OPEC?” That I had to open.

Verleger’s basic message was that the knee-jerk debate we’re again having over who is responsible for higher oil prices fundamentally misses huge changes that have taken place in America’s energy output, making us again a major oil and gas producer — and potential exporter — with an interest in reasonably high but stable oil prices.

From one direction, he says, we’re seeing the impact of the ethanol mandate put in place by President George W. Bush, which established fixed quantities of biofuels to be used in gasoline. When this is combined with improved vehicle fuel economy — in July, the auto industry agreed to achieve fleet averages of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 — it will inevitably drive down demand for gasoline and create more surplus crude to export. Add to that, says Verleger, “the increase in oil production from offshore fields and unconventional sources in America,” and that exportable U.S. surplus could grow even bigger.

Then, add the recent discoveries of natural gas deposits all over America, which will allow us to substitute gas for coal at power plants and become a natural gas exporter as well. Put it all together, says Verleger, and you can see why America “will want to consider joining with other energy-exporting countries, like those in OPEC, to sustain high oil prices. Such an effort would support domestic oil and gas production and give the U.S. a real competitive advantage over countries forced to pay high prices for imported energy — nations such as China, European Union members, and Japan.”


my life is starting over again (Z S), Sunday, 26 February 2012 19:45 (four years ago) Permalink


Matt Armstrong, Sunday, 26 February 2012 19:57 (four years ago) Permalink

oh, it gets worse

my life is starting over again (Z S), Sunday, 26 February 2012 20:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Every time the NYT has asked me to consider subscribing in the past decade, their continued support of Thomas Friedman has been an effective deterrent.

There's no question the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil plays are important for some independent drillers. But their total output is 400 kbpd and 100 kbpd. Lets assume for a moment that the trends established by the 2007-present demand recession and the production growth through exploitation of shale oil can continue. In that rosy scenario that ignores economic and geologic realities, it looks like the U.S. might become liquid fuel independent in 2035:

I'm sure it makes for great coctail party conversation, but that is all that Friedman has offered for decades.

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Sunday, 26 February 2012 21:49 (four years ago) Permalink

Eh, eyeballing it again, 2025 or so. The export growth is largely diesel to Europe, which offers tax advantages for diesel-fueled transport. The import demand has declined primarily due to the general recession. Conservation, efficiency, and shale oil development have contributed, but by far the major factor is lower employment.

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Sunday, 26 February 2012 21:56 (four years ago) Permalink

In that rosy scenario that ignores economic and geologic realities

and scientific and atmospheric realities. if by some miracle the U.S. is in a position to become a net fossil fuel exporter in the next 20 years, it would be so unfortunate if we decided to take those fossil fuels and sell them off to be burned, rather than leaving them in the ground and saving millions of lives.

my life is starting over again (Z S), Sunday, 26 February 2012 21:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Oil refineries likely to close across UK and Europe, Essar Energy boss warns

"There is some sort of structural change in the refining industry globally," said Nayyar. "Refineries that were small-sized or low-complexity are being replaced by large, complex refineries mostly built in the Asia-Pacific region … Those refineries that are not economically sustainable or of low complexity will find it much harder to survive in this market."

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Tuesday, 28 February 2012 21:10 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

we are so fucked

Matt Armstrong, Sunday, 8 April 2012 23:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Matt Armstrong, Monday, 9 April 2012 00:08 (four years ago) Permalink


obliquity of the ecliptic (rrrobyn), Monday, 9 April 2012 00:30 (four years ago) Permalink


that makes me want to kill myself

swaghand (dayo), Monday, 9 April 2012 00:43 (four years ago) Permalink

I've been trying to have that convo in my head for the past two years. That Ecological Economics textbook is quite good.

all things must pass (shaane), Wednesday, 11 April 2012 18:03 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Energy experts, this looks exciting. How exciting is it really?

Brookhaven National Lab Solves Hydrogen Fuel Puzzle With Nanotech

improvised explosive advice (WmC), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:05 (four years ago) Permalink

It will depend on how scalable it is for commercial production, I think. Nickel and moly already worked as catalysts, just not as efficiently as platinum.

Jaq, Monday, 14 May 2012 20:37 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah I'll believe it when I see it.

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:37 (four years ago) Permalink

heard about the artificial leaf thing before, I think that was written up in Discover iirc lol

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:38 (four years ago) Permalink

it was just written up in the NYer as part of the Innovation issue

Mad God 40/40 (Z S), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:39 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Instead, Saphon’s “Zero Blade” technology uses a stationary circular sail, approximately 4 feet in diameter, attached to the top of a pole. As the wind moves the sail back and forth, a hydraulic system captures the kinetic energy and converts it into mechanical energy. The system can also store the mechanical energy as hydraulic pressure, to be deployed later, when there is no wind.

“The sail boat is still the best system for capturing and creating energy from the wind, and it does so without blades,” Labaied told TPM in a telephone interview.

The system is designed to exceed the currently theoretical and physical maximum of wind turbine efficiency, the Betz law, which finds that the top efficiency attainable by a wind turbine is 59.3 percent.

Saphon believes its technology exceeds that limit and provides the added benefit of being cheaper and less noisy than common wind turbines, as well as less dangerous to birds, who can get trapped in the blades of other wind turbines.

nuts spats (Austerity Ponies), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:42 (four years ago) Permalink

Understandable 'believe it when i see it' scepticism in the comments.

Jesu swept (ledge), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:48 (four years ago) Permalink

I liked the goofy story I read recently about the dude who invented some technology that generates power from people walking on pavement

a dense custard of infinity (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:55 (four years ago) Permalink

think I saw a different article but yeah that's the tech

a dense custard of infinity (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:31 (four years ago) Permalink

how disco saved us

nuts spats (Austerity Ponies), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:36 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

ugh so my wife and I are friends with this family primarily due to our kids' shared activities/friendships and said family is moving to China (Beijing) for a year, dad is a construction contractor etc and is already there and I find out yesterday, what is he doing? building a coal plant.

my wife had to listen to some rationalizations apparently, I didn't know what to say.

Dunn O)))))))) (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 July 2012 16:26 (four years ago) Permalink

like, my job is to eliminate your job dude, kind of no getting around it

Dunn O)))))))) (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 July 2012 16:27 (four years ago) Permalink

you're the san francisco mitt romney

iatee, Monday, 30 July 2012 16:32 (four years ago) Permalink

I was just sort of stunned to receive this news, since in all other respects they have seemed pretty typical SF liberals. the nature of the work, on top of the huge dislocation involved (the kids are 3 and 4), I was just like ... really dude, no other jobs around here?

Dunn O)))))))) (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 30 July 2012 16:37 (four years ago) Permalink

aren't there some high tech, low emissions (or relatively low) coal plants? cf that new yorker article or something

smells like ok (soda) (dayo), Sunday, 5 August 2012 13:52 (four years ago) Permalink

was it an article by a freakonomics guy or something

Matt Armstrong, Sunday, 5 August 2012 14:46 (four years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Jeremy Grantham is one of the few "important" (aka rich) willing to state the obvious about the United States' corn ethanol "policy":

Despite corn being almost ludicrously inefficient as an ethanol input compared to sugar cane and scores of other plants, 40% of our corn crop – the most important one for global exports – is diverted away from food uses. If one single tankful of pure ethanol were put into an SUV (yes, I know it’s a mix in the U.S., but humor me) it displaces enough food calories to feed one Indian farmer for one year! To persist in such folly if malnutrition increases, as I think it will, would be, to be polite, ungenerous: it pushes the price of corn away from affordability in poorer countries and, through substitution, it raises all grain prices. (The global corn and wheat prices have jumped over 40% in just two months.)

Our ethanol policy is becoming the moral equivalent of shooting some poor Indian farmers. Death just comes more slowly and painfully.

Once again, why single out Indian farmers? Because it was reported last month in Bloomberg that the caloric intake of the average Indian farmer had dropped from a high of 2,266 a day in 1973 to 2,020 last year according to their National Sample Survey Office. And for city dwellers the average had dropped from approximately 2,100 to 1,900.

Thanks WEBSITE!! (Z S), Monday, 20 August 2012 02:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Thanks WEBSITE!! (Z S), Monday, 20 August 2012 02:59 (four years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...


Matt Armstrong, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:01 (three years ago) Permalink

such a sham

stop swearing and start windmilling (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 12 September 2012 23:09 (three years ago) Permalink

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