If you’re looking for a more detailed discussion of BP’s oil collection plans, or an explanation of why flow may be increasing as more oil comes up the well (due to erosion), the Oil Drum is the only place I’ve found with that kind of detail.
They also do good analysis. For example, this report on renewable energy includes this graph of the world’s energy production, by source, for the last
20 40 years (click to enlarge).
That red arrow is pointing to the almost invisible line showing the contribution that wind, solar and geothermal make to overall energy production.
I think that’s forty years, not twenty.
Gotta start somewhere. Forty years ago there was no wind, solar, geothermal energy production.
@sal: D’oh. Thanks.
Looking at that chart just depresses me. Not because wind, etc. represents such a small proportion, but because every last energy source there sucks to some degree to someone.
Oil? Obvious. Natural gas? People are having fits over drilling for that. Coal? We’ll never make it acceptably clean. Nukes? OMFG!!!! Hydro? The fish, the fish!!!! Wind? Migratory birds, ugly turbines NIMBY!!!!!!!
The big problem is cars. For everything except oil, we know who to replace it with green power. Not that it would be easy to do, or cheap, but the tech exists to put a huge dent in their usage.
Be sure to thank your favorite ‘environmentalist’ for all those coal plants and all those nonexistent nukes.
Evolution in action.
This is Exhibit 1 in my “we can be stupid, too!” Cautionary Diorama for
Liberals* Progressives. Exhibit 2 is the anti-allopathic medicine brigades, esp. anti-vaccination idiots. There are lots more exhibits, but those are the biggies.
*There is definitely a difference: liberals tend to be more pragmatic, more willing to change their stance if evidence points that way. That’s why I prefer to call myself a Liberal.
Every energy plant is a NIMBY issue. I don’t see people settling down next to coal fired power plants or exploding BP gas lines, either. And, as for migratory birds… Seriously? We’ve got an oil spill orders of magnitude bigger than the Valdez in the Gulf right now and WIND is the big threat to Migratory birds?
:-p It’s all just cost math. We’ve been developing fossil fuel technologies for the 100 years. We’ve been developing renewables for around the last 30-40. So long as fossil fuels remain cheap (and the last 100 years of innovation has made it all very cheap), you’ll continue to see renewables treated as second or third tier.
If the US really wanted to jump start solar, wind, and geothermal, the smartest thing it could do is crank gasoline back up to $4-5 / gallon. That’s what started the rush to solar panels in the ’70s, and electric cars in the late ’90s and mid ’00s.
That website makes me laugh sometimes. As many commenters that are actually concerned about the spill and want to discuss it, there seems to be an equal amount of Get Offa Mah Lawnzers who are tired of all the newbies and say so every 3 minutes or so. They’re the roughneck equivalents of ppGaz.
@srv: Nukes! Nukes! Nukes!
Ok, now replace all the instances of “refinery” with “nuclear facility”.
After repeated clusterfucks by guys like BP, you really want to hand over the keys to a nuclear facility to guys with a track record of facility explosions every 5 years?
Not to mention, we continue to scratch our heads every time someone asks the question of where we stash all the nuclear waste we’ll be producing.
some other guy
Is there any problem in this country that can’t be solved by punching hippies?
And apparently even hippie punching itself can be blamed on… those damned hippies!
This place is ridiculous sometimes.
Except that the many of the guys on TOD actually know what they are talking about.
TOD has given several excellent analyses of the wild well we have in the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes this is way over my head. At other times, it is quite educational.
And they are not intolerant of newbies. UNLESS that said newbie logs in to comment on something that has been covered a hundred times already. Then they kind of run out of patience.
On further reflection, I realize that the world is full of grumpy people this morning. I seem to be defensive. I guess I fit in, after all. :-)
But The Oil Drum is an excellent site. I highly recommend it.
Also, twelve of the last forty years the President was an oil man. Eight more the President first won election by running against the downer of a president who actually talked about energy and the need to change course (cardigans, anyone?), and won reelection by campaigning against government doing anything in general. So there goes half the forty years.
What would the graph look like if wind, etc., had been given a proportional share of the subsidies, tax breaks, etc, that coal, oil, gas & other energy sources receive?
If you are perusing The Oil Drum click on the intro to peak oil stuff, they do a good job of explaining the basics. Replacing oil as an energy source is going to be harder than most people realize. Oil is really the perfect energy, cheap to transport, liquid, stable. Running a globalized economy takes a cheap energy source, and we are running out of anything that you can do for less than $150 a barrel of oil. But at that price globalization kind of, ur, stops, which is the dilemma we face. I think Obama was hinting at this in his speech, but he still can’t come out and say it without frightening the herd and starting a stampede.
Just as with our food industries, we get the energy industries we subsidise.
Why would anyone be surprised by the results.
Maybe someone powerful should do something about this. Like, for instance, the president could tell Congress to pass a strong clean energy bill, and he will campaign against anyone who votes against it. Or, you know, he could sit there and say “I hope someone brings me a bill to sign, some day.”
More birds die flying into windows than flying into turbines. Are windmills ugly? I, personally, don’t think so.
“That red arrow is pointing to the almost invisible line …”
No I want our frickin Navy running our Nuclear reactors.
Of course that makes me a pinko-commie. Don’t forget waste is a misnomer, its real name is “un-used fuel that we’re too f’n lazy* to recycle.”
*Lazy to remove the legal barrier that was put in to prevent it in the US.
Don’t be so sure about the US Navy’s nuclear infallibility. About one third of a mountain in McMurdo Station (called Ob HIll) had to be scraped away and carted off when the US Navy fired up one of their submarine type nuclear plants on land. Apparently it had an almost instant partial meltdown.
Not that you hear much about it.
Ah, apparently it didn’t meltdown–but it did leak quite a bit.
This. It can’t be said enough.
This comment at The Oil Drum is making the rounds.
@some other guy: It’s not “this place”, it’s pretty much the whole Internet. I have yet to see a single blog thread anywhere about alternative energy that goes more than a few minutes before the obligatory “We could fix everything if only those damn liberals [or ‘all you other damn liberals except me’] would let us build nukes.” And the folks making this complaint have apparently never heard any anti-nuke argument with any substance, and can’t imagine that anyone who’s given any thought to these things could disagree – they’re always railing against some caricature of a flower-power doofus who just hates progress for no reason.
either that or the ‘this is everyone’s fault for using oil. not mine tho, cause i ride a bike!’ comment.
@some other guy:
Teh magical marketplace(tm) killed development of new commercial nukes after TMI, not the DFHs. They’ve always been difficult to justify on a cost basis compared to NG and coal-generated electricity, but it’s not as though congress passed a “thou shalt not build any more nukes” act in April 1979. Investors ran away as though pursued by Caerbannog and have stayed away. Today they basically want the gummint to back their play before getting back into the game. Hey, if it works for AIG.
The good news is that production growth in energy from every other source seems to have outpaced oil in the past forty years. The bad news is that one of those other sources is coal.
I’m seeing the problem that people have been complaining about where the lines in the comments do not wrap. I don’t usually use IE to read BJ. I wonder if it’s because of the PNG file that mistermix put in the post? I’m not seeing it in Firefox.
Error: ‘document.getElementById(…) is null or not an object’
Internet Explorer 7.0.6002.18005CO
@celticdragonchick: Oh my gods.
CDC, that may be one of the most chilling things I’ve ever read. Everyone needs to go read that. Now.
@trollhattan: Congress did shut down the IFR program in the mid-1990s, though.
The IFR would have provided (and the experimental version actually built did provide) passive safety, far, far greater fuel efficiency (99% rather than 2%), far smaller quantities of nuclear waste which would decay to safe levels within two hundred years, and a way of disposing of nuclear weapons material without creating a proliferation hazard.
No, DFHs aren’t responsible for the state of nuclear technology today. The industry lied like dogs about the safety of their products, made promises they couldn’t keep and didn’t bother making their products safe enough that anyone short of the government would insure them. It’s perfectly understandable that nobody trusts them. And now, of course, people are proposing building more damned light water reactors–the same unsafe, inefficient (in terms of energy extracted and waste-generated) monstrosities that have tainted the name of nuclear power for all of these decades.
It’s enough to drive one to distraction.
Which is just as naive.
Everything we touch today is made with, and transported with oil. Everything! This even includes all your food, even the organic food. Take oil out of the equation (and literally!!!) about 5 billion people will die of starvation. It takes about 10 ounces of oil to make 1 ounce of food today. We couldn’t feed the planet without vast amounts of oil in everything, from making fertilizer, to harvesting, to production, to distribution. The only reason the planet has 7 billion people today is because of oil. The “Green Revolution” that allowed the expansion of the population and prevented a Malthusian collapse was achieved by injecting vast amounts of hydrocarbon (oil/natural gas) energy into food production. Until the coal/oil revolution started the planet had 1 billion people and once it ends, we’re likely to fall back to that level.
There is nothing like oil on the horizon of alternative technologies. Oil is essentially millions of years of concentrated solar energy in an easy to recover, cheap to transport, stable to store, flexible to use product that because of its chemical properties, releases a vast amount of energy for its volume. All the alternative technologies we hear about (solar, wind, hydrogen, nuclear, etc.) require almost as energy to create as they release, and are net energy transporters, not net energy producers. They do not share the same chemical properties and will not give us the same net energy. They only work because they “float” on an oil based economy.
The transition to a post-oil economy is going to be very painful for the human race, but it’s a reality. The earth isn’t going to create more of it and we are wasting it on everything from NASCAR races to cheap crap from China, and we’ll be condemned for that by our descendants. It’s hard to talk about, but it’s probably going to be something we, or our children face.
Those who spend some time reading The Oil Drum and all the articles and discussions, plays a little “What about this…?” but eventually comes to this very depressing conclusion.
The Oil Drum is pretty good. Mostly they seem to be guys who have worked in the industry and know what they are talking about. I’ve spent many years in the oil industry and I can tell you none of the pundits have a clue what they are talking about. When someone starts talking about “digging” and oil well, it drives me up the wall. You drill an oil well, you don’t dig it.
When Krauthammer says they drill in deep water because environmentalist have chased them out of shallow water, he is full of shit. They drill in deep water because that’s where the “elephants” are.
The only guy I can really listen to anymore on TV is Boone Pickens. Sure, he’s self-serving because he stands to get even richer from wind power and natural gas, but at least the guy knows the subject matter and he’s right. Natural gas for vehicles, along with wind, natural gas and solar for power generation seem to be the best alternatives available right now.
All of them can work in the market place if given a little edge over oil, which could be accomplished by a carbon tax on oil that keeps the price high combined with incentives to switch to natural gas, ethanol (like Brazil) and any other alternatives. Supplies of natural gas are plentiful in North America and it would be nice to send less of our money to the Middle East.
Pickens also knows that we have no energy policy and haven’t since Jimmy Carter tried 40 years ago. Then, of course, came morning in America and the magic of the market place. Now those fools in South Louisiana are getting to enjoy the magic of the market place first hand. They sold their souls to Big Oil a long time ago and they are paying for it now.