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Peak oil/oil crash

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Andy Hunt, Jan 4, 2004.

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  1. Bob Peterson

    Bob Peterson Guest

    This nonsense about running out of oil has been around for a century now,
    with its proponents making the same dire predictions. You would think there
    would be zero credibility with people who are 100% wrong in their previous
    predictions over the last 100 years, but there are always a few gullible
    ones out there.
  2. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    You would think there
    Including the energy adviser to George Bush, it seems:-

    "We need a wake up call. We need it desperately. We need basically a new
    form of energy. I don't know that there is one." - Matthew Simmons, energy
    adviser for President Bush, May 23rd 2002

    Well. We all know how gullible the current US administration is, don't we?
    Perhaps I shouldn't take quite so much notice of the US government after
    all. I was under the impression that they know what they are talking about -
    silly me.

    It never ceases to amaze me how much abuse gets dished out on these
    newsgroups to those who simply have the consideration to answer a question
    that has been posted.

  3. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    I simply thought that people on this group might be interested - I wasn't
    plugging some agenda of my own, particularly. I don't know about you, but I
    believe in preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best. If you don't
    feel that way - fair enough, that's your lookout. But when 45,000 homes here
    in the UK have their power cut off for days just because of a snowfall, and
    2500 people die from hypothermia because of a bit of an unusually cold snap
    (the equivalent of a September 11th without the injury to national pride),
    you begin to wonder about what would happen if it was something worse -
    well, I do, anyway.

  4. Dave Gower

    Dave Gower Guest

    We have to be realistic that there IS a limit to fossil fuels. We now have a
    pretty complete knowledge of fossil fuel reserves, and they will start to
    run out in the lifetime of many people alive today. The people making these
    statements are not panicky environmentalists. They are hard-nosed
    geologists, energy economists, government researchers, corporate planners,
    investment analysts etc. But that doesn't mean oil and other fossil fuels
    will suddenly dry up and civilization collapses.

    We will gradually, over a period of decades, progressively run out of the
    stuff that's easy to get hold of. As we come to rely on sources that are
    progressively more difficult to access (under deep ocean, pressure is poor,
    in solid form i.e. tar sands, contaminated etc.) the price will steadily
    rise in comparison to other commodities. Then both alternative energy
    sources and conservation become more attractive.

    I have always felt that life without fossil fuels could have a higher
    quality than life with them. We just wouldn't be able to roar all over the
    place in our Lincoln Navigators and Hummer H2s. How sad. But the point is to
    make the transition, and time is necessary, which fortunately we have,
    providing we don't waste it.

    All of this is predicated in the absence of major technical breakthroughs
    i.e. fusion. But such breakthroughs do happen, and are to expected. Since we
    don't know what or when, they are hard to factor in. Personally, I expect to
    see major developments in energy-storage capacity, which would greatly
    improve the economics of both portable and intermittent electric power.
  5. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    Absolutely, Dave - and what a refreshing post.

    I think that preparing for the advent of life without fossil fuels holds
    many opportunities for innovation and enjoyment. If I get rid of my boring
    old gas fire and replace it with a solid-fuel fire burning, say, wood
    pellets or logs, then not only am I not contributing to "greenhouse gases"
    (whether you believe in global warming or not, what harm can it do to be on
    the safe side?), but I have a lovely real fire, which I can cook with if I
    have built-in side ovens, and heat my house with if I have a back-boiler.
    And maybe someone will even bring out a flue-fitted heat reclaimer/air
    filter so that I can burn big logs even in a smokeless zone. And if the gas
    gets cut off - who cares? Not me, that's for sure! With locally-grown
    carbon-neutral firewood from managed forests around the town where I live in
    abundant supply, there's no problem!

    AND I'm freeing up some gas reserves for use in say, generation of
    electricity, which will make it last a bit longer and maybe cushion the blow
    a little.

    And what if I believe that controlling CO2 emissions will help stabilise our
    planetary environment? What in God's name is wrong with that? I'm not trying
    to impose it on everyone else, am I? One has to lead by example, after all,
    not by dictation. Or am I wrong?

    What a shame that some people seem to be "hooked" on defending fossil fuels
    to the "last ditch". Makes me wonder if they have some financial interest in
    fossil fuel supplies. Or maybe they simply like burning up the roads in
    their "fanny magnet" gas-guzzlers. Of course the "Titanic" was originally
    thought to be unsinkable. Whatever happened to the pioneering human spirit.

  6. H. E. Taylor

    H. E. Taylor Guest

    Isn't there some kind of a usenet law about making reasonable
    statements when others are aiming for the flaming glory?
    There are several troubling aspects to the situation. One is
    the fact that so much of our energy is supplied by oil and
    for that matter, other fossil fuels.
    [See: IEA: International Energy Agency <>
    BP World Energy <>]

    Does anybody have data [links, references, citations] on
    the relationship of petroleum and fertilizer?


    Added s.g.p

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary
    depends upon his not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair

    Energy Alternatives:
    H.E. Taylor
  7. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    It never ceases to amaze me how much abuse gets dished out on these
    I do apologise for my lack of "netiquette", I shall try to do better in
    future, after all, there is no excuse for bad manners, is there?
    Thanks for the reference, it looks a little older than stuff I've read
    recently, but I'll certainly have a look if I come across it.

  8. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    I'm sorry if I have offended anyone here, it was not my intention, I must

  9. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    Well really I'm only following the lead of the UK and European governments
    in requiring Local Authorities (City/County Councils) to achieve "energy
    autonomy" - through local generating facilities (wind farms, CHP plants,
    landfill methane generators) and energy efficiency and renewable energy
    measures in local industry and housing stock.

    I myself work in local government here in the UK, in my town we're currently
    spending around £500,000 on insulation measures for about 2,800 private
    homes in a poor part of town, as part of our energy autonomy and fuel
    poverty strategies. It all helps to save lives and realise self-sufficiency.
    Leicester City Council has spent over £70 million on their own energy
    management company, tasked with delivering energy autonomy for that city.
    "New" energy management is big business over here. Nuclear power has been
    making huge losses for years, and the UK taxpayer is sick of subsidising it.
    The biggest growth sector within UK energy is offshore wind farms, which
    will deliver just short of 10% of UK electricity by the end of this year.

    Every major energy company in the UK is required by law to invest in energy
    efficiency measures for its customers, on pain of being fined up to 10% of
    their gross annual TURNOVER . . . which as you can imagine adds up to quite
    a lot of £. These measures include insulation, CFLs (low energy light
    bulbs), domestic appliance replacement schemes, and renewable energy
    measures such as solar thermal systems. However, the very same energy
    companies are also taking advantage of the Government's Renewable Energy
    Obligation, which provides grant funding to companies developing wind farms,
    tidal farms etc etc.

    Hundreds of millions of pounds in grants are available both to LA's and to
    private homeowners and companies for renewable energy and energy efficiency
    measures. The LA I work for is probably about 30% self-sufficient at the
    moment, we've got a fair way to go - we have a 3MW landfill methane
    generator and we're getting a wind farm soon .

    If I want solar panels at home, the government will pay half. If I want a
    domestic wind turbine, similarly. At work I'm currently looking at a project
    which will put a domestic wind turbine on 100% of LA housing stock - which
    will basically cost us nothing, because the UK government will pay us for
    generating "green" electricity - even though we get to use all the free
    electricity. Bargain. Saving lives - looking after our future -
    self-determination. Which all makes for local responsibility and a powerful
    local democracy.

    Being self-sufficient in energy obviously gives an advantage in times of
    national crisis, for example if a terrorist attack on a nuclear power
    station took the national grid down, or if there were problems getting
    fossil fuels into the country for whatever reason, which of course there
    will be when they all run out. When your town can provide its own light and
    heat when all else fails, it makes going about "business as usual" an awful
    lot easier.

  10. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    My scenario was only in the event of failure of my combination gas boiler,
    for lack of fuel or whatever reason. I feel sure you'd agree that having an
    alternative would be better than freezing to death, smoky or otherwise. For
    pleasure, I can use smokeless fuel or wood for special occasions such as
    Christmas maybe. The rest of the time, I would use my gas wet central
    heating system - unless there's a problem with it. You will note I did
    mention that some kind of air filter/heat reclaimer in the flue would be a
    good idea.
    I don't have a car - I cycle everywhere. If it's too far, I take the
    tram/train. Those are my options at the moment. As for nuclear - well, the
    UK nuclear industry has been losing money hand-over-fist for years, it's
    only the government (taxpayer) that's propping it up. The teeth of children
    in Northern Ireland have tested positive for plutonium from the Sellafield
    nuclear reactor on the other side of the Irish Sea. That particular power
    station has recently 'misplaced' enough plutonium to make 5 bombs - no idea
    where it's gone. And if you mean fusion . . . well, we'll have to see about
    that one, won't we.
    Of controlling CO2 emissions? Well, most developing countries in the world
    seem to be doing very well in doing so - they seem to see it as very
    important for the future of the human race, for some reason:-

  11. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    Lol :) I had a couple of friends round on New Year's Eve who've just got
    back from a couple of years in Toronto. They loved it. An old teacher of
    mine used to divide his time between Toronto and his stone cottage in Wales.
    I've had it said to me that Canada has all the good points of the USA
    without any of the bad ones. I'm sure that can't be entirely true, but it
    certainly sounds like a civilised place to me!!!

    You've even got that "Viagra Falls" or whatever it's called, haven't you,
    that we get in our spam all the time . . . ? ;-)

    Best wishes


    "The truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed" -
    William Blake
  12. H. E. Taylor

    H. E. Taylor Guest

    I see NTLI is in the UK, but are you sure you're not Canadian?
    Such niceness is supposed to be our national disease.

    ObWOPP: Crisis? What Crisis?

    <be well>
  13. January 4, 2004

    Let's try out some of that 'niceness'.
    That's great, he's really setting a great example for everyone. He's really
    doing his part to combat global warming and environmental pollution, commuting a
    quarter way around the world like that.
    That's fantastic, I wasn't even aware that Canada was a solar powered, space
    faring civilization. Wonders never cease. They are setting a real standard for
    the rest of the world up there.

    You complete lack of 'hypocrisy' is so, um, "nice".

    You're so special.

    Thomas Lee Elifritz
  14. Dave Gower

    Dave Gower Guest

    I agree that wood is not without its downside, but as a minor aside to this
    thread it is interesting that there are very promising technologies, some
    available and some under development, to make even this source cleaner and
    more efficient. There's a lot of waste wood and derivative (i.e. paper)
    freely available, even a disposal problem.

    Not a global solution, but part of the picture.

  15. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    They're too afraid of being bombed by USA for doing so.

  16. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    How enlightening - and in response to my apology, too. How you get from my
    apologising to me being "special" is beyond me. Perhaps you could explain.
    Perhaps only "special" people have the humility to apologise. If this is
    your point, then thankyou - it's a big compliment. Perhaps you should try it
    yourself, in view of your error of judgement.

    My old teacher was a guy called Stafford Beer, he was a cybernetician
    (holistic systems theory). He lived in a stone cottage in Ceredigion, Wales
    called Cwarel Isaf, and before he died had a consultancy company in Toronto,
    which still exists, called Team Syntegrity Inc. (
    He probably did more for the human race than everyone on this NG put
    together. If you're interested, you might like to check out - also Look him up on
    the web - he was quite a guy.

    Why don't you just lighten up. (with a CFL, of course ;-)

  17. Actually the Hubbert school has had a number of correct predictions.
    Starting from Hubbert's 1956 prediction of the US lower 48 oil
    production peak in 1970 to the peak in North Sea oil production 1999.
    This gives the Hubbert model something more than "zero credibility".
    With that sort of record the analysis is worth taking notice of.

    Hubbert's prediction of the US peak was based on a peak in US
    discovery in the 30s. 4 decades latter the predictable happened with
    the production peak mirroring the discovery peak.

    The world is simply a bigger area than the US lower 48 and is sure
    to follow the same pattern. On a global scale discovery peaked in the
    60s and today consumption is 4 times the rate of discovery. 80% of
    today's oil comes from fields discovered before 1973 and these will
    have to be replaced by today's smaller discoveries. To hope that oil
    production will not mirror the discovery curve time shifted by 4 or 5
    decades is to hope for the fairy god mother to wave her wand.

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  18. Bob Peterson

    Bob Peterson Guest

    Actually, it only shows that they had a limited track record of being close
    to correct for a very limited area. The fact is that only a tiny part of
    the world has been seriously explored for oil, and the more we look, the
    more we find. It may cost a bit more, but history says if we keep looking
    we will find more.
  19. Andy Hunt

    Andy Hunt Guest

    That's OK then, because he was a scientist. If you look up "holistic
    systems", or do a bit of research into his "Viable System Model" and
    environment regulation you'll realise the relevance of his work to this

    That is unless you couldn't care less, of course, in which case, don't
    bother, and leave the hard work to the rest of us who do care.

    I'm sure he would have swum to Toronto, but he was getting on a bit in his
    later years. I myself have a bicycle. Do you, or do you use a car?

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