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Posts tagged “alternative energy”

By Robert Rapier on Apr 26, 2012 with 4 responses

Discussing Peak Oil, Speculators, Oil Shale, and Alternative Fuels

I am traveling some over the next two weeks, and did not have a chance to record my weekly video segment this week. However, last Friday I was a guest on Alan Colmes’ show on Fox News Radio, so I will share that this week instead. I had been a guest on his show last month to discuss whether President Obama bears responsibility for high gas prices.

As I said then, gas prices are outside the control of a sitting U.S. president. As an aside, gas prices appear to have peaked for now and are on the way down. Does anyone who blamed Obama for higher prices think he is responsible for bringing them back down? That is in fact a dangerous issue to campaign on, because if gasoline prices fall between now and the election — and you have made a big deal out of how they are the President’s responsibility — guess what? President Obama now takes credit for falling gas prices.

Anyway, I am drifting off topic here. On his show, Alan and I discussed my new book Power Plays. Some of the topics we discussed were:

  • What peak oil means
  • The role of speculators in the oil market
  • Why I am skeptical that we will address rising carbon emissions
  • Whether methane hydrates are a viable alternative energy source
  • The difference between our oil shale resource and oil reserves
  • Which alternative fuels are promising


By Robert Rapier on Aug 4, 2011 with 69 responses

The Need for a Real Domestic Alternative Energy Policy in the USA

The following is a guest post from Andrew Smolski of ———————————– Alternative energy (or renewable energy) is a new manufacturing industry paradigm that is in its infancy. However, the discussion is not new, and it looks as if the United States has positioned itself to be behind history on what can be a very promising industry for a stumbling economy. After the oil shortages in the 70′s, government officials began discussing energy policy as a matter of national security, but this misses the point of a globally competitive economic world. It was too early then to begin thinking that China could out-invest the United States in order to produce an alternative energy manufacturing industry. Yet, now we must come… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 5, 2009 with no responses

The Energy Conundrum

The following is a guest post by Paul Winstanley, the Director of Energy Initiatives from the Stevens Institute of Technology. 1. Introduction This paper was written as preparation for the recent Discover and Shell sponsored “Fossil Fuels 2050” event in October 2009 at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. Energy demand continues to increase rapidly. For example, the worldwide marketed energy consumption has been forecast to increase by 44% to 678 quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) from 2006 to 2030 [1]. Within this period, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) are anticipated to remain the dominant energy source. Against this avaricious appetite for fossil fuel there is ambiguity over the reserves [2]. In addition to the issues associated… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 21, 2009 with no responses

Don’t Weep for the Trees

While I have no intention of changing the general theme of this blog, I will spend some essays in the future providing more details behind my new job in Hawaii. I did this on occasion with my previous job at Accsys, but the focus of the blog remained on energy, sustainability, and the environment. As explained in the previous essay, my new role involves development of an integrated bioenergy platform. We believe this to be a different way of looking at the problem of turning biomass into energy, and then ultimately supplying that energy to customers. We are not tying ourselves to a specific technology platform; we are using different platforms as suited for specific local needs. We are also… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 20, 2009 with no responses

Lifting the Veil

Over the next six weeks, I will start to talk publicly about what we are putting together in Hawaii. There isn’t a specific strategic reason for doing so at this time, nor is it for the purpose of soliciting investors. The deal is that I have three speaking engagements between now and mid-November, and I believe it will be necessary to spell out the details and answer questions over our activities. There have been very specific reasons for keeping a low profile. One is that we believe some of our technology pursuits are completely novel. We would rather not call attention to this until we have things nailed down a bit better. Another reason is that there will be specific… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 26, 2008 with no responses

Renewable Energy Highlights and Commentary

In Part I, I presented the notes on renewable energy that I took as I read through the 2008 International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook. Here in Part II, I organize those notes, and then provide some general comments and conclusions. I am now offline for a few days. Happy holidays to those who celebrate Thanksgiving. ————————- As I read through the 2008 International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook, I had the distinct impression that I was reading contributions from people with completely opposite points of view. The pessimist warned that we are facing a supply crunch and much higher prices. The optimist in the report said that oil production won’t peak before 2030. This trend held in… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 23, 2008 with no responses

The 2008 IEA WEO – Renewable Energy Highlights

I am working on an essay on the renewable energy portion of the recently released 2008 IEA World Energy Outlook. In Part I, I merely present some of the highlights of the report (actually the notes I jotted down as I read it). Part II will involve more commentary and analysis. Note that these are the IEA projections, and do not necessarily reflect my opinion. Report Highlights World energy demand is projected to grow from 11,730 Mtoe (million metric tons of oil equivalents) in 2006 to 17,010 Mtoe in 2030. Fossil fuels, with oil as the primary source, will account for 80% of energy used in 2030. China and India will be responsible for over half of the increased energy… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 29, 2008 with no responses

My Drilling Proposal is on the Table

I said I wasn’t going to update until Wednesday, but have a little free time this morning. Imagine my surprise to read this headline today: Senate Democrats offer deal to break energy bill standstill Turns out they are proposing the same deal that I proposed in my essay from last week on coming to a compromise on the drilling question: WASHINGTON (CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid surprised Republicans on Monday by offering them a chance to vote this week on four GOP-backed amendments to an energy bill, including one that would expand offshore oil drilling. The possible breakthrough comes days before Congress recesses for August and lawmakers return home to face constituents anxious for relief at fuel pumps…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 23, 2008 with no responses

The Drilling Debate: Narrowing the Chasm

I have given a lot of thought to the issue of opening up new areas for drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). My position has always been to leave that oil in place for a very rainy day. I wanted to see major conservation efforts in place before we considered tapping that oil. Opening those areas when oil was $20 a barrel would have meant that much of it would have been used frivolously. Now that oil is over $100 – and in my opinion will be much higher in 5 or 10 years (T. Boone Pickens predicts $300/bbl in 10 years) – we will have tightened our belts a good… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 27, 2006 with no responses

Epic Essay on Sustainability

I would like to direct your attention to the epic post written by The Ergosphere’s Engineer-Poet: Sustainability, energy independence and agricultural policy It is a monster (the last draft I saw before publication was over 8,000 words) and it is really thorough. It should be cross-posted to The Oil Drum in a couple of days. Here is a brief introduction of what the essay covers: What would you say if I told you that we could use biomass to: Replace all the petroleum used by the ground-transport sector (55% or more)? Replace all the natural gas used by the electric-generation sector (about 1/3 of US natural gas consumption)? Replace every pound of coal burned for electricity (about 90% of all… Continue»