Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drilling + Alternative Energy + Conservation

T. Boone Pickens says oil will hit $300 a barrel unless we reduce our imports. In other words, if we Increase Domestic Production we can fight the forces pushing oil prices higher. If we drill and produce more oil domestically, the US can counter the global forces that will drive oil prices to prohibitive levels. But there is no technology available today that produces energy that is less costly than oil at its current price. It's that simple.

He's right about a few points, however. The US should encourage car-makers to build more vehicles that operate on Natural Gas -- CH4, Methane -- the same gas used in kitchen stoves and the same gas that heats many homes. Natural Gas is a domestic product and it is abundant. Moreover, today's internal-combustion vehicles can run on Natural Gas and almost every car-maker already builds vehicles that run on this fuel. The US Post Office delivers the mail with Natural Gas Powered Vehicles. Many buses and taxis in New York City also use Natural Gas. The only major issue is refueling stations.

However, there is no question that developing refueling sites for Natural Gas Powered Vehicles is far less problematic than developing the Electric Vehicle business. Batteries for Electric Vehicles are primitive, expensive and relatively dangerous. On the other hand, all design and technical issues faced by Natural Gas Powered Vehicles have already addressed and these vehicles are ready for widespread use. Meanwhile, Electric Vehicles will suffer from limitations imposed by battery technology for decades.

Too many dreamers believe revolutionary advances in battery chemistry can occur in a couple of years. But battery chemistry is old stuff. Scientists have wrestled with ways to store electricity for a couple of hundred years. The biggest problem is one that is always present -- where to put the electricity.

By extension, storing energy is always the big problem for energy consumers, especially if the device consuming the energy is mobile and must carry its energy supplies on-board. For centuries scientists have looked for ways to solve this problem. Whenever possible, they hoped to capitalize on Nature's help. They looked for energy that Nature had already stored in handy ways.

When it comes to stored energy, nothing beats a barrel of oil. But Natural Gas is almost as good. Coal is okay. However, nothing else comes close. Hence, we should drill the countryside for oil and gas till it looks like Swiss Cheese while developing Solar, Wind and Nuclear alternatives.

Pickens sees $300 oil unless U.S. cuts crude imports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Oil prices will hit $300 a barrel in 10 years if the United States fails to reduce its dependence on foreign imports, billionaire oil investor T. Boone Pickens told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday.

The United States imports nearly 70 percent of its oil and Pickens said the world's top petroleum-consuming nation would import 80 percent in a decade if it does not aggressively tap its own natural gas and renewable resources.

"If we continue to drift, oil will hit $300 a barrel in 10 years," Pickens testified at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

He testified as the Senate planned to debate energy legislation amid calls for more oil drilling to help lower oil prices which hit a record this month of over $147 a barrel.

Pickens has been touring the country pushing a plan under which domestic natural gas supplies would be used to power cars instead of electrical power plants. The federal government and private investors would build a massive wind farm system in the middle of the country from Mexico to Canada to provide electricity.

Pickens, who heads the hedge fund BP Capital, stands to benefit from such a program. He's building a 4,000 megawatt, $10 billion wind farm in northern Texas that should start generating power in 2011.

Industry group the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has said the Pickens plan could work if the government renews the production tax credit for renewable energy, preferably for longer than a year or two.

Growth in U.S. wind power has been dramatic. Preliminary figures show the United States in July may have surpassed Germany as the world's largest generator of wind power, AWEA said.

"We're on track to doing that, if it hasn't happened already," said an AWEA spokeswoman.

Wind could generate 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030, only slightly less than natural gas currently fires, the Department of Energy said in a report.


Building transmission lines and securing corridors to bring wind power from the heartland to the coasts would be a major effort.

"I think we're talking eminent domain," Pickens told reporters after the hearing, referring to the practice in which the government sometimes seizes private property with monetary compensation. He said bringing the power to the coasts would take an effort similar to former president Dwight Eisenhower's building of the national highway system during the Cold War.

It could cost hundreds of billions of dollars to develop wind power. Pickens said reduced crude oil imports could pay.

Natural gas analysts were less certain the country can convert quickly from its gasoline- and diesel-based vehicle transport and fueling systems.

Chris Kostas, analyst at Energy Security Analysis Inc in Boston, said growing oil demand from developing countries like China and India could keep crude prices rising even if the United States succeeded in cutting oil imports.

Some 8 million vehicles in the world run on natural gas, with only about 140,000 in the United States, said Pickens, who owns a Honda car that runs on natural gas.

House Democrats were to hold a closed door caucus meeting with Pickens on Tuesday evening to discuss his plan.


Blogger SNAKE HUNTERS said...


Drill Here, Drill Now! Also,

France Now Generates 80% With Nuclear,
and we haven't built a single new plant for 30 years. It's cheap, clean, and w/ 21st Century AFR Technology, it's safer than Coal!

Promise Everything, Do Nothing! That's the U.S. CONGRESS! reb


1:59 AM  
Blogger no_slappz said...

snake hunter,

Congress promises to do nothing most often.

It has banned offshore drilling and drilling in many on-shore areas.

Anyway, the future of energy in America will included Oil, Coal, Nuclear, Wind, Solar, Natural Gas, Biofuels, Geothermal and maybe Tidal and one or two other truly small-scale technologies.

3:06 PM  

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