Energy

Sorting out the wheat from the chaff of new energy ideas, while paying close attention to energy-efficiency and conservation.

Is Greece planning to print energy?

These specs sure do look nice, but new drachmas and new narcissists just aren't going to cut it. Photo: Pavlos Vatikiotis.

Over the past couple of months the story keeping many people on the edge of their seats has been the ongoing dilemma of Greece's detested debt burden, its Great Depression-worthy 25% contraction of its economy, and its voluntary or even forced withdrawal from the eurozone – the fabled "Grexit." For about five years now, heavy austerity policies (cutbacks in government spending) have contributed … [Read more...]

2014 biggest year ever for solar, but oil price threat looms

oil crisis

In 2014, record low prices for solar panels fueled a solar boom. The U.S. alone installed 30% more solar photovoltaic capacity than in 2013, making last year the biggest ever for solar PV, according to the 2014 Year-in-Review Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Industry analyst Tam Hunt argues that in a few years, economics of energy … [Read more...]

Dollars are worthless without crude oil

Money as energy

In my previous post I drew some parallels between energy and money – and more specifically, energy and banking – and pointed out that when money is at stake, the presence of energy is likely lurking somewhere in the shadows. It was mostly hypotheses and observations I was throwing around about energy and banking, but when it comes to energy and money, one can hardly overstate the connection. Take … [Read more...]

If solar has gotten so cheap, why isn’t there more of it?

Why don't more homes have this sign? Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr.

Some people who worry about peak oil like to point out that renewable energy won't save us. That is, given the amount of fossil fuels that the world uses today, it would take an unrealistically large increase in the amount of renewables available now to make up the difference as oil, natural gas and coal start to deplete. So we might as well resign ourselves now to a future of shivering in the … [Read more...]

Follow the energy to find the money

peat bricks

While the phrase "follow the money" is common parlance in progressive circles these days, a more relevant line of investigation for these peak oil times of ours might be, I think, "follow the energy." For as it is, the suggestion of "following the money" generally refers to something like following the trail of bread crumbs all the way to where the buck stops, one eventually coming upon a … [Read more...]

Peak oil pulled a fast one on me

Photo: Imahornfan/Flickr.

I don't know about you, but I'll admit that I was completely caught off guard by the recent (and ongoing?) crash in oil prices. It'd be a stretch to say I'm embarrassed by my lack of foresight, although perhaps "dumb-ass" would be a bit deserving. For even though there were bloggers out there discussing the possible ramifications of low oil prices, its possibility still didn't register with me. … [Read more...]

Cheap oil just keeps on coming

flying high on cheap oil

The stunning plunge in oil prices – almost 45% since June – has roiled the global oil markets; creating new winners and losers almost overnight. It has also unlocked a number of potential problems and opportunities we would be wise to consider. In our consumer-based economy, savings at the gas pump provide a direct stimulus to the economy – freeing up a reservoir of new discretionary dollars to … [Read more...]

Clean energy is just greenwashing now

nuclear plant and dark sky

Last week, I learned that clean energy in America is now dead -- killed off before it had much of a chance to get started. For me, clean energy was killed at a conference center in Roanoke, Virginia. But it could have happened just as well in your state too. Along with colleagues from the city council of Staunton, a community of 24,000 in the rural Shenandoah Valley, I was attending an … [Read more...]

Distraction, surveillance, peak oil and the end of the Internet

NYC in blackout

Let me be upfront about one thing: I don't particularly want to be writing a blog, from which this article comes. But as I am an unpublished writer completing his first book in this early twenty-first century of ours, for what should be obvious reasons, I am. Why don't I particularly want to be writing a blog? For one, I'm not a very big fan of the Internet, and beginning in mid-2008 had … [Read more...]

Why, nine years later, Keystone XL’s fate is still in limbo

pipeline

It’s nine years and counting since the Keystone pipeline was first proposed and TransCanada is still waiting for presidential approval to build the line. An environmental assessment report from the US State Department that landed in January would seem to move TransCanada’s hopes forward, but the pipeline’s ultimate fate is still very much in limbo. The State Department concluded that the … [Read more...]