Energy

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

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...]

Business leaders urge Obama to act for clean energy

solar panels sky

When it comes to climate and energy, some business leaders are catching on, even in the United States. On January 21, a report authored, in part, by over 100 academics, energy experts, government officials, and business leaders called upon the president to address climate change by taking measures that do not require congressional approval. Spearheaded by the Center for the New Energy … [Read more...]

Big oil companies find it harder to turn a buck

gas station on a red sky

Judging by pump prices, drivers might think oil companies were rolling in profits that only move higher. Lately, though, the big boys in the global oil industry are finding that earning a buck isn’t as easy as it used to be. Royal Dutch Shell, for instance, just announced that fourth quarter earnings would fall woefully short of expectations. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant warned its quarterly … [Read more...]

West Virginia chemical disaster: Coal keeps the water off

Coal Keeps the Water Off iPhone Case.

Enjoy these two hastily assembled images which, during the January 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia, put the lie to the merits of coal. Meanwhile, upstream, the corrupt US Congress continues to gut environmental protections, continues to take money from Big Energy, and continues their feckless disregard for the good of the nation. Wake up call, anyone? Use these images as … [Read more...]