Technology giving old energy edge over new

Posted: May 6, 2013 at 2:52 a.m.

A worker checks water levels and temperatures with a dipstick in tanks at an Encana Oil & Gas Inc. hydraulic fracturing operation outside Rifle, Colo.

Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade — just not the one that was expected.

This story is only available from our archives.

Business, Pages 19 on 05/06/2013


This is PR not news.
I hate it when I find flack even in AP articles.
There's never a word here about any of the disadvantages of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Disadvantages such as the BP spill in the Gulf or pipeline spills.
And global warming, which happens whether you believe it or not.

Posted by: Coralie

May 6, 2013 at 11:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fahey says "renewable technologies have had their successes" and proceeds to list successes in the U.S.--which are substantial. Windpower is growing fast.
But there's nary a word here about Germany or Spain or Denmark, where wind produces respectively 8+%, 16+%, and 20+% of the nation's electricity.
By contrast, the U.S. produces 3.5% of its electricity from wind. This is not for any lack of strong winds over the Great Plains, or offshore.

Posted by: Coralie

May 6, 2013 at 11:58 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, so companies can conceal the chemicals used in the process.
"Documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show that the wastewater contains radioactivity levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level considered safe for water treatment plants to handle. Federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity."

Posted by: Coralie

May 6, 2013 at 5:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

A similar process with the addition of cooking and even greater amounts of water is used to get oil out of rocks or tar sands.
"Producing oil from shale or tar sands is dirtier than the dirtiest coal. This is particularly true for oil shale development, since an incredible amount of energy is required to squeeze a barrel of oil out of stone. In fact, the production of every barrel of shale oil sends 50 percent more CO2 into the atmosphere than the production of one barrel of crude oil."

Posted by: Coralie

May 6, 2013 at 5:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

That's a lot of nonsense for one article. Let's look at the silliness in just the first paragraph.

Fah: "...cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae">>


Fah: "- or powered by hydrogen or cheap batteries that burned nothing at all.">>

Hydrogen is never a net source of energy and batteries are also just a storage device, the energy always has to come from somewhere else.

Fah: "Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines.">>

Germany just generated 50% of their national grid need the other day, and contrary to what one ignorant "expert" on FOX said, they get a tiny fraction of the sun we do. So it can be done (and will necessarily be done). These renewable sources are growing by leaps and bounds.

FAH: "When the sun didn’t shine or the wind didn’t blow, power would flow out of [big] batteries...>>

We'll have to find a way to store it, and we will, even if that method is unlikely.

Fah goes on to talk about the bump in US production. He doesn't bother to mention why. From about '95 to '99 the cost of a barrel of oil was around the mid-teens, bottoming out at $9.50 briefly. Now, today, it is 10x that amount in a still depressed world economy. That is an *extraordinary* difference. So of course we will dig a little deeper and go to extraordinary measures (see Deep water Horizon) to get a bit more, for a while. Then it will come to the point that it will take more energy to extract the oil than we can get from the captured oil. Then you are spinning your wheels.

The day is coming, the canary is singing, it is 100% inevitable. We are at or near peak oil, give or take a decade and there is nothing any one can do about it. (note: peak does not mean you are out of oil, it just means you are half way through the oil).

I could roast the rest of his pie in the sky article but time would probably be better spent watching a movie.

Brief peak oil primer here:

Excerpt: "Giant Oil Fields and their Importance for Future Oil Production
“A giant oil field contains at least 500 million
barrels of recoverable oil. Only 507, or 1% of
the total number of fields, are giants. Their
contribution is striking: over 60% of the 2005
production and about 65% of the global ultimate
recoverable reserve (URR).

However, giant fields are something of the past
since a majority of the largest giant fields are
over 50 years old and the discovery trend of less
giant fields with smaller volumes is clear. A
large number of the largest giant fields are
found in the countries surrounding the Persian
Gulf.... In all scenarios, peak oil occurs at about the same time as the giant fields peak. The
worst-case scenario sees a peak in 2008 and the
best-case scenario, following a 1.4 % demand
growth, peaks in 2018.”
--Robelius, Fredrik, Doctoral thesis... http://tinyurl.com/2hcy33

Posted by: fayfreethinker

May 6, 2013 at 10:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Good work FFT. Thanks

Posted by: cdawg

May 8, 2013 at 1:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

""When the sun didn’t shine or the wind didn’t blow, power would flow out of [big] batteries"
There are several other alternatives.
One is thermal storage, such as water or ice.
Also, mechanical storage:.
"Energy can be stored in water pumped to a higher elevation using pumped storage methods, in compressed air, or in spinning flywheels." (Wikipedia)
With distributed generation, smaller local wind turbines provide part or all of the load.

Posted by: Coralie

May 10, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"In Germany, hundreds of thousands of people have invested in citizens' wind farms across the country and thousands of small and medium sized enterprises are running successful businesses in a new sector that in 2008 employed 90,000 people and generated 8 percent of Germany's electricity."
Denmark has pioneered a plan to integrate electric vehicles and wind power, using the EVs as storage batteries:
"...mass production of electric vehicles and implementation of an extensive recharging and battery-swap infrastructure. This would act as storage capacity for the country's wind power generation capability."

Posted by: Coralie

May 10, 2013 at 1:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here's another way to store electrical energy by converting it into compressed air, stored within geological formations:: compressed air energy storage (CAES)
The previous document, from a scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, is especially positive about flywheel storage.
Anyway, the point is that technology has advanced far beyond the refrain "so what do you do when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine?"

Posted by: Coralie

May 10, 2013 at 1:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )