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Taking Hubbert Home: Moving to Regional Energy Models

Bryn Davidson, Dynamic Cities Project
We’ve added a new presentation titled “Taking Hubbert Home: Moving to Regional Energy Models” (Power Point or PDF formats). In this slideshow we start to wrestle with some of the factors that separate one region’s energy future from another’s. We also introduce our Road Map to the Dynamic City as a framework in which we can nest discussions about depletion and regional energy planning.

1. Every region faces unique challenges regarding their future supply of oil and gas.
2. Every region has different options for mitigating depletion.
3. We need a toolkit that can be quickly adapted and adopted by local planners.

About Dynamic Cities Project:

Welcome to the Dynamic Cities Project, a cross-disciplinary initiative to help cities and regions respond intelligently to the twin global challenges represented by peak oil and climate change.

The Dynamic Cities Project (DCP) is an enterprising non-profit organization based in Vancouver that helps local communities adapt to unprecedented global challenges including oil depletion and climate change. The DCP conducts scenario-based research in collaboration with local professionals and governments, in order to develop practical tools that foster the growth of more resilient cities, towns, and neighbourhoods.

(26 Dec 2006)
The presentations from Dynamic Cities are always striking. To access more presentations on planning, see their homepage. -BA

Strategic Thinking and Strategic Planning

Byron W. King, Whiskey & Gunpowder
…Looking forward, what is the strategy for a Peak Oil world, if not for a post-Peak Oil world? Strategic thinking can look forward and identify a profound problem, as worldwide production of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas hits a peak, bumps along a plateau and then commences an irreversible decline. But what comes next? Exactly. What comes next? The strategic question is, What is the desired end state?

Here is where the strategic planning has to occur. Is the crux of the problem going to be simply “not enough oil supply,” and thus arises the need to find a substitute for, say, gasoline that is now derived from oil? This is one form of strategic planning, albeit rather linear, just extrapolating the past oil age into the future and attempting to reinvent what no longer will exist. This is the kind of thinking and visions embedded in grandiose plans for massive programs to create liquid fuels from plants, or from a set of coal-to-liquid processes. Yes, some of these technologies will work and, if constructed to scale, produce liquid fuels to substitute for what will no longer be available from oil. But will they successfully and sustainably reinvent the past, and carry the past forward into the future? Don’t count on it.

Or is the crux of the problem going to be “too much demand” for nonexistent (in the future) traditional energy sources, thus creating the circumstances for what is euphemistically called “demand destruction?” What is the strategic plan for this scenario? Peak Oil is real, of course, and so are market mechanisms. Less oil availability on world markets will translate into higher prices for the substance. And as the price of oil rises, some elements of demand will simply go away. (Changing demand will be an very inelastic process, to be sure, but go away the demand will.)

To illustrate the point, for this current moment it is the poor people of the world, those without the $64.00 or so to pay for a barrel of oil, who must do without. For these souls, the oil age has ended in the past tow or three years. Eventually, the working classes will feel the pinch and they too will exit the oil age. Then it will be the turn of the lower middle classes. And eventually,…well, you get the picture. It is just a question of time. Strategically, people can think about these things. But can individuals, can businesses, can governments, and can nations strategically “plan” their way around this impending dilemma?
(28 Dec 2006)
The rest of the post explains strategic thinking and planning in general. -BA

David Hughes on Canada’s Oil and Natural Gas
Julian Darley, Global Public Media
Global Public Media’s Julian Darley speaks to David Hughes, Post Carbon Institute Fellow and geologist with Natural Resources Canada, about global and North American oil and natural gas supply issues.
(25 Nov 2006, but just posted)