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United States - Aug 17

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Eight Strikes and You’re Out

Thomas Friedman,New York Times
John McCain recently tried to underscore his seriousness about pushing through a new energy policy, with a strong focus on more drilling for oil, by telling a motorcycle convention that Congress needed to come back from vacation immediately and do something about America’s energy crisis. “Tell them to come back and get to work!” McCain bellowed.

Sorry, but I can’t let that one go by. McCain knows why.

It was only five days earlier, on July 30, that the Senate was voting for the eighth time in the past year on a broad, vitally important bill — S. 3335 — that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems.

Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits — which expire in December — to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile.

Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time.
(12 August 2008)
Reader Jersey Geoff writes:
Factually accurate piece that contains key quotes from Suntech( China) and Abengoa(Spain)-NYT seems able to dig out the business quotes like few others and Friedman does a nice job putting it together.




Colbert on offshore drilling
(video)
Stephen Colbert, The Comedy Channel
Stephen Colbert explains the issue of offshore oil drilling using a gambling metaphor which he then extends to future energy technology, thus summing up the peak oil dilemma in a most comedic and entertaining fashion.
(14 August 2008)
Satire, but probably as good an explanation as one will be able to find in the media. Also at Gristmill-BA



Raleigh County Mountain at Center of Coal vs. Wind Debate

Pam Kasey, The State Journal (West Virginia)
Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County may soon become the center of an energy battle that pits fossil fuels against non-fossil renewable sources.
---
Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County may soon become the center of an energy battle that pits fossil fuels against non-fossil renewable sources.

At issue is this: Should we develop coal resources now if that will destroy wind resources that can be harnessed forever?

North Carolina-based community organizers Appalachian Voices decided to raise this question.

The group contracted national wind development consultants WindLogics to analyze some likely wind resources in southern West Virginia.

They learned that Coal River Mountain northwest of Beckley offers a high-quality wind resource: Class 4, the lowest class considered by utility-scale developers, up through the very high quality Class 7.

Computer modeling also showed that previous surface mining on adjacent Cherry Pond Mountain had reduced its wind potential.

"The wind rushes out of the valleys and as it hits the ridge, the higher the ridge, the more speed it gains as it goes up," explained Rory McIlmoil, who was hired from Appalachian Voices by Coal River Mountain Watch earlier this year to coordinate a wind energy campaign. "By reducing the ridge altitude by hundreds of feet you change the wind patterns and therefore impact the wind speed."
(14 August 2008)
Also posted at Common Dreams



Beware the energy hot air (the Pickens plan)

Rick Web, Roanoke Times (Virginia)
Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens is being disingenuous, telling one thing to the American people and another to Congress.

He has repeatedly said that no government help is needed to pursue his plan to build the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle. Yet he is lobbying hard for extension of the Production Tax Credit and National Renewable Energy Zones -- essentially a huge tax shelter for wind industry investors and expedited eminent domain for transmission corridors.

The real innovation here is the well-coordinated manipulation of public perception. The Pickens media campaign focuses on independence from foreign oil, and he is just one among many who have tried to convince the public and policymakers that there is a connection between wind-generated electricity and oil, which is hardly used for electricity.

The nation has seemingly not reached the point where we can look at this issue in a rational manner. Real analysis, however, makes it clear that commercial wind energy is but a small part of the solution to our energy problems and, moreover, it makes far less sense in some areas than in others.

Webb is a senior scientist with the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences. His Web site, www.VaWind.org, addresses environmental issues associated with commercial wind energy development.
(14 August 2008)



Woolsey on T Boone Pickens
(audio)
Marc Strassman, Etopia News
R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence and now a Venture Partner at Vantage Point in Silicon Valley comments on T. Boone Pickens’ statements on the August 11, 2008, edition of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer from: LINK.
(14 August 2008)




API Declares U.S. Oil Demand at 5-Year Low

American Petroleum Institute, Rigzone
For the first seven months of 2008, U.S. oil demand declined to a five-year low compared with the same period in previous years, API said today in its Monthly Statistical Report. For the January-through-July period, total petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) fell 3.6 percent from a year ago while gasoline deliveries declined more than 2 percent.

"The weaker demand observed for the first six months of the year continued in July," said API statistics manager Ron Planting. "Changes in consumer behavior have essentially erased five years of growth in gasoline demand."

For the month of July, the U.S. produced about 5.1 million barrels per day of crude oil while importing some 13.5 million barrels per day of crude oil and products. Total imports were down 3.9 percent for the year through July compared with the same period in 2007. “With less demand, we’re importing less oil," said Planting.

"However, imports still represent the lion’s share of U.S. consumption. Canada is the largest of our diverse suppliers, providing us nearly as much oil as the total from all of the Persian Gulf nations."
(13 August 2008)




Windfall tax lets Alaska rake in billions from Big Oil

Ángel González and Hal Bernton, Seattle Times
Republicans in Congress this June united to defeat a proposed windfall tax on oil companies, deriding it as a bad idea that would discourage investment in U.S. oil exploration.

Things worked out far differently in the GOP stronghold of Alaska, a state whose economic fate is closely tied to the oil industry.

Over the opposition of oil companies, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and Alaska's Legislature last year approved a major increase in taxes on the oil industry — a step that has generated stunning new wealth for the state as oil prices soared.
(10 August 2008)



Do it ALL for Energy?

Craig Severance, CPA, Denver Post
Lets do it all - everything. This is the politicians' new mantra to calm voters' gas pump anger.

Finally, our politicians realize how to get things done. Just do everything. So, lets get moving using this new principle.

Lets set up NASA right away to go again to the Moon, and to Mars, Venus, and Jupiter.

Scientists have been waiting for decades to accomplish these important missions. Now we can do them all.

Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Russians in Georgia? Our military can handle it all.
(14 August 2008)

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