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Status of the Domestic Oil Business in One Sentence
Posted by: McQ on Friday, December 19, 2008

It may not convey the total status, but it seems to me to be a good indicator of our problem now and even more so in the future:
Shell Oil has canceled its drilling and other exploration plans for next year in the Beaufort Sea while it focuses on court challenges to its offshore plan.
A follow on sentence explains the problem further:
The original intention was to establish a rig offshore and drill three exploratory wells next year, Dyer said. Instead, the oil company will put together a drilling plan for 2010 and 2011 that will include both the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
Any wonder why we won't see "new oil" any sooner than 10 years?

And if people think things like windfarms and solar panel arrays aren't going to be challenged in court (environmental impact, land use, right of ways, etc), you've got another think coming.

Meanwhile the Obama administration has its eye on an Israeli electric car.
 
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Did you say... ISRAELI electric car?!

I’m almost starting to like this guy in spite of myself, the way he keeps sticking it to the left.

Of course I won’t still be laughing when he gets around to sticking it to gun owners...

 
Written By: Midget Launcher
URL: http://stfuretard.blogspot.com
Better Place, established 14 months ago by entrepreneur Shai Agassi, aims to switch cars worldwide from the pump to the plug, using battery-powered electric vehicles that would recharge at parking meter-style "charging spots," on a grid powered by renewable energy. [emphasis mine]

So... We’re going to "induce" people to drive electric cars, which will require:

1. A massive source of "renewable energy"

2. A massive grid to distribute that energy

Ooohkaaayyyy.

Who gets to pay for all of this? Oh, silly question! TAXPAYERS! Wonderful...

And will these bloody little cars go more than a hundred miles on the interstate before they will require a lengthy recharging period? Do they have the acceleration to safely allow one to merge into 70mph traffic without having much longer entrance ramps than are found on most highways? How about durability? My trusty Civic has 140k on the clock and hasn’t had a single problem so far beyond routine maintenance. Will these new electric cars do that well? And what about the cost? Will they be as cheap or cheaper to operate than a conventional, gas-powered car? Can they be had for prices that most Americans can afford, or will they be something of a luxury? Or is this yet another government handout program in the making because Americans have a "right" to an electric car?

McQ - And if people think things like windfarms and solar panel arrays aren’t going to be challenged in court (environmental impact, land use, right of ways, etc), you’ve got another think coming.

Yep. I’m also looking forward to some eco-nut discovering that electric cars are loaded with lead-acid batteries, and lead is a (gasp!) pollutant! WE CAN’T BUILD THOSE CARS! WHAT ABOUT DISPOSAL??? MOTHER GAIA IS IN DANGER! And just wait until Detroit and the unions find out that this Israeli car will be made by a Japanese-French corporation. Perhaps this will be a bone that TAO will throw to the unions: part of the deal will be that Nissan-Renault will HAVE to have the UAW in its production facilities, boosting the cost of the car as the union thugs demand the usual golden benefits and salary package.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
docjim,

You make some good points. But take a look at the Better Place website. They answer some of those questions. I’ve been a big skeptic of electric cars, but this company looks like it has a lot of good ideas. They say the cars have similar accel. & top speed as conventional cars, will cost about the same, and are cheaper to opperate.

Also, the company understands that you have to have an entire recharging network in place before you can sell electric cars. They compared it to a wireless network. I’m withholding judgment until I see the results of their pilot programs in Israel and Hawaii, and whether or not they will really be able to establish an effective power grid based on alternative energy. But its the most promising electric car approach I’ve ever seen.

If we are going to throw taxpayer money down holes (and unfortunately we are), I’d much rather see a company like this get some than the Big Three.
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/
"He said they have comparable acceleration, can reach comparable speeds (of 150 to 180 kph) and can run 150-200 kilometers on a single battery."

So much for the interstate highway system. Unless, of course, all that new public works spending is going towards building small towns every hundred miles or so with large recharging facilities and motels. Like Gilligan’s boat ride, that little trip to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving takes a bit longer.


"Also, the company understands that you have to have an entire recharging network in place before you can sell electric cars."

Now that is a massive public works project.

Does this mean we still have to give our auto companies those billions for R&D?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
To what extent have the oil companies brought all these legal challenges on themselves by being poor stewards of the environment in the past? I don’t know the answer, but it would not shock me if they have a historical record of being less than careful. The pendulum may be - as it always does - swinging in the extreme opposite direction now.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Meanwhile the Obama administration has its eye on an Israeli electric car.
Barack’s a candy ass.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
WOW that is a lot of pie in the sky. They foresee a vast electric transportation grid powered by renewable energy?

Where is it going to come from? Are we going to put up windmills in every backyard and solar panels on every roof? I will sign up for it if Uncle Sam foots the bill.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
"Where is it going to come from?"

You are expected to do your 75 minutes exercise every morning on an exercise wheel, graciously provided by the Ministry of Renewable Resources. An inner party member will be on the telescreen at 0630 chanting reville to remind you of your patriotic duty and your daily quota of kilowatthours.
 
Written By: CR
URL: http://
Shell’s change in plans couldn’t have anything to do with the changes in oil prices could it?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
David C,

I did as you rightly suggested. This leaped out at me:

Today, rechargeable lithium ion batteries can reliably deliver driving distances of over 100 miles on a single charge and replenish themselves at approximately one minute per minute of drive. Today’s technology is widely available and robust enough to meet the needs of global transportation, so long as there is an efficient and convenient infrastructure in place to support it. Better Place is building that infrastructure, an electric recharge grid. [emphasis mine]

I admit to being a skeptic, so take my comments with a grain of salt. However, what the website effectively admits is that a 120 mile trip at 60 mph will take about THREE hours instead of only two because you’ve got to stop after about 100 miles and spend an hour charging the batteries before you can finish the trip. In other words, the electric car is probably fine for in-town driving or relatively short commutes, but sounds bloody awful for long trips. I’m curious, too, if the 100 mile range includes running the A/C or heater, or if driving in comfort will cut the already short range that much more. O’ course, one can cut the trip time down by pulling into one of the automated battery exchange spots. Wonder how much it will cost to have your battery swapped out every hundred miles on a long trip? And what do you do if you run out of charge before you make it to a charging / exchange point? It’s not like you can walk to the nearest gas station and buy a couple of gallons of electricity.

Note also that Better Place will control the "fuel" as well. What a deal! "We’ll build electric cars for you AND supply the charging grid, too!" Can you say "monopoly"?

I just love how Better Place pitches its "renewable energy" plan as a solution in search of a problem:

How does the Better Place model provide a path away from the coal, oil, and other fossil fuel generation that is responsible for the majority of the carbon pollution threatening our planet?

We overcome the operational barriers that have historically impeded the development of renewable energy: demand, storage and support.

1. Demand - this has been a barrier??? Are they trying to claim that people haven’t wanted electricity???

2. Storage - Yes, that’s a problem... if you have an excess of power.

3. Support - Huh? Oh, maybe they mean that there doesn’t exist a huge power grid to distribute the electricity made from windmills located in the middle of nowhere. Well, Better Place has a deal for you! Give them lots of money, and they’ll build the grid for you!

The first issue is one of demand. Contrary to what most people think, utilities generate more power than their customers require. But the system has hours of the day when the need for electricity is so massive that providing the power becomes a struggle. And at off-peak times, especially the evenings, there is surplus power that has few places to go. With a Better Place electric recharge grid, those off-peak times suddenly find demand. As electric vehicles charge their batteries during the evening after a day on the road, utilities have a newly-profitable period of the day to counterbalance the daily peak.

Utilities generate more power than people require? Really? Is that why California was having all those brownouts? And isn’t that claim immediately contradicted by the following statement that "the system has hours of the day when the need for electricity is so massive that providing the power becomes a struggle"?

I’m not an expert on the way powerplants work, but I’m guessing that, during off-peak times, the plants... slow down power production.

However, with all those people plugging in their cars overnight, the power grid will have few or no slack periods. Indeed, lots of electric cars will add to the strain. The power grid will still be stretched to the max during the day as businesses operate and homeowners run their heaters / air conditioners, and will also have to accomodate all those people who charge their cars after their morning commute, then charge again after they get home.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are no "profitable periods" during the day for utilities, who charge flatly per kW-hr regardless of when the electricity is bought.

The second issue is one of storage. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are unable to provide power in the steady and continuous manner of a non-renewable facility. When the sun goes down or the wind fades, they can’t contribute power to the grid. And when they are pumping out the kilowatts, it doesn’t always coincide with peak demand. Industrially-generated electricity is tremendously expensive and difficult to store, so this green energy ends up going unused. But the Better Place grid is an industrial customer that is in constant need of electricity. Once in place, green power will never go to waste. There will always be a vehicle that can use it.

Look, I’m in favor of getting as much electricity as we can by any feasible and safe method. But this argument is hogwash. In effect, it attempts to make the principle weakness of "green power" - unreliability - and make it sound like a strength. Well, HELLLOOOOO!!! People can’t charge their cars using "green" solar power overnight because the bloody sun isn’t shining!

The final issue is support. Peak demand times put a crushing amount of strain on the infrastructure of energy providers. The Better Place grid can act as an ancillary storage system, due to its presence throughout the geographic area of a utility’s network. Excess power can be offloaded to the Better Place grid during down-times, and accessed quickly when the peak hours erupt with demand.

So... You’re proposing building what is effectively a duplicate power grid??? And a power grid doesn’t "store" electricity: it isn’t a huge battery. If the power isn’t needed, then it doesn’t matter how many grids you have.

The change in landscape, when it occurs, will be striking. Gradually gas stations will transform into battery exchange stations. Electric charge spots will begin to sprout almost organically in and around our communities and places of business.

By the way... how does the consumer pay for the electricity he uses? Are the charging stations and battery exchange sites "free" (i.e. funded by taxpayers)? Who pays for stations that "will begin to sprout almost organically" in every parking lot of every shopping center or business AND to pay for every house and apartment parking space to have one (or more)?

The more I think of it, the worse an idea this seems. We’re going to get cars that don’t go as far, presumably can’t carry as much cargo (electric trucks, anyone?), will further strain our already stretched electric power supply, AND require the country to be covered with charging stations. In effect, we’re going to spend a lot of money for a poor solution to a problem that we can solve in the short-term by merely drilling for more of our own oil. Doesn’t sound smart to me. And what will this mean for the proposed ethanol and hydrogen economies? Will those ideas be scrapped as we pursue electric cars?

I’ll stick with my Honda, thank you.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
I will sign up for it if Uncle Sam foots the bill.
a solid candidate for "Funniest quote of the day".

Who foots the bill? bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Who knew being a tax-payer automatically made me an investor.
I already own part of the banking system, soon I’ll own part of the automotive industry.
But....shoot....I’m obviously a crappy investor, I keep investing in companies that are losing money!
The government needs to stop me from making bad investments!
Help me Barney Frank! Help me!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"I’ll stick with my Honda, thank you."

Yeah, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the entire U.S. to have a second electric grid to support these cars. And like most people, I wouldn’t even think about buying such a car unless I could drive it as freely as I can a normal one. But it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off in an area the size of Israel. The power supply/charging issue is the giant sticking point of all electric cars (along with all the other issues). They do have a lot of grandiose ideas, but they also appear to be actually doing something other than just turning out single concept cars.

"we’re going to spend a lot of money for a poor solution to a problem that we can solve in the short-term by merely drilling for more of our own oil. Doesn’t sound smart to me. And what will this mean for the proposed ethanol and hydrogen economies? Will those ideas be scrapped as we pursue electric cars?"

I’m all for more drilling. None of these alternative technologies is going to be replacing oil any time soon — barring a spectacular scientific breakthrough — but I wouldn’t write off electric cars out of hand just because of the current admittedly major)difficulties.
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/
I suppose they could treat it like they do propane canisters.

Pull up, swap your battery, drive away.
Think of it like the old post-dispatch riders - leave the horse you’re on, get a new one. They deal with the drained battery.
Do it right, it’s a quick install. Bring back gas station attendants to manage the swap and call em battery station attendants.

Now, imagine the sites for managing recharge and storage in a modern world....heh.....
It’ll make Edison’s DC battery house idea look like a piker’s plan.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Utilities generate more power than people require? Really? Is that why California was having all those brownouts? And isn’t that claim immediately contradicted by the following statement that "the system has hours of the day when the need for electricity is so massive that providing the power becomes a struggle"?

I’m not an expert on the way powerplants work, but I’m guessing that, during off-peak times, the plants... slow down power production
Exactly right. Utility companies have the capacity to produce (and distribute) more than consumers want the vast majority of the time. Once capacity is exceeded (either in production or distribution), you get brownouts. When demand goes down, plants produce less. In fact; it’s impossible to ’generate more power than people require’ without putting the excess energy immediately into storage, such as into a battery. And as Better Place mentions, it’s just not cost effective to store electricity on an industrial scale, so it doesn’t happen.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are no "profitable periods" during the day for utilities, who charge flatly per kW-hr regardless of when the electricity is bought.
Actually, high-demand users (and individuals in some areas) can get rates that vary depending on when the electricity is consumed. What Better Place was attemping to claim was that they’ll create more demand during the off-peak periods when capacity goes unused. As you already pointed out, it doesn’t mention any attempt at not also increasing demand during peak periods. Sorry, can’t refill your tank at a charge station during a summer afternoon in California.

Whether through ignorance or deliberate deception, the Better Place site claims their system acts as an energy storage system for the utlities, because the power is going into batteries. This would only be true if those batteries hooked up to the system could return energy to the grid when the utlity needed it. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what is done with the electricity, demand is demand.

To put it plainly, the ONLY way for the Better Place system to help "when the peak hours erupt with demand" is for it to drain the batteries of the vehicles that are connected to it and/or the batteries sitting at the exchange stations. Not only will you not be able to fill your battery during hours of normal peak demand; you can’t swap it out for a new one and they might empty it out so you couldn’t drive home until the peak has been passed long enough for your car to be recharged.

The people pushing this project either A) don’t have even a rudimentary knowledge of electric power systems or B) are flat out lying.








 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
"it would not shock me if they have a historical record of being less than careful."

Everybody, including John Q. Public, has a historical record of being less than careful.

"Are we going to put up windmills in every backyard and solar panels on every roof?"

Sure, why not? We can call it ’The Great Leap Forward’. Mao won’t mind.


"I’m guessing that, during off-peak times, the plants... slow down power production."

Nope. It isn’t efficient or good for the equipment. Just like your car engine, stop and go driving is inefficient and causes excessive wear and tear on turbines and other equipment, and you are talking big money and lots of time needed for repair/replacement. During peak demand the utilities put ’peaker plants’ on line, in addition to the ’base load’ generating plants.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaking_power_plant

"but there are no "profitable periods" during the day for utilities, who charge flatly per kW-hr regardless of when the electricity is bought."

Some utilities have programs where the price per kW-hr is different at different times and different for different types of users because of various efficiencies. Public Utility Commissions and other regulatory groups also have some influence over pricing, as does the technological ability to charge differently for different times.



"Pull up, swap your battery, drive away."

And pray that the replacement battery isn’t damaged or defective. Even batteries wear out.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Shell’s change in plans couldn’t have anything to do with the changes in oil prices could it?
No it doesn’t. No one believes that oil prices will stay at this level. It may take a while for it to go back to $150 a barrel but over the medium to long term, the price of oil is only going to go up. The story specifically says that Shell is focusing on the litigation employed by environmentalists to try and stop the drilling. Shell also knows that our vacuous president elect wants to bankrupt coal companies, he subscribes to the religion of anthropogenic global warming and carbon emission caps, he publicly admitted that he liked 4$ a gallon gasoline (he just wished it hadn’t happened so fast), and he wants to spend hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars on windmills and solar energy farms. Shell isn’t about to begin investing billions of dollars to develop these fields until it knows what government policies it must contend with once Obama enters office.

In fact, the only thing that will limit the supply of oil for the foreseeable future will be the policies of anti-capitalist statists like Obama and his European friends.
 
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
Why don’t we use existing bumper-car technology? No batteries to worry about, and limitless power on demand, powered by clean, renewable energy sources. It would be pretty simple:

1. Build millions of bumper cars to replace existing vehicles.

2. Build metal mesh roof to suspend over every street and highway in America. Unfortunately, this would mean no off-street parking, because it would be expensive and wasteful to suspend a mesh roof over every driveway and in every garage.

3. Discover or invent clean, renewable energy source.

4. Build clean, renewable energy plants and start humping all that green power right into the mesh grid.

5. Hop in your bumper car and enjoy!

 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://

 
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