Joined: Sep 2009
Oil is the Fuel of the Past
Oil is ‘the fuel of the past,’ says President Obama
By Olivier Knox | The Ticket – Wed, Mar 7, 2012
President Barack Obama on Wednesday dismissed oil as "the fuel of the past" as he made an unapologetic election-year pitch for his alternative energy industry policies and sniped at Republicans over painfully high gasoline prices.
"They get out on the campaign trail—and you and I both know there are no quick fixes to this problem—but listening to them, you'd think there were," he said at a Daimler Truck manufacturing plant in the battleground state of North Carolina.
Obama said that because the United States accounts for 20 percent of the world's consumption of oil but has only 2 percent of its petroleum reserves, "we're not going to be able to just drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices. Anybody who tells you otherwise either doesn't know what they're talking about or they aren't telling you the truth."
"Here is the truth. If we are going to control our energy future, then we've got to have an all-of-the-above strategy," he said in his speech. "We've got to develop every source of American energy—not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels."
A top congressional Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, hit Obama on his call to end subsidies for oil companies while directing government help to so-called green energy firms, some of which have political ties to the administration.
"When it comes to rising gas prices, the American people don't think it's particularly fair that at a time when they're struggling to fill up the tank, their own tax dollars are being used to subsidize failing solar companies of the president's choosing, not to mention the bonuses that executives at these companies keep getting," McConnell said.
And "if higher gas prices hurt the economy, then why in the world is the administration calling for higher taxes on energy manufacturers?" said the Kentucky lawmaker.
Obama, his hopes for a new term threatened by high gas prices, pushed Republicans in Congress to support ending oil subsidies.
"We can place our bets on the fuel of the past, or we can place our bets on American know-how and American ingenuity and American workers like the ones here at Daimler. That's the choice we face. That's what's at stake right now," said the president.
Obama also used the speech to roll out some new initiatives to promote the use of alternative fuels and electric-powered and other "advanced vehicles."
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
That's a really stupid thing to say. I understand he's "progressive", but the fuel of the past is what is powering the USA today.
I love this priceless quote from McConnell.
"When it comes to rising gas prices, the American people don't think it's particularly fair that at a time when they're struggling to fill up the tank, their own tax dollars are being used to subsidize failing solar companies of the president's choosing, not to mention the bonuses that executives at these companies keep getting,"
That's called "reverse demogoguery" lol.
Joined: Sep 2009
Republican talking points on solar ignore the facts and are rejected by Americans.
3. The solar industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy.The solar industry set a record for installations and achieved 140 percent annual growth in the third quarter of 2011. In fact, more U.S. solar electric capacity came online in Q3 2011 than in all of 2009 combined; Q4 2011 is forecast to be even larger as solar becomes a cost competitive choice for more homeowners and businesses across America.
4. Consumer, business and industry support for solar continues to grow. Solar’s growth is leading to rapid innovation across the spectrum – from factory improvements to new financing and sales mechanisms – that allow more and more Americans to turn to solar energy. Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Johnson & Johnson, Safeway and others are powering their businesses with solar. In addition to GE’s investment in new manufacturing in the U.S., 2011 also welcomed new household-name corporations to the solar industry, with Warren Buffett’s MidAmerica Energy, Total Energy and Google all making sizeable investments in solar in 2011.
5. Solar is now affordable for more Americans. Today, there are 1.5 million households using solar water heating and enough solar electricity to power 730,000 homes. And solar is becoming more affordable every day with technology innovation, scaled up manufacturing, faster installation techniques, and new financing options. The price of solar panels dropped 40 percent since the beginning of 2010 and the average installed system price dropped 14.4 percent from Q2 to Q3 in 2011 alone.
6. Growing markets bring increased competition. Global trade in solar products has benefitted the United States by expanding export opportunities for domestic manufacturers, creating jobs and driving down costs. In fact, the U.S. was a net exporter of $2 billion in solar products in 2010. As global competition intensifies, the need is even stronger for open markets operating on rules-based trade principles and for governments and private parties to follow the framework of internationally-negotiated trade rules.
7. Uncertainty remains as a successful investment mechanism expires. Congress left Washington, D.C. without continuing the important 1603 Treasury Program, a program that provides flexibility in how developers finance projects. This program, which allows the market to choose winners and losers, was the single most effective policy for deploying a dozen energy technologies in the last year. The program has spurred completion of more than 22,000 energy projects across all 50 states and attracted $23 billion in private investment. The industry will push to renew this successful program when Congress returns in January 2012.
Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/14YQV)
Last edited by Havakasha; 03-10-2012 at 12:37 AM.
Joined: Sep 2009
Solar Fastest Growing Industry in America
SAN FRANCISCO -- The average cost of going solar in the U.S. decreased significantly in 2010 and through the first half of 2011, according to a report released today by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Solar advocates applaud the report as the latest indicator that solar is ready to power America’s new energy economy.
"The solar power industry is the fastest growing industry in America. We are delivering strong economic returns and good jobs at increasingly competitive prices, as this National Lab report shows. This report is further proof of what Americans from across the country already know: smart solar policy creates jobs and economic growth for communities hit hard by the recession," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“Solar is ready to play a significant role in our nation’s energy economy. It’s reliable, it’s scalable, it’s safe, and now we’re seeing that it’s cost-competitive with conventional electricity resources in many parts of the country. The American solar industry has achieved these tremendous cost reductions and economic benefits while still supplying less than 1 percent of our national energy mix. Just imagine what the coming years could have in store if the U.S. solar market is allowed to continue its robust growth,” said Carrie Hitt, President of the Solar Alliance, a state-focused alliance of solar manufacturers, integrators and financiers.
“The impressive cost reductions highlighted in this report did not happen by accident. It took business innovation and market-building policies at all levels of government to achieve the necessary economies of scale. There has never been a better time for customers or utilities to harness the sun for power. It’s time to double down on our nation’s investment in this job-creating, homegrown energy resource,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a grassroots organization working to make solar power a mainstream energy resource across the U.S.
The latest edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s “Tracking the Sun,” an annual report on solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in the U.S., examined more than 115,000 PV systems installed between 1998 and 2010 across 42 states. Key findings include:
The cost of going solar fell significantly for consumers over the past 18 months. The average pre-incentive cost of residential and commercial solar PV systems decreased 17 percent in 2010, the most significant annual reductions since Lawrence Berkeley National Lab began tracking data. Costs declined another 11 percent in the first half of 2011.
Market-building policies are effectively driving costs down. Reductions in the costs of installation labor, balance of systems, overhead and other non-module costs fell 18 percent from 2009 to 2010. This is significant because, unlike module costs, which are largely determined by the global market, non-module costs are most readily impacted by state and federal policies that accelerate deployment and remove market barriers.
Joined: Sep 2009
Maturation of the Sustainable Industries: How it Parallels the Dotcom Boom, Bust…and Rebirth
By Michael Butler, Chairman and CEO, Cascadia Capital
March 1, 2012
During the internet boom in the late 1990's and early 2000's, new companies sprang up seemingly overnight and the words "new economy" became a common turn of phrase in touting the business environment born of this innovative climate. These "new economy" companies didn't have substantial revenue, much less profits, however, so new metrics like "eyeballs" and "page views" were devised to justify the outrageous size of their estimated valuations.
Companies in the “old economy” were forced to either adapt and embrace this new internet economy, or risk becoming obsolete. Many corporations added dot-com to their name in order to increase the value of their brand. These dot-coms quickly flocked to the public markets where they were embraced with staggering — and what many saw as unrealistic — valuations based on hype as opposed to the traditional criteria that historically had been used to judge a company’s value.
The momentum of internet innovation came crashing to a halt in the early 2000s as the economy went into a recession. As a result, the vast majority of these new internet companies went bankrupt and capital began to flow back into “old economy” companies as the internet became a pariah among investors and acquirers.
Despite the recessionary backlash to the internet boom, when the dust settled, a select few companies we left standing amid the rubble. Built on superior business models by determined entrepreneurs with the acumen and persuasiveness to select and retain top tier executives and investors, the survivors of the bust became more efficient and sustainable. Some of the most prominent internet corporations, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and eBay, all emerged during this period, re-imagining not just the commercial possibilities of the internet, but the role it plays in our lives. While the internet rose to prominence in the American cultural consciousness during the dot-com bubble, today it pervades nearly every aspect of our daily existence, from our social interactions to our daily shopping needs to our business connections.
If this boom, bust, and resurgence sounds like a familiar story, that’s because it is. The renewable energy sectors are going through a re-birth process nearly identical to the experience of the internet industry. Clean energy exploded with popularity in the 2005-2008 time periods. During that time, the “green” economy was a hot topic of conversation. Money, entrepreneurs, and executives flocked to this sector in droves, but the business models were not fully developed, the ecosystem was not fully fleshed out, and when the recession hit, many did not survive. Press, investors, entrepreneurs, executives and service providers alike left the sector for what they thought would be greener pastures.
Similar to the internet industry’s downfall, dedicated investors, entrepreneurs, and executives remained in the sector, working to improve business models and technology. Large corporations such as Boeing, Wal-Mart, and Schneider Electric, have recently joined these industry pioneers, through investments and acquisitions. Drawn to the clean tech sector by growing customer demand for sustainable initiatives and offerings, as well as high profit potential, these major investors will help propel the sector into a new era of innovation and longevity.
Moving into the next year, the renewable energy markets will see superior companies emerge, as the wave of second-generation technologies continue to function at a higher capacity, with much greater efficiency than their predecessors. As these companies get closer to commercialization, the industry will become increasingly active and capital will flow back into the sector.
As the co-founder of Cascadia Capital, Michael Butler leads the firm and is an emerging thought leader in the New Energy Economy. His recent focus on sustainable technology has helped propel Cascadia into some of the most important transactions in this market.
Bioenergy, Geothermal Energy, Hydropower, Solar Energy, Wind Power
Joined: Sep 2009
Pass the Books. Hold the Oil.
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 10, 2012
EVERY so often someone asks me: “What’s your favorite country, other than your own?”
Thomas L. Friedman
I’ve always had the same answer: Taiwan. “Taiwan? Why Taiwan?” people ask.
Very simple: Because Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon-laden sea with no natural resources to live off of — it even has to import sand and gravel from China for construction — yet it has the fourth-largest financial reserves in the world. Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women. I always tell my friends in Taiwan: “You’re the luckiest people in the world. How did you get so lucky? You have no oil, no iron ore, no forests, no diamonds, no gold, just a few small deposits of coal and natural gas — and because of that you developed the habits and culture of honing your people’s skills, which turns out to be the most valuable and only truly renewable resource in the world today. How did you get so lucky?”
That, at least, was my gut instinct. But now we have proof.
A team from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., has just come out with a fascinating little study mapping the correlation between performance on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, exam — which every two years tests math, science and reading comprehension skills of 15-year-olds in 65 countries — and the total earnings on natural resources as a percentage of G.D.P. for each participating country. In short, how well do your high school kids do on math compared with how much oil you pump or how many diamonds you dig?
The results indicated that there was a “a significant negative relationship between the money countries extract from national resources and the knowledge and skills of their high school population,” said Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the PISA exams for the O.E.C.D. “This is a global pattern that holds across 65 countries that took part in the latest PISA assessment.” Oil and PISA don’t mix. (See the data map at: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/9/49881940.pdf.)
As the Bible notes, added Schleicher, “Moses arduously led the Jews for 40 years through the desert — just to bring them to the only country in the Middle East that had no oil. But Moses may have gotten it right, after all. Today, Israel has one of the most innovative economies, and its population enjoys a standard of living most of the oil-rich countries in the region are not able to offer.”
So hold the oil, and pass the books. According to Schleicher, in the latest PISA results, students in Singapore, Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan stand out as having high PISA scores and few natural resources, while Qatar and Kazakhstan stand out as having the highest oil rents and the lowest PISA scores. (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran and Syria stood out the same way in a similar 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or Timss, test, while, interestingly, students from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey — also Middle East states with few natural resources — scored better.) Also lagging in recent PISA scores, though, were students in many of the resource-rich countries of Latin America, like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Africa was not tested. Canada, Australia and Norway, also countries with high levels of natural resources, still score well on PISA, in large part, argues Schleicher, because all three countries have established deliberate policies of saving and investing these resource rents, and not just consuming them.
Add it all up and the numbers say that if you really want to know how a country is going to do in the 21st century, don’t count its oil reserves or gold mines, count its highly effective teachers, involved parents and committed students. “Today’s learning outcomes at school,” says Schleicher, “are a powerful predictor for the wealth and social outcomes that countries will reap in the long run.”
Economists have long known about “Dutch disease,” which happens when a country becomes so dependent on exporting natural resources that its currency soars in value and, as a result, its domestic manufacturing gets crushed as cheap imports flood in and exports become too expensive. What the PISA team is revealing is a related disease: societies that get addicted to their natural resources seem to develop parents and young people who lose some of the instincts, habits and incentives for doing homework and honing skills.
By, contrast, says Schleicher, “in countries with little in the way of natural resources — Finland, Singapore or Japan — education has strong outcomes and a high status, at least in part because the public at large has understood that the country must live by its knowledge and skills and that these depend on the quality of education. ... Every parent and child in these countries knows that skills will decide the life chances of the child and nothing else is going to rescue them, so they build a whole culture and education system around it.”
Or as my Indian-American friend K. R. Sridhar, the founder of the Silicon Valley fuel-cell company Bloom Energy, likes to say, “When you don’t have resources, you become resourceful.”
That’s why the foreign countries with the most companies listed on the Nasdaq are Israel, China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, South Korea and Singapore — none of which can live off natural resources.
But there is an important message for the industrialized world in this study, too. In these difficult economic times, it is tempting to buttress our own standards of living today by incurring even greater financial liabilities for the future. To be sure, there is a role for stimulus in a prolonged recession, but “the only sustainable way is to grow our way out by giving more people the knowledge and skills to compete, collaborate and connect in a way that drives our countries forward,” argues Schleicher.
In sum, says Schleicher, “knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.” Sure, it’s great to have oil, gas and diamonds; they can buy jobs. But they’ll weaken your society in the long run unless they’re used to build schools and a culture of lifelong learning. “The thing that will keep you moving forward,” says Schleicher, is always “what you bring to the table yourself.”
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
And yes, due to rigid extreme ideology, Oil is the past even though one uneducated but driven individual can go to North Dakota and make $120,000 a year. Not all of us inherited a fortune from our grandparents. Keep in mind, these earnings get TAXED on many levels.
Thank you Oil and Gas for providing ordinary Americans with an opportunity and our government with TAX REVENUE.
Joined: Sep 2009
Meanwhile, what about jobs? I have to admit that I started laughing when I saw The Wall Street Journal offering North Dakota as a role model. Yes, the oil boom there has pushed unemployment down to 3.2 percent, but that’s only possible because the whole state has fewer residents than metropolitan Albany — so few residents that adding a few thousand jobs in the state’s extractive sector is a really big deal. The comparable-sized fracking boom in Pennsylvania has had hardly any effect on the state’s overall employment picture, because, in the end, not that many jobs are involved.
And this tells us that giving the oil companies carte blanche isn’t a serious jobs program. Put it this way: Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment. So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.
Why, then, are Republicans pretending otherwise? Part of the answer is that the party is rewarding its benefactors: the oil and gas industry doesn’t create many jobs, but it does spend a lot of money on lobbying and campaign contributions. The rest of the answer is simply the fact that conservatives have no other job-creation ideas to offer.
And intellectual bankruptcy, I’m sorry to say, is a problem that no amount of drilling and fracking can solve.
Some people prefer to forget and or lie about the past MANY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
SPENT OVER MANY YEARS by govt to help the oil, gas, and coal (not to mention
the attempt with nuclear) industries gain the dominant positions they have today.
NO ONE OPPOSES oil and gas jobs. That inference goes under the category of blatant
disingenuousness. Only a weak debater needs to exaggerate or lie. Pathetic.
What Americans like James Woolsey (ex head of the CIA under Bush) and myself simply want us to do is diversify our energy sources because of the knowledge they have about the dangers of present energy policy to our security and the neetd to stop the warming of the globe.
Renewable energy makes sense from a security, economic, and environmental perspective.
Its obvious that it will grow as a percentage of our energy supply and only "dinosaurs"
will oppose its growth.
And finally: Only a person with very poor character is willing to discuss another persons financial status, on a website such as this, without knowing A SINGLE FACT about that persons financial
history. In other words, some people are willing to lie because they are clearly in over their head in political argument and feel uncontrollable anger because of that fact. How utterly sad and
Last edited by Havakasha; 03-16-2012 at 01:26 AM.
Joined: Sep 2009
Some facts to consider, because weighing all facts is important.
Sticking ones head in the sand is unpatriotic. Pardon the pun.
Pipeline spills of tar-sands oil three times as frequent as that of crude oil, and nastier
Bitumen from Alberta's tar sands deposits
In a new report, The impact of Tar Sands Pipeline Spills on Employment and the Economy, the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University has concluded that spills from pipelines of tar sands-derived oil are three times as likely to occur per mile as spills of crude oil. And when they do, the researchers say, the damage is greater, the public health risks larger, the clean-up harder, the costs higher. Not exactly good news for the people, water resources and ecology of the six states that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will cross if it is approved.
In transport, tar-sands oil is actually diluted bitumen, viscous and highly corrosive. When it is spilled, it behaves differently than does crude oil. In water, it sinks rather than floats, making skimmers useless for cleanup. In 2010, pipelines were already transporting 600,000 barrels of tar-sands oil in the United States. Spills are not as rare as TransCanada, Keystone's builder, would have everyone believe. The worst so far, and the first tar-sands spill into a major American waterway, occurred on the Kalamazoo River in 2010:
[O]fficials are still struggling to clean up the river. It was the first-ever major spill of this type of heavy oil, and it blindsided EPA cleanup crews: recovering the 1.2 million gallons of oil that have been cleaned up so far has cost the pipe's owner, Enbridge Energy Partners, roughly $725 million—10 times as much, per liter, as the average spill of conventional crude. Ralph Dollhopf, who led the EPA's response to the incident, told local media that the agency had to "write the book" on dealing with a cleanup of tar sands bitumen. [...]
A study of historic oil spills in the U.S. reported the average clean-up cost for heavy crude of $18.95 per litre. The Kalamazoo spill has so far cost over 10 times that much and counting.
Among the GLI's findings:
• 91 significant Keystone XL spills can be expected over 50 years. A previous study concluded that “…[T]he benzene released by a Keystone XL worst-case spill to groundwater in the Sandhills region of Nebraska would be sufficient to contaminate 4.9 billion gallons of water at concentrations exceeding the safe drinking water levels. [The spill] would pose serious health risks to people using that groundwater for drinking water and irrigation.”
• According to a 2010 report by the Michigan Department of Community Health, health care providers identified 145 patients who had reported illness or symptoms associated with exposure to the Kalamazoo tar-sands spill. In a door-to-door survey of 550 people in four communities and one workplace along the river, 58 percent of the reported health effects, including headaches, respiratory problems and nausea. Some went to area hospitals for treatment.
• Enbridge, the pipeline builder, bought 130 houses within 200 feet of the river where the spill was worst. The long-term impact on real estate values has yet to be determined since on one home has so far been sold to private parties.
• The business-related effects were relatively small: a family-owned campsite and a day-care center employing 12 people closed permanently as a result of the spill. A carpet business suffered a sustained loss of business.
The GLI researchers support an alternative approach to energy that does not include pipelines like Keystone XL:
Investing in renewable and clean energy creates jobs. for every
$1 million invested, 16.7 jobs are created. By contrast, $1 million invested in fossil fuels generates 5.3 jobs. A $150 billion investment in the fossil fuel industry would create about 788,000 jobs. That same investment in clean energy would create more than 2.5 million jobs. [...]
The renewable energy industry is growing at twice the rate of the overall economy. Today the clean energy economy employs 2.7 million workers overall. Between 2003 and 2010—a time when many industries were cutting jobs—clean energy economy employers added 500,000 jobs. In contrast, the top five oil companies generated $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, but reduced their combined U.S. workforce by 11,200.
Replacing oil in transportation, its greatest use, is no short-term affair. Although renewable energy installations are rapidly growing, transitioning away from fossil fuels with all due haste will require a comprehensive energy policy. That's something that hasn't been updated since 1979. Instead, the fossil-fuels giants have remained in control, burning up these resources and spewing their residue and off-gasses into the air we breathe and the higher reaches of the atmosphere with little or no concern for tomorrow. The Keystone XL pipeline is a project with a half-century life span that will transport dirty oil and maintain the junk we've been main-lining for the past century-plus.
A comprehensive energy policy is nothing without a budget to match. While the Obama administration has put more money into renewables than any presidency, it's still far from enough. A public-private investment of around $150 billion a year (1 percent of gross domestic product) would make a difference in a hurry according to Green Prosperity: How Clean-Energy Policies Can Fight Poverty and Raise Living Standards in the United States. That's a lot of money. But it's not mere expenditure on some pet project. It's an investment in a new world. One not dependent on environmentally unsound resources like tar sands oil or the inevitably flawed conduits that carry them.
Last edited by Havakasha; 03-14-2012 at 11:45 PM.
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted by SiriuslyLong