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October 08, 2007


Peter de Valk

Obviously your DOE is run by oil interests.
Their mentality is similar to that of the General Motors honchos who could never conceive that Japanese car technology and plant management could have anything of value to offer them. Look at them now scrambling to catch up with Toyota's hybrid technology: more then 10 years too late! Your DOE mental giants will probably and hopefully also be left in the dust by less traditional thinking in other nations. But not until they have actively promoted the environmental destruction of the North American continent, the Alberta oil sands being a case in point.


When you read the fact sheet on energy efficiency, you can see the absurdity the discussions at TOD about the low EROEI of alternative energy. For conventional oil the EROEI is about 10, which makes the useful EROEI about 2-3, even if a car was 50% efficient, the useful EROEI would only be 5. Every other source of oil is worse. PHEV's on solar, wind, geothermal, ocean, nuclear would have a much higher useful EROEI.

Once we have PHEVs, it would be more efficient to build power plants next to the hydrocarbon deposits and burn them directly to make electricity. Another option might be converting them, to natural gas, which could then be burned in small co-genaration plants. Continuing to expand the use of oil to power our cars is absurd.


Sounds as if oil & overpowered auto interests have written this thing. Clearly we already have 50mpg autos available, with a little bit of effort by 2030 these would be considered to be gas hogs. But the political forces against making that effort seem to have sway.

Kit P

“The Task Force was chartered by the Secretary of Energy in response to the provisions of Section 369(h) (5)(A) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [PL 109-58].”

Peter, DOE is doing their job as directed by congress and administered by the president. The energy bill was very comprehensive. Chances are that whatever your favorite energy choice there is something in the energy bill that you like.

Alberta is in Canada. We have to wonder what cesspool that Peter hails from.


Oh. OK then, Kit. The bill was comprehensive. Great. And what cesspool do you hail from? (As long as we're wondering.)

Kit P

George, I am a little tired of mindless anti-American rants from the uninformed. Since Peter's is attacking what I think is good policy, it is fair to ask if his “by less traditional thinking in other nations” has resulted in higher environmental quality that we enjoy in the US.


George, Peter I hope you are not scared off. The left half of American public opinion is relatively close to the European view. The DOE is run by political appointees of the current administration, and so reflects the views of the right half (or third) of the political spectrum over here. We are not all xenophobic over here, I personally welcome comments from those with a different perspective. I think attempting to see things as others do is an important skill that is all too often neglected.

Very likely the political balance in Washington will be different after 2009, and gradually the composition of high level government agencies upper management will come to reflect that.

Kit P

Seeking out the opinion of the poorly informed is a waste of time. It took me less than 30 seconds to find out why DOE did the study. I think the US should consider all the our options. In any case, Peter is flat out factually wrong.

I have lived, worked, and traveled extensively in Europe. I work for a multinational company. At least 25% of my coworkers are immigrants. We learn lots form each other.

Anti-American Europeans are always confounded by why they can not leave ignorant Americans “left in the dust”. One reason is that we respect our environment more.

What the Heck

What the Heck.


One thing we learned from the 1970’s is that once America is ready to embark on real energy independence, OPEC will open the taps and drive down the price of oil. Then, when OPEC has driven out competitors, they raise the price to new highs. That is what cartels--that control supply--do to their “customers”. They took this tactic when American SynFuel plants were ready to go on-line, and will do it again should we invest in options to replace expensive oil.

No prudent investor will make the decision to commit cash to coal liquification, shale-oil production, or various bio-fuel products that would be competitive, without government subsidies, to $70/bbl oil.

How do you encourage investment to free America from the boom bust oil cycle created by our enemies? The simple answer is to impose import duties on all foreign oil that kicks in at around $80/bbl, increasing $1.00 for every dollar that oil prices drop below this level. (Not only would we protect a new domestic industry from predators, but would pay down our national debt when prices drop due to declining demand.) We could exempt Canada and Mexico if they agree to help us protect our borders and control illegal immigration.

The first reaction may be that we would be putting too high a floor on oil prices at $80/bbl. Not true. If liquefied coal is profitable at $50-$65/bbl, competing coal companies would bid the price down to that level. Similarly, other companies would make investments in shale oil that is competitive at $70/bbl. Of course, existing American oil supplies would also move below the $80 level over time. While we might never get back to $1.00 gasoline, we would have reasonable, predictable prices that would not be held captive by our enemies. And the jobs and profit would stay home.

This is, of course, another practical solution that our 531 clueless and bought-off leaders in Washington will not implement unless forced to by the people.

Safety news

“One thing we learned from the 1970’s is that once America is ready to embark on real energy independence, OPEC will open the taps and drive down the price of oil.”

Several factors caused and correct the supply imbalance. Blaming OPEC for our problems will only identify solutions that we have not control over kfro99

First we started making electricity with oil in the 60s and then replaced that generation with nukes in the 80s. Second we made our POV more efficient and bought smaller ones. Third we increased domestic oil production. Fourth, we switched to home heating with natural gas. We also made the US much more efficient.

So what happened in the 90s. We started making lots of electricity with 'clean' NG. We started shutting down nukes and stopped developing renewable energy. We started buying very big SUVs and computers. We stopped domestic energy development. Instead of cooking our own food, we sit in line at the drive thru.

The May 2001 National Energy Policy and the 2005 Energy Bill set us on a course to correct the supply problems. It also look like American consumers responding by buying smaller cars.

Change takes a long time kfro99. My concern know is the upcoming election. The record of both presidential candidates is very poor on energy. We have a choice between dumb and dumber.

Kit P

The above post is mine.


Bob Wallace

Or, perhaps, we have a choice between one guy who is pretty much locked to the past and overly controlled by 'the way things are' and another guy who is very bright and really wants to fix problems.

Each voter might ask themselves which person is more likely to really understand the energy problem, really comprehend the possible answers, and really get change implemented.

We should also recognize that at this point much of the energy problem is being addressed by private, rather than government, money and energy.

If the government does nothing but keep out of the way, then many issues are likely to be solved.

The largest danger at this point might be large corporations wielding their influence in the government to put up roadblocks and keep money flowing their way and wasted.

This might be a very good time to elect leaders who aren't taking money from lobbyists and PACs. A good opportunity to take back our government.

Kit P

“A good opportunity to take back our government.”

And do what? It is my government too, I would like know.

It is a rare elected official running for office that explain the difference between transportation fuel issues and electricity generating issues. If you are going to advocate change you should be able to articulate what that change is and how you are going to accomplish that.

Bob Wallace

We're getting ready to hire a new CEO.

The new CEO, if he's good, will hire good people that specialize in the various areas that need attention.

And if he's really good he'll listen to the best of the advice that he gets, will weigh it against opposing ideas (wouldn't that be novel?), and make some good decisions.

And if he's really, really good he'll realize and acknowledge when the decision made might not have been an optimal one and change direction.

Kit P

In the US government, the president is not equivalent to a CEO. The president can establish policy but congress must pass the budget and pass legislation to create regulations. This is a painful process judging from the time it took to get from 2001 NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY to the 2005 Energy bill.

“And if he's really good he'll listen to the best of the advice that he gets, ...”

This is exactly what Bush did in establishing a policy so quickly. These folks are called lobbyists.

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