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Pacific Ethanol Plants Declare Bankruptcy

I don’t actually enjoy posting “I told you so” stories, especially when the news is negative. This means someone has failed, and I don’t enjoy seeing people fail. But when I put a spotlight on a company, naturally I am going to follow that company. If it does fail, then that will be reported upon, as has been the case previously with Xethanol and later on with algal biofuel producer GreenFuel. If a company that I have cast doubts on goes on to success, I will highlight that as well, but I don’t believe that has happened yet. If Coskata proves me wrong, or Vinod Khosla goes on to great success as a biofuel magnate, I will write about it.

Today Pacific Ethanol (PEIX), one of the companies that I have tracked the longest, declared bankruptcy for Pacific Ethanol, Inc. This is not bankruptcy for the entire company, but it is bankruptcy for the ethanol plants themselves, which apparently leaves the marketing branches (Kinergy Marketing LLC and Pacific Ag. Products LLC) intact. I state that as a matter of fact, not with any smug satisfaction.* I recognize the people who work at these plants are hard-working people with families to support, and I don’t delight at seeing anyone out of work. As I told someone recently (in fact, we were talking about Pacific Ethanol and Coskata) “This is never personal. I am just stating my opinions.” With that preface, I offer my sincere condolences to all the people impacted by this development.

It was in July 2006, in the wake of a very positive article on investing in ethanol that I wrote an article for Financial Sense that suggested that ethanol stocks were overvalued. I focused on Pacific Ethanol, stating that I would “take a look at Pacific Ethanol to show why I think the underlying fundamentals make it a very risky investment.” Here was the problem as I saw it in a nutshell:

Another factor working against Pacific Ethanol’s success is the ability to secure cheap corn supplies for their plant. According to http://www.ethanol.org/FAQs.htm [RR: This link and the next one are both now dead], an important factor to consider when building an ethanol plant is proximity to corn. Local grain supplies, preferably within 50 miles of the plant, are important for keeping costs down. Yet California produces little corn. In recent years, California’s corn crop amounted to barely over 1% of the corn crop in Iowa (http://www.corn.org/web/uscprod.htm). This makes it likely that PEIX will have to import corn from out of state, driving up production costs. It will probably be cheaper for a producer to produce ethanol in the Corn Belt, and then ship the ethanol to California than it would be to ship the corn there and produce it locally. There is a reason that California is not a hotbed of ethanol activity, despite the fact that Californians consume ethanol. It’s too far from the corn, so it is more cost effective to ship in finished ethanol.

I just never thought they were going to be able to compete with the guys in the Midwest. When you ship all that corn from Iowa, you are shipping all of the waste products and all of the water as well. You end up with byproducts in greater quantities than the local markets can absorb. It always made more sense to me to produce ethanol in Iowa, feed the byproducts to cattle in the area, and ship the finished ethanol to California. To me, that was going to be the low cost producer for ethanol in California (with the possible exception of ethanol from Brazil).

On top of the geographical problem, the sector as a whole has been in big trouble as too many producers joined the party. While PEIX was at one time fairly well-capitalized, they were ultimately unable to withstand the problems plaguing the sector in general. My prediction is that the plants will end up being auctioned off as the Verasun assets were.

* OK, maybe a tiny bit of satisfaction toward people who suggested that since Bill Gates had invested in PEIX, I must be an idiot for criticizing it.

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May 19, 2009 - Posted by | Pacific Ethanol, PEIX, Xethanol, XNL

87 Comments

  1. RR-Hitachi today announced a battery with 1.7 times the power of the batteries they now make for cars. Hitachi is a serious, experienced manufacturer.
    We have natural gas for 120 years.
    I think you are barking up the wrong tree with all these ethanol posts. Ethanol (outside of perhaps Brazil) is a bad idea.
    But we have good ideas, and smart, productive people are prusuing them. The future looks bright–if you look in the right place.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  2. RR-Hitachi today announced a battery with 1.7 times the power of the batteries they now make for cars. Hitachi is a serious, experienced manufacturer.
    We have natural gas for 120 years.
    I think you are barking up the wrong tree with all these ethanol posts. Ethanol (outside of perhaps Brazil) is a bad idea.
    But we have good ideas, and smart, productive people are prusuing them. The future looks bright–if you look in the right place.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  3. RR-Hitachi today announced a battery with 1.7 times the power of the batteries they now make for cars. Hitachi is a serious, experienced manufacturer. We have natural gas for 120 years.I think you are barking up the wrong tree with all these ethanol posts. Ethanol (outside of perhaps Brazil) is a bad idea. But we have good ideas, and smart, productive people are prusuing them. The future looks bright–if you look in the right place.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  4. Benny – in a perfect world I would agree with you. But the US is mandating ethanol use and states like California are imposing renewable fuel standards. Someone is going to have to make ethanol in California.

    Comment by KingofKaty | May 19, 2009

  5. Benny – in a perfect world I would agree with you. But the US is mandating ethanol use and states like California are imposing renewable fuel standards. Someone is going to have to make ethanol in California.

    Comment by KingofKaty | May 19, 2009

  6. Benny,

    The new Schwinn “Tailwind” electric bicycle uses a Toshiba battery. The bicycle can be completely charged in 30 minutes versus 4-5 hours or more for most electric bikes.

    Toshiba sells a special battery charger that will allow you to charge up the bike in 5 to 7 minutes (about the same time it takes to get a tank of gas)

    Toshiba says they have an even better battery they are going to release in about 18 months.

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  7. Benny,

    The new Schwinn “Tailwind” electric bicycle uses a Toshiba battery. The bicycle can be completely charged in 30 minutes versus 4-5 hours or more for most electric bikes.

    Toshiba sells a special battery charger that will allow you to charge up the bike in 5 to 7 minutes (about the same time it takes to get a tank of gas)

    Toshiba says they have an even better battery they are going to release in about 18 months.

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  8. Benny,The new Schwinn “Tailwind” electric bicycle uses a Toshiba battery. The bicycle can be completely charged in 30 minutes versus 4-5 hours or more for most electric bikes. Toshiba sells a special battery charger that will allow you to charge up the bike in 5 to 7 minutes (about the same time it takes to get a tank of gas)Toshiba says they have an even better battery they are going to release in about 18 months.John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  9. King-
    Yes, and the farm lobby will mean we have ethanol forever. (I won’t mention it was a certain Prezzy with a name that begins with a “B” who set forth a huge increase in our ethanol program).
    Still, the future is in batteries, if some of the recent advances claimed by major, real outfits are true. And natural gas, of which we have plenty for generations.
    Sad to see what California is doing. No doubt, a lobby will form around the ethanol, and the we will have it forever.
    John-
    Thanks for that post. I have been toying with the idea of an electric motorcycle. They are just a bit too expensive now, and also as an old man I am not sure I should risk the asphalt tumble.
    But it seems probable that within five years there will be batteries on the market about double-power what we have now. And even better in the future.
    The sniveling about Peak Oil is only that. We are passing the oil age by.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  10. King-
    Yes, and the farm lobby will mean we have ethanol forever. (I won’t mention it was a certain Prezzy with a name that begins with a “B” who set forth a huge increase in our ethanol program).
    Still, the future is in batteries, if some of the recent advances claimed by major, real outfits are true. And natural gas, of which we have plenty for generations.
    Sad to see what California is doing. No doubt, a lobby will form around the ethanol, and the we will have it forever.
    John-
    Thanks for that post. I have been toying with the idea of an electric motorcycle. They are just a bit too expensive now, and also as an old man I am not sure I should risk the asphalt tumble.
    But it seems probable that within five years there will be batteries on the market about double-power what we have now. And even better in the future.
    The sniveling about Peak Oil is only that. We are passing the oil age by.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  11. King-Yes, and the farm lobby will mean we have ethanol forever. (I won’t mention it was a certain Prezzy with a name that begins with a “B” who set forth a huge increase in our ethanol program). Still, the future is in batteries, if some of the recent advances claimed by major, real outfits are true. And natural gas, of which we have plenty for generations. Sad to see what California is doing. No doubt, a lobby will form around the ethanol, and the we will have it forever. John-Thanks for that post. I have been toying with the idea of an electric motorcycle. They are just a bit too expensive now, and also as an old man I am not sure I should risk the asphalt tumble. But it seems probable that within five years there will be batteries on the market about double-power what we have now. And even better in the future. The sniveling about Peak Oil is only that. We are passing the oil age by.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  12. But we have good ideas, and smart, productive people are prusuing them. The future looks bright–if you look in the right place.
    Even though your analysis stinks, you get the bottom line right. As King eludes: the Feds are just making it extrodinary hard for the market to get this right.

    Someone is going to have to make ethanol in California.
    Et tu, Kingus?

    You, of all people, would know that biofuel is NOT = ethanol, in spite of Midwestern prostitutians. And the way the Golden State is doing this, taking carbon footprint into account, will out ethanol’s fake claims to greeness.

    One way or another, I predict, California is going to get a viable biofuel system going. Mainly because it set the groundrules right, without trying to favor a particular industry.

    If only Washington could learn from Sacramento (on this particular issue)…

    Comment by Optimist | May 19, 2009

  13. But we have good ideas, and smart, productive people are prusuing them. The future looks bright–if you look in the right place.Even though your analysis stinks, you get the bottom line right. As King eludes: the Feds are just making it extrodinary hard for the market to get this right.Someone is going to have to make ethanol in California.Et tu, Kingus?You, of all people, would know that biofuel is NOT = ethanol, in spite of Midwestern prostitutians. And the way the Golden State is doing this, taking carbon footprint into account, will out ethanol’s fake claims to greeness.One way or another, I predict, California is going to get a viable biofuel system going. Mainly because it set the groundrules right, without trying to favor a particular industry.If only Washington could learn from Sacramento (on this particular issue)…

    Comment by Optimist | May 19, 2009

  14. Benny,

    The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.

    Ormat is in the process of expanding the plant by another 8 MW. There are enough geo-thermal resources on the island to provide all the big islands electric needs.

    The Philippines already gets 29% of its electricity from base-line geothermal plants and they are building more.

    The Germans have issued some 180 permits for wells but simply do not have enough drilling rigs to bring all the projects on line.

    The new low- temperature binary fluid technology has greatly expanded potential geothermal reserves. The water from the aquifer doesn’t have to be as hot. Raser Technologies says they can produce useful energy from water temperatures as low as 165 degrees.

    Some of the old flash steam plants can be retrofitted with binary heat exchangers without having to drill new wells. Some of the new plants are purposely designed as hybrids, Flash steam on the front end and binary recovery at the tail-end before the water is put back into the acqifer.

    Austalia has a large Dry Rock resource. Since there is no natural aquifer, water is pumped into the well, heated in the hot-rock formation and then withdrawn to make electricity.

    ———————————–
    The Raser system works using what is essentially air conditioning equipment run backwards. A factory trained AC mechanic can service the thing.

    Plants are modular in construction. The Raser plant in Utah uses 50 250 kw generators to produce 10 MW. This allows a portion of the production to be brought on-line as soon as the first well is completed. As additional wells are dug additional generators are fired up to add to production.

    The modular construction allowed Raser to build the plant in less than a year – something almost un-heard of as geo-thermal plants were formerly taking 3-5 years to build.

    There are about 120 plants in various stages in the U.S. Raser has 8 projects in the works.

    ———————————

    Ben……..

    The world’s fastest trains are all “electric” The Spanish AVE the German ICE, the French TGV and AGV, the Japanese Shinkansen bullet, the Amtrak Acella

    The Mag-lev trains are electro-magnetic.

    Japanese Mag-Lev 361 mph
    French TGV 358 mph

    Not a diesel locomotive in the bunch.

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  15. Benny,

    The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.

    Ormat is in the process of expanding the plant by another 8 MW. There are enough geo-thermal resources on the island to provide all the big islands electric needs.

    The Philippines already gets 29% of its electricity from base-line geothermal plants and they are building more.

    The Germans have issued some 180 permits for wells but simply do not have enough drilling rigs to bring all the projects on line.

    The new low- temperature binary fluid technology has greatly expanded potential geothermal reserves. The water from the aquifer doesn’t have to be as hot. Raser Technologies says they can produce useful energy from water temperatures as low as 165 degrees.

    Some of the old flash steam plants can be retrofitted with binary heat exchangers without having to drill new wells. Some of the new plants are purposely designed as hybrids, Flash steam on the front end and binary recovery at the tail-end before the water is put back into the acqifer.

    Austalia has a large Dry Rock resource. Since there is no natural aquifer, water is pumped into the well, heated in the hot-rock formation and then withdrawn to make electricity.

    ———————————–
    The Raser system works using what is essentially air conditioning equipment run backwards. A factory trained AC mechanic can service the thing.

    Plants are modular in construction. The Raser plant in Utah uses 50 250 kw generators to produce 10 MW. This allows a portion of the production to be brought on-line as soon as the first well is completed. As additional wells are dug additional generators are fired up to add to production.

    The modular construction allowed Raser to build the plant in less than a year – something almost un-heard of as geo-thermal plants were formerly taking 3-5 years to build.

    There are about 120 plants in various stages in the U.S. Raser has 8 projects in the works.

    ———————————

    Ben……..

    The world’s fastest trains are all “electric” The Spanish AVE the German ICE, the French TGV and AGV, the Japanese Shinkansen bullet, the Amtrak Acella

    The Mag-lev trains are electro-magnetic.

    Japanese Mag-Lev 361 mph
    French TGV 358 mph

    Not a diesel locomotive in the bunch.

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  16. Benny,The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.Ormat is in the process of expanding the plant by another 8 MW. There are enough geo-thermal resources on the island to provide all the big islands electric needs.The Philippines already gets 29% of its electricity from base-line geothermal plants and they are building more. The Germans have issued some 180 permits for wells but simply do not have enough drilling rigs to bring all the projects on line. The new low- temperature binary fluid technology has greatly expanded potential geothermal reserves. The water from the aquifer doesn’t have to be as hot. Raser Technologies says they can produce useful energy from water temperatures as low as 165 degrees.Some of the old flash steam plants can be retrofitted with binary heat exchangers without having to drill new wells. Some of the new plants are purposely designed as hybrids, Flash steam on the front end and binary recovery at the tail-end before the water is put back into the acqifer.Austalia has a large Dry Rock resource. Since there is no natural aquifer, water is pumped into the well, heated in the hot-rock formation and then withdrawn to make electricity. ———————————–The Raser system works using what is essentially air conditioning equipment run backwards. A factory trained AC mechanic can service the thing.Plants are modular in construction. The Raser plant in Utah uses 50 250 kw generators to produce 10 MW. This allows a portion of the production to be brought on-line as soon as the first well is completed. As additional wells are dug additional generators are fired up to add to production.The modular construction allowed Raser to build the plant in less than a year – something almost un-heard of as geo-thermal plants were formerly taking 3-5 years to build.There are about 120 plants in various stages in the U.S. Raser has 8 projects in the works.———————————Ben……..The world’s fastest trains are all “electric” The Spanish AVE the German ICE, the French TGV and AGV, the Japanese Shinkansen bullet, the Amtrak Acella The Mag-lev trains are electro-magnetic. Japanese Mag-Lev 361 mph French TGV 358 mphNot a diesel locomotive in the bunch. John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  17. John-
    All good. I have no fear that man will be not able to generate lots of electricity.
    We know we can make juice from nukes, geothermal, solar, wind, natural gas, coal, hydro and probably one or two I missed.
    Add to that, amazing advances in lighting, HVAC, heat-blocking windows etc. The new LED lights are remarkable, and getting cheaper every year. It is easy to sketch out a future in which we use less electricity every year for built space (in the USA).
    Now, we are seeing Hitachi and several other makers step up to the plate with wonderful lithium batteries, and radical improvements in the offing.
    This may be the most exciting period in automobile development since…well…since ICEs.
    Plus we have natrual gas up the wahoo.
    My name may stink, but I tink my analysis is rosy!
    (With my name, I ought to buy one of those “Tailwind” bicycles. Maybe if you eat beans you get extra mpgs.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  18. John-
    All good. I have no fear that man will be not able to generate lots of electricity.
    We know we can make juice from nukes, geothermal, solar, wind, natural gas, coal, hydro and probably one or two I missed.
    Add to that, amazing advances in lighting, HVAC, heat-blocking windows etc. The new LED lights are remarkable, and getting cheaper every year. It is easy to sketch out a future in which we use less electricity every year for built space (in the USA).
    Now, we are seeing Hitachi and several other makers step up to the plate with wonderful lithium batteries, and radical improvements in the offing.
    This may be the most exciting period in automobile development since…well…since ICEs.
    Plus we have natrual gas up the wahoo.
    My name may stink, but I tink my analysis is rosy!
    (With my name, I ought to buy one of those “Tailwind” bicycles. Maybe if you eat beans you get extra mpgs.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  19. John-All good. I have no fear that man will be not able to generate lots of electricity. We know we can make juice from nukes, geothermal, solar, wind, natural gas, coal, hydro and probably one or two I missed. Add to that, amazing advances in lighting, HVAC, heat-blocking windows etc. The new LED lights are remarkable, and getting cheaper every year. It is easy to sketch out a future in which we use less electricity every year for built space (in the USA).Now, we are seeing Hitachi and several other makers step up to the plate with wonderful lithium batteries, and radical improvements in the offing.This may be the most exciting period in automobile development since…well…since ICEs. Plus we have natrual gas up the wahoo. My name may stink, but I tink my analysis is rosy!(With my name, I ought to buy one of those “Tailwind” bicycles. Maybe if you eat beans you get extra mpgs.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  20. OT-BTW
    This is a very very interesting post by American Marketplace. Basically, it says come June there will be no place left to put oil. Not on land, sea, or anywhere else, yet the oil keeps on coming.
    We may see $10 a barrel yet.
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/19/pm_full_fuel_tanks/

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  21. OT-BTW
    This is a very very interesting post by American Marketplace. Basically, it says come June there will be no place left to put oil. Not on land, sea, or anywhere else, yet the oil keeps on coming.
    We may see $10 a barrel yet.
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/19/pm_full_fuel_tanks/

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  22. OT-BTWThis is a very very interesting post by American Marketplace. Basically, it says come June there will be no place left to put oil. Not on land, sea, or anywhere else, yet the oil keeps on coming.We may see $10 a barrel yet.http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/19/pm_full_fuel_tanks/

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 19, 2009

  23. Ben,

    Yes, lots of ways to make electricity. I’m not worried. Besides, the U.S. is energy independent in regard to the electric grid.

    The problem is in the transportation sector, with liquid fuels and the infernal combustion engine.

    When you remove the ICE from the equation, everything suddenly clears up. It’s like having a blindfold removed from your eyes.

    The great thing about electricity is that every nation can make it. No one will have to deal with the likes of OPEC or Chavez. It will help “democratize” the world’s energy resources.

    Yes, exciting changes for auto industry – new day dawning. Toyota is already researching the Zinc-air fuel cell as a possible replacement for the lithium ion battery. It has about 2 1/2 times the energy density of lithium batteries. And Zinc is one of the more plentiful elements, and relatively inexpensive.

    Yes, once you toss the internal combustion engine out of your thinking – every thing clears up.

    Myself, I see a future without the ICE, so it’s hard for me to stay focused on the bio-fuels. I was interested in them several years ago — until I saw the light.

    The Internal Combustion Engine is at the root of our problem. Get rid of the internal combustion engine and the problem goes away.

    That’s easier said than done, but wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles would simply make gasoline and the bio-fuels obsolete.

    Once you toss the ICE in the trash-can, running out of oil is no longer a problem – you won’t run out of oil because there is no need for all that oil in the first place.

    Benny, you may be right, electric vehicles might just be making an “end-run” around the ICE and peak oil may end up having about as much significance as Y2K did.

    On the other hand, if we stubbornly persist with the internal combustion engine, we will likely end up in a huge mess.

    Like you said, “The future looks bright – if you look in the right place.”

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  24. Ben,Yes, lots of ways to make electricity. I’m not worried. Besides, the U.S. is energy independent in regard to the electric grid.The problem is in the transportation sector, with liquid fuels and the infernal combustion engine. When you remove the ICE from the equation, everything suddenly clears up. It’s like having a blindfold removed from your eyes.The great thing about electricity is that every nation can make it. No one will have to deal with the likes of OPEC or Chavez. It will help “democratize” the world’s energy resources.Yes, exciting changes for auto industry – new day dawning. Toyota is already researching the Zinc-air fuel cell as a possible replacement for the lithium ion battery. It has about 2 1/2 times the energy density of lithium batteries. And Zinc is one of the more plentiful elements, and relatively inexpensive. Yes, once you toss the internal combustion engine out of your thinking – every thing clears up. Myself, I see a future without the ICE, so it’s hard for me to stay focused on the bio-fuels. I was interested in them several years ago — until I saw the light. The Internal Combustion Engine is at the root of our problem. Get rid of the internal combustion engine and the problem goes away. That’s easier said than done, but wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles would simply make gasoline and the bio-fuels obsolete. Once you toss the ICE in the trash-can, running out of oil is no longer a problem – you won’t run out of oil because there is no need for all that oil in the first place.Benny, you may be right, electric vehicles might just be making an “end-run” around the ICE and peak oil may end up having about as much significance as Y2K did.On the other hand, if we stubbornly persist with the internal combustion engine, we will likely end up in a huge mess.Like you said, “The future looks bright – if you look in the right place.”John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 19, 2009

  25. “Once you toss the ICE in the trash-can, running out of oil is no longer a problem – you won’t run out of oil because there is no need for all that oil in the first place.”
    We will toss the ICE in the trashcan once we have something better to replace it. Better means cheaper, more user-friendly, more reliable. (The electric replacement for the jet engine may take a little longer).

    But let’s be realistic. Today, fossil fuels beat anything else hands down. And the Political Class is choosing “winners” which are really losers. The favored technologies cannot get any more than niche acceptance from real human beings without perpetual subsidies. And in the long run, those susidies will be unaffordable.

    Technologically, there is every reason to be hopeful that human ingenuity will come up with the necessary very large scale non-fossil energy infrastructure. Politically, there is no chance of that ever happening. And I don’t see how we are ever going to square that circle without a major crash, a lot of unnecessary human suffering, and politicians dangling from lamp-posts.

    Comment by Kinuachdrach | May 19, 2009

  26. “Once you toss the ICE in the trash-can, running out of oil is no longer a problem – you won’t run out of oil because there is no need for all that oil in the first place.”We will toss the ICE in the trashcan once we have something better to replace it. Better means cheaper, more user-friendly, more reliable. (The electric replacement for the jet engine may take a little longer).But let’s be realistic. Today, fossil fuels beat anything else hands down. And the Political Class is choosing “winners” which are really losers. The favored technologies cannot get any more than niche acceptance from real human beings without perpetual subsidies. And in the long run, those susidies will be unaffordable.Technologically, there is every reason to be hopeful that human ingenuity will come up with the necessary very large scale non-fossil energy infrastructure. Politically, there is no chance of that ever happening. And I don’t see how we are ever going to square that circle without a major crash, a lot of unnecessary human suffering, and politicians dangling from lamp-posts.

    Comment by Kinuachdrach | May 19, 2009

  27. John, do you own an ICE vehicle?

    Comment by Clee | May 20, 2009

  28. John, do you own an ICE vehicle?

    Comment by Clee | May 20, 2009

  29. John, do you own an ICE vehicle?

    Comment by Clee | May 20, 2009

  30. Kinu:
    Yes, we agree that our politcial class is spineless and myopic. Both parties.
    On the other hand, a price signal is a price signal.
    If oil ever gets tight for several years running — and it never has — but if it does, then business and consumers globally will migrate to options.
    What John and I are saying is that, thanks to dedicated engineers and scientists and companies such as Hitachi, or smart drillers for shale gas down in Louisiana, that the transition to battery cars will likely be painless. (Well, maybe John has reservations, I am optimistic).
    Think about it: We had a brief window of higher oil prices. Like magic, we get all the major auto makers developing battery cars, and rapid advances in l-batteries. If Hitachi is not blowing hot air, they have cracked the code already.
    At $5 a gallon, you will buy a PHEV or BEV with a Hitachi battery (or licensed etc). Or convert your car to CNG (while fleet operators already have).
    Frankly, I see all of this as a boon to America. We will import hundreds of billins of dollars of less oil every year, and have cleaner air.
    The transition, thanks to the very brief oil scare, should be easy.
    Yes, I am worried about the ability of the USA to govern itself. We borrow money. Winos in the park have more sense than recent US presidents, and street whores more business smarts.
    But the price mechanism will save us.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 20, 2009

  31. Kinu:Yes, we agree that our politcial class is spineless and myopic. Both parties. On the other hand, a price signal is a price signal.If oil ever gets tight for several years running — and it never has — but if it does, then business and consumers globally will migrate to options.What John and I are saying is that, thanks to dedicated engineers and scientists and companies such as Hitachi, or smart drillers for shale gas down in Louisiana, that the transition to battery cars will likely be painless. (Well, maybe John has reservations, I am optimistic). Think about it: We had a brief window of higher oil prices. Like magic, we get all the major auto makers developing battery cars, and rapid advances in l-batteries. If Hitachi is not blowing hot air, they have cracked the code already. At $5 a gallon, you will buy a PHEV or BEV with a Hitachi battery (or licensed etc). Or convert your car to CNG (while fleet operators already have). Frankly, I see all of this as a boon to America. We will import hundreds of billins of dollars of less oil every year, and have cleaner air. The transition, thanks to the very brief oil scare, should be easy.Yes, I am worried about the ability of the USA to govern itself. We borrow money. Winos in the park have more sense than recent US presidents, and street whores more business smarts. But the price mechanism will save us.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 20, 2009

  32. “Think about it: We had a brief window of higher oil prices. Like magic, we get all the major auto makers developing battery cars, and rapid advances in l-batteries.”

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Or, in plain English, as silly as the rationale for alleged Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    People had been working on battery technology for a long time. Advances come — will continue to come. But oil price increases have not historically caused instant breakthroughs in technology, they have caused demand destruction. Also known as unemployment, poverty, and (in parts of the world) starvation.

    Don’t ever lose sight of the scale of our energy needs — your needs! The world is using a cubic mile of oil every year. That is one hell of a pile of lithium batteries! To say nothing of the power stations to charge them. And the fuel source for the power stations.

    Of course a new energy supply paradigm is doable. The Once-Communist Chinese will do it. But in the West, the Political Class will fight the price mechanism and screw it up.

    Comment by Kinuachdrach | May 20, 2009

  33. “Think about it: We had a brief window of higher oil prices. Like magic, we get all the major auto makers developing battery cars, and rapid advances in l-batteries.”

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Or, in plain English, as silly as the rationale for alleged Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    People had been working on battery technology for a long time. Advances come — will continue to come. But oil price increases have not historically caused instant breakthroughs in technology, they have caused demand destruction. Also known as unemployment, poverty, and (in parts of the world) starvation.

    Don’t ever lose sight of the scale of our energy needs — your needs! The world is using a cubic mile of oil every year. That is one hell of a pile of lithium batteries! To say nothing of the power stations to charge them. And the fuel source for the power stations.

    Of course a new energy supply paradigm is doable. The Once-Communist Chinese will do it. But in the West, the Political Class will fight the price mechanism and screw it up.

    Comment by Kinuachdrach | May 20, 2009

  34. “Think about it: We had a brief window of higher oil prices. Like magic, we get all the major auto makers developing battery cars, and rapid advances in l-batteries.”Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Or, in plain English, as silly as the rationale for alleged Anthropogenic Global Warming.People had been working on battery technology for a long time. Advances come — will continue to come. But oil price increases have not historically caused instant breakthroughs in technology, they have caused demand destruction. Also known as unemployment, poverty, and (in parts of the world) starvation.Don’t ever lose sight of the scale of our energy needs — your needs! The world is using a cubic mile of oil every year. That is one hell of a pile of lithium batteries! To say nothing of the power stations to charge them. And the fuel source for the power stations.Of course a new energy supply paradigm is doable. The Once-Communist Chinese will do it. But in the West, the Political Class will fight the price mechanism and screw it up.

    Comment by Kinuachdrach | May 20, 2009

  35. From the “Blog Master” Robert Rapier”

    “Letter to the President”

    Point number 5 ………

    ” 5. From my viewpoint, we need to move to a future in which electricity drives our transport systems. The electricity would be derived initially from existing sources like coal and nuclear power, but increasingly from solar, wind, and various other renewable sources. Improved battery technology and energy storage technologies are the key enabling technologies required. Therefore, I am proposing to significantly increase the funding and resources devoted to these technologies. Cash awards will also be available to inventors meeting certain key milestones – as inspired by the Automotive X PRIZE.”

    Apparently, your blog participants weren’t reading your mail …..

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 20, 2009

  36. From the “Blog Master” Robert Rapier””Letter to the President”Point number 5 ………” 5. From my viewpoint, we need to move to a future in which electricity drives our transport systems. The electricity would be derived initially from existing sources like coal and nuclear power, but increasingly from solar, wind, and various other renewable sources. Improved battery technology and energy storage technologies are the key enabling technologies required. Therefore, I am proposing to significantly increase the funding and resources devoted to these technologies. Cash awards will also be available to inventors meeting certain key milestones – as inspired by the Automotive X PRIZE.”Apparently, your blog participants weren’t reading your mail …..John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 20, 2009

  37. Here some varied thoughts:

    Benny, I have the car for you. Made in the US (it’s not just for fleets)
    http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=35587

    I looked at Raser Technology website,this is one innovative company. Can build a geothermal plant in 6 months.

    My latest thinking on Algae is perhaps the play is in Animal Feed to reduce the demand on corn.I know this is being looked at and overall would be a good thing.

    In all these second and third generation fuels,I think there may be a disadvantage to being first to market. They make the mistakes and if there isn’t IP protection others come in with improved processes and or better business plans (be closer to the fuel stock).

    I’m sure California seemed to be a good site for access to money and state support. However, as RR and Khosla 8) remind us the long term numbers have to be there to stand on it’s own in time . I think some of these companies endgame is to spend the subsidy money and not thinking about the long term and shifts in feedstock pricing. We need to carefull in spending our $.

    Also interested in what people think of this plant in my old hometown.
    The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund gave tentative approval Monday to a request from Plainfield Renewable Energy for a $500,000 state loan.(how much should one expect to pay for a 37 megawatt plant? I figure this would supply power for about 25-30K homes)

    PRE is proposing a 37-megawatt, wood-burning power plant on 29 acres at Route 12.

    http://www.norwichbulletin.com/archive/x1611616901

    Comment by takchess | May 20, 2009

  38. Here some varied thoughts:

    Benny, I have the car for you. Made in the US (it’s not just for fleets)
    http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=35587

    I looked at Raser Technology website,this is one innovative company. Can build a geothermal plant in 6 months.

    My latest thinking on Algae is perhaps the play is in Animal Feed to reduce the demand on corn.I know this is being looked at and overall would be a good thing.

    In all these second and third generation fuels,I think there may be a disadvantage to being first to market. They make the mistakes and if there isn’t IP protection others come in with improved processes and or better business plans (be closer to the fuel stock).

    I’m sure California seemed to be a good site for access to money and state support. However, as RR and Khosla 8) remind us the long term numbers have to be there to stand on it’s own in time . I think some of these companies endgame is to spend the subsidy money and not thinking about the long term and shifts in feedstock pricing. We need to carefull in spending our $.

    Also interested in what people think of this plant in my old hometown.
    The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund gave tentative approval Monday to a request from Plainfield Renewable Energy for a $500,000 state loan.(how much should one expect to pay for a 37 megawatt plant? I figure this would supply power for about 25-30K homes)

    PRE is proposing a 37-megawatt, wood-burning power plant on 29 acres at Route 12.

    http://www.norwichbulletin.com/archive/x1611616901

    Comment by takchess | May 20, 2009

  39. Here some varied thoughts:Benny, I have the car for you. Made in the US (it’s not just for fleets)http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=35587I looked at Raser Technology website,this is one innovative company. Can build a geothermal plant in 6 months. My latest thinking on Algae is perhaps the play is in Animal Feed to reduce the demand on corn.I know this is being looked at and overall would be a good thing. In all these second and third generation fuels,I think there may be a disadvantage to being first to market. They make the mistakes and if there isn’t IP protection others come in with improved processes and or better business plans (be closer to the fuel stock).I’m sure California seemed to be a good site for access to money and state support. However, as RR and Khosla 8) remind us the long term numbers have to be there to stand on it’s own in time . I think some of these companies endgame is to spend the subsidy money and not thinking about the long term and shifts in feedstock pricing. We need to carefull in spending our $.Also interested in what people think of this plant in my old hometown. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund gave tentative approval Monday to a request from Plainfield Renewable Energy for a $500,000 state loan.(how much should one expect to pay for a 37 megawatt plant? I figure this would supply power for about 25-30K homes) PRE is proposing a 37-megawatt, wood-burning power plant on 29 acres at Route 12.http://www.norwichbulletin.com/archive/x1611616901

    Comment by takchess | May 20, 2009

  40. OT: Does anyone know how plug-in electrics are treated under the new mileage/emissions standards? Is there an allocation against mileage for the fuel used to generate the electricity which charges the battery, or is it implicitly asssumed to come from the electricity fairy?

    Has anyone been able to locate the actual text of the agreement?

    Thanks for any input on this.

    Comment by David | May 20, 2009

  41. OT: Does anyone know how plug-in electrics are treated under the new mileage/emissions standards? Is there an allocation against mileage for the fuel used to generate the electricity which charges the battery, or is it implicitly asssumed to come from the electricity fairy?Has anyone been able to locate the actual text of the agreement?Thanks for any input on this.

    Comment by David | May 20, 2009

  42. “The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.”Since they are sitting on a crack in the earth’s mantle, Hawaii should be getting even more than 20% from geothermal.

    Hawaii has a situation not unlike Iceland, and Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.

    Comment by Karl Bogardus | May 20, 2009

  43. “The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.”Since they are sitting on a crack in the earth’s mantle, Hawaii should be getting even more than 20% from geothermal.

    Hawaii has a situation not unlike Iceland, and Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.

    Comment by Karl Bogardus | May 20, 2009

  44. “The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.”Since they are sitting on a crack in the earth’s mantle, Hawaii should be getting even more than 20% from geothermal.Hawaii has a situation not unlike Iceland, and Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.

    Comment by Karl Bogardus | May 20, 2009

  45. Thanks Takchess. Honda is already manufacturing a CNG car in America. Wow.
    Here is link on Hitachi: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/05/hitachi-power-cell-20090519.html
    Hitachi, a serious maker on batteries, says this new battery will produce 1.7 times the power and last 20 percent longer. Wow.
    You know, while some people are sniveling about Peak Oil, a good case could be made that oil sellers won’t have much of a market left in 10 years.
    OPEC has only one path forward: Keep it cheap, keep it reliable, or lose market share. Permanently.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 20, 2009

  46. Thanks Takchess. Honda is already manufacturing a CNG car in America. Wow.Here is link on Hitachi: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/05/hitachi-power-cell-20090519.htmlHitachi, a serious maker on batteries, says this new battery will produce 1.7 times the power and last 20 percent longer. Wow.You know, while some people are sniveling about Peak Oil, a good case could be made that oil sellers won’t have much of a market left in 10 years. OPEC has only one path forward: Keep it cheap, keep it reliable, or lose market share. Permanently.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 20, 2009

  47. “how much should one expect to pay for a 37 megawatt plant?”

    From the article,

    “The $61.8 million plant,…”

    That sounds about right.

    Comment by Kit P | May 20, 2009

  48. “how much should one expect to pay for a 37 megawatt plant?”

    From the article,

    “The $61.8 million plant,…”

    That sounds about right.

    Comment by Kit P | May 20, 2009

  49. “how much should one expect to pay for a 37 megawatt plant?”From the article,“The $61.8 million plant,…”That sounds about right.

    Comment by Kit P | May 20, 2009

  50. Anonymous Karl Bogardus said…

    “The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.”Since they are sitting on a crack in the earth’s mantle, Hawaii should be getting even more than 20% from geothermal.

    Hawaii has a situation not unlike Iceland, and Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.

    Karl.

    I agree. One of the problems in Hawaii was that the plant at Puna was built quite close to an existing beighborhood and the people complained about the plant messing up the scenery. I think the plant finally just bought some of the surrounding homes to calm everybody down.

    Also, in Hawaii the native Hawaiians worship PELE, the god of fire and the natives were upset because they thought the geothermal plant was upsetting Pele.

    All this slowed down geothermal in Hawaii. Also HELO the Hawaiian electric company wanted to get energy from more than one source.

    There is also I think an OTEC plant on the west side of the island but that’s ocean energy.
    I don’t know if it’s producing any energy or not.

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 20, 2009

  51. Anonymous Karl Bogardus said… “The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant constructed by a company called Ormat.”Since they are sitting on a crack in the earth’s mantle, Hawaii should be getting even more than 20% from geothermal. Hawaii has a situation not unlike Iceland, and Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.Karl.I agree. One of the problems in Hawaii was that the plant at Puna was built quite close to an existing beighborhood and the people complained about the plant messing up the scenery. I think the plant finally just bought some of the surrounding homes to calm everybody down. Also, in Hawaii the native Hawaiians worship PELE, the god of fire and the natives were upset because they thought the geothermal plant was upsetting Pele.All this slowed down geothermal in Hawaii. Also HELO the Hawaiian electric company wanted to get energy from more than one source.There is also I think an OTEC plant on the west side of the island but that’s ocean energy.I don’t know if it’s producing any energy or not.John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 20, 2009

  52. Technologically, there is every reason to be hopeful that human ingenuity will come up with the necessary very large scale non-fossil energy infrastructure. Politically, there is no chance of that ever happening. And I don’t see how we are ever going to square that circle without a major crash, a lot of unnecessary human suffering, and politicians dangling from lamp-posts.
    Just when I started to worry that Kinu was getting pessimistic, he end the paragraph on such a high note 😉

    As you might have gathered, Kinu, I maintain the proper level of suspician towards our dearly elected “prostitutians”.

    But history does suggest that long before the dangling form lampposts scenario, real leaders do rush to the scene of the catastrophe and get things done.

    Perhaps the problem is with the voters. Remember, the old saying people get the leaders they deserve is never truer than in a democracy.

    It is true that many voters are overworked, trying to cling to the myth that this is a great middle class experience. It is also true that the prostitutians are working very hard to keep us all confused and uninformed. It is also true that they are aided by what appears to be the end of the journalism profession.

    But even with all of that going against us, you know that when we voters stand up and demand better everything, it will happen.

    So, the question becomes: How long before we rise to the challenge?

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  53. Technologically, there is every reason to be hopeful that human ingenuity will come up with the necessary very large scale non-fossil energy infrastructure. Politically, there is no chance of that ever happening. And I don’t see how we are ever going to square that circle without a major crash, a lot of unnecessary human suffering, and politicians dangling from lamp-posts.
    Just when I started to worry that Kinu was getting pessimistic, he end the paragraph on such a high note 😉

    As you might have gathered, Kinu, I maintain the proper level of suspician towards our dearly elected “prostitutians”.

    But history does suggest that long before the dangling form lampposts scenario, real leaders do rush to the scene of the catastrophe and get things done.

    Perhaps the problem is with the voters. Remember, the old saying people get the leaders they deserve is never truer than in a democracy.

    It is true that many voters are overworked, trying to cling to the myth that this is a great middle class experience. It is also true that the prostitutians are working very hard to keep us all confused and uninformed. It is also true that they are aided by what appears to be the end of the journalism profession.

    But even with all of that going against us, you know that when we voters stand up and demand better everything, it will happen.

    So, the question becomes: How long before we rise to the challenge?

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  54. Technologically, there is every reason to be hopeful that human ingenuity will come up with the necessary very large scale non-fossil energy infrastructure. Politically, there is no chance of that ever happening. And I don’t see how we are ever going to square that circle without a major crash, a lot of unnecessary human suffering, and politicians dangling from lamp-posts.Just when I started to worry that Kinu was getting pessimistic, he end the paragraph on such a high note ;-)As you might have gathered, Kinu, I maintain the proper level of suspician towards our dearly elected “prostitutians”.But history does suggest that long before the dangling form lampposts scenario, real leaders do rush to the scene of the catastrophe and get things done.Perhaps the problem is with the voters. Remember, the old saying people get the leaders they deserve is never truer than in a democracy.It is true that many voters are overworked, trying to cling to the myth that this is a great middle class experience. It is also true that the prostitutians are working very hard to keep us all confused and uninformed. It is also true that they are aided by what appears to be the end of the journalism profession.But even with all of that going against us, you know that when we voters stand up and demand better everything, it will happen.So, the question becomes: How long before we rise to the challenge?

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  55. Yes, once you toss the internal combustion engine out of your thinking – every thing clears up.
    Yes. And once you toss prostitutians into the trash can, this is a country of unlimited good…

    Get real. The internal combustion engine IS transportation right now. Electric transportation is a rounding error. Everything else is wishful thinking.

    That may change, eventually. But those are the current realities.

    If you personally choose to ignore realities, be my guest. But as a society we better face the realities.

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  56. Yes, once you toss the internal combustion engine out of your thinking – every thing clears up.
    Yes. And once you toss prostitutians into the trash can, this is a country of unlimited good…

    Get real. The internal combustion engine IS transportation right now. Electric transportation is a rounding error. Everything else is wishful thinking.

    That may change, eventually. But those are the current realities.

    If you personally choose to ignore realities, be my guest. But as a society we better face the realities.

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  57. Yes, once you toss the internal combustion engine out of your thinking – every thing clears up.Yes. And once you toss prostitutians into the trash can, this is a country of unlimited good…Get real. The internal combustion engine IS transportation right now. Electric transportation is a rounding error. Everything else is wishful thinking.That may change, eventually. But those are the current realities.If you personally choose to ignore realities, be my guest. But as a society we better face the realities.

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  58. Optimist:

    Your invented word, “prostitutians,” denigrates a whole class of people–I refer to those girls who give you a bang for the buck.
    I think you owe an apology to our working girls, by comparing them to our current-day politicians.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 20, 2009

  59. Optimist:Your invented word, “prostitutians,” denigrates a whole class of people–I refer to those girls who give you a bang for the buck.I think you owe an apology to our working girls, by comparing them to our current-day politicians.

    Comment by benny "reargas" cole | May 20, 2009

  60. Hey KIp

    Re: “The $61.8 million plant,…”

    That sounds about right.

    how many times yearly income would they build a plant for ?
    25,000 people X 2k/year electric bill x 10 years is about 500k. If the plant cost 61.8 million and that doesn’t include op cost/fuel.

    I’m interested in how they figure these things out as to whether an ROI is worth it for a company and town.

    Comment by takchess | May 20, 2009

  61. Hey KIp

    Re: “The $61.8 million plant,…”

    That sounds about right.

    how many times yearly income would they build a plant for ?
    25,000 people X 2k/year electric bill x 10 years is about 500k. If the plant cost 61.8 million and that doesn’t include op cost/fuel.

    I’m interested in how they figure these things out as to whether an ROI is worth it for a company and town.

    Comment by takchess | May 20, 2009

  62. Hey KIpRe: “The $61.8 million plant,…”That sounds about right.how many times yearly income would they build a plant for ?25,000 people X 2k/year electric bill x 10 years is about 500k. If the plant cost 61.8 million and that doesn’t include op cost/fuel. I’m interested in how they figure these things out as to whether an ROI is worth it for a company and town.

    Comment by takchess | May 20, 2009

  63. To Blogger Takchess

    Glad to see you checked out Raser.

    An innovative company. Looks like they have a pretty good business model.

    Cool stuff. They use “off the shelf” AC equipment run backwards.

    The Germans are using the Kalina cycle process which uses a water/ammonia mixture for the heat transfer fluid in the binary heat recovery process.

    Some of the old time, early refrigerators used ammonia as the refrigerant.

    I don’t understand why the oil companies aren’t more interested in this. It’s right up their alley. They have the drilling expertise and geothermal is an almost perfect fit for them. I guess the margins on gasoline are better.

    John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 20, 2009

  64. To Blogger TakchessGlad to see you checked out Raser. An innovative company. Looks like they have a pretty good business model.Cool stuff. They use “off the shelf” AC equipment run backwards.The Germans are using the Kalina cycle process which uses a water/ammonia mixture for the heat transfer fluid in the binary heat recovery process.Some of the old time, early refrigerators used ammonia as the refrigerant.I don’t understand why the oil companies aren’t more interested in this. It’s right up their alley. They have the drilling expertise and geothermal is an almost perfect fit for them. I guess the margins on gasoline are better.John

    Comment by Anonymous | May 20, 2009

  65. The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant… Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.Nice. In 2007, 29.9% of Iceland’s electricity production was from geothermal, and 70.1% was from hydropower. 90% of space heating was from geothermal heat and most of the rest from electricity (from hydro and geo)
    http://www.nordicenergysolutions.org/performance-policy/iceland/renewable-energy-in-iceland

    Still, in 2007 Iceland used 21,000 bbl/day of oil with a population of 320,000. That’s 0.065 bbl/day per capita, quite similar to the US. (The US used 20,698,000 bbl/day with a population of 305,000,000, or 0.068 bbl/day per capita.)
    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/pdf/oil_table_of_world_oil_consumption_barrels_2008.pdf

    Almost all that oil gets used in Iceland for transportation… automobiles, shipping vessels, airplanes.. all those ICE equipment that they’re not ready to get rid of despite the availability of cheap electricity.
    http://www.os.is/Apps/WebObjects/Orkustofnun.woa/1/swdocument/31188/Orkutölur2008+enska.pdf

    Comment by Clee | May 20, 2009

  66. The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant… Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.Nice. In 2007, 29.9% of Iceland’s electricity production was from geothermal, and 70.1% was from hydropower. 90% of space heating was from geothermal heat and most of the rest from electricity (from hydro and geo)
    http://www.nordicenergysolutions.org/performance-policy/iceland/renewable-energy-in-iceland

    Still, in 2007 Iceland used 21,000 bbl/day of oil with a population of 320,000. That’s 0.065 bbl/day per capita, quite similar to the US. (The US used 20,698,000 bbl/day with a population of 305,000,000, or 0.068 bbl/day per capita.)
    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/pdf/oil_table_of_world_oil_consumption_barrels_2008.pdf

    Almost all that oil gets used in Iceland for transportation… automobiles, shipping vessels, airplanes.. all those ICE equipment that they’re not ready to get rid of despite the availability of cheap electricity.
    http://www.os.is/Apps/WebObjects/Orkustofnun.woa/1/swdocument/31188/Orkutölur2008+enska.pdf

    Comment by Clee | May 20, 2009

  67. The big Island of Hawaii gets 20% of its electricity from a base-line geothermal plant… Iceland gets far more geothermal energy than 20%.Nice. In 2007, 29.9% of Iceland’s electricity production was from geothermal, and 70.1% was from hydropower. 90% of space heating was from geothermal heat and most of the rest from electricity (from hydro and geo)http://www.nordicenergysolutions.org/performance-policy/iceland/renewable-energy-in-icelandStill, in 2007 Iceland used 21,000 bbl/day of oil with a population of 320,000. That’s 0.065 bbl/day per capita, quite similar to the US. (The US used 20,698,000 bbl/day with a population of 305,000,000, or 0.068 bbl/day per capita.) http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/pdf/oil_table_of_world_oil_consumption_barrels_2008.pdfAlmost all that oil gets used in Iceland for transportation… automobiles, shipping vessels, airplanes.. all those ICE equipment that they’re not ready to get rid of despite the availability of cheap electricity.http://www.os.is/Apps/WebObjects/Orkustofnun.woa/1/swdocument/31188/Orkutölur2008+enska.pdf

    Comment by Clee | May 20, 2009

  68. I think you owe an apology to our working girls, by comparing them to our current-day politicians.
    Mmmmmmmmaybee…

    I am focus on the fact that both would commit any deed of your choice if the compensation is right…

    But, you do have a point. The politician does come with a lot less backbone.

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  69. I think you owe an apology to our working girls, by comparing them to our current-day politicians.
    Mmmmmmmmaybee…

    I am focus on the fact that both would commit any deed of your choice if the compensation is right…

    But, you do have a point. The politician does come with a lot less backbone.

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  70. I think you owe an apology to our working girls, by comparing them to our current-day politicians.Mmmmmmmmaybee…I am focus on the fact that both would commit any deed of your choice if the compensation is right…But, you do have a point. The politician does come with a lot less backbone.

    Comment by Optimist | May 20, 2009

  71. “Thoughts on the link?”

    Companies are always making ‘breakthroughs’ and announcing to the press. Mostly these are small, incremental changes. True breakthroughs are rare, and are cheapened by all of these faux breakthrough announcements.

    The fundamental issues with cellulosic ethanol remain unchanged: The energy density of biomass is very low, and the concentration of ethanol produced is very low. It is going to take several truly big breakthroughs to get around those issue – and we have been waiting on those for almost 100 years.

    RR

    Comment by Robert Rapier | May 21, 2009

  72. “Thoughts on the link?”Companies are always making ‘breakthroughs’ and announcing to the press. Mostly these are small, incremental changes. True breakthroughs are rare, and are cheapened by all of these faux breakthrough announcements.The fundamental issues with cellulosic ethanol remain unchanged: The energy density of biomass is very low, and the concentration of ethanol produced is very low. It is going to take several truly big breakthroughs to get around those issue – and we have been waiting on those for almost 100 years.RR

    Comment by Robert Rapier | May 21, 2009

  73. takchess, the biomass plant at Plainfield, Conn. is a merchant plant so it has an ROI for the company to get a loan. The capital cost, interest, and O&M would typically result in a generation cost of $50-70/MWh. I do not know what the cost of new NG generation is in New England but I would think that the biomass plant is competitive.

    Comment by Kit P | May 21, 2009

  74. takchess, the biomass plant at Plainfield, Conn. is a merchant plant so it has an ROI for the company to get a loan. The capital cost, interest, and O&M would typically result in a generation cost of $50-70/MWh. I do not know what the cost of new NG generation is in New England but I would think that the biomass plant is competitive.

    Comment by Kit P | May 21, 2009

  75. takchess, the biomass plant at Plainfield, Conn. is a merchant plant so it has an ROI for the company to get a loan. The capital cost, interest, and O&M would typically result in a generation cost of $50-70/MWh. I do not know what the cost of new NG generation is in New England but I would think that the biomass plant is competitive.

    Comment by Kit P | May 21, 2009

  76. Thanks Kip

    Comment by takchess | May 21, 2009

  77. Thanks Kip

    Comment by takchess | May 21, 2009

  78. Thanks Kip

    Comment by takchess | May 21, 2009

  79. “Also, in Hawaii the native Hawaiians worship PELE, the god of fire and the natives were upset because they thought the geothermal plant was upsetting Pele.”Really?

    Comment by Karl Bogardus | May 21, 2009

  80. “Also, in Hawaii the native Hawaiians worship PELE, the god of fire and the natives were upset because they thought the geothermal plant was upsetting Pele.”Really?

    Comment by Karl Bogardus | May 21, 2009

  81. Karl,

    I have heard the same thing; that this is an extra hurdle for doing geothermal in Hawaii. I got that information from someone who has tried to investigate geothermal on the big island.

    RR

    Comment by Robert Rapier | May 21, 2009

  82. Karl,I have heard the same thing; that this is an extra hurdle for doing geothermal in Hawaii. I got that information from someone who has tried to investigate geothermal on the big island.RR

    Comment by Robert Rapier | May 21, 2009

  83. 61.8 million for 37 mW seems a bit on the high side.

    Equipment is in the range of 0.25 to 0.5 million per mW.

    I suppose there is a real penalty in the US due to applications, licensing, court costs etc.

    Who ever wrote that technology progresses and not leaps is quite correct. Breakthroughs have been years in the making – not an instantaneous thing.

    Comment by Russ | May 24, 2009

  84. 61.8 million for 37 mW seems a bit on the high side.

    Equipment is in the range of 0.25 to 0.5 million per mW.

    I suppose there is a real penalty in the US due to applications, licensing, court costs etc.

    Who ever wrote that technology progresses and not leaps is quite correct. Breakthroughs have been years in the making – not an instantaneous thing.

    Comment by Russ | May 24, 2009

  85. 61.8 million for 37 mW seems a bit on the high side.Equipment is in the range of 0.25 to 0.5 million per mW. I suppose there is a real penalty in the US due to applications, licensing, court costs etc. Who ever wrote that technology progresses and not leaps is quite correct. Breakthroughs have been years in the making – not an instantaneous thing.

    Comment by Russ | May 24, 2009


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