Sign up | Login with →

Comments by Geoffrey Styles Subscribe

On The IEA's Stressful Outlook

"Hops",

Thanks for your clarification in response to Rick's comment. It's easy to lose one's sense of humor in the blogosphere, where too many participants use snarkiness as a substitute for rational discourse. True humor should always be welcome.

I also want to thank you for raising an under-appreciated issue, a worthy topic for a future post. We've been in scarcity mode for decades, first with constrained output and rising prices, and more recently with a necessary, but perhaps now unbalanced focus on the global, lifecycle consequences of every kilowatt-hour or BTU. Thinking about what we might do with essentially unlimited cheap, low-consequence energy has gone out of fashion.

From my perspective the pursuit of technologies like fusion, next-gen fission, and large-scalable renewables shouldn't just be focused on reducing emissions, but on expanding the horizons of the possible. That might incidentally provide a more energizing motivation for the rest of society than the bleak outlook of those who are focused on climate change to the exclusion of everything else.

December 10, 2014    View Comment    

On The IEA's Stressful Outlook

Not a laughing matter in the developing world, which is where most of the expected growth in energy demand is occurring.

In the long run, though, your little barb might be closesr to the mark than you may have intended: I can easily envision that we will need more than hydrocarbons can provide, no matter how efficiently and sustainably used. Nor do I imagine our grandchildren will choose to be limited to what they can gather from intermittent/cyclical renewables, either, although we won't know until they have the reins and make their own decisions, eh? 

BTW, I thought TEC was no longer accepting pseudonymous comments, or did this sneak by because your id is a German phrase?

December 8, 2014    View Comment    

On The IEA's Stressful Outlook

Rick,

I think the IEA is saying that in spite of the current oil glut, we'll need options such those plus a lot more.

December 8, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

I don't know about gas station volumes where you live, but in the US the average station sells around one million gal/yr, and a multi-island station in a prime location maybe 5 million. In either category they'd be lucky to sell 10% of that as CNG for the first 5-10 years. I'm skeptical that the equvalent of maybe 400 kW of demand would qualify for "industrial" prices, which are typically contact rates into a large facility. That migth be possible later as demand grows.

While I share your enthusiasm for natural gas as a vehicle fuel, we should be realistic about its economics. Here's a link to a handy map of CNG pricing, to give you an idea of how much it varies:

http://www.cngprices.com/station_map.php

At least in my part of the US, it's not massively cheaper than regular unleaded at the moment.

 

December 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

Roger,

I think you're ignoring a significant structual issue in natgas prices: transportation. While wellhead gas today is priced at the equivalent of around $23/bbl, it often costs proportally more to deliver it to market than to get the same quantity of refined products there. For example, the average commercial gas price in Sept. was $9.41, equivalent to $55/bbl. Prices also vary significantly by state. See: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_pri_sum_dcu_nus_m.htm

December 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

duplicate

November 28, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

Gas is a great fuel, so everyone wants it: to displace coal from power, oil from heating, and more oil from transportation. Those are all demand-curve shifts, and without another shift in the supply curve, what would price have to do in response?

November 28, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

Roger,

60 mpg is nice but not necessary, because of the math of fuel economy. Going from 20 mpg to 40 saves the typical driver 300 gal/yr. The increment from 40 to 60 mpg saves only another 100 gal/yr--thus harder to justify economically. And as you point out, there are numerous alternative fuels from which to choose, as well.

November 28, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

John,

I think it's going to take future historians to unravel who benefited the most from the deliberate, politically expedient delay of a project that, if it had been a highway with the same "shovel ready" status and jobs profile, would have been approved forthwith and likely given federal funding under the 2009 stimulus bill.

As you say, rail operators have benefited, though the incremental benefit attributable to KXL, which as I understand it would only carry around 100,000 bbl/day of oil from the Bakken shale, pales compared to that from the other 900,000 bbl/day they'd be carrying either way. Rail is expensive, but its flexibility suits the moment. Transcanada's competitors in the pipeline business have also arguably benefited, as have investors in those companies.

Environmental groups have also clearly benefited--aside from the benefits they would claim the planet is receiving due to the delay--because KXL has been a bonanza for them from an organizing and contributions standpoint. One big piece of pipe makes a better symbol than thousands of individual wells, for example.

If Keystone is to be approved in the next 2 years, I'd guess it will only happen as part of a deal with even bigger symbolic value to its opponents.  

November 24, 2014    View Comment    

On Keystone XL Loses Another Round

Rick,

I don't think this is off-topic at all. The conflation of air toxics like SOx, NOx, particulates, etc. with GHGs as "pollution" has fuzzed our thinking on such topics. If China's government wants to clean up the air in its cities, the best available technology for scrubbing flue gas could go a long way toward that goal at a drastically lower cost than trying to do it as a side-effect of cutting GHGs, either directly via CCS or indirectly by retiring coal plants and replacing them with renewables with gas backup. In other words, air toxics and GHGs may be related problems, but solving one might not automatically solve the other. If China's energy growth proceeds as expected, it looks like most of the renewables will satisfy new demand, rather than displacing the output of existing coal plants.

November 24, 2014    View Comment    

On Why Wind Farms Can Be Relied On For Almost Zero Power

The AC Propulsion quote was presumably relevant for its time. How many new EVs are equipped with Pb-acid batteries? Do you have anything to cite on cycle degradation for Li-ion or NiMH?

November 21, 2014    View Comment    

On Why Wind Farms Can Be Relied On For Almost Zero Power

Crucially for the use of EVs as grid storage--so-called V2G--a new study suggests that the economics of this for EV owners would be marginal, even without factoring in vehicle depreciation due to battery cycle degradation. If there's no incentive for car owners to incur the cost and potential impairment of mobility (your car not being fully charged when you need it) it won't happen. 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775309017303 

November 21, 2014    View Comment