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Author Topic: 40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward  (Read 1740 times)

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40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward
« on: October 23, 2013, 12:04:26 am »
40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward

What the 1973 Arab oil embargo taught us about energy efficiency, innovation, and moving to a fossil-free future

Forty years ago, 1973, Elvis sang Aloha from Hawaii, the first global concert satellite broadcast. Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King faced off on the tennis court in the Battle of the Sexes. And The Exorcist terrified theater-going audiences across the country. Then in October the Arab oil embargo hit and the bottom fell out of the American economy, fueled largely by fossil fuel imports from the Middle East.

Today, in 2013, we are approximately halfway between the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and the fossil-free future RMI envisions by 2050 in Reinventing Fire. There are both similarities and differences in what happened in the 70s and what is happening today. The main impetus for conserving energy four decades ago was our lack of access to oil and the realization we should not depend on foreign imports. Now, forty years later, instead of a fuel crisis, we have a climate crisis. We recognize the environmental urgency of curbing our fossil fuel use as we never have before. Hopefully, we can learn from what we went through 40 years ago to help us get to where we want to be 40 years from now.

Crisis spurs innovation

As author Daniel Jack Chasan wrote in the Seattle Times, “When the price of energy quadrupled, industry started substituting other things—insulation, efficiency, ingenuity.” The crisis of the oil embargo spurred innovation.

Congress formed the Department of Energy, bringing most federal energy activities under one umbrella, and providing the framework for a comprehensive national energy plan. Two Senators founded the bipartisan Alliance to Save Energy to promote energy efficiency. Fuel efficiency standards were adopted for auto manufacturers resulting in a doubling of the average new car’s fuel efficiency. More efficient refrigerators, light bulbs, windows, and air conditioners came to market. Insulation sales soared. Numerous energy policies regarding conservation and efficiency were enacted, including the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1976, Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976, and National Energy Act of 1978.

And Jimmy Carter, after his famous fireside cardigan-sweater chat urging Americans to conserve energy, put solar panels on the White House.

The net effect? Oil imports fell 50 percent (from 1977 to 1985) and brought about a culture of conservation unheard of in previous decades. Unfortunately, once the gas lines disappeared and oil prices dropped, some of these efforts were abandoned. In the following decades dependence on foreign oil increased, SUVs gained popularity, and Ronald Reagan removed the solar panels from the White House.  >:(

Confronting the new crisis

Yet we learned that in a crisis, the nation can do what it takes to reduce our energy consumption. Today, while we no longer have an artificial shortage of imported fossil fuels, we have melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and a warming planet. It’s time to take the innovation that occurred in the 1970s to a new level as we face today’s crisis—climate change.

We’re already on the way, thanks in part to some of the efficiency initiatives and innovation that came out of the 70s. Today’s appliances require less than half the energy they did four decades ago. Heating systems are now 20 percent more efficient. The past couple of decades have seen a renewed interest in solar and wind power. Global wind power capacity has grown from 18 GW in 2000 to 282.5 GW today. Over the past five years alone, global installed PV capacity grew by 900 percent.

U.S. car manufacturers, who were being outdone by Japanese companies faster to bring fuel-efficient cars to the American market in the late 1970s and early 1980s, are making not only more fuel-efficient cars, but a plethora of electric cars. And some of today’s American-made fuel-efficient cars are modeled after the unsuccessful 1970s cars Detroit produced in response to the oil crisis (with some improvements, of course!). Yet we still have a way to go.

Applying the lessons to reinvent fire

As we saw during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and then the energy efficiency backslide of the late 80s and 1990s, government mandates can only go so far, and progress can stall or even reverse as political climates, market dynamics, and other factors shift. People’s memories only go so far as well—as soon as oil prices dropped and gasoline lines dwindled, the energy crisis seemed forgotten. But we don’t have to forget; in fact, we can forge ahead with as much determination and opportunity as before.

And forged ahead we have: by 2009, America was making a dollar of real GDP using 60 percent less oil, 50 percent less total energy, 63 percent less directly used natural gas, and 20 percent less electricity than in 1975. But we have further to go.

In Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era we laid out a roadmap for getting the U.S. off fossil fuels by 2050 while supporting a 158 percent larger economy. The Reinventing Fire solution relies on business taking the lead, as the economic case for moving to efficiency and renewables is so strong—saving $5 trillion, and achieving internal rates of return from 17 to 33 percent in buildings, industry, and transportation.

Looking ahead to the next 40 years—or in the case of RMI’s Reinventing Fire scenario, 37 years to 2050—we need to remember the lessons from the 70s. We cannot be complacent in our move towards efficiency and renewables. We must realize that we are once again facing a crisis, and we need to act.

Jimmy Carter’s words, said in his cardigan by the fire, are as relevant today as ever: “Twice in the last several hundred years there has been a transition in the way people use energy… we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of . . . permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.”

“We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren,” he continued. “By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.”


Agelbert NOTE: Never underestimate the level of participation and funding that the fossil fuel Big Oil Oligarchy is responsible for in the portraying of Jimmy Carter as a "failed" President. They hated him because he told the TRUTH about our need to get off of dirty energy.  >:(
« Last Edit: October 11, 2021, 03:09:04 pm by AGelbert »
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What Did the 1973 Oil Embargo Teach Us?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2013, 03:30:57 pm »
What Did the 1973 Oil Embargo Teach Us?
Amory B. Lovins
Chief Scientist

Forty years ago this month, Syria and Egypt launched a Yom Kippur surprise attack on Israel to regain land and prestige lost in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli forces were nearing Damascus and Cairo when a ceasefire took hold. But as the Soviet Union resupplied its Arab clients and President Nixon resupplied Israel, Arab members of the OPEC oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, announced a five percent monthly cut in oil output, then embargoed oil exports to the U.S. and later others. OPEC provided 35 percent of America’s oil at the time.

Prices soared and deliveries faltered. “No gas today” signs spread. People waited in line for gasoline, risking scuffles and occasional gunshots. America had lost her energy innocence.
Relaxed regulations and massive subsidies tried to expand fossil, unconventional fossil, and nuclear energy. (In 1975 oil fueled 15 percent of U.S. electricity vs. less than one percent today.) Most such efforts proved far too costly, but President Carter’s shift toward renewables and especially energy efficiency was strikingly successful.

On his watch, President Ford’s 1975 auto standards took effect in 1978, raising new domestic cars’ efficiency 7.6 mpg during 1977–85. They drove one percent fewer miles on 20 percent fewer gallons, and became lighter, cleaner, safer, but scarcely smaller and no less peppy, saving fuel even when 55-mph top speed limits were abandoned 13 years later. New federal and state policies also made buildings and factories more frugal. Appliance efficiency standards passed Congress without a single nay vote.

The results were stunning. During 1977–85, the U.S. economy grew 27 percent, oil use fell 17 percent, oil imports fell 50 percent, and imports from the Persian Gulf fell 87 percent; they’d have reached zero in 1986 had President Reagan not reversed the policy. Oil burned per dollar of GDP fell by 35 percent in eight years, or an average of 5.2 percent per year—enough to displace a Persian Gulf’s worth of net imports every two and a half years.

OPEC’s oil sword was shattered in a dozen years as customers saved oil faster than OPEC could conveniently sell less oil. It sales plummeted 48 percent, breaking its pricing power for a decade. Then in 1985–86, as massive new energy supplies belatedly arrived to meet needs efficiency had already filled, energy gluts crashed prices. Policymakers, instead of finishing the job, hit the snooze button for a decade.

By the 1991 Gulf War, we put our kids in 0.56-mpg tanks because we hadn’t put them in 32-mpg cars (enough to displace Persian Gulf oil). Yet oil imports continued to soar, reaching 60 percent of oil use in 2005 and returning to 1973-level dependence only this year. Thus today, America pays $2 billion a day for oil, plus $4 billion a day for its hidden economic and military costs.

Four times since 1980, U.S. forces have intervened in the Persian Gulf to protect not Israel but oil. The Gulf hasn’t become more stable. Readiness for such interventions costs a half-trillion dollars per year—about ten times what we pay for oil from the Gulf, and rivaling total defense expenditures at the height of the Cold War. And burning oil emits two-fifths of fossil carbon, so abundant oil only speeds dangerous climate change that destabilizes the world and multiplies security threats.

Yet practical, profitable solutions are at hand. Producing a dollar of GDP now uses less than half the energy and one-third the oil it took in 1973. Last year, wind and solar power, now cheaper than gas-fired power in favorable sites, added half of new U.S. generating capacity, and making a dollar of GDP took 3.4 percent less electricity than a year earlier.

That’s just the start. By 2050, the U.S. could triple its energy efficiency, switch supplies from one-tenth to three-fourths renewable, and run a 158-percent-bigger economy with no oil, coal, or nuclear energy and one-third less natural gas. This could cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual, emit 82–86 percent less fossil carbon, need no new inventions nor Acts of Congress, and be led by business for profit. The 2011 book Reinventing Fire by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) details how.

America’s two-ton steel autos use nearly half our nation’s oil. In the past quarter-century, they gained weight twice as fast as we did, yet their weight causes two-thirds of the energy needed to move them. Moreover, each unit of energy saved at the wheels saves six more units that needn’t be lost getting that energy to the wheels, saving seven units of fuel in the tank—huge leverage.
Making cars 2–3 times lighter with today’s ultralight but ultrastrong materials can make them safer, sportier, buildable more simply with four-fifths less capital investment, affordable to electrify (because they need 2–3 times fewer costly batteries or fuel cells), and more profitable for automakers and dealers.

The first such carbon-fiber electric cars have entered production at VW (a 235-mpg two-seat plug-in hybrid) and BMW (a ~110-mpg battery-electric 4-seater). Other automakers, including Audi and Toyota, have shown equally impressive concept vehicles. And such electrified autos’ batteries add distributed storage to the grid, helping integrate varying solar and windpower that could get electricity off coal.

Such 125-to-240-mpg-equivalent autos, 2–4 times today’s best standards, can run on any mix of electricity, hydrogen, and advanced biofuels needing no cropland; superefficient trucks and planes, on the latter two (or trucks on natural gas). Thus a far more mobile U.S. economy could need no oil. Global competition can spread these technologies, not forced by policy but demanded by customers.

Displacing or saving each barrel for $25 rather than buying it for over $100 would save the U.S. $4 trillion in net present value. That’s $12 trillion including our curable oil addiction’s hidden economic and military costs—plus any damage to climate, environment, health, global development and stability, or our nation’s independence and reputation.

That’s why my RMI colleagues have assembled a supply chain to scale Detroit’s production and adoption of carbon-fiber auto parts and developed technology to make them at automotive cost and speed. It’s why RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab convenes industry leaders to devise the next electricity industry, and why we’re cutting solar power’s installation cost, simplifying its financing, and helping utilities and customers pay each other fairly for the services they exchange. It’s why our RetroFit program is helping real estate portfolio owners triple or quadruple energy productivity. (U.S. buildings’ energy use costs more than Medicare, but their energy efficiency opportunities offer $1.4 trillion net savings with a juicy 33 percent internal rate of return.) It’s why we’ve redesigned over $40 billion worth of industrial plants for radical energy efficiency at juicy profits.

This hard work’s growing success is exhilarating. And we’d be doing it even if the 1973 oil embargo hadn’t happened, because the energy system’s other existential threats, from climate change (a known threat even in the late 1960s) to nuclear proliferation, compel the same actions. But the oil embargo did concentrate the mind wonderfully. Many smart people rose to the challenge. Their efforts are making oil uncompetitive even at low prices even before it becomes unavailable even at high prices.

The rotted residue of primeval swamp goo—a cubic mile of oil costing $3.5 trillion that the world burns each year, plus three cubic miles of coal and gas—is becoming no longer economic. Fracked oil and gas, Canadian tar sands, Saudi oil—none can beat modern efficiency and renewables on direct cost, price stability, or impacts. Now-worthless old energy studies long claimed we’re fated to burn oil forever. We’re not, and we won’t. The end of the conflict-creating, climate-threatening Oil Age is coming clearly into view, and not a moment too soon.


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Clean Edge Views
The Arab Oil Embargo, Sandy, and Adapting to New Realities
by Clint Wilder
October 14, 2013

This month marks the anniversaries of two notable events, decades apart yet related in terms of historical impact, awareness of vulnerability, and challenge to business as usual: the Arab oil embargo 40 years ago (Oct. 16, 1973) and Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Northeast on Oct. 29 last year. Both events sparked a national and global focus on two concepts I’ve been hearing quite a bit about in recent months: adaptation and resilience.

Much is being written and said about the oil embargo anniversary – one event on Oct. 16 features two former Secretaries of State, two ex-Secretaries of Defense, and the CEOs of GE, GM, FedEx, and Waste Management. The United States, of course, still depends on imported oil, but we have made notable recent progress (after decades of very little) on vehicle fuel efficiency. The administration’s aggressive CAFE standards, with a mandated fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, are arguably

President Obama’s signature achievement on climate action to date, and both hybrid and electric cars have good market momentum. It would make for an interesting debate, but I would argue that the U.S. auto industry and its regulators have done more to adapt to new market realities than most U.S. electric utilities.

As the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting convened in New York City in late September, it seemed a fitting symbol when the failure of a Con Edison feeder cable shut down service on one of the nation’s busiest commuter rail lines, Metro-North’s New Haven Line between New Haven, Connecticut and Grand Central Station. This occurred as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others were discussing the need for resilient cities with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at CGI.

Full train service wasn’t restored for 12 days, costing the Connecticut economy an estimated $62 million. The Metro-North debacle was obviously not climate-related – and was not a failure of the overall grid per se – but that didn’t matter to tens of thousands of frustrated commuters. And it symbolizes the challenge of how best to generate and distribute electric power in the twenty-first century – whether to a rail line, a manufacturing plant, or an urban neighborhood.

Connecticut officials, according to the Hartford Courant, are taking another look at a fuel cell-powered microgrid as an alternative to grid power from Con Ed, an option first studied in 2007. If that happens, Metro-North will actually be returning to its historical roots. Then known as the New Haven Railroad, the line was the first in the U.S. to be powered by a dedicated generation plant, the Cos Cob Power Station, built by the railroad and Westinghouse Electric to replace steam locomotives. That happened in 1908.

The Metro-North power outage is merely one recent example of the unprecedented challenges being faced by traditional, centralized utilities. Microgrids, distributed solar, data-empowered customers, grid storage mandates in places like California, and many other factors are challenging business as usual as never before, for utilities, regulators, and policymakers. They also have to deal with RPS mandates for renewable power in many states, but those are generally met with large-scale wind, geothermal, and biomass plants (and occasional utility-scale solar) that may shift power sources but don’t have to challenge centralized business models.

The distributed energy revolution is arguably clean tech’s front-and-center issue of 2013. From SolarCity’s rapid growth (the firm now expects its distributed PV installations to nearly double next year) to the smart thermostats from Global Cleantech 100 North America “Company of the Year” Nest Labs, all trends point to more and more electricity that is generated and/or managed at or very near the point of its use. In the face of all this, many (though certainly not all) utilities cling to the centralized, command-and-control paradigm that they’ve perfected over more than a century.  >:(

“If Thomas Edison came back today, he’d know exactly how everything works,” said Robyn Beavers, senior VP of NRG Energy and founder of NRG’s San Francisco-based “Station A” innovation unit, at the recent SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas. “We’re looking at the disruption of longtime models of generation, distribution and usage.

It’s overwhelming and it’s daunting – but it’s time.”

For utilities, adapting to the new realities of distributed energy will also help bring adaptation and resilience in the face of climate-related power disruptions. To date, many utilities, including some large investor-owned entities like Edison International and Xcel, are doing a pretty good job of this.

But many others are not, digging in their heels against net metering and other distributed generation-friendly policies. Another speaker at SXSW Eco, Kate Gordon of Tom Steyer’s clean-energy advocacy group Next Generation, suggests they take a lesson from another well-established, entrenched but challenged U.S. industry based in Detroit.

“I’m from the Midwest,” Gordon said, “and I spent years watching the auto companies saying how they owned the market and didn’t need to change. Now, they’re seeing how strong fuel-economy standards might be a good thing and building cars accordingly. Utilities are getting there, but they need to see that their backs are up against the wall; they can’t maintain their market share.

Innovative utilities will move ahead – non-innovative utilities will be in trouble.” In industry after industry, that history lesson is always worth learning.

Wilder is Clean Edge's senior editor, a blogger about clean-tech issues for the Green section of The Huffington Post, and co-author of Clean Tech Nation and The Clean Tech Revolution (both with Ron Pernick). E-mail him at wilder@cleanedge.com and follow him on Twitter at @Clint_Wilder.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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40 Years Back
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 12:25:24 am »
For those who labor under the view that the reversal of fortunes for Renewable Energy in the early 1980s was just ignorance, supply and demand and big oil wasn't INSTRUMENTAL in bringing it about:

Oh, and about NON-HYDRO renewable energy being THROTTLED shortly after the technology was proven competitive with fossil fuels. You mean you DIDN"T KNOW there was SIGNIFICANT PROMISING  RENEWABLE ENERGY NON-HYDRO COST COMPETITIVE TECHNOLOGY BEFORE 1980? ???

I understand that the media BURIED the FACT that IT HAPPENED TO WIND TURBINE TECHNOLOGY shortly after 1980 when Carter left office!

The GREATEST PENETRATION OF PURE HYDRO renewable energy in the USA was in 1940.
Over 1500 hydroelectric facilities produce about one third of the United States' electrical energy.


It was ALL DOWN HILL FOR HYDRO AS A PERCENTAGE of electrical energy generated FROM THEN ON.

The NEW CSP, wind turbine and, to a lesser but still important extent PV technologies, were being assiduously developed during the late 1970s.

Power companies closed ranks AGAINST that technology. Even places WITHOUT electricity like a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico triggered angry letters from the utility to NASA to STOP putting solar panels for water pumping there because it COULD "force electrical rates DOWN IN THE FUTURE". NASA STOPPED but Carter kept pushing until 1980. GET IT?


Check THIS out:

Westinghouse uprated version, the Mod-0A. Four Mod-0A protototypes were installed (Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Hawaii & Rhode Island).

When do you think the above picture was taken, dear readers? Would you believe THIRTY FIVE YEARS AGO!!? 

Wind Energy Comes of Age

By Paul Gipe

Pag 103

After the moon landings, the space program began winding down, and with it the space agency.

NASA was scrambling to redefine itself, to find new "missions," when opportunity struck in the form of the oil embargo.

What began as mere tinkering by researchers at the agency's Lewis research center near Sandusky, Ohio quickly evolved into the most costly wind energy R&D program in the world.

NASA began translating all known documents on wind energy worldwide.
They consulted with Hutter and Putnam and studied the operation of Juul's machine at Gedser. In the end they started down a path blazed years before by Putnam. The result, the Mod-0, resembled neither Hutter's lightweight, flexible, downwind design nor Juul's rigid thee bladed upwind design. NASA's Mod-0 incorproated none of the lessons of Europe, while abandoning Putnam's most significant design element, his hinged blades.

Westinghouse, the contractor on the Mod-0, was subsequently hired to build an uprated version, the Mod-0A, for extended field tests. Four Mod-0A prototypes were installed (Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Hawaii & Rhode Island).

All were scraped when none of the host utilities wanted to assume maintenance of the turbines.


The book goes on to explain, in detail, how various R&D goals of a high MTBF "couldn't seem to be achieved" in order for these machines to be considered "reliable".

They could build rockets to the moon, supersonic aircraft, high speed jet turbines with micrometer tolerances, but making gears, housings and transmissions for a glacially slow giant propeller to generate electricity was just "too hard".

If you believe that, I have time shares in a black hole at the core of the milky way to sell you cheap.

Call 1-800-BIG OIL for your time share reservations.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 02:21:53 pm by AGelbert »
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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Re: 40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 01:43:31 am »
I always get strange looks when I talk about two different, seemingly unrelated, historically important events going on in exactly the same time period.

It's as if the propagandists writing the history books and the news have blunted people's ability to think. Never mind critical thinking. That's even more nearly impossible now.

Some things people do not want to think about:

1) During the Great Depression the U.S. government spent massive amounts of money to develop the bomb while people were literally starving. This went on for several years. During the 1930s the knowledge of the photoelectric effect was old hat (Einstein described it right after the turn of the century!) but somehow it was only developed when it was needed in space.  ;)

2) During the 1970s the incredibly efficient heat deflecting tiles on the space shuttle were perfected. This technology would have wiped out 70% of heating and cooling costs in the USA if it had been released to the public during the oil shocks of the 70s. From refrigerator/freezer insulation to house insulation to keep heat in or hot weather out, we would have been well on the road to energy independence. I even asked a NASA rep at their public presentation at Cape Kennedy in 1980 before the first shuttle flight (the speaker would torch a six inch tile he was holding which would get red hot inches from his fingers and just as quickly dissipate before reaching them. The part of the ceramic foam tile he held remained cool while he kept the blow torch inches away on the red hot section for at least 5 minutes) why this wasn't available to the public for energy saving?  ???

You guessed it; the old "national security" trick. It was more like the old "big oil runs the USA" trick. ;)

3) How about those nifty ski lifts and gondolas that have been around forever? The cabling strength needed was old hat towards the end of the 19th century as was the ability to power the gondola from a fixed point with pulleys. Consider how ridiculously easy it would have been to string these things across cities and neighborhoods joining shopping and work areas. Consider the difference in energy use of moving just the people and a gondola versus a 4,000 pound car or public buses that weigh much more; the oil pigs at work again, I suspect.  Sorry MKing!  ;D

4) Since the 1980s the technology to have computer controlled automatic sails providing over 50% of the power for ships has been available. The Japanese even made a sail assisted oil tanker. Now why do you suppose a proven technology like sails married to computers isn't common?  ;) No, it's NOT cheaper to run without sails regardless of the extra maintenance. NO, you DON'T need more crew (the computers, electric motors and servos take care of it).

Frankly, when you start looking at the USA as an oil oligarchy type dictatorship since around 1913, all foreign policy and most of the technology that has been allowed domestically becomes quite understandable (except to fossil fuelers like MKing, of course!).

The pieces begin to fall into place. Those are the dots the media propagandists work overtime to prevent anyone from connecting. That also explains the ROUTINE theft of the elections. The fossil fuel pigs just will not let go of the oil piggery (even if it kills us).

And here we are with peak oil an environmental crisis caused by burning fossil fuels and what does NASA do to help convince us to switch to renewables? Whatever big oil tells them to  >:(  (SEE NEXT PARAGRAPH).

NASA scientists on the mars robot teams acted all surprised when the solar panels lasted several years instead of the "projected six months". Of course they knew they would last but it wouldn't look good to celebrate solar panel technology in a harsh Martian environment, now would it? 🙊

 So, they claimed it was a fluke. Liars for oil goons is what they are. 🤬

That said, the irrational crap about scientists being "surprised" at how great solar panels are at harvesting electricity come hell or high water does not extend to the rest of NASA, that has been instrumental in showing just how bad our fossil fuel burning caused climate crisis is.

All of this came together for me when I read "The Tyranny of Oil" by Antonia Juhasz.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 04:34:33 pm by AGelbert »
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Re: 40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 07:16:43 pm »
If you are NOT aware of what "happened" in the 1980s, to KILL renewable energy by Hook and by Crook, you are uninformed. If you are aware and you are reaching for some make believe COST/SUPPLY curve, then you are engaging in rank mendacity.

Reagan is a key reason we have only about one-sixth of the soaring global market for windpower — an industry we once dominated: “President Reagan cut the renewable energy R&D budget 85% after he took office and eliminated the wind investment tax credit in 1986. This was pretty much the death of most of the US wind industry” (see “Anti-wind McCain delivers climate remarks at foreign wind company“).
Reagan gutted Carter’s entire multi-billion dollar clean energy and energy efficiency effort. He opposed and then rolled back fuel economy standards. Reagan turned all such commonsense strategies into “liberal” policies that must be opposed by any true conservative, a position embraced all too consistently by conservative leaders from Gingrich to Bush/Cheney and now to John McCain.

ALL THE ABOVE was going on while the massive subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power actually INCREASED. The double hulled new tanker bottom regs in the pipeline for oil tankers BEFORE the REAGAN Administration were cancelled UNTIL THE Exxon Valdez forced them onto a reluctant oil pig loving administration. TEN **** YEARS the oil pigs put money in their pockets by not having to convert to double hulls.

Do you want to talk about tanker hold regs? Probably not! Where do you get all this BULLSHIT about COST/SUPPLY? The whole **** operation was a losing proposition for fossil fuels then, like it is today.

They only stayed profitable because they COULD fill the tanker holds with sea water and dump it willy nilly when they returned to pick up another load (among MANY other bennies to **** on the environment that they were allowed to get away with).

And then you come here and talk about COST/SUPPLY curves. HORSESHIT!

Do you know what the Coast Guard fine for a TANKER that didn't "pass inspection" for various environmental features they were supposed to have like tank cleaning updated equipment (BUT DIDN'T for at least a decade!)? Around $25,000. THAT's NOTHING when you are hauling millions in crude.

Were you THERE in the Reagan Administration when they DIRECTED the Coast Guard to BE NICE to the tankers and cut them "slack" on the regs to help with their PROFIT? NO, you don't know a thing about that, DO YOU?

I wrote a long article on it and pissed Ilargi off at TAE over a year and half ago. He, like you, has this interesting idea about cost/benefit.

I don't know if you have noticed, but I NEVER claimed oil was "running out". I am not a peak oiler. Regardless of how much there is on earth, there is a lot more on Titan in the form of hydrocarbons so the SUPPLY is ENDLESS, for all practical purposes. In your "interesting" view of energy, if the supply is endless, THEN you should KEEP USING IT regardless of environmental "externalities".

That's unethical BULLSHIT. It's a mendacious cost benefit analysis too!

You think Renewable Energy was TOO EXPENSIVE in the 1980s (your fossil fuel pals claimed it cost 4 times as much as energy from fossil fuels!).

Sure, YOU get the massive subsidies and YOU don't pay for trashing the environment and YOU get cheap leases and interest rates on capital investments from coal to oil to gas and YOU don't pay for health costs of the affected populations. Such a DEAL! 

But you fossil fuelers aren't done with your massive energy "playing" field rigging. Oh no! You are just getting started. ANY renewable energy technology ALREADY proven, in the pipeline and ready for scaling up due to the Carter Administration's efforts are surrounded with ZERO capital investment, ZERO government sponsored low interest loans, lack of cheap Government land leases and access,  hysterical claims about environmental "damage", "waste" of tax payer funds and "ridiculous subsidies" that CRUSH wind, solar and solar power towers along with limiting CSP plant size when all these technologies were ready for prime time.

SURE, of course, by the INVISIBLE HAND OF THE FREE MARKET COST/SUPPLY CURVE, fossil fuels were much, much "cheaper" than renewable energy.

Keep believing it. PAL!

« Last Edit: October 11, 2021, 03:30:17 pm by AGelbert »
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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Re: 40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 10:49:59 pm »
Historic ANOMALY! Exxon Oil Pig Precursors told the TRUTH in 1962 AD!  ::)  :P

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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Re: 40 Years Back, 40 Years Forward
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2016, 06:25:40 pm »

Soft Energy Paths

Lessons of the First 40 Years

Article written by Amory B. Lovins, cofounder, chief scientist, and chairman emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute.


When the 1973 oil shock threatened security and prosperity, America’s initial policy responses were confused and ineffectual. Intensifying business as usual — drilling oil and gas wells, building giant coal and nuclear plants, perhaps developing coal-to-liquids synfuels — was vigorously proposed, but soon began looking too costly, dirty, slow, and difficult. The huge capital requirement would choke off other needed investments and ultimately make energy prices soar, so faltering demand couldn’t pay for the costly new supplies. Yet by autumn 1976, no coherent alternative vision had been articulated. Policy imagination was stuck.

At that teachable moment, my Foreign Affairs article “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?” reframed the energy problem and added an alternative vision of U.S. energy strategy. The “hard path” was more of the same; the “soft path” combined energy efficiency with a shift to renewable supply. The article soon became that venerable journal’s most-reprinted ever, spreading as virally as pre-Internet technologies permitted. Forty years later, a review of its initial reception and continued influence shows what lessons have and haven’t been learned.


Incumbent energy industries  greeted the article with skepticism, scorn, even outrage. A four-inch-thick Senate hearing record compiled three dozen pairs of critiques and responses. Nowadays it makes amusing reading, reminding us that 40 years ago energy efficiency was novel and controversial, while renewable energy was strange, threatening, or absurd. Some people still cling to those views.

When the hubbub died down, ARCO’s chief economist, Dr. David Sternlight, nicely captured the conclusion of sober observers: He for one didn’t care if I were only half right — that would be better performance than he’d seen from the rest of them. Over the next decade, the article’s thesis gained enough credence that many of its harshest critics hired RMI, founded in 1982, to help them adopt it. By the current decade, two leading journals of the electricity industry generously recognized our approach’s prescience, and the article’s thesis has broadly prevailed in the energy marketplace.

The article was so influential because rather than just proposing yet another portfolio of energy investments, it redefined their purpose and logic. Previously, the problem was where to get more energy — more, of any kind, from any source, at any price. Planners extrapolated historic growth in energy demand and built supply to meet it. The article started at the other end by asking what we want energy for — what “end-uses” we sought, such as hot showers, cold beer, mobility, comfort, smelted alumina, baked bread — and how to deliver each of those services by providing the amount, kind, scale, and source of energy best suited to the task. This end-use concept soon merged with Roger Sant’s “least-cost” language, resonant with the emerging Reaganomics emphasis on free markets. The resulting “end-use/least-cost” approach revealed the most cost-effective solutions, chosen via competition or planning, to such questions as whether to keep warm in winter by gas or electric heating, or by insulation and weatherstripping.

Different questions yield different answers, so the article contrasted two ways the U.S. energy system could evolve (Figures 1A and 1B). (at article link)

Agelbert NOTE: The two alternative energy scenarios consisted of going for more fossil fuels (Hard Path) or eliminating them with efficiency and Renewable energy (Soft Path). The hard energy path required investments, infrastructure, and institutions that precluded the soft energy path.



Climate understanding isn’t new. The 1976 Foreign Affairs article says of the hard path:

“The commitment to a long-term coal economy many times the scale of today’s makes the doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration early in the next century virtually unavoidable, with the prospect then or soon thereafter of substantial and perhaps irreversible changes in global climate. Only the exact date of such changes is in question.”

Are we there yet? Cue the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement.

Anticipating RMI’s 2002 book Small Is Profitable and today’s market trends, the article says avoided grid costs and diseconomies of scale could reduce electricity costs, and “an affluent industrial economy could advantageously operate with no central power stations at all!” It also notes that “Energy storage is often said to be a major problem of energy-income technologies.” But partly since thermal storage is easier and cheaper than electrical storage to do the same tasks, “On the whole…energy storage is much less of a problem in a soft energy economy than in a hard one.” So

“One of the article’s most controversial claims — that soft and hard energy paths are mutually exclusive — has unfortunately been borne out.”

says the market today. Renewables’ lower costs, risks, and hassles; favoring market-led over policy-driven adoption; and reinforcing individual and community choice are all now commonplace. 

The hard path’s political risks sound familiar too:

“In contrast to the soft path’s dependence on pluralistic consumer choice in deploying a myriad of small devices and refinements, the hard path depends on difficult, large-scale projects requiring a major social commitment under centralized management…. The hard path, sometimes portrayed as the bastion of free enterprise and free markets  , would instead be a world of subsidies, $100-billion bailouts, oligopolies, regulations, nationalization, eminent domain, corporate statism.” 

The grave vulnerabilities of over-centralized systems, later amplified in Brittle Power (1981/82), are also now visible.

Other gratifying content from the article includes the utility death spiral, backcasting, integrative design (demonstrated in my house seven years later), institutional barriers and solutions, cogeneration, reliance on market principles and mechanisms, and utilities’ financing customers’ solar systems (though “solar” in 1976 meant solar-thermal, as photovoltaics were still “exotic”).

Full article with several eye opening graphics and some interesting historical pictures:   

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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