Thursday, January 29, 2009

P27. Pick Points

Half-a-dozen or so stories of interest:

Somewhere in Washington they are looking for incentives for us to buy a new car. The Germans have seen it work by providing 2,500 euros to everyone who replaces a car at least nine years old with a new one. The need for this can be seen by the continued decline in sales, even as industry incentives have risen to an average $2,902. Well maybe we should hold-off on a replacement until they decide ?

Having set some of the standards for automobiles that will likely soon impact the rest of the country, it is now California’s turn to go after energy inefficient appliances, such as TV’s, which can account for 10% of a home electricity bill. The Department of Energy is running a campaign to improve residential water heaters. Yet the amount set aside in the stimulus package is relatively quite small. Though that has not stopped some entrepreneurs. There are the standard steps that one can take to save energy but if the economy is to rebound, then the scale of increase that California has achieved needs to be applied, even perhaps in Italy.

One of the features of the Medieval Warming Period was the extensive and long-lasting droughts that hit Southern California. Trees grew where now lakes and rivers run, it was so dry. Now California is again facing severe drought. There are already campaigns to reduce water usage . With the snow pack only 61% of normal this could be the third year in a row where water runs short, and this is beginning to have serious consequences for agriculture . While the snow situation is a little better in Nevada, it too is facing problems. On the other hand Utah’s nine-year drought came to an end last June, and Arizona is seeing a moderate drought in Navajo County.

Following the Russia:Ukraine dispute over natural gas the relatively small volumes that could be sent around Ukraine through the North and South Stream pipelines is getting another look. In the South Gazprom is considering increasing capacity by 50% to 47 bcm. Coming the day after the meeting on the Nabucco pipeline, its major competitor, the response is quite quick. Germany points out that one can support both. But it may be Prime Minister Putin who makes the next move.

MidWestern Senators are urging a reconsideration of the FutureGen project. This plan to build a demonstration coal-fired power plant that would capture and sequester carbon dioxide was “restructured” by the last DOE Administration, and thus killed. This could not, perhaps have had anything to do with it being proposed for Illinois, where the junior Senator at the time had announced his support.

In order to help provide more electricity to Nepal, the price is to be raised and in this way load shedding can drop to 12 hours a day “soon” and to 6 hours a day by the end of February. There is s Singaporean there blogging about the problems.

For more stories see The Energy Bulletin or Drumbeat at The Oil Drum

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