Sunday, June 05, 2011

Fossil Fuels: They've only just begun

I posted earlier about Peak Oil/increased-demand theory , causing shortages. But the following article from changes all of that. It maintains that solar and wind power are endangered, not fossil fuels, which are in fact poised to really start to kick in:

Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong
The future of energy is not what you think it is
[...] it appears that the prophets of an age of renewable energy following Peak Oil got things backwards. We may be living in the era of Peak Renewables, which will be followed by a very long Age of Fossil Fuels that has only just begun.

Thanks to shale oil and natural gas, and new technologies that not only make them more easily available world-wide, but make them a cleaner alternative to coal. Read the whole thing, it's very thorough. It explains it's premise in detail, and presents a very compelling case. Gosh and Golly. Whodathunkit?


Anonymous said...

On the face of it when one conducts a very superficial analysis your comments seem plausible. However people often tend to forget that it's not about energy. It's about net energy. EROEI Energy returned on energy invested. Solar, windmills etc were all dead beofre they started. They have a negative EROEI. i.e. you need fossil fuel based energy to create them. They do not create enough energy to sustain themsleves. Factor in the battery requirements of solar and wind famrs and so called green renewables look really stupid. Another curious one is bio diesel. It requires more energy input than you get out. It's an energy sink. Shale gas, oil etc. are all extremely expensive to extract. Peak oil is not so much about running out of oil but rather what happens when demand exceeds supply. We will never get the last drop of oil for two reasons: Total collapse would have occurred long before that and we will start hitting negative EROEI long before the last barrel of oil is used.

Chas said...

Much of what you said is true, BUT. Technology continues to evolve. New ways are being found to extract shale oil, and if ways are found that are not so cost prohibitive, it changes the equation. Energy alternatives that are inefficient or cost prohibitive today could eventually evolve into something more viable.

Then there is the human factor. If we reach a crisis where we can't continue consuming resources the way we have been, then we will have to change. Adapt or die. Unfortunately, it may take a crisis to force us to face that, but it's possible that we can and will deal with it.

I'm not saying you're wrong, and that I'm right. I'm just saying, the situation has lots of variables that are still evolving. We can speculate as to how it's going to play out, but in the end, well. We shall see.