What do I think, What can I do?

Posts tagged ‘energy’

Fracking, climate change and Promised Land

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to watch Promised Land in the cinema, and as going to the cinema is a rare pleasure for me I enjoyed the film.

Apart from my personal experience, the film is in this post because it is about fracking. Concretely, it is quite critical with fracking companies ppractices and reveals possible strong negative effects of fracking in the environment.

Fracking is subject that is gaining some presence here as some gas could be extracted from our lands. Oil or natural gas discovery has been one of the dremas of any world wide government, a synomnim of wealth and prosperity for the country or at least for some in the country (this depends on the sharing procedure, but it is not the object of this post). On the other side ecologists are afraid of the side effects of this technology.

In climate and energy related blogosphere it hs been discussed many times. For example, an Oli Crash post is very pessimistic about fracking possiblities. The basic argument is that its expensive, much more than accepted. Climate progress is skeptic respecting fracking too. This web is fairly optimistic. Some consider it is the only low carbon solution for China as it hahas helped the USA emission reduction. Maybe the one that I found more convincing is the numerical skepticism by David Appel. The CO2 reduction (compared to coal) could be generously compensated by methane emissions.

One of the things that surprised me in the film is that theydid not even mention renewables, as if they were not present in the USA. I think we are too late to think about provisional solutions or fracking bridges. We need clear emission reductions and renewables are far better for that than fracking, in fact gas is a fossil fuel, maybe cleaner or maybe cheap sometimes (or not), but a CO2 producing fossil fuel, and this is not a solution to climate change, it is a problem. Natural gas could the the last fossil fuel to sustitute but not the prefered to install.

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Climate change and peak oil

Among my blogs-to-read it is one from peak oil movement or thinking current. The peak oil concept is easy to explain and really logical at least in the initial concepts:

The oil is a finite substance and consequently someday it will wear out. The second idea is that that day it is not so far and for this reason we have reached the maximum oil production of our history: the peak oil. The next step is that this concept is applicable to many other important substances to our civilization as gas, uranium, coal, copper,… The last one is that it does not have reasonable solution, the only way is to degrowth in an ordered way or do it in a chaos. However the final positive message is that the final world we can reach, doing things well, will be very austere but satisfying in many senses.

I read them with interest although I am not convinced of many of the steps like the inevitability of the strong degrowth or the grade of depletion of many energy sources. So, I was surprised to discover a strong critics to peak oil concept in another blog I read. A stronger grade of critics than mine really, and this helps me notice again how ideas that are different could share common goals, at least for some time, but do not for our strong sense of …

Peak oil and climate change fight are different concepts, in one sense peak oil forecasts a time without oil and will miss it a lot and climate change would like to forecast a time with the oil inside the ground as a synonym of healthy climate. However the current goals are not so far: change the energy production system and make it renewable to a great extent, the hopes or forecasts are not so common but this should not be a problem to find allies in this difficult task..

Hydropower conference Hydro 2012

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Photograph from the conference door

This conference has been held in Bilbao these days with good coverage in the news. I was positively surprised by the media impact of this conference as hydro power was a very important power source in the past here but is not in the main discussions nowadays.

In fact, the power of the water coming from the rivers has been one of the first industrial era power sources and it is still the most important renewable energy and the most widespread, maybe its great advantage is that it is not considered as renewable sometimes or that it has not grown in the last years. Or maybe hat it is very cheap because installation investments were done many years ago. Anyway, one way or another I have always thought that it produces a considerable percentage or world energy, however , checking actual figures I was negatively surprised to discover that its 3000 TWh of yearly production only account for the 2% of world energy demand.

As I did not assist the conference I do not know what kind of subjects were discussed there. Perhaps they covered many of the questions a have about water as energy source as:

Why did they say that Europe is not so interesting for this market compared to for example South America?
What is the potential of traditional hydropower to overcome thi
Why is mini and micro hydro power so forgotten as energy source?
Are the methane production of big hydro power well determined?
How advanced is the tidal wave power?
Did they visit the small but interesting tidal power station in Motriku? (60 Km from Bilbao)
Or tidal energy was out of the scope of this conference and traditional hydro power industry?