The goal: abundant, sustainable, low cost energy for the masses!

A recurring theme of my posts has been the adaptation of traditional “green” business models in preparation for the future.

I believe, along with many other analysts, entrepreneurs, government officials, and consumers that energy technology is the next emergent technology set, akin to the growth of the IT (information technology) sector until the dot com crash that occurred at the turn of the century.

And akin to the IT sector, a variety of technologies are proving that they are viable to serve the needs of consumers, with the caveat generally being that they are not cost competitive.

Cost competitiveness does require scale, and unlike IT, scale is harder to achieve with energy products.  The reasons for this range from the costs of R&D, to cost of distribution infrastructure, production facilities, and parts or components pricing.

There are also other factors at play here as well. Energy utility is measured differently by large scale power consumers, but that utility is also of concern to small-scale consumers. Flashlight batteries are a great example of this, in that the distribution infrastructure for a pack of AA batteries is larger than the gas station infrastructure to consumers, but product packaging, price, regulatory environment, and applications are conducive to supporting this difference.

Many of our biofuels suffer from needing to initially share the tradition petroleum-based infrastructure, which is a barrier since the oleochemical industry is different from the petrochemical industry and the products behave differently from a distribution perspective.  Wind power generation is another area where the goal of sustainable energy can be achieved if certain conditions are met that not every community can support.

Ultimately energy is a commodity business and requires an infrastructure that supports abundant delivery of the commodity at a price that the consumer (whether it be a business or an individual) can bear and obtain positive value for its use. There is room for as many energy products as can be delivered at an appropriate price point. This has always been the case, and is unlikely to change in the coming energy age.

Make it a better place…

Todd

 

Petroleum is not bad for the country.

Petroleum is not bad for the country.

There.  I’ve said it. Please don’t hate me for it. Let me explain.

Petrochemicals are valuable resources that can and should be responsibly utilized.  Petroleum is a driver for a plethora of industries, technologies, and global relationships that all have tremendous net positive potential for the world, including some rarely mentioned environmental technologies that can be put to beneficial climatory and conservational uses. Although traded as a commodity, petroleum plays a vital role in the economic development of every nation.

What is clearly bad for our country is the current set of trade practices and internal regulatory structures surrounding both our legacy petroleum-based fuels infrastructure and our developing  foundation for first and second generation biofuels .

In addition, some proposals trade misinformation for hope that a speedy solution will quickly correct the economics surrounding the petroleum industry.

With record prices at the pump, market instability, and a U.S. economy clearly in crisis, the public is ready to explore solutions.  One “solution” finding a growing number of supporters of late is increasing the number of active offshore drilling rigs.

Television news  along with the Republican Party are among the likely culprits for evangelizing the possibility that greenlighting increased offshore production might positively affect (,i.e., lower) the price of gas at the pump today, according to the Center for Economic Policy and Research, an offshoot of the U.S. Department of Energy.

A recent CEPR report (authored by Mark Weisbrot and  Nichole Szembrot) entitled “Oil Drilling in Environmentally Sensitive Areas: The Role of Media” concluded that:

Major media outlets provided daily repetition of the false claim that expanded drilling in environmentally sensitive zones would significantly lower gasoline prices. At the same time, these outlets failed to report the official data from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency, which showed that these claims were false.

 

Petroleum is not bad for the country. Responsible and carefully controlled offshore drilling may not be bad for the country either; but it clearly will not serve to answer any of our energy needs until 2030 (according to the DOE).

 

Traditional “green” models need to be adapted to meet the future. Many government agencies as well as the largest energy producers already understand this and are executing strategies to ensure long-term competitiveness and energy security in the global marketplace.  In many cases governments have nationalized formerly private companies to ensure alignment with the concerns of its citizens.

 

In my next post I will expand (expound) on the current global energy marketplace, some revised thoughts on scaling micro nodal to enterprise to global, and the challenge community service poses in the months ahead.

 

Make it a better place…

 

Todd