The End of Cheap Oil & Gas – Kenneth E. Boulding

"In 1859 the human race discovered a huge treasure chest in its basement. This was oil and gas, a fantastically cheap and easily available source of energy. We did, or at least some of us did, what anybody does who discovers a treasure in the basement – live it up, and we have been spending this treasure with great enjoyment" – Kenneth E. Boulding (1978)

And using it up precariously with wanton abandon, finding any possible way to exploit the abundant energy we’re soon to run out of. Much like the fable with the ant saving food for the winter and the grasshopper playing all summer long until he finds no food to live on in the winter. The problem here is we don’t have a big brother that we can rely on when our energy stores are depleted. It may be a long winter’s night indeed.

What incentives are needed for society and governments to truly start taking the need for alternative energy sources seriously? The affluent won’t adopt new technologies because they can afford to pay for energy prices, therefore, we need to force the issue any way we can so that renewable energy sources can become accessible for all.

As we are finding out, the party is really over.

Solar Neighborhoods Party – Sunday, Oct 16

We’re all looking to find ways to save energy or, at least, find alternative energy sources. For now, even though oil, coal and natural gas resources don’t necessarily have a visible end in sight, we do know they are finite. Other viable sources of energy must be found and used adequately.Hudson Valley Clean Energy Solar

Hudson Valley Clean Energy is having a Solar Neighborhood Party at Edition Farm, 90 Spooky Hollow Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538. Edition Farm is celebrating and demonstrating their SunPower Solar System.

Switching to an alternate electricity source is a daunting and sometimes expensive undertaking. This party presentation and demonstration will help answer many questions you may have regarding installation and cost. State and Federal alternative energy incentives will also be explained.  All attendees receive a discount on the purchase of their own solar system.

If you live in the Mid-Hudson Valley, this is a great opportunity to see a working solar energy system in action with experts ready to answer your questions without any pressure.

The presentation runs from 9 am – 11 am. Bagels, coffee and other refereshments will be served.  Edition Farm, 90 Spooky Hollow Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538. For more information, call Hudson Valley Clean Energy 845-876-3767. And visit their web site!

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-08

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MTA & NYPA Add Solar Panels To Coney Island Station

On occasion the MTA has some bright ideas. Adding solar panels to the roof of the Coney Island NYC Transit maintenance barn will not only cut costs in the long term, it cuts back on the amount of fossil fuel needed to help clean and maintain the subway cars. 

NYPA President Richard Kessel stated at a press conference recently that this can actually help reduce the need to increase fares and it will keep the MTA’s costs down. That’s great news for NYC residents and everyone in the NY Metro Area that have been affected by rate hikes and unnecessary payroll taxes added to keep the MTA afloat due to poor financial management. 

The 50 solar panels are expected to save the MTA $5.5 million annually, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons! Not bad. 

In case you’re wondering, the solar panels heat water up to 240 degrees and is used to clean and maintain the ends of the subway cars, called bonnets. Additionally, the heated water is also used by employee facilities in the complex.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-01

  • CNN is looking into BP’s Alaska pipeline management. I don’t even want to think about an oil disaster in Alaska again… #

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Oil Spills Everywhere: China Fights Exploded Pipeline Oil Spill

I know it’s fiendish to look at it this way, but it’s "nice" to see that the United States is not the only country or area of the world dealing with poor management of our petroleum resources.

It’s just plain sad, really. Farmer’s, wildlife and countless others are affected by oil spills all over the world, with new spills occurring on a monthly basis if not more frequently. Consumers can give a sigh of relief that the oil spills here in the Gulf of Mexico and in China in the Yellow Sea near the Port of Dalian, haven’t affected gasoline prices. Yet.

The Dalian pipeline explosion occurred on July 16, 2010. Fortunately, it was easier to stop the oil flow because the pipeline wasn’t a mile below the surface of the ocean. China National Television reported the cleanup is underway with more than 100,000 gallons of the estimated 400,000 spilled oil having been collected. 

To keep this oil spill in perspective, the BP leak has allowed an estimated 94 million to 184 million gallons to escape into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

Researchers from the China Environmental Science Research Institute estimate that the ecological harm from the Dalian spill is likely to last a decade. At this time, the damage to the Gulf of Mexico is too large to estimate.

For both spills, the effects will take 10-20 years or more to fully be felt as the contamination of oil carcinogens passes up through the food chain, from animals to humans.

Greenpeace China estimated that over 10,000 shellfish farms have been contaminated, and fishing has been banned around the Port of Dalian until the end of August.

The Dalian spill covers a 165 square mile stretch of the Yellow Sea.

How many oil spills will it take for us as a civilization to really get serious about cleaner, renewable, alternative energy sources?