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Sun energy and peak oil

I find this article very interesting:  Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer in the world with 20% of the oil reserves, is investing $100 billion in an energy plan focusing on renewables–wind, solar, geothermal, as well as nuclear.  The article states the Saudis want to use their oil for export and invest these profits at home, but I find that highly suspicious.  They wouldn’t want to alarm the world by suggesting the Ghawar oil field might have peaked, would they?

I believe in the theory of Peak oil (watch the video).  Peak oil doesn’t mean we all of a sudden run out of oil.  It means we run out of ‘easy oil’.  The U.S. used to produce all its own oil but oil reserves peaked sometime in the mid-70’s.  We still have oil, but now we have to drill miles below the ocean floor for it, or resort to oil shales.

Putting aside all the environmental concerns of our gluttonous addiction to non-renewables, oil prices are just going to go up, that’s a sure thing.  When it gets harder and harder to extract that gallon of gas, its going to cost more.  That goes for coal as well as natural gas.(again, watch the video)

My neighbor said to me, in response to the recent gasoline price hikes, “What are we going to do?  We can’t live without gas?”  And you know, she’s right.  When you start to take a look around, just about everything you see in your home environment was either made with gas or transported with gas or both.  When you get that, you understand the meaning of ‘Horse Power’ (HP), which is all we really had one hundred years ago.

Solving this problem will not be through a ‘survivalist’ mentality.  If we do attack it, (although it seems to me the U.S. is behind the times in really confronting it compared to the rest of the world), it will be through community, thinking small not big.  Putting miles and miles of solar panels on BLM lands in the desert is not the answer.  Putting wind and solar into every home is.

I’ve been initiating the process of installing solar and wind for my home this summer.  It’s only a small beginning really.  I live far away from town, so solar won’t help me drive there to obtain groceries.  Solar or wind won’t plow the road to town in the winter. It won’t stop the rise of food prices and using wood for heat (which I do) will become a lot more difficult when I have to fell trees with an ax. But with this beginning, I can later add on a solar greenhouse for winter food.

The Cody Enterprise had an article in this week’s paper about the local high school kids making biodiesel.  With a small grant, they’ve been learning hands-on about wind and solar as well.  In regards to their wind turbine installation, the teacher said “This is the first wind turbine installed in city limits. People may see us and see it’s a doable thing in Cody.”  I just might be the second, although I’m not in the town limits so maybe that doesn’t count.

But, like Saudi Arabia, the kids are thinking about our future.

3 Responses

  1. Hey Leslie, nicely stated! I’ve been following this subject for years through the ASPO Peak Oil Review – very comprehensive summary of all things energy but especially peak oil. I’ll send you a copy for awhile. let me know if you don’t want it any more. Your wind and solar projects sound great! John from Iowa


  2. Ever since I was a little girl I have wondered when the oil would be used up. My teachers always told me never. It is interesting to contemplate.


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