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The future of oil: Yesterday’s fuel | The Economist

We believe that they are wrong, and that oil is close to a peak. This is not the “peak oil” widely discussed several years ago, when several theorists, who have since gone strangely quiet, reckoned that supply would flatten and then fall. We believe that demand, not supply, could decline. In the rich world oil demand has already peaked: it has fallen since 2005. Even allowing for all those new drivers in Beijing and Delhi, two revolutions in technology will dampen the world’s thirst for the black stuff.

[From The future of oil: Yesterday’s fuel | The Economist]

Adapt or Die? Private Utilities and the Distributed Energy Juggernaut : Greentech Media


Faced with the prospect of having their revenue streams from generation, transmission and distribution slowly leak away as more distributed renewable power joins the grid, it appears most of the IOUs would rather fight than switch.

PG&E, one of two California IOU monopolies, has a long record of fighting this trend even as it touts itself as a progressive utility. As I detailed in 2010, when Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) entities began to appear in response to residents' demands for more renewable power than their utilities would offer, PG&E fought them vigorously. First it sponsored a public relations campaign under the guise of a “Common Sense Coalition.” When that failed, it put $35 million into a ballot proposition disguised as an appeal to protect the voters’ "right to choose." The proposition would have foreclosed on the possibility of any further CCAs being created in the state, and prevented the one CCA that did exist from expanding its service area. It also failed.

[From Adapt or Die? Private Utilities and the Distributed Energy Juggernaut : Greentech Media]

Because You Have to Chop Wood

I recall watching Frontier House on PBS a year or two ago. I was particularly struck by one snippet of info: the experts who rated how well each family had prepared for the winter unanimously and uniformly felt that none of the families had stored up enough wood. They even warned all of them at the start with a line like "If you don't have some other chore to do, you should be chopping wood."
It takes a lot of wood to get through a winter without heat, especially if you're in the midwest or north. This is a good axe with a strong handle, though the replacement guarantee might not do you any good if the local Home Depot has been looted.
Fiskars Pro Chopping Axe, available from Amazon.

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Here's Hoping Solar is the Answer

I sure hope this article is correct. Solar power holds out the hope of decentralized power. As John Robb points out, big centralized networks are very very easy to disrupt.

Of course, at this moment, we face the early adopter's dilemma. Do we pay high prices now for tech that isn't very efficent, or wait a few years and get more for less. Reminds me of a small publishing company I know that jumped whole hog into computers in 1983, embracing the terrible IBM compatible standard. 18 months later they realized they really wanted Macs.

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