It seems a news fad has developed, the reporting that oil and gas production has or is close to peaking worldwide. From what I have read, it appears that production is definitely in decline and demand is increasing, especially in Asia. I found reading the article Peak Oil Revisited especially informative.
It is chilling to think about energy shortages, especially the effects it will have on the American way of life. Now is the time, to start making ourselves more efficient. The article I mentioned above, had a few ideas along this line:
- Using a burner tip in a multitude of industrial practices, or in boiling water, was immensely more efficient than converting gas into electricity.
- Going to a three-shift economy, where everyone would be required to work graveyard shifts about one-third of the time, was a way to avoid overloads to the grid. The reason is simple, he said. Power generating stations run all night while very little electricity is drawn. Plants cannot be shut down and restarted. After you turn an electrical generating station off, it takes a week to bring it back on line. That’s called spinning and it’s extremely expensive. Instead of having everything peak between 4 and 6 PM you can spread it out and still have some growth because you’ll be making use of capacity that is not being used during off hours.
- I thought about how far ahead Europe, and especially Germany was in its thinking. All electrical uses in hotel rooms are made possible only when your room key is inserted into a slot. Leave the room, take the key, and everything shuts off automatically. Every gas station I saw in Germany had the option for people to purchase biodiesel, the cheapest grade of fuel, at about 90 US cents a liter. (And you think US gas prices are bad! Premium gasoline was selling at just under $5 (US) per gallon). At those prices it’s easy to understand why German drivers, when they come to ubiquitous railroad crossings, automatically shut off their engines until the train passes.