View Poll Results: Is it time to double down on green energy that has never been more promising?

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Thread: Obama Green double down question

  1. #91
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by MoSurveyor View Post
    And to "Reverse (or seriously mitigate)" "demand increasing faster than supply" you're saying we need to increase supply like an SOB.
    yup. more importantly, make clear that we are going to continue to increase supply. Not only will it have a helpful effect on oil prices, it will (and you keep ignoring this) also create massive amounts of new wealth in this nation as we begin to fully exploit our own natural wealth. Green Jobs have proven again and again to be a chimera. Oil Jobs are real, and they pay well above the national average. Unemployment in North Dakota right now is at 3.1%. If China isn't going to stop buying this stuff - then that's awesome. We can sell it to them and hopefully reduce some of the economic power disparity that currently exists between us.

    What happens when the demand from China increases beyond those means to increase supply?
    all other factors being consistent (which they rarely are) prices go up. At some point, gasoline will become more expensive than alternatives, at which point those alternatives will become viable.

    In other words, we have to produce enough to keep up with China's demand.
    no we don't. see above.

    (Yes, I used "China" as a general source for "increase in demand" - it was less cumbersome than using "China/India/3rd world countries")
    that's fine - as long as it's an annotated shorthand so we both know what you mean it works.

    So what are you trying to say now? That volitility is NOT caused by the small difference between supply and demand?
    wild swings that occur when relative supply and demand have not comparatively altered are obviously not produced by the interaction of supply and demand, but rather by other factors such as monetary policy, or perceptions concerning future supply v demand. what we have seen recently is increased perceptions that a significant percentage of future supply is threatened. If you dramatically increase future supply coming from a political stable region, not only do you decrease the price from increased supply, but you decrease supply by decreasing the impact of the perceived potential future threat.

    Or are you saying the oil companies are lying when they say the price at the pump is dependent on the price of oil?
    nope. I'm saying that the price of oil is not determined solely by direct supply and demand, given that 100% of the global production and futures markets do not go straight to the pump.

    Or are you saying what I said several pages back, that one crazy Muslim's hot air has as much of an affect on global prices as anything else?
    not as much as anything else, but certainly it has an effect (if by one crazy Muslim you are meaning Ahmadenijad). he is able to have that effect because of the percentage of global future supply that we are currently pulling out of his area of influence. if we reduce the percentage of future global supply that comes from his area of influence, we similarly decrease his ability to increase the price of oil.

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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by MoSurveyor View Post

    Both of which are subjective calls.
    Thanks for your input.
    A subjective call to point, but that point passed long ago. Its pretty blatant at this point.

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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I would suggest that energy, at least on the production side, is among the most efficient, commoditized markets that we have...at any given time I can go online and find out the exact price of a barrel of oil anywhere in the world, down to the cent (after adjusting for transportation costs). Sure, there are some inefficiencies, such as the "natural monopoly" that exists on the distribution side: our power grid. But even that's a good reason to fund alternative energy; many people could go off the grid entirely or even start selling energy back, if we had the technology to produce cheap and efficient solar panels for the roofs of homes.
    You have no idea what I meant. There is no case that I think of and I doubt you can either that the government was involved in a product, be either through its creation, or through its upkeep that the market has ever been completely set free and allowed to normalize to the market. The reason for this is quite simple, they can't or politicians won't allow it. Every last one of these industries is riddled with monopolies and/or a network of delivery that is built for a one on one relationship with usually costs far to high for anyone to handle. People that demand government do more or tell people they have done great things in the past always fail to realize the issue with what they are saying and asking for.


    Any regulations that the governments of the world impose upon the producers of energy (e.g. environmental restrictions, drilling permits, etc) are pretty minor compared to what many other industries face.
    Again, not my point.


    Not really. How much does our economy directly spend on oil and coal? And then there are the indirect costs too...How much environmental damage (as a dollar amount) do those things do? How much does the volatility of those commodities harm our economy? How much does our reliance on fossil fuels promote expensive interventions and/or wars in the Middle East? When you add up all these hidden costs that the consumers don't pay for themselves, it becomes very worthwhile to make a strong national push to ween ourselves off of fossil fuels as soon as possible.
    You just proved my point that I was actually making. You have this strange idea that these "green energies" will not feed into these type of results, when everything says they will.


    OK, let's examine those two metrics:

    Potential - Solar energy alone is advancing on a Moore's Law-like exponential curve, albeit a bit slower than the one for computer chips. The cost per kilowatt-hour of solar energy falls between 7% and 14% every single year, consistently. This is because every year, new solar technologies come online, which increases the energy density of solar panels for any given cost. Nationwide, solar energy costs about 10-14 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to about 2-4 cents per kWh for coal or natural gas, and about 5 cents per kWh for oil. If we merely assume that solar power will continue the trend that it has been on, it will reach cost parity with fossil fuels in the sunnier parts of this country by the middle to end of this decade...and will reach cost parity with fossil fuels nationwide some time in the 2020s. And if the price of fossil fuels continues to increase, this could happen even sooner.
    Seems like a hell of a prediction. There is no reason to suspect that future advancements will EVER reach a point where solar power is reasonable alternative to coal. People having been making these kind of predictions for decades now and we are still here with almost nothing more to speak of.

    Cost-effectiveness - As of 2009, the total amount spent worldwide (both private and government) on renewable energy was $162 billion. In the US, this included $18.6 billion in private investments and another $7 billion in corporate R&D and government grants. This compares to about $3.1 TRILLION worth of oil that is consumed worldwide every year. The investment that we are making on alternative energy is a drop in the bucket, and we are nowhere near the point where it is no longer cost-effective.
    There is a difference in paying for something and getting something out of it and simply failing to get anything out of it for years while paying for it. I can spend a great deal on oil today, but I'm using oil and making a living on oil. When I spend money on future technology I expect a return and I don't expect a return in 50 years time. Such a time line makes it not worth my efforts and NO ONE outside of government would find such thing reasonable.
    Last edited by Henrin; 04-25-12 at 05:50 AM.

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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by Henrin View Post
    A subjective call to point, but that point passed long ago. Its pretty blatant at this point.
    Yes, you already voiced that opinion. Repeating that belief won't change the subjectiveness of it.
    Last edited by MoSurveyor; 04-25-12 at 07:27 AM.
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    not as much as anything else, but certainly it has an effect (if by one crazy Muslim you are meaning Ahmadenijad). he is able to have that effect because of the percentage of global future supply that we are currently pulling out of his area of influence. if we reduce the percentage of future global supply that comes from his area of influence, we similarly decrease his ability to increase the price of oil.
    And in a few more months no one will care what he said. All that hot air will have been nothing more than a small bubble in oil prices.
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    yup. more importantly, make clear that we are going to continue to increase supply. Not only will it have a helpful effect on oil prices, it will (and you keep ignoring this) [... delete Drill Baby Drill ad.]

    all other factors being consistent (which they rarely are) prices go up. At some point, gasoline will become more expensive than alternatives, at which point those alternatives will become viable.

    no we don't. see above.
    If we just announce to the world we are going to increase production I doubt that would be sufficient to lower the price of oil. I'm pretty sure we would actually have to increase production at some relatively soon future point for it to have any affect. So, we increase production (price drop), China increases demand (price increase), we increase production (price drop), China increases demand (price increase), and eventually we can't increase production. Sure looks like we're trying to out-produce China's demand to me. Or maybe more specifically, that our perceived future output has to increase (which has to be backed up in reality somehow) to match or exceed China's perceived future increase in demand (which also has to have some basis in reality). You say po-tA-to, I say po-tah-to but it really comes down to the same thing. The price of oil will continue to be a function of supply and demand, whether it takes three or thirty months for that "reality" to filter into "perception" is irrelevant for long-range planning. That's what we're talking here, LONG RANGE planning. You're quibbling about months and I'm talking DECADES. You can't ween America off oil in a few months.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    wild swings that occur when relative supply and demand have not comparatively altered are obviously not produced by the interaction of supply and demand, but rather by other factors such as monetary policy, or perceptions concerning future supply v demand. what we have seen recently is increased perceptions that a significant percentage of future supply is threatened. If you dramatically increase future supply coming from a political stable region, not only do you decrease the price from increased supply, but you decrease supply by decreasing the impact of the perceived potential future threat.
    I'm sure some of this must be jumbled since "increased supply" and "decrease supply" in the same sentence seems contrary. But if you're still taking in terms of months (futures), instead of real supply and demand, then it doesn't matter. The subject is LONG RANGE planning because you can't ween America off oil in a few months.


    It would be extremely short-sighted of us to turn our backs on continued research for a better motive power than oil.
    Last edited by MoSurveyor; 04-25-12 at 08:59 AM.
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Thanks, Sheik Yerbuti, I had to copy this here - hope you don't mind!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheik Yerbuti View Post
    No, but I do like how the right is now blaming the president for high gas prices when 4 years ago, when there was a Republican in the White House, they said the president doesn't control gas prices, market forces do ...

    The discussion at 3:10 is particularly interesting for this thread but all of it's good.


    4:57 "If American's want lower gas prices, cut back. Sell those SUVs. Ride a bike when you can."
    5:03 "If every one of us bought 10% less gasoline, prices would fall fast."
    Last edited by MoSurveyor; 04-25-12 at 10:22 AM.
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  8. #98
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by tecoyah View Post
    Temperatures have been rising...consistently. If you actually do not KNOW this...we are done, as you cannot debate this issue.
    I think you are misusing the term consistently. If you go back to when the planet was formed from colliding debris, current cosmology claims it was millions of years before the planet cooled enough to allow a permanent crust over the molten core, more millions of years until it cooled further to allow liquid water to form. Some argue (link) that there was no permanent ice cap until just a few million years ago (although he doesn't address the speculation of "snowball earth" that has been floated to explain what look like glaciation marks on some rocks in Australia). So, if you look at the long term, earth has been consistently - if not uniformly - cooling, not warming.

    In a shorter time frame, it's fairly safe to say the earth has been warming for the last twenty or thirty thousand years since the last ice age "ended." If you are worried about the ice caps melting and the ocean rising, forget it - that all happened 12,000 years ago (link).

    In a much shorter time frame, there is apparently another (milder) cycle of 10 or 12 centuries: Iceland was known to the Mediterranean world by around 300 BC, but then it got cold again and the island wasn't settled until around 900 AD. When the Norse settled Greenland a thousand years ago, they were able to supplement their hunting-fishing diet with vegetable gardens, but then the weather closed down for a couple of centuries and the settlements were gone by the time the Europeans were able to get back there. That "Little Ice Age" lasted for a few centuries (link) and it's end coincided closely with the beginning of our Industrial Age. The warm period should continue for another couple of centuries or so, but we are still not as warm as we apparently were a thousand years ago.

    On a really micro time frame, the best explanation I've seen for the current global warming hysteria (which replaced the "Coming Ice Age" hysteria of the seventies) is that after the Soviet Union collapsed in the early nineties, internal chaos caused the Siberian weather stations to stop reporting for a few years and this caused a very minor increase in the reported global average temperature.

    So let's drop the term "consistently" and discuss whether global warming is really such a bad thing. Global human population was around 200 million at the height of the RomaEmpire, reached one billion around 1800, two billion around 1920, and is now seven billion. Which 99% of the human race do you propose to eliminate in order to get back to your idea of Utopia?
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  9. #99
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    Quote Originally Posted by Henrin View Post
    You have no idea what I meant. There is no case that I think of and I doubt you can either that the government was involved in a product, be either through its creation, or through its upkeep that the market has ever been completely set free and allowed to normalize to the market. The reason for this is quite simple, they can't or politicians won't allow it. Every last one of these industries is riddled with monopolies and/or a network of delivery that is built for a one on one relationship with usually costs far to high for anyone to handle. People that demand government do more or tell people they have done great things in the past always fail to realize the issue with what they are saying and asking for.

    Again, not my point.
    Then this complaint is not unique to the energy sector and is therefore irrelevant to the debate.

    You just proved my point that I was actually making. You have this strange idea that these "green energies" will not feed into these type of results, when everything says they will.
    Really? Please, do tell. How will switching to solar power feed into those results (e.g. pollution, economic volatility, unrest in the Middle East) to the same extent that reliance on oil does?

    Seems like a hell of a prediction.
    Not really. This is more or less what EVERY knowledgeable observer on solar power is saying...their predictions may differ 10 years or so depending on how optimistic or pessimistic they are, but this is more or less the consensus estimate of the time frame we are talking about here.

    And again, it's worth noting that this prediction doesn't require any unforeseeable technological breakthroughs or gazing into a crystal ball. This is just assuming that solar energy continues doing what it has been doing for at least 20 years, where costs per kWh fall by 7-14% per year as better technologies improve the energy density of solar panels.


    There is no reason to suspect that future advancements will EVER reach a point where solar power is reasonable alternative to coal.
    EVER? Really? In what world did you reach that conclusion? We KNOW all the driving factors in solar power: We KNOW for a fact that the cost of solar power is a function of the energy density of solar panels, the energy density of batteries to store it, and the loss of energy during transmission. And we KNOW for a fact that all of those things have been steadily improving for many years as the technology improves.

    So what exactly is the problem that you envision? Is there some technological barrier that is going to cause that long-term trend to suddenly grind to a halt in the next decade, thus preventing solar power from becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels? Or can you simply not imagine the world being any different than it currently is? If it's the latter, that isn't a good enough reason to stop funding it. Sorry.

    People having been making these kind of predictions for decades now and we are still here with almost nothing more to speak of.
    Exponential curves are like that. Going from 0.01% to 0.02% is hardly noticeable, going from 1% to 2% is an interesting little piece of information, and going from 25% to 50% changes everything...even though the increase is the same in all those cases.

    Solar power is 10-14 cents per kWh right now. Not quite cost-competitive with fossil fuels yet, but all it needs to do to reach cost-parity with fossil fuels is to continue doing what it has been doing (reducing costs by 7-14% per year) for a few more years.

    There is a difference in paying for something and getting something out of it and simply failing to get anything out of it for years while paying for it. I can spend a great deal on oil today, but I'm using oil and making a living on oil. When I spend money on future technology I expect a return and I don't expect a return in 50 years time. Such a time line makes it not worth my efforts and NO ONE outside of government would find such thing reasonable.
    It's your own fault that you have a skewed perception of what technological development is capable of. If you don't think solar power can become cost-competitive with fossil fuels in 50 years, then what you are saying is that the trend that has held for over 20 years now (reducing solar costs by 7-14% annually) is going to grind to a halt tomorrow and remain stagnant for 50 years, for basically no reason. And THAT is what is not reasonable.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-25-12 at 12:53 PM.
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    Re: Obama Green double down question

    We need to stick with funding oil (or at least promoting it) and making energy cheaper until a viable alternative has been found.

    Obama has wasted our money trying to fund "green" programs. His energy policy is a failure and I don't think the government should be investing in this anyway.
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