Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Scientists report that there is enough energy in the jet stream to satisfy all of the world's energy needs if we could only find a way to capture it. Anyone who has flown across the country from California to New York has probably benefited from the lower reaches of the stream. It can provide quite a boost in airspeed. It will be interesting to see if anyone can come up with a feasible way of capturing the stream's energy.

Meanwhile, the price of gasoline and diesel fuel is rising to record levels all across the USA and the whiners are again attacking the oil companies for their "exorbitant" profits. Ignored in their protestations is the fact that federal and state taxes make up a sizeable portion of the pump price. Here in Florida, for example, the total tax on a gallon of gasoline exceeds $0.81. And let us not forget that until now several Gulf Coast refineries ave been down for normal maintenance and repairs, thereby reducing supplies. The last time I looked the law of supply and demand hasn't been rescinded, and any time supply is squeezed the price goes up.

There is talk in some Democrat circles of trying to impose price controls on petroleum fuels. Such a move won't solve the problem; in fact, it will make it worse. Supplies will slow down just enough to cause long lines at retail outlets as bad or worse than those that followed the embargo in the '70s. I can hear the complaining now.

There is only one way to bring prices down and that is to increase supply and to reduce our dependence on foreign crude oil. That means we must allow drilling on the Continental Shelf, in ANWAR and the Gulf of Mexico. This must occur even with progress in developing alternative energy sources.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Whenever the subject of energy comes up you can be sure the critics will find a way to jump on the world's oil companies and criticize them for the lack of effort to do something about global warming. But when one of those companies announces they are doing something, it rarely if ever is picked up by the mass media. A case in point is the work ExxonMobil is doing with carbon dioxide sequestration. They are developing a system whereby CO2 is stripped from the stack gases of power plants and other manufacturing facilities, compressed and pumped back in the ground into caverns and other played out reservoirs that once held natural gas, coal or crude oil where it is kept from entering the atmosphere.

It's also interesting to note that ExxonMobil was among the first manufacturers of fuel rods for nuclear power plant reactors, an indication the company sees beyond fossil fuels. They have also been among the leaders in developing desulfurization processes for lowering the sulfur content of fuels in the interest of reducing acid rain.