Taxes in the Wind

Friday, April 28, 2006

Don Weichmann ( from Johnson Creek offers these thoughts on wind power development:
Renewable energy will be more important as time goes on and fossil fuels become scarce and expensive. It’s also becoming more apparent that global warming is occurring because of fossil fuel use. Wind energy is an important part of the mix of renewable energy.

A concerned homeowner could use a small wind generator to supply some of his energy but usually this costs more than what he has to pay his utility. Big wind, in the range of 1.5 megawatts (2000 horsepower) or more, is more efficient than smaller generators. A representative of Invenergy told me in 2005 that they could produce energy for $.035 per kilowatthour. Problem is a 1.5MW wind generator costs nearly $2 million. This is out of reach for most of us. So, why not form a group of investors and build a big tower? Well, this is easier said than done.
Read the rest of Dean's comments here.

Chernobyl: Twenty Years Ago

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Global Community Initiatives marks the world's worst non-military nuclear disaster:
April 26, 2006 marks the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine, an event that changed the world. It was a key reason that the Soviet Union changed so dramatically, as the citizens of the eastern bloc started demanding better access to environmental information. It also ended the incessant growth of the nuclear power industry. We have yet to learn all the lessons of this disaster, however, and nuclear power is now being advertised as the solution to global climate change. It is not. Read more at Global Community Initiatives.
More on Chernobyl here.

Review our genuine need for oil

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hans Noeldner of Oregon offers this commentary:
With oil prices soaring and eventual depletion looming, it is essential to review our genuine needs for oil. Because the following ten uses of petroleum are “non-negotiable”, it would be pointless - even rude - to suggest cutting them. So I won’t. Surely we can find reductions elsewhere; surely new technology will make all petroleum supply issues disappear. So after listing these non-negotiable uses, let’s not EVER mention them again. God forbid that anyone feel uncomfortable or guilty!

(1) We have an constitutional right to live wherever we please. If none of our day-to-day destinations are within walking distance, if roads to our home are unsafe or too lengthy for bicycling, if there isn’t any public transit nearby, this old world had better cough up all the fuel we need to drive. By the way, society owes us highways everywhere we go and parking lots everywhere we stop, too.

(2) We have a right to drive whatever size motor vehicle tickles our fancy. A farmer may need a twenty-foot, six-thousand pound pickup truck to haul fifty bags of wheat seed. A suburbanite may need a truck of the same size to get cigarettes and beer. Both needs are equally valid.

(3) Our lawns have become much larger, and we need riding lawn tractors to keep up. Smaller lawns and human-powered mowers are out of the question. Nor can our bored adolescents burn excess energy doing useful physical work.

(4) Happiness is an inalienable right. Because internal-combustion engines have become essential for human amusement, we must play on snowmobiles, motorboats, ATVs, jet skis, motorcycles, and other fuel-burning toys.

(5) We work hard, so we’re entitled to great vacations – and all the jet fuel it takes to fly to the Bahamas, Las Vegas, Vail, New Zealand…

(6) After we retire, we deserve to see America in comfort and style. If that means driving a twenty-five foot motor home thirty thousand miles at seven miles per gallon, by golly we’ve earned it.

(7) Our children must be driven to school, soccer practice, friends’ houses, and the mall. They are entitled to the best – including four-thousand pounds of body armor while in transit.

(8) Our driving-age children must own a car so they can drive to their job after school to earn money to pay for their car. They also have a right to drive to extra-curricular activities, no matter how far we live from school - see (1).

(9) Young males – and numerous older ones – need abundant fuel to express their manhood with loud, powerful motorcycles, muscle cars, low-riders, and enormous pickup trucks. Without such vehicles some men would shrivel up and die, while others would revert to firearm-based displays of virility.

(10) We have a right to feel virtuous and “green” when we tank up with corn ethanol. So what if it takes petroleum-based diesel to power tractors, harvesters, and trucks; oil-based pesticides; natural-gas-based fertilizers; and coal to operate distillation plants? Besides, isn’t that sixty million acres of switchgrass on the horizon?

Hans Noeldner is a Trustee in the Village of Oregon, Wisconsin. The views herein do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Village Board.

Will your vehicle run on E85?

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection maintains a Web site with the following list of vehicles which will run on a fuel of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline:

Daimler Chrysler
* Select 2006 4.7L Dodge Durangos
* Select 2004-2006 4.7L Dodge Ram 1500 Series
* Select 2003-2006 2.7L Chrysler Sebrings
* Select 2003-2006 2.7L Dodge Stratus
* Select 2003 3.3 L Dodge Caravan Cargos
* All 1998-2003 3.3L Caravan Minivans
* Select 2004-2006 3.3L Caravans & Grand Caravans SE
* All 1998-2003 3.3L Plymouth/Chrysler Voyagers
* All 1998-2003 3.3L Town & Country

Ford Motor Company
* Select 2006 5.4L Ford F150s (3-valve) (Available December 2005)
* Select 2006 4.6L Crown Victorias (2-valve) (Excludes taxi and police units)
* Select 1995-2006 3.0L Taurus LX, SE and SES
* Select 2002-2005 4.0L Explorers
* Select 2004-2005 4.0L Explorer Sport Tracs
* Select 1999-2003 3.0L Rangers & Ranger Supercabs 4WD & 2WD

General Motors
* Select 2006 3.5L Chevy Impalas
* Select 2006 3.5L Monte Carlos
* Select 2006-2006 5.3L Vortec-Engine Chevy Avalanches
* Select 2002-2006 5.3L Vortec-Engine Chevy Surburbans
* Select 2002-2006 5.3:L Vortec-Engine Chevy Tahoes
* Select 2002-2006 5.3L Vortec-Engine GMC Yukons & Yukon XLs
* 2006 5.3L Vortec-EnginePolice Package Tahoes
* Select 2002-2006 5.3L V-8 Engine GMC Sierras
* Select 2002-2006 5.3L V-8 Engine Chevy Silverados
* Select 2000-2006 5.3L 2.2L Chevy S-10 (After 12/99)
* All 2000-2002 2.2L GMC Sonomas (After 12/99)

* All 2000-2002 Isuzu 2.2L Hombres (after 12/99)

* Select 2006 5.4L Lincoln Town Cars

* Select 1999, 2001-2003 Mazda 3.0L B3000

* All 2003-05 3.2L Mercedes C320 Series
* All 2005 2.6L Mercedes C240 Series

* Select 2006 4.6L Mercury Grand Marquis
* Select 2000-2005 4.0L Mountaineers
* Select 2000--2005 3.0L Sables

* Select 2005 5.6L Titans

The site adds these words of caution:

Please check your Vehicle Identification Number, Manual or with you dealer before using any new fuel. All FFVs are approved for E85 use and carry the same warranty as gasoline-only models. Please contact the State of Wisconsin Alternative Fuels Program via email or call (608) 261-7744 for more information.

Peak Oil Presentation

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Power Point presentation Mark Daugherty, a RENEW Wisconsin board member and a member of the Madison Peak Oil Group, lays out out production past, peak, and future.

Click here to link to the presentation in a PDF format.

Peak oil makes the news

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bob Hague, Wisconsin Radio Group, attended the Energy Fair and filed this broacast:
Are you familiar with the theory of peak oil?

We all know fossil fuels can't last forever, but Ed Blume with RENEW Wisconsin and the Madison Peak Oil Group says many experts believe we're a lot closer to the production peak than you might imagine. "The point is, we will get to the peak," said Blume. "And then we will simply have fewer petroleum products to pull out of the ground and use."

If the world's oil producers have indeed reached that peak, Blume says it's not unreasonable to assume that's a factor in the price of gas at the pump. Blume was on hand at Wednesday's "Clean Energy Fair" in Madison, which included a display of efficient vehicles.

Listen to the audio at

Mayor speaks at Energy Fair, stresses savings

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

RENEW Wisconsin, Madison Peak Oil Group, and Better Envrionmental Solutions hosted an Energy Fair. The press release about the successful event begins:
As gas prices rise to record levels, Wisconsin drivers can cut their gas bills by airing up their tires and view more efficient vehicles to save money at the “Clean Energy Fair: Dealing with High Gas Prices in Style,” sponsored by Better Environmental Solutions, RENEW Wisconsin, and the Madison Peak Oil Group. They handed out free air gauges and high efficiency light bulbs, helped people check their tires.

At the fair in front of the city’s solar panels, Madison Mayor Cieslewicz highlighted Madison’s efforts to reduce fuel costs and pollution like signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Clean Energy Fair, April 19th

Monday, April 17, 2006

Clean Energy Fair: Dealing with high gas prices in style

Celebrate Earth Week with real solutions to high gas prices.

Who: Mayor Dave, local hybrid and flex fuel car dealers, car share representatives, car repair experts, bike dealers, and energy experts.

What: Fair will highlight concrete solutions to high gas prices like more efficient vehicles, better car maintenace, bike, and bus riding.

When: Wednesday, April 19th, 11:30 am to 1 PM, rain or shine.

Where: Madison Municipal Parking lot under the solar panels, corner of east Doty and Pickney Streets.

Local groups are welcome to set up tables and hand out information on clean energy.

Sponsored by Better Environmental Solutions, RENEW Wisconsin, and the Madison Peak Oil Group.

Will have door prizes of free light bulbs and tire gages.

San Francisco to consider resolution on peak oil preparedness

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider a:

"Resolution is intended to formally acknowledge that oil depletion, commonly referred to as Peak Oil, is a real and serious problem for which the City of San Francisco must prepare in advance. Resolution is further intended to articulate the city’s position regarding international responses to Peak Oil, and to begin a process of local assessment and mitigation."

Click here for the full text.

J. Howard Kunstler speaks in Milwaukee - April 17

Thursday, April 13, 2006

James Howard Kunstler, social critic and peak oil guru, will read from his latest book and sign copies at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, 2559 North Downer Avenue, Milwaukee (at East Webster Place) on Monday April 17, 7:00 p.m.

The Long Emergency
Monday, April 17 • 7 pm talk • Downer Ave.
James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century, now in paperback, was an underground hit, going into nine printings of the hardcover edition. The last two hundred years have seen the greatest explosion of progress and wealth in the history of mankind, much of it based on the exploitation of cheap, nonrenewable fossil-fuel energy. But the oil age is at an end. Life as we know it is about to change radically, and much sooner than we think. The Long Emergency tells us just what to expect after we pass the point of global peak oil production and the honeymoon of affordable energy is over. James Howard Kunstler is the author of two nonfiction books, The Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere, and eight novels.

It's Time to Start Planning

From a commentary by Tom Whipple in the Falls Church News Press:

The whole system sustaining our lives is bound together by oil. It is the cheap freely available oil that has allowed us to move ourselves and our goods around cheaply, quickly, and efficiently. Specialized highly efficient production has of course resulted, for many, in a golden age, a cornucopia. Take away the oil, or simply raise the price high enough, and the social/economic order starts to come apart rapidly. Then what?

The answer is obvious. We in America , and indeed in many other countries, will turn to government to organize a solution. Which government? All of them. Every level from village council to presidents and prime ministers will be overwhelmed by the need to take action. Needs will be enormous, compared to anything we have known in recent years. . . .

Beyond the initial need to develop the organization to maintain life, civil order, and the distribution of vital goods and services, there will be a need for government in establishing extensive new systems of mass transit. If, as most expect, there will be very serious economic disorders, we start to raise issues of government as the employer or provider of last resort.

An argument can and will be made that the government should stay out of all this. Let prices rise and market forces alone will do the necessary allocations. There is no question that such policies would quickly devolve into widespread and unacceptable life-threatening situations comparable to evacuating yourself from the New Orleans flood without a car.

For now, planning is cheap. One day soon the implementation of these plans will be very costly.

The challenge and inevitable pain of oil addiction

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Richard Heiberg argues that the longer we delay adapting to the inevitable depletion of worldwide oil reserves, the more painful the coming economic transition will be:

The supply of extractable oil is subject to geological limits. At some point those limits will overcome our ability to produce oil at the ever-expanding rates that growing economies demand. The global peak is likely to occur well before societies adapt painlessly to a different energy regime. And that likely time lag contradicts the way orthodox economists imagine that rising prices solve supply shocks by steering economies to develop and use substitutes.

Oil is different from most commodities, because, as President Bush so memorably declared, we are addicted to it, and because substitute energy sources cannot be developed and deployed overnight. And as long as oil remains available and profitable, the existing energy regime also resists the development and substitution of alternatives.

World 'cannot meet oil demand'

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

According to a story by Carl Mortished, International Business Editor, in the

THE world lacks the means to produce enough oil to meet rising projections of demand for fuel over the next decade, according to Christophe de Margerie, head of exploration for Total and heir presumptive to the leadership of the French energy multinational.

The world is mistakenly focusing on oil reserves when the problem is capacity to produce oil, M de Margerie said in an interview with The Times. Forecasters, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), have failed to consider the speed at which new resources can be brought into production, he believes.

Study shows how to cut foreign oil dependency

Monday, April 10, 2006

From a story posted on
America could end the need to import fossil fuels from the Persian Gulf region by 2020, according to a study developed by Professor Daniel M. Kammen and his colleagues at U.C. Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL).

Titled "Towards Energy Independence in 2025," the study details immediate and long-term measures that, applied to the nation's transportation sector and fleet of power plants, could reduce oil imports by more than 30 percent within twenty years. These measures could deliver daily oil use savings of more than 22 percent - equivalent to the 6.3 million barrels a day America currently imports from the Persian Gulf.

Biofuels co-op meets Saturday, April 8

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Member meeting and Fundraiser - Join Us!


1:00-3:00 pm

High Noon Saloon
701 East Washington Ave, Madison, WI

PrairieFire BioFuels Cooperative (PFBF) will hold its first member meeting and fundraiser on Saturday April 8th , from 1:00-3:00 pm, at the High Noon Saloon, 701 East Washington Ave, Madison, WI.

PrairieFire BioFuels Cooperative is changing the way people in the Midwest think about transportation fuel sources. We invite businesses and individuals for an afternoon of celebration and introduction to this movement on the forefront of a national renewable energy economy.

Vehicles converted to run on pure vegetable oil will be on hand for demonstration as well as a presentation on member-services and opportunities to support and join the co-op.

PFBF will operate in the former Car Care Clinic location at the corner of 1st Ave. and East Washington in Madison, offering easy access in a central downtown location. The member-owned cooperative will offer 100% biodiesel sales and technical support to convert diesel vehicles to run on pure vegetable oil. PrairieFire Cooperative will also provide members with diesel car locator and buying services.

ExxonMobil Peak Oil Ad Falls Flat

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil - USA posted an analysis of a recent "peak debunking" ad from ExxonMobil:

ASPO-USA Response to ExxonMobil Peak Oil Advertising
ASPO USA Friday, March 03, 2006

Last week, ExxonMobil ran a Peak Oil Advertisement in The Washington Post and The New York Times which claimed that peak oil is "decades" away and attempted to discredit what it called the "theory" of peak oil. ExxonMobil may be the world's most profitable energy company, but it is important to recognize this ad as being both innaccurate and misleading. ExxonMobil's own production statistics tell the story . . .