Category Archives: Energy

the posts in this category used to be in “Energy in A Nutshell” at my former web site.

Nafeez Ahmed: Venezuela’s collapse is a window into how the Oil Age will unravel

Preface. Ahmed is one of the best writers on the energy crisis and other biophysical calamities. He’s written about why many states are failing now in part due to peak oil, but also drought and other biophysical factors in his … Continue reading

Posted in Central & South America, Oil (Tar) Sands, Peak Oil | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Climate change effects on hydropower in California

Preface. The main impact of climate change will be on hydropower in California, which is the largest source of renewable electric power. Besides natural gas, it is the only dispatchable form of power to balance unreliable, intermittent wind and solar … Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Hydropower | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hydropower can’t help with the energy crisis

Preface. When fossil fuels are gone, there aren’t many ways to balance the unreliable, intermittent, and often absent for weeks at a time power from wind and solar.  Biofuels and burning biomass is one solution, it’s dispatchable and can kick … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Hydropower | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

High-Tech can’t last: there are limited essential elements

There are 17 rare earth elements in the periodic table. About nine of those elements go into every iPhone sold… and if China were suddenly to disappear from a map tomorrow, Apple would lose about 90% of those elements.  Source: … Continue reading

Posted in ! PEAK EVERYTHING, Alternative Energy, Cascading Failure, Important Minerals, Microchip Fabrication stops, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Black starting the grid after a power outage

Black starts Large blackouts can be quite devastating and it isn’t easy to restart the electric grid again. This is typically done by designated black start units of natural gas, coal, hydro, or nuclear power plants that can restart themselves … Continue reading

Posted in Grid instability | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Book review of Jaczko’s “Confessions of a rogue nuclear regulator”

Preface. After presenting a lot of evidence for why nuclear power plants are inherently unsafe, Jaczko concludes: “There is only one logical answer: we must stop generating nuclear waste, and that means we must stop using nuclear power. You would … Continue reading

Posted in Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Nuclear Power, Nuclear spent fuel fire | Tagged | 3 Comments

Utility scale energy storage has a long way to go to make renewables possible

What follows comes from my book “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation” , which is also where you’ll find the references backing up what I’ve written below. I often get letters from people about energy breakthroughs … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Batteries, Battery - Utility Scale, Critical Thinking, Electric Grid, Electricity, Renewable Integration | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Replacing diesel tractors with horses or oxen – what will that be like?

Preface.  Since fossil fuels are clearly finite, at some point increasing numbers of farmers with diesel vehicles and equipment will want to replace them with horses, which can do the work of six people.  Here’s what  energy expert Vaclav Smil … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Life Before Oil, Muscle Power, Peak Food, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Fish scraps could power some cruise ships by 2021

Preface.  Some black humor for those following energy descent. Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts:  KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity] … Continue reading

Posted in Far Out | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Hydropower dams and the ways they destroy the environment

Preface. Hydropower comprises 71% of renewable energy worldwide.  Nations like the U.S. and Europe have dams that have reached the end of their lifespan, so more are being torn down than built. In the U.S. 546 dams were removed between … Continue reading

Posted in Dams, Hydropower | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment