Monday, September 15, 2008

Is the Lehman Brothers meltdown bad for alternative energy?

Food for thought from The Oil Drum: Energy companies need well-functioning credit markets to expand their exploration and production, and to pursue alternative energy approaches. For example, expanding the use of wind energy, or electric-powered vehicles, is likely to need a huge amount of debt financing.

How much money will it cost, for example, to build enough windmills to generate 22% of electricity in the United States as proposed in the Pickens Plan?

If cities and states can't borrow, what does that mean for mass transportation in the United States?

When fuel becomes unaffordable for the middle class and the existing mass transit infrastructure proves inadequate to get tens of millions of Americans to their jobs, what will that mean for the U.S. economy?

Reality check: As Congress once again comes up with an Energy Policy in today's session, Democratic opposition to off shore drilling has crumbled. Surveys now show that the majority of Americans now support additional drilling; this in spite of record drilling in the United States over the past five years that has done little to ameliorate high prices.

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Anonymous said...

"Moon-shot efforts like the Volt get attention, but the most effective ways to use less energy may have less to do with changing technology than with changing habits."

"Ditching the internal-combustion engine could mean ditching the way of life that goes with it, and returning to an era in which more travel revolves around train and bus schedules, and more people live in smaller homes in dense urban neighborhoods."

Conservation supported via better urban design pays large dividends even in the near term. State and federal policies should support these remedies, instead of supporting the opposite as they do now.

Anonymous said...

Well stated.

What most people miss is that the "energy problem" is definitely not a technology problem. It is a producer/consumer problem.

Whatever increase in energy production created by new technologies, it will immediately get subsumed by increased consumption.

Note that it generally takes people the same amount of time to commute to work today as it did before the automobile.

Jennifer said...

"what will that mean for the U.S. economy?"

We're screwed?