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Posted by on Aug 2, 2008 in Politics | 34 comments

Welcome to Fantasyland

Yesterday, when Gary Hart delivered remarks suggesting that Barack Obama might soften his opposition to domestic oil drilling, I penned an unpopular opinion piece suggesting that the Illinois Senator might face some political fallout from such a move. It was even suggested that I must live in some sort of fantasyland for predicting that Obama’s detractors would label him, yet again, as a flipflopper for making such a move and that some of his supporters might revolt.

Well, Gary Hart clearly had the inside track on this one, since it took no time at all before Obama came out with a statement saying he would reconsider his domestic drilling stance as long as other, progressive energy reforms were included.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said today he would be willing to open Florida’s coast for more oil drilling if it meant winning approval for broad energy changes.

My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage – I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done,” Obama said.

It’s always embarrassing to turn out to be so wrong on a prediction, but in the interest of unity among the electorate, I’m sure we’re all relieved to see that nobody was playing the flipflop card or trying to make political hay out of it. And we can all be equally glad that none of Obama’s supporters decided to attack the decision or call it a victory for the GOP.

But if I’m able to take any small consolation from these horrid personal failures in prognostication, at least I got one part somewhat correct.

I would love to welcome Senator Obama onboard the energy train

Choo Choo! Welcome aboard, Sir! Your seat in the dining car is ready and the first round is on me. Now if we can achieve a rare moment in political history and actually get all the candidates to agree on something important to the country, who knows what could come next?

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • Neocon

    That is absolutely astoundingly brilliant by Obama.

    It essentially backs Not McCain but the GOP into a corner. Now if oil drilling is that important an issue for our national security they will be forced to accept compromise. If they do not accept compromise they will be seen as the ones who want Americans to suffer.

    In the meantime the debate can be debated, the details can be worked out and it can all be put off till after the election in which case either candidate can do what they want after the election and once again the American people get to suffer while politicians play hardball with our economic wellbeing.

    The GOP should respond by demanding a special session of congress be reconvened to see to this matter Immediately. They should put the ball back in the democrats court. They should stand shoulder to shoulder and say they are willing to make whatever compromises it takes to work this out and get the drilling started today.

    If they do not. Then we will all know that the GOP is just playing politics with drilling to earn votes. That they really dont believe that drilling will matter and that their opponents are correct. Drilling is a poltical ploy.

    Obama just hit the ball back to the GOP and the ball is now in their court. Lets watch the stumbling that they do with it for the next 3 months till they get beaten to death at the polling booths. Because honestly everyone is campaigning now and the GOP is in far worse shape then is the Democrats.

    This was ASTOUNDINGLY BRILLIANT BY OBAMA. They finally made a wise political decision.

  • DLS

    Obama is likely to be the next president, and he has made a few mistakes and recovered from them easily (aided by a cheerleading media that is part of his campaign), but what I heard yesterday was from him, not any of his hired guns, and it was a colossal blunder that appeals only to the childish kiddies who love him.

    He wants to give $1000 credits to people for energy this winter — a derivative of the Demogrant of McGovern, openly expoiting the vulnerable whose votes are most easily bought — and he wants to pay for this, I heard, by windfall oil profits taxes, the lunatic idea that has openly been discouraged since prices began their late rise, and which goes right back to Jimmy Carter and his similar disastrous decision. (What’s next, nationalizing the oil companies or at least refineries and putting Dem voters into UAW-excess-wage positions there?)

    So now Obama is doing the one thing he should least be doing if he does not want to repel more intelligent, reasonable, moral Americans who remember their history — while it’s a Big Lie aimed at the stupid that McCain is another Bush, now Obama is going on record as threatening to be another Carter _and_ McGovern!

    I was on my way to a book store in downtown Detroit when I heard the news and it (the news story) was the “tip-over” it took for me to get a book on something that might be useful now if Obama gets into office — the 1942 NBER report on how to manage the economy with so much of the GDP directed toward government work (at that time, the World War II arms production). Vast new entitlements may not add up to the size of federal share of GDP in World War II, but they will eventually be the next closest thing, and on a permanent and growing basis, and with Obama promising to be a new McGovern and Carter, I’ll pay attention not only to the chapters about raising vast new revenues through this or that form of taxation, but also the chapter or chapters on managing the economy through supply and distribution controls (which is what will likely happen next, this winter, if Obama is really going to follow Carter’s and McGovern’s ways).

    Obama’s latest blunder has, if there is justice, put life into McCain and even put McCain above Obama. Well, that is unlikely given now inept McCain is, but what will Americans think? Are too many of them ignorant (exploited by Dems already) or just so tired of things as they are now, or desperate, that they’ll gamble anyway? Illogical as that is, I suspect many will this November, and elect Obama.

    (Demogrants a la McGovern, and for that matter, a faint echo of Chavez? Windfall profits taxes? Obama really blundered.)

    Obama and windfall profits tax — is there a “green” objective to this?

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/08/01/is-windfall-profits-tax-a-green-proposal-in-disguise/

  • DLS

    As far as drilling, yes, Obama has done it. He’s said at least some drilling may be OK. Anything other than the rigid, idiotic absolutely-no-drilling is seen as a grand concession by the Dems by Dem voters, and is seen as an acknowledgement of reality by others, so the issue becomes no more something that can wreck Obama later. Of course, with the other things he just “offered” people (energy credit and windfall profits tax), he shows a return to the land of un-reason, and the GOP should annihilate Obama’s “offer” immediately. Where is the next McCain commercial showing Obama and Carter side by side? (“WINDFALL PROFITS TAX”) or the commercial showing Obama’s $1000 credit and McGovern with the Demogrant, or showing “HOME HEATING OIL” and Chavez?

  • DLS

    “Obama just hit the ball back to the GOP”

    You see this immediately! Yes, indeed.

    This is similar to when Bill Clinton fought with the Congressional GOP in the 1990s and put the issue back on them to where they were stuck with a negative-PR dilemma no matter whether they continued to fight Clinton or concede to him. There’s no such dilemma here with the GOP but yes, the issue would now be dead as an Obama liability and it’s up to the GOP to once again exercise the initiative. (McCain — initiative: They seem incompatible to me these days.)

    When Clinton did what he did, putting the issue on the GOP, a friend of mine who was not more of a standard US libertarian type like me but more of a traditionalist and cultural conservative, well to the right (our boss said he made Limbaugh look like kind of pink) looked at me and we were both impressed and respected his ability.

    “He PUNTED!”

  • Ricorun

    Reading what little I’ve read about the proposed compromise I’d say it’s just about right. It preserves the affected state’s veto power over sites within 50 miles of their coastlines (at minimum) and provides the revenues for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects — something that has been a sticking-point in previous attempts to promote them.

    Jazz concentrated his speculations on how the far left will react. And I’m quite sure he’s correct — it will go over like a lead balloon. On the other hand, I think Neocon gets it right about the position it places the GOP in (and especially the far right). And if DLS’s reaction is any indication, it’s going to be a hard pill for them to swallow as well. Time will tell, I guess.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Congrats on your abilities as a prognosticator.

    I called you forceful writer. In case that was unclear in my complaints, I meant it as a compliment.

    My complaint in those threads was about your unpacked assumptions and your recycling of right-wing talking points.

    I hope you’ll turn your lens on John McCain as often and as forcefully as you do on Obama.

  • superdestroyer

    The one mistake that the Democrats have done is refusing to have a vote and then going on recess for five weeks (of course it is during the summer). This gives the right of center pundits five weeks to keep repeating that Nancy Pelosi does not really care about middle class Americans. If the Republicans could have gotten a picture of Nancy Pelosi flying away in a government get with her extended family, it adverstisement would have made itself.

    Of course, the talk about the politics avoid talk of policy. Starting drilling does nothing for the short term. Talking about green industries does nothing for the short term. Doing anything that lowers consumption hurts the economy in the short term.

    Given the incredible short sightness on biofuels and the inability of political leaders to apply economics 101 to biofuels demonstrates that no politican is really competent to develop policy on energy.

    In the long term, the decisions made now will make or break entire industries. If the Obama Administration goes head with no new drilling, the closing of nuclear power plants, and putting all the chips into solar power (in all of its forms), the U.S. can kiss heavy industry, the transportaion industry, large scale grocery, the restaurant industry, and the tourism industry goodbye.

    If would be interesting to talk aobut how places like the Wisconsin Dells or Branson Missouri can possibly survive in a zero carbon emission world.

  • DLS

    “I think Neocon gets it right about the position it places the GOP in (and especially the far right). And if DLS’s reaction is any indication, it’s going to be a hard pill for them to swallow as well”

    I’m not sure if you’re misinterpreting my reaction or what the far right may do (which in no may may be always assumed to be a highly augmented version of what I have to say, obviously, since I’m not even solid right, much less far right). I risked sowing confusion by introducing a separate issue, Obama’s well-to-the-left energy idea (energy rebate financed by windfall profits tax), but of course that is not in any way “far right” [sic] to note that such an idea is very well to the left and is like McGovern and Carter, in contrast to the lie that McCain is another Bush. (Obama’s idea even brings back the gimmick by Chavez.)

    I’m not worried about the far right, which has next to no influence or power and is out of the picture this year. They’re the only ones who present Obama with the hammer and sickle. The US public overall is not panicking in any way over Obama. If anything, they’re refraining from criticizing him for fear of wrongly being called “racist” when in fact we will criticize him as a politician, and what he and his party may do once in power, not because he happens to be black. (What color are your hair or eyes? Does it matter? Arrgh. There is far more racism in the febrile imaginations of lefties, as usual, then there is in society, including public attitude toward Obama.)

    As long as Obama avoids the stupid no-drilling-at-all issue, and says at least some drilling may be okay (which is not saying it is okay), he has extingushed this as an issue on which he holds a failed position that may hurt him, because the no-drilling position is extremist lunacy. To say the obvious is not to be “far right” [sic].

    He doesn’t have to say or do anything more. It’s all up to Congress now and the states. (I’m intrigued by the related federal and legal issues of who has control, where, offshore.) As to alternative-energy sources, the far left’s “we can and should convert NOW!” lunacy is simply more lunacy, while those of us who are reasonable would accept not only sensible R&D by the federal government (a boost to alternative fuels research already performed by it, for example) but even some interventionism. (Better transmission laws might be combined with aid to existing wind and solar energy production, for example.)

    * * *

    “If would be interesting to talk aobut how places like the Wisconsin Dells or Branson Missouri can possibly survive in a zero carbon emission world.”

    The obscession with “carbon emission” (and carbon-content emissions taxes that are based on global warming politics rather than on air pollution that is a true hazard and cost to society) is stupid.

    Wisconsin Dells and Branson, Missouri? Well, people around them parts have voted Republican before, and it’s cheesy [pun intended] tourism and country music, which often is aimed at a patriotic community (as the Dixie Chicks found out after their foolishness), and someone in a glass building will say it is not only poor taste, but “unnecessary,” so Let Them Go Bankrupt.

  • elrod

    Interesting to see your various reactions, DLS. It was hard to follow.

    The windfall tax idea is a political gimmick, pure and simple. But it is quite popular, as the oil companies are not well-liked.

    The energy rebate was no sillier than Bush’s tax rebate. It’s better than the gas tax holiday, at least.

    Inflating tires is actually smart and doesn’t sound Carter-esque because it doesn’t actually ask people to give anything up. A 55MPH speed limit is Carteresque. Inflating tires is common sense.

    I think neocon is right that Obama’s move calls the GOP’s bluff and asks them if they’re serious.

    The problem from the left is this: prices have come down a bit recently for one reason, lower consumption. With GM soon to be bankrupt, it’s quite obvious the American consumer has caught on to high gas prices and is purchasing higher mileage cars. That’s a good thing. Increased oil production would, in essence, reverse that trend by driving consumption back up.

    I think the left is wrong on this, though. Offshore drilling won’t produce more actual oil for many years. With the fundamentals of consumption in India and China, American consumers will not go back to gas guzzlers anytime soon.

    • nepr

      elrod: I agree that the left and maybe Speaker Pelosi are wrong to pick a fight over this. Actually, I don’t think those wells will ever be drilled. Or, at least, not very many. For decades, US Oil companies have been very uninterested in drilling because of the short and long term instability of oil prices. The same holds for adding to their refining capacity. Too risky, and very expensive, and there are far far better ways to invest their revenue. The scheme for most companies is to milk their existing reserves, and those of foreign producers, confident that long term prices will go up, just not predictably. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have the option of drilling the odd hole, now and then. Why not? But, I don’t think it’s worth getting worked up about

      I do wonder about the Speaker, who seems ready to go to the mat on this one, in spite of the polls. My guess is that she, and others in the Dem leadership in Congress, have seen that it’s not going to hurt, and could help, them in their competitive districts and states and that the Dems can cash in my making the Republicans vote against renewables/alternatives, etc. while complaining that the Dems won’t let them DRILL. That leaves Mr Obama in a bit of a chill wind, though. So, it’s probably a good idea that he get some shelter.

  • Silhouette

    “these horrid personal failures in prognostication”

    ******

    lol, you’re as hard on yourself Jazz as you are on others..

    Look, the healthiest thing the democratic party can be engaged in right now is playing devil’s advocate for the GOP. Because very very soon we are going to go up against them “for real”. They’re just a cat toying with a mouse it plans to eventually kill when it comes to criticizing and exposing Obama. They know they have to wait until after the Denver convention.

    What we all should be doing is thinking like this, “If I was a republican strategist, what would I do with this story about Obama, and that story about Obama.” We really need to get in their shoes and think how they do, however abhorrent.

    Sharks are sharks. They don’t change just because we want them to so badly. They don’t change just because it’s our favorite child swimming in the water and we want to believe they love him just as much as we do. Sharks feed. They feed voraciously and they feed to stay alive. They often attack from underneath when the victim least expects it.

    I’m just saying, let’s expect it; because it’s coming…the more we take a critical look at Obama, the more prepared we will be for when and not “if” the GOP does soon.

    And if you think they’ve already attacked him *falls off chair laughing*….OK, I’m back…If you think they’ve already “attacked” him, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

  • Neocon

    My obsession with drilling has been misconstrued as a desire to further my family business which is in oil.

    Let me clarify. My family has purchased several thousand acres of prime wind land all over the western portion of the United States in the form of Ranches that have been for sale. We fully intend and have begun devloping them for not only cattle ranching but wind and solar programs.

    My family has seen the writing on the wall for many years that oil is a finite source of energy that is on its downswing. We are investing heavily into the alternatives and are actively looking at things such as solar towers as well as wind. The problem that we face is that we can easily bring Wind farms up to speed in 1 year or 18 months but it costs 5 years and an exorbitant amount of dollars to put transmission lines into place that feeds these farms into the grid.

    Now that being said we will continue on with oil because their is nothing to replace it for now. Not now, not next year, not in 5 years. Perhaps not even in 10 years. But one day it will be insignificant as the world sees the need to replace carbon and pollution generation with clean and sustainable energy products.

    So my focus is short term. It is now. Today, tommorrow and next year. The longer we have high gasoline prices the more we are spending on gasoline and the less we buy of other things which shrinks the taxes that are collected that can be spent on other things.

    Inflated Gasoline prices cause tax shortfalls. They will cause the economy to shrink causing tax revenue to shrink and increasing the deficit even more. I know drilling will work. Even if you bring 1 million barrels into the mix it will mean 1 million less barrels spent on foreign oil. That is 40 billion dollars of money kept in America that is taxed and used for our benefit and not Saudia Arabias benefit.

  • Silhouette

    Wind is a joke to most people and BigOil knows it is. Wind is the most unweildiy and objected to form of turning a turbine to produce electron flow that is out there. Plus those towers are unsightly. So if they promote the least desireable alternative, then when it’s time to pull the plug on all alternatives they can site “see, we told you alternatives aren’t popular, don’t work, [insert buzzphrase here]…

    No, geothermal produces easy, free steam to run turbines. Geothermal is cast as the cheapest alternative to produce. It’s readily availible and can be tapped in areas too numerous to name in the Western half of the lower 48. Solar is viable too and PV panel prices will come down with mass production, stimulated by funding for development.

    The side benefit to alternative energy technologies is that it creates new and desperately needed jobs. Also with US innovation, like with computer technology, we can once again lead the world by producing the best alternative cars, for instance, instead of trailing almost dead last in developed nations with these technologies that other nations already consider mundane facts of life.

  • StockBoySF

    In accepting some offshore drilling Obama is smart. He is framing it as a “compromise” to push through other aspects of his energy plan. He still doubts that offshore drilling will actually lower costs or reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But he is viewing this as a “negotiation” and willing to compromise (with the Republicans in this case), but it still preserves his original position and the charge of “flipflopper” will be hard to pin on him. Though McCain will claim that Obama did flipflop, if not right away, then when they do get around to debating one on one.

  • elrod

    What exactly is geothermal? Hooking up turbines to the bubbling mud pots at Yellowstone?

  • Ricorun

    Regarding the “tire pressure” argument, Joe Romm of ClimateProgress.org has a good discussion of it. It appears that keeping your tires properly inflated and your car properly tuned would have a significant impact on domestic oil demand — perhaps as much as 2.5 – 3 million barrels/day. The hard part is getting people to pay closer attention. Now that I’m aware of how big a deal it is, I certainly will. And that is something that could have an effect RIGHT NOW.

    But at any rate, there are things that can be done on both the domestic supply AND the domestic demand side, and they are independent questions. It’s not either/or. However, both can have an effect on reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

    Oil prices dropped recently. Some argue it was because Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling. Others argue it was because demand dropped precipitously (5% in the US alone in the preceding month, relative to the year before). Still others argue it was because futures trading was getting increased scrutiny. I suspect it was all of the above to one extent or another. At any rate, the question remains what the real floor price is — both at present and in the future. Locations remain where it is relatively inexpensive to extract oil, but those areas are declining. Unfortunately, those locations are primarily in the Middle East, and if not there then in places like Russia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Places that don’t like us much, whose oil reserves are nationalized, and thus places which are not necessarily driven by the profit motive alone. Something like 80% of the existing reserves are controlled by nationalized companies. And because of it there is considerable supply elasticity that we can’t possibly compete with, no matter how much or how fast we drill domestically. For those reasons, plus the fact that replacements for dwindling supplies are more expensive than the reserves they replace, indicates to me (and most others) that oil will remain expensive — and, except for short term dips, will continue to increase. And there isn’t a damned thing we can do about it. For the above reasons it seems to me that he “drill here, drill now, pay less” meme is a fantasy.

    On the other hand, domestic supply and world supply of oil are largely independent questions as well. We can’t affect the price of oil very much because it’s traded on the world market and we don’t have the leverage. We can, however, affect the amount we import. And we can do that by addressing both domestic supply and domestic demand. Republicans tend to stress the former, Democrats the latter. They need to come together. And it appears they are finally realizing that.

    It is argued that Obama will be hammered as a flip-flopper if he compromises. I suspect so. Then again, where did McCain stand on the federal moratorium a couple of months ago? Same place. He can’t very well accuse Obama of flip-flopping when he did it himself. Given that, maybe McCain should sit back and let the lefty moonbats pile on Obama and do the work for him. On the other hand, a good way for Obama to blunt the “buyer’s remorse” attitude of the moonbat left is to have Bill and Hillary come out and say the compromise is a good idea — assuming the desired conditions are met. I’m not much of a prognosticator (actually, I did okay on this issue, lol!), but I would be very surprised if Bill and Hill didn’t come out in support of this compromise. It’s right up their alley. And Obama could sure use their support.

  • mlhradio

    >>What exactly is geothermal? Hooking up turbines to the bubbling mud pots at Yellowstone?<<

    More or less. It is using the Earth's natural heat and turning it into energy (usually through steam-powered turbines). There's heat leaking through cracks of the Earth all over the place (hot springs resorts, anyone?), why not use it?

    Wind power is where it's really at, though — here in Texas they are going nuts over it, I see giant semis heading off to west Texas all the time with those massive oversized blades. They have thousands of turbines up and running already, with thousands more on the way.

    But wind isn't the answer either. The answer is wind…and geothermal…and solar…and tidal…and nuclear…and natural gas…and conservation…*and* more drilling. The answer is no *single* answer — we pretty much have to do ALL OF IT. I'm glad that Obama is finally changing his position somewhat in favor of the possibility of offshore drilling, now if he would also start to bend a little on his distaste of nuclear power, I'd be happier.

  • pacatrue

    Well, I am pleased with Obama’s current position in the sense that it’s what I’ve been saying for the last few weeks on comment trails here, namely “increased oil drilling is a bad idea, but we live in a real world with people who disagree and we should compromise to get a bigger energy deal done.” And there’s pretty much zero flip-flop in such a position, isn’t there? Day One, Obama says it’s a bad idea. Day Two, Obama says it’s still a bad idea but he will accept letting the bad idea through if he gets the good ideas with it. That’s not flip-flopping. That’s governance in a democracy where we don’t all agree.

  • The answer is wind…and geothermal…and solar…and tidal…and nuclear…and natural gas…and conservation…*and* more drilling. The answer is no *single* answer — we pretty much have to do ALL OF IT.

    mlhradio wins today’s TMV award for “getting it.” 🙂

    Another note on “geo” in its various forms… It is true that geothermal energy can be tapped in certain areas to provide enough thermal energy to spin turbines and create electricity. There are some other interesting designs being put to use out there, too. Even if you don’t live in an area where there is boiling level heat within reasonable drilling depths, anywhere you go, if you dig down about fifty feet into the ground you will find something amazing. The temperature is around 55 degrees all year round, no matter the weather above. Some new houses have been built with very large “steel caves” installed deep under the ground below them. A very low energy set of fans can gently cycle air from a building above down through the “cave” and back up to the structure. When it’s hot outside, you can pull the temperature down quite a bit without actual air conditioning. (Which causes a host of environmental problems along with sucking vast amounts of juice.) If it’s cold outside, preheating the house to 55 from below before you have to expend a bit of energy to raise it further can vastly reduce heating energy costs and fuel usage. Concepts like this may eventually pay off in huge dividends. We don’t have to actually live in caves, but we may take advantage of artificial caves to reduce energy consumption and carbon levels.

  • Neocon

    In the case of drilling and compromising……….flip flopping is good. Now if we can get both the Democrats and the GOP to share that aspect of political life we might actually get something done.

    Then again I reckon not. Nancy Pelosi is standing in the way and she runs the show.

  • Ricorun

    Elrod: What exactly is geothermal?

    That’s a very good question. “Geothermal” has been used in a variety of contexts that are sometimes only tangentially related. On one extreme, “geothermal” refers to what is otherwise called “heat pumps”. These are backyard affairs wherein you drill down into the ground a few tens of meters and employ the relatively mild heat gradient to cool hot water or warm cold water before sending it through an exchanger to help heat or cool your house. Heat pumps work very well — and pretty much anywhere, regardless of climate — and are especially cost-effective if installed at the time of construction. Retrofits are more expensive, so the return on investment is longer.

    But Sil isn’t talking about heat pumps. He’s talking more about what you suspected — hooking up turbines to “bubbling mud pots”. But even in that general context there is considerable variation on the theme. Up until recently, the geothermal industry relied almost exclusively on reservoirs of naturally occurring super-heated water relatively close to the surface. You just drill down to it and run the steam through a turbine. Sites such as The Geysers north of San Francisco and the Inland Empire in the vicinity of the Salton Sea in CA are of this type. They are cheap and reliable (for a time), but they also generate residue that is in part a money-maker (metals and other solutes can be recovered and sold at a profit), and in part downright nasty (acids and organic salts which have little economic value but which can have major impacts on groundwater supplies and other environmental things). They also deteriorate over time, because the hot, pressurized water is not replaced. Let’s call that “traditional” geothermal.

    More recently technology has developed in several ways. First, they seized upon the bright idea of drilling “injection” wells, so they could return the water back into the reservoir. Let’s call that “closed loop” technology. It’s a little tricky, but not terribly. And in balance it’s usually cheaper to do it than not. Second, that “closed loop” technology has been coupled with dual cycle technology. The idea is to send the hot water through a heat exchanger filled with a solution that has a much lower boiling point than water. That makes “traditional”, “closed loop” geothermal technology available to many more sites where the temperature of the rocks are lower. That alone expands the potential of geothermal energy substantially. This sort of technology is rapidly being adapted all over the world. In the US it’s opened up sites in California, Nevada, Idaho, and elsewhere.

    However, those technologies alone rely on existing, naturally occurring reservoirs that are relatively close to the surface. The holy grail for geothermal is to extend the technology to areas that don’t have pre-existing reservoirs of hot water. The challenge there is to artificially create them. That’s what they call “enhanced geothermal systems” (EGS) or “hot dry rock” (HDR) geothermal. In theory, such reservoirs exist essentially everywhere on the planet — if you drill deep enough. Therein lies the rub: the deeper you drill the more stresses you have to deal with, and thus the more difficult it is to keep the reservoir open.

    Anyway, this is the study most often cited with regard to the potential of enhanced geothermal power. And this one provides an important counterpoint.

  • Neocon

    Great lets build 100000000000000000 Geo thermal plants. Lets start today.

    Still aint gonnt get people to work or get goods to the market.

  • DLS

    “Interesting to see your various reactions, DLS. It was hard to follow.”

    I may have been remiss in introducing more than one thing at once, if that was too hard for readers to follow. Should have made separate postings, I guess.

    “The energy rebate was no sillier than Bush’s tax rebate.”

    Pretty much, though is that an adversion to quick gimmicks (same with release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that will be demanded eventually) or to tax reductions, which in and of themselves are a good, not a bad, thing? (The same is true with government spending reductions, the key to improvement and reform of Washington, associated with reducing its size and scope, which is grossly excessive.)

    “Inflating tires is actually smart ”

    Admittedly this omits so many of th eDem electorate, which is why it is probably desired by some, but anyone with an IQ above room temperature F doesn’t need and those of us who are truly grown up don’t want our federal government nagging or Reminding us to do what we already know what to do! It is so disgusting how lowly we have sunk as a society and how degenerate our relation to government is.

    “prices have come down a bit recently for one reason, lower consumption.”

    You know, I was looking at that 1942 book at lunchtime today and thinking about related issues — the wartime examination of mechanisms of intervention in the economy by the federal government is actually good as it approaches the kind of extremism the Left actually surpassed in the 1960s in its views for the future — and if Obama and the far Left want to be real about curtailing oil use, there’s an easy, definitive solution, so why don’t they practice what they preach? Why don’t they limit strictly the total amount of oil imported (we are project to triple our imports in about twenty years, and we’re importing much already), and even pursue leftist dreams by intentionally reducing the limits on how much we can import — combined with No Drilling here at home? Let’s put into practice something real with oil that is what the environmental-radical idiots dream of with so-called “greenhouse gas emissions” and their desire to de-industrialize the West out of a pathological sense of guilt as well as misunderstanding of obvious reality as well as a perverse ill will toward the West and a desire to see it decline relative to the rest of the world.

    Go ahead — put a “cap” on oil imports, that even may be reduced in subsequent years. Do it, lefties. Do something real. Then get ready for the real consequences.

    Or just do what was done in the 1940s, ration gasoline to people to reduce that use of Evil Oil. Go ahead.

  • DLS

    “With GM soon to be bankrupt, it’s quite obvious the American consumer has caught on to high gas prices and is purchasing higher mileage cars.”

    1. The smart money says the US consumer will go back to higher consumption once prices go down again. *** NOBODY *** can claim with a straight face that This Time It’s Different (like the most recent stock and real estate bubbles) and in the past, auto makers have been “burned” by retooling for smaller vehicles. (This is how bad things are here. Why can’t the Big Three just start selling vehicles that they already make and sell in Europe? Arrgh.)

    2. The current downturn in the economy is over-hyped by the liberal Obama-campaigning media, as expected, but it’s definitely a larger downtown than expected. Not only are the Big Three (bloated, obsolete model) hurting here in Detroit, but now Toyota is offering buyouts down in Tennessee. When the healthy companies are starting to do this, you know things are starting to get bad. (This has, in fact, not been hyped or widely reported; the media are preoccupied or inept.)

  • DLS

    “The side benefit to alternative energy technologies is that it creates new and desperately needed jobs.”

    Phffft. Just ban farm machinery. Problem solved.

  • DLS

    Well, Neocon, they’re expecting too much from geothermal energy (solar thermal, as at least one other visitor to this site has said, is more promising eventually), but at least they aren’t saying that tidal power is the solution, which I’d promptly follow with some remark about being an admiral who should be sent to the Great Plains.

  • Ricorun

    DLS, in response to the suggestion that you may be hard to follow (an impression which I agree with, by the way), you offer this:

    You know, I was looking at that 1942 book at lunchtime today and thinking about related issues — the wartime examination of mechanisms of intervention in the economy by the federal government is actually good as it approaches the kind of extremism the Left actually surpassed in the 1960s in its views for the future — and if Obama and the far Left want to be real about curtailing oil use, there’s an easy, definitive solution, so why don’t they practice what they preach? Why don’t they limit strictly the total amount of oil imported (we are project to triple our imports in about twenty years, and we’re importing much already), and even pursue leftist dreams by intentionally reducing the limits on how much we can import — combined with No Drilling here at home? Let’s put into practice something real with oil that is what the environmental-radical idiots dream of with so-called “greenhouse gas emissions” and their desire to de-industrialize the West out of a pathological sense of guilt as well as misunderstanding of obvious reality as well as a perverse ill will toward the West and a desire to see it decline relative to the rest of the world.

    I would say your problem is not complexity, but clarity. You mix valid arguments with straw men (and typos. along with fractured syntax) in such a muddied way that it really is hard to figure out what you’re talking about. Perhaps it’s intentional (in fact, I almost hope so), but I don’t think it serves your purpose very well. Pardon me for saying so, but you end up sounding like a cloudy-headed doofus.

    Speaking of straw men, there’s this from Neocon: Great lets build 100000000000000000 Geo thermal plants. Lets start today.

    Good grief. Whatever else could be said, the proverbial “far left” (as if it is any more monolithic than the “far right”) clearly has no monopoly on mindless hyperbole. Can’t we all just get real?We don’t live in a cartoon, for crying out loud. This ain’t Shrek… or Batman. And we’re not Hobbits. Not all of us anyway. To think so is Fantasyland.

  • DLS

    “I would say your problem is not complexity, but clarity.”

    Oh, I’ve bungled here and there, but In the example you provided it simply may be too much for some to handle. I’ll keep that in mind; I’ve found simplicity becomes more and more desireable when it comes to this and other issues.

  • DLS

    There is no straw man. This is a specific example of an extreme measure that can be taken that does satisfy objectives that many on the Left have. Its extremity and overreaction to it, in fact, is where any “straw man” behavior would ironically reside, for a similar goal is already being pursued by some in the USA by requiring the corollary to that, namely minimum fractions or percentages of alternative energy sources for electricity production (and in California’s case before reality forced a change, low- and zero-emission vehicle requirements) in place of being free to choose the combination of energy sources as everyone saw it. That is, some already demand minimum alternative energy requirements, and this is simply approaching the problem from the other end, maxima for conventional fuel use. There is no straw man in indicating that that is another option or approach.

    * * *

    A simpler, easier-to-grasp short-term remedy concerns the policy in California and Northeastern states (and may be in other states) that is counter-productive to reducing fuel use and to fuel economy. Namely, these states have an obsolete-model environment-activist silliness when it comes to small Diesel vehicles; these are good fuel-saving thrifty vehicles but they are banned in these states, which constitute so much of the US market. Why not permit their sale and use if they are approved in Europe already, where they are sold widely, a Europe that certainly doesn’t have lax emission limits. Those vehicles should be sold here.

  • DLS

    I could have been more simple and straightforward and used the example of the nonsensical “greenhouse gas emissions limits” such as in Kyoto and as are bein sought elsewhere, but these shouldn’t require repeating.

  • Neocon

    Speaking of straw men, there’s this from Neocon: Great lets build 100000000000000000 Geo thermal plants. Lets start today.

    Wind is a joke to most people and BigOil knows it is.

    No, geothermal produces easy, free steam to run turbines.

    Good grief. Whatever else could be said, the proverbial “far left” (as if it is any more monolithic than the “far right”) clearly has no monopoly on mindless hyperbole.

    The simple damn point is I dont care how many geothermal or wind or solar or coal or gas or hydro plants you build………..It still is not going to get you to work and it is not going to get goods to market.

    Build all the plants you want………but how about some rational thought on the problem. GEOTHERMAL IS NOT FUEL.

    Gasoline and diesel is fuel and that is whats sucking wind in this debate. DRILL for oil……….no Build geothermal plants………thats the way to go.

    No DRILL…………no build wind turbines.

    DRILL………no we need more hydro electric and tidal harnesses.

    DRILL………no.

  • DLS

    People on the left here are failing to distinguish between generation of electricity and transportation fuels.

    There is no substitute currently for oil-based transportation liquid fuels. The obvious near-term method to increase our domestic supply of these is pursuit of coal-to-liquids as well as increases eventually from more drilling in our territory.

    Electric vehicles are not a substitute at this time and won’t be until they are affordable, have serious ranges (hundreds of miles), and recharging is fast. Note that this applies to all transportation, not only automobiles but trucks and aircraft.

  • pacatrue

    As someone who lives in a state that has a volcano continually erupting for over 20 years straight now, I’m a fan of the potential of geothermal. 🙂

  • Ricorun

    DLS: People on the left here are failing to distinguish between generation of electricity and transportation fuels.

    That is perhaps true. But by the same token (I would normally inject a conditional phrase here, like “IMO”, but since you didn’t, neither will I) people on the right here are failing to distinguish between supply and demand destruction. Increasing coal to liquids IS NOT a near term solution. That solution sucks even in the medium to long term. It’s double-dipping even in terms of traditional (e.g., non-GHG) pollutants. The process itself pollutes, and the resultant pollutes as well (although not as much). You are concentrating on the latter, without regard to the former. You are not looking at the entire “life cycle”.

    Moreover, it appears that you have once again skipped over plug-in hybrids (in spite of acknowledging your error in the past) and argued against fully electric vehicles as if they were the only option. In light of that I find it hard to conclude you have anything but an ideological agenda in mind. I have mentioned it before, you have denied it before, and yet you keep hammering the same (false) talking point. Maybe I’m leaving one or more alternatives out (and if so, please educate me), but it seems to me that you are either you’re too old to learn new tricks or you’re being exceedingly disingenuous. Or maybe it’s a combination.

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