Energychallenge’s Weblog


Israeli Shai Agassi May Have the Right Approach for Electric Cars

T. Boone Pickens Should Take a Close Look at This Solution for Powering Cars

Israeli company Better Place has an innovative solution for electric cars that holds great promise for countries around the world. Israel has plans to be totally off of gasoline powered cars by 2020. Don’t be surprised if they achieve this goal before then. Better Place’s goal is to put in place zero emissions electric cars. In countries like Israel, where there is an abundance of sun, solar power will generate the electricity. In other countries, where the sun is less available, the electricity can be generated by other energy sources including some solar power, wind power, nuclear power, natural gas, clean coal, geothermal power, hydro-electric power and other possible sources.

If Shai Agassi’s plan works, it will truly take the world to a “Better Place”. Here are some of the details of his plan (from Better Place’s web site):

Founded in October 2007 on $200 million of venture capital, Better Place, in its first six months, announced cooperative agreements with Israel and Denmark to transform their transportation infrastructure from oil-based to renewable energy and significantly reduce harmful emissions.

Better Place’s model means consumers subscribe to transportation as a service, much like they do today with mobile phones. Auto companies make the electric cars that plug in to the Better Place electric recharge network of charging stations and battery swap stations. Energy companies provide the network’s power through growing renewable energy projects. And Better Place provides the batteries to make owning an electric car affordable and convenient.

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T. Boone Pickens’ Energy Plan

Is the Pickens Energy Plan “Energy Nirvana”, or is it Another “Here We Go Again” Plan?

If you have been watching television lately, you have probably seen an advertisement by T. Boone Pickens about his energy plan. T. Boone Pickens is a Texas multi-millionaire. He made his fortune in the oil and gas (natural gas) business. His web site http://www.boonepickens.com/ has a summary of his advertisement: “America is in a hole and it’s getting deeper every day. We import 70 percent of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year – four times the annual cost of the Iraq war. I’ve been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of. But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil. On January 20, 2009, a new President gets sworn in. If we’re organized, we can convince Congress to make major changes toward cleaner, cheaper and domestic energy resources. To get this done, I need your help. Check out the plan. If you think it’s worth fighting for, please join our effort, and encourage everyone you know to do the same.”

Pickens presents his energy plan in more detail on his web site and at The Pickens Plan. His message is simple, powerful and generally makes sense. The U.S. needs to quickly move toward energy independence, we need leadership and a plan to make it happen, and the energy plan must include a balanced energy portfolio that includes hydrocarbon, nuclear and renewable energy sources. The energy plan must also move us quickly toward significantly reducing carbon emissions. Pickens is helping to raise awareness and support for the need for a national energy plan and he should be thanked for doing so.

Al Gore’s Energy Challenge

Former Vice President Al Gore challenged the United States to shift its entire electricity sector to carbon-free wind, solar and geothermal power within 10 years, and use that power to fuel a new fleet of electric vehicles.

The debate is now on. Is Al Gore’s Challenge realistic? Can the U.S. become energy independent within 10 years, and can we do it with alternative energy solutions rather than continued reliance on oil, coal and natural gas? Should we drill for more oil within the U.S. and off-shore?

Whether Gore’s proposed energy challenge is doable or not, it will hopefully spark debate and action in Washington, and start to mobilize the country to achieve energy independence while addressing Global Warming in a meaningful way. John McCain and Barack Obama responded positively to Al Gore’s energy challenge, however their energy plans clearly are not aligned with achieving Gore’s challenge.

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President Bush Requests $25 Billion for U.S. Department of Energy’s FY 2009 Budget

Posted in Energy Policy,Energy Solutions,National Energy Security by Howard Deutsch on July 18, 2008

Only $1.25 billion is for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Let’s put this in context. We are spending approximately $150 billion/year in Iraq and we are spending over $700 billion/year for imported oil. The 2009 U.S. budget is over $3 trillion and President Bush is recommending $1.25 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. This is less than 1% of what we should be spending on energy efficiency and renewable energy!

The energy war is a much greater threat to the U.S. today than the war in Iraq. It is killing our economy.

If President Bush and this Congress were in power from 1940 – 1945, the U.S. would now be speaking German or Japanese. There hasn’t been a sighting of leadership in Washington in years, many years!

U.S. Department of Energy’s FY 2009 Budget

Democratic Senators Introduce Bill to Reduce Oil Speculation

Posted in Energy Policy,Energy Prices,Energy Solutions by Howard Deutsch on July 18, 2008

Reducing oil speculation will hopefully lower gasoline prices

Many people in the investment community, including most oil traders, hedge fund managers, investment bankers and pension fund managers, along with a majority of Republicans in Congress have been saying over and over again that speculation has not been a material factor in driving up oil prices. Many business leaders and Democrats in Congress believe that speculators have played a significant role in the quick escalation of oil and gasoline prices.

On July 15, 2008, Senators Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Dorgan, and Murray introduced S. 3268, the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008. This legislation, developed after consultation with consumer advocates, oil market analysts, and experts from the financial and airline industries, seeks to reduce the amount of excessive speculation in the oil markets.

For the sake of the U.S. and world economies and the American public, hopefully the Democrats are right and the legislation will be enacted quickly, leading to a significant reduction in oil and gasoline prices.

Politico.com article on oil speculation bill

MarketWatch.com article on oil speculation bill

“Joe, American” Challenges the Presidential Candidates on Their Oil Policies.

This guy is saying what many Americans are feeling and thinking about high oil prices

“Joe, American” Challenges the Presidential Candidates – on their oil policies. This is a must see video with energy solutions. “Joe, American” is an American citizen that is disgusted with the leadership in Washington and the energy solutions thus far proposed by the Presidential candidates. Whether you agree with him or not, you will probably understand his level of frustration and desire for leadership and action in Washington.

12 Airline CEOs Say Oil Speculators Have Driven Up the Price of Oil

Posted in Energy Policy,Energy Price Impact,Energy Prices by Howard Deutsch on July 15, 2008

Fed Chairman Bernanke Says the Airline CEOs are Wrong

Last week 12 airline CEOs sent a letter to their customers explaining that they believe oil speculators are a significant contributor to high oil prices. The text of their letter is presented below. Their letter includes a link to the Stop Oil Speculation website, which includes an e-mail/letter you can send to your U.S. Senators and Representative, asking them to take action now to curb oil speculation. You can enter your zip code and the e-mail text will appear, along with your Congressional representatives (the site actually sends the letter for you). The suggested letter includes the actions Congress can take to curb oil speculation and start reducing the price of oil. A copy of this letter is also included below.

In testimony to the Senate this morning, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said he does not believe speculation is a significant cause of high fuel prices, including high jet fuel prices. He believes oil supply and demand are the primary reasons for high oil prices. Who do you believe, the airline CEOs or Bernanke? I believe Bernanke is wrong on this issue. Read the letters from the airline CEOs and the Stop Oil Speculation website and then decide for yourself.

Are High Oil Prices Caused by Oil Supply Shortages or Oil Speculators???

The answer is YES!!!

For the last several months, as the prices of oil and gasoline have escalated to hit all-time highs, a debate has been raging in the media among pundits, spin doctors, politicians, oil company executives, OPEC representatives, journalists, correspondents and the public at large. The issue:  Are High Oil Prices Caused by Oil Supply Shortages or Oil Speculators??? Congress has now gotten into the act, holding hearings to see if oil speculators are driving up the price of oil and gasoline.  

Who is right on this question? Does it matter? Is there anything that can be done in the short and long-term to bring down the price of oil and gasoline? The debaters use selective information and misinformation to make their case. What most people agree to is that high oil prices are having a severe impact on countless people around the world, and on local, national and the world economy. The high price of oil is a high-stakes game, with clear winners and losers. The winners – any country that is a net producer of oil, oil companies in the US and worldwide, oil support companies such as drillers and manufacturers of drilling equipment, and individuals, investment banks, hedge funds, pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds investing and speculating in oil futures and oil company stocks. The losers – everyone else….everyone that uses petroleum products for personal use including transportation and home heating, every person who buys products and services that depend on petroleum-based products, and every company that uses petroleum products.

The U.S. Must Become Energy Independent

Posted in Energy Independence,Energy Policy,Energy Solutions by Howard Deutsch on June 25, 2008

Reliance on Foreign Oil is a National Security Threat – We Can’t Become Energy Independent Soon Enough

The Arab oil embargo in 1973 was a wakeup call for America to become energy independent. Unfortunately, relatively little has been done since then. Today, 35 years later, the U.S. is more energy dependent on foreign oil than ever. We are paying some $2 billion/day on foreign oil. We can’t afford it…many individuals can’t afford the price of gas and as a nation, we can’t afford current gas prices. Our reliance on foreign oil is threatening our economic future. If the price of oil spikes higher, possibly to $200/barrel or higher, we will see much higher unemployment, an escalating national debt over already extreme levels, increasing inflation, a deep recession and an out-of-control balance of payments.

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Washington – We Have a Problem!

Posted in Energy Policy,Energy Price Impact,Energy Prices,Energy Solutions by Howard Deutsch on June 18, 2008

A problem that needs major action within days, weeks and months…not years!

This past Monday John McCain announced his support for off-shore drilling for oil. He is still against drilling at the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Today President Bush also announced that he is now for off-shore drilling. He was against it until now. It turns out there has been a moratorium against off-shore drilling since his father put it in place. Congress also passed a law against off-shore drilling years ago. Barack Obama and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed are against off-shore drilling.

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