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12 Comments

  1. The natural gas bridge is just a bridge to more natural gas, just like Amory Lovins’ coal bridge.

  2. Using natural gas to heat homes, cook food, and for peak power production makes sense. It is a tremendously valuable commodity, relatively easy to distribute across country by major pipe lines and to homes using smaller pipes. It can be turned on and off easily. I regard it as an ecological sin to waste it producing base load electrical power.

    The above conclusion is independent of how many years of natural gas resources we have available in the United States.

    Steven Zoraster

  3. Steven Zoraster wrote:
    Using natural gas to heat homes, cook food, and for peak power production makes sense.

    I would argue that electric heat pumps (especially ground source heat pumps) are a better solution to domestic space heating. Natural gas probably still makes sense for water heating, though heat pump water heaters are becoming more common. Gas for cooking makes a lot of sense. And we probably will be stuck with gas-fired peak power generation for a while.

    Some see natural gas as a “bridge to the future”. The problem is, we are burning that bridge behind us, which will only make future use of gas for plastics, chemicals and fertilizers more expensive.

  4. I hope Rod doesn’t hate me for this ๐Ÿ™‚ but I LOVE NATURAL GAS for cooking. I’ll never, ever, switch. Of course if that is ALL we ever use it for the supplies will last in effect for ever and have little carbon consequences.

    It should be pointed out that France was successful in getting its Citizens to switch to electrical heating and for cloathes driers and cooking as well along with hot water heating. I have gas for all of them and would be willing to switch if I knew it was produced, like the French, from nuclear (except my cook top of course).

    It should be noted that France has received criticism, oddly, for this move to electricity to soak up “excess” nuclear energy. this gives France a winter peak instead of a summer one.

    DW

  5. A bit off topic. The house I own was built 1870 (the town I live in is +300yrs old) and there were in three rooms – salon, dining, and study, gas electric chandeliers, properly known as transitional fixtures from the time the house was built. There were gas-light fixtures with upturned glass shades, and separate electric ones pointing down. Apparently this was in vogue at the time because while electricity was less expensive to light with, it was very unreliable especially in the winter months where it could be absent for several days to weeks after a large storm.

    I know this because my father-in-law grew up in this house but it was owned by another couple before we bought it. The gentleman, a handyman of sorts, took it upon himself to rid these fixtures of their gas components several years prior to selling the place, and took pains to point out how there was no evidence of the gas lights left.

    What he did not realize was that intact the fixtures would be worth between five and eight thousand dollars – but in their current condition were worthless. Needless to say we were very disappointed.

  6. The traffic analogy relates well to the rush to solve the emissions problem. How many times have we observed another driver racing and dodging through traffic only to arrive at the same stoplight a few seconds earlier than you. In this case it’s not about the lower stress level or gas saved, the point is about being reckless.

  7. DW,

    Give up your gas stove, you old fossil fuel fossil ๐Ÿ™‚

    Nowadays, good inductive and IR glass-ceramic cooktops have pretty amazing heat rates for fast cooking and searing, as good as gas, and have no competition for simmering.

  8. Ground-source heat pumps are a great idea for the cooler areas of the world, for us frostbitten Yankees. Not everyone lives down South where the heating season is only a month or two. Electric heating is convenient and less expensive in first cost, but it’s also more expensive where I live than any other energy source. (You should see the electric bill for my apartment. Even heating with King Saud’s Private Reserve is cheaper than electric here, unfortunately.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Plus, the rates will only be going up if the local moonbat batallion succeeds in shutting Vermont Yankee. The last I heard, there’s some cautious optimism on that front. It doesn’t look like they’re going to, I pray.

  9. Bridges to utopias with 20% capacity factors (in the case of wind) or 7% capacity factors (in the case of solar photovoltaic) are like bridges that don’t work 80-93% of the time, and plus, when people are on those bridges when they do work, they disappear under their feet.

    I wonder how much money RMI received this year in consulting fees from TexxonImmobile?

  10. Dave wrote:

    I hope Rod doesn’t hate me for this but I LOVE NATURAL GAS for cooking. I’ll never, ever, switch.

    Dave – I hope that you and the rest of the people who read Atomic Insights do not get the wrong impression. I like gas; it is a truly amazing gift with fantastic chemical qualities. It burns cleanly, provides controllable heat, does a great job in replacing diesel fuel on buses, and provides raw materials that enable a wide range of useful products including plastics and fertilizers.

    What I am trying to do in a periodic, random thought kind of way is to share information that allows people to really understand the messaging that they are getting from companies that have a strong, fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to work to sell gas at an optimum price – from their point of view. For a business that extracts and distributes gas, the optimal level is one that allows a very large quantity of product at a price that is just below the pain level for the customer. That is the point on the curve of price versus volume that provides the MAXIMUM amount of sustainable revenue. If this concept seems foreign, please realize that it is almost second nature to anyone who has taken even a few courses at any local “B” school or operated a business.

    Because of the nature of the energy business where there are substitutes that take a long time to develop, it is also quite profitable for companies to allow brief periods of intense market pain – extremely high prices – that provide an enormous chunk of cash in a short period of time. Since the customers will not stand the pain any longer than they have to, eventually market react to relieve that pain. When that happens, the suppliers are left with a big wad of cash that they can use to set themselves up for the future. One use is to spend some of the cash on messaging to tell the customers that the pain was not the supplier’s fault and that it will “never happen again.”

    Unfortunately, that messaging seems to work for a significant chunk of the customers who have short memories and trusting souls.

    Bottom line – I like methane gas but not legally greedy gas company decision makers. I am also not a fan of the sycophants and strivers that love money so much that they will do anything to get it, including selling out their countrymen (Gerhart Schroeder) or taking advantage of a bully pulpit (Al Gore) to enable this game to continue to play out over and over again.

  11. katana0182 (Dave) wrote:
    Ground-source heat pumps are a great idea for the cooler areas of the world, for us frostbitten Yankees. Not everyone lives down South where the heating season is only a month or two. Electric heating is convenient and less expensive in first cost, but it’s also more expensive where I live than any other energy source.

    All ground source heat pumps I have seen will still work for warmer climates since they move heat in either direction (reversing valve). And since they dump their heat to the ground loop that is cooler than ambient air, they are more efficient as well.

    Simply turning electricity to heat in big resistors is expensive (and thermodynamically inefficient), but ground source heat pumps can multiply the heat output by a factor of 3 to 4, making the cost competative with other sources of heat.

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