Preparing for peak oil in Ireland

feargach

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First off, I'll make a massive and unreasonable concession to the skeptics on the peak-oil issue: I'll say, for argument's sake that there's just a 10% chance of peak oil occurrung between now and 2025.

As a working definition, let us assume that peak oil means a fall in global oil output leading to a quadrupling in prices over 24 months. And prices not to fall afterwards, as they did at the 2008 peak.

Let me make a further observation about the irrational rightwing posters on this website: you will, I expect, find that virtually all of the people who deny the scientific consensus on global warming also deny the possibility of peak oil.

This is insane.

Global warming and peak oil are chalk and cheese.

Peak oil is a matter of believing that the world's oil wells will, in the aggregate, produce a declining amount of oil. New wells will be opened, but those wells will (if you believe the pro-peak oil scientists) be outweighed by the declines in the existing wells.

(See the following to learn more. The Oil Drum | Discussions about Energy and Our Future)

This hypothesis has nothing to do with greenhouse gases. It is perfectly consistent to be a skeptic on global warming, but a believer in peak oil. The two notions have no relation.

But I predict that almost nobody on p.ie who is in the climate-denial camp will accept the peak-oil hypothesis. This should be instructive to you as to the rationality of the denier mentality, if my prediction is correct.

This does not belong, of course, in the environment folder.

Ireland and the EU are utterly dependent on cheap petroleum supplies for our economy.

This is a thread where I solicit support for the idea of setting up a detailed, well-resourced, disaster-preparation apparatus in Ireland designed to kick in in the event of peak oil.

The idea is to develop emergency procedures to mitigate the disasters of oil scarcity in Ireland. It is necessary to develop this stuff while oil is still cheap. I will, of course, tend to defer to engineers, electricians, doctors and other experts in the field when it comes to actual specifics of what preparations are to be made.
 


John Deere 5820

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It really is a very interesting post, I suppose the first thing to do would be to make sure we can feed, cloth and warm ourselves followed very closely by being able to produce the medicines to keep us all healthy and alive.

I'd be the first on to say that the agricultural sector will all but stop if oil gets to the price you have given, As far as I know NEW Holland are the only major producer working on an alternatively powered tractor, I'm sure the older smaller tractors like Massey Ferguson 35's can be convert to bio diesel easier than Modern farm tractors, don't know about electric tractors that could be recharged using wind turbines. I would imagine an immediate return to tillage and a dramatic reduction in meat production but I do think we could feed ourselves at least if the worst came to the worst.

Don't know about clothing ourselves but the disgusting wasted we have now will stop at least.

As for heat and energy I don't know about the long term but turf wood and what ever bit of coal would help in the short term, long term I suppose a mix of solar, wind, algae will be the answer.

Now I presume our pharmaceutical would be able to produce most of the drugs to keep us alive or are we dependent on importing chemicals for their manufacture.

My views are perhaps very simplistic but I'd say we will be alive but the economy would all but collapse and the world would be a completely different place
 

cottage_economist

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The trick I suppose is for planning and preparation to take place, so that when oil becomes prohibitively expensive there will be no disasters or emergencies.

At present our fuel consumption is roughly divided equally between transport, home heating and electricity generation. Given the amount of renewable resources we have in Ireland in terms of wind and wave energy, and to a lesser extent solar energy, the electricity generation ought not to be too much of a problem. Electricity will probably rise in price. but it will at least be available.

Home heating fuel demand ought to decline once the effects of improved building regulations and retrospective home insulation kick in. Ireland has a certain amount of sustainable biomass energy available, in the form of wood chips or pellets, and of course turf. Although this last cannot be considered sustainable it is at least available in quantity.

Transport energy is the most awkward third to replace, although measures such as battery electric vehicles will go some way to reducing petroleum demand. Reducing demand will have to be the answer here, in the form of increased public transport and higher fuel prices forcing car buyers to admit that perhaps a 70mpg Diesel hatchback is a wiser choice than a 25mpg 4x4 for running the kids to school.

It would be nice to think that those responsible for the nation's future have these matters in mind, and even now are laying plans for the day when a barrel of crude tops $200. We have the resources right here; only the will is so far lacking.
 

reknaw

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The trick I suppose is for planning and preparation to take place, so that when oil becomes prohibitively expensive there will be no disasters or emergencies...
Well posted, Cottage Economist, but we don't do planning and preparation in Ireland. Well, some of us do actually. I'll start stockpiling petrol for my chainsaw as I live near a forest ...:lol::lol::lol:
 

feargach

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The trick I suppose is for planning and preparation to take place, so that when oil becomes prohibitively expensive there will be no disasters or emergencies.

At present our fuel consumption is roughly divided equally between transport, home heating and electricity generation. Given the amount of renewable resources we have in Ireland in terms of wind and wave energy, and to a lesser extent solar energy, the electricity generation ought not to be too much of a problem.
We have no meaningful resources in terms of wind. We have no resources, meaningful or otherwise, in wave energy.

If we wait until peak oil happens, we won't have any new wind or wave energy. There is no current way to make wind turbines or wave/tidal generators without using cheap petroleum.

Bear in mind that when peak oil occurs, it will no longer be possible to import wind turbines. Any country that has wind turbines will ban their export for obvious reasons.

You can't just plug huge new wind farms into the grid overnight. There are huge logistical problems to making that happen.

The only solutions that any engineer has to the logistical challenge revolves around, of course, cheap petrol.

We can hope that some way to increase the electricity supply will come about, but we must have a plan to prepare for the eventuality that our electricity supply will contract rapidly.

Remember, how do electrical engineers get to the location in order to maintain our grid? It ain't on horseback.

We're probably going to need to look into things like wood-burning power stations.
 

charley

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synthetic fuel is the probable answer,even if it already exists there will be no push until its needed.
we can burn wood ,turf and coal derived gas to produce electricity. we also have a number of hydro-electric stations .scaremongering by vested interests who see the peak oil as a possible revenue raising avenue should be ignored.
we can use ethanol and other bio-fuels as well. the fact that the alternatives exist should reassure people that this is not going to happen overnight.
 

charley

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We have no meaningful resources in terms of wind. We have no resources, meaningful or otherwise, in wave energy.

If we wait until peak oil happens, we won't have any new wind or wave energy. There is no current way to make wind turbines or wave/tidal generators without using cheap petroleum.

Bear in mind that when peak oil occurs, it will no longer be possible to import wind turbines. Any country that has wind turbines will ban their export for obvious reasons.
You can't just plug huge new wind farms into the grid overnight. There are huge logistical problems to making that happen.

The only solutions that any engineer has to the logistical challenge revolves around, of course, cheap petrol.

We can hope that some way to increase the electricity supply will come about, but we must have a plan to prepare for the eventuality that our electricity supply will contract rapidly.

Remember, how do electrical engineers get to the location in order to maintain our grid? It ain't on horseback.

We're probably going to need to look into things like wood-burning power stations.
you know we are able to construct things ourselves when we have to. this notion that Ireland must import what is basically a big dynamo shows the distain that the enviromentalists have for Ireland and its people.
just because you have hands on you for nothing dosen't mean everyone else has.
 

feargach

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we can burn wood ... and coal derived gas to produce electricity
Can we? As in, do we have sufficient capacity of wood-burning and CDG-burning generators to make up the shortfall? Can you be specific on how much generating capacity we currently have for those things?

If we don't, can we acquire it easily in a peak oil context? Can you or anybody else be specific about how we go about quickly getting new wood-burning and CDG-burning on-line without any cheap petroleum to do it with?
 

feargach

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you know we are able to construct things ourselves when we have to. this notion that Ireland must import what is basically a big dynamo shows the distain that the enviromentalists have for Ireland and its people.
just because you have hands on you for nothing dosen't mean everyone else has.
Hey, I'm sure you know more than me. What's involved in making a big enough dynamo, though? Don't you need a foundry of some kind to make the large parts?
 

Cassandra Syndrome

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synthetic fuel is the probable answer,even if it already exists there will be no push until its needed.
we can burn wood ,turf and coal derived gas to produce electricity. we also have a number of hydro-electric stations .scaremongering by vested interests who see the peak oil as a possible revenue raising avenue should be ignored.
we can use ethanol and other bio-fuels as well. the fact that the alternatives exist should reassure people that this is not going to happen overnight.
+1

We have the resources and enterprise to create all of this, but the eco fascist Greens and technocrats hamper entrepreneurship in this country so we have to rely on the Statist to dictate energy policy. Zero point energy is another source waiting for Edison type inventors to tinker with and make it widely available to people. But too many rules and regulations and a corrupt banking feudalist system denies people's rights to pursue this.
 

feargach

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Incidentally, I only said we wouldn't be able to import wind turbines. Charley's snarl was unnecessary: I never said we couldn't build windmills.

But building large-scale wood and coal-burning generators looks to my layperson's eyes like a very big ask. I was under the impression that the individual parts of a generator big enough to heat a lot of homes and power electrical vehicles can weigh many tonnes. And I was also under the impression that Ireland no longer has the capacity or expertise to produce large-sized metallurgical products.
 

c_q_d

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Wood burning power stations?..come on lads...how much energy can be extracted from burning wood?..no where near oil anyway..if we'd done something about this 20 years ago we mightn't be as badly off, but i reckon its too late now..Wind and tidal would have been good if thought of 20 years ago too..Ethanol is a joke, as is hydrogen..I actually think we hit peak oil in 2008..many think its was 2005..the financial crisis was one way of killing demand for a few years..
 

Hazlitt

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This is a thread where I solicit support for the idea of setting up a detailed, well-resourced, disaster-preparation apparatus in Ireland designed to kick in in the event of peak oil.

The idea is to develop emergency procedures to mitigate the disasters of oil scarcity in Ireland. It is necessary to develop this stuff while oil is still cheap.
When oil prices start rising above the cost of these alternative energies then they will at last be financially viable and there will naturally be more investment in them. The market pricing system so long as unobstructed sends the signal necessary for all of this. People will develop alternative fuel sources, even better, cheaper and more efficient. The oil price is going to skyrocket - then invest in barrels and barrels of oil, keep them off the market until the prices are up and there is massive demand, then sell them and make a fortune, you would be providing a valuable service surely by keeping oil for times of scarcity. Nasty, monstrous speculators!!


We can hope that some way to increase the electricity supply will come about, but we must have a plan to prepare for the eventuality that our electricity supply will contract rapidly.
Isn't it a wonder feargach how you just take it for granted that food is on the shelves of your local supermarket whenever you need it, I would have thought that someone like you by now would have panicked at the thought of leaving our food supply to something as "dangerous" and unreliable as "market forces"!!
 

Cassandra Syndrome

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And I was also under the impression that Ireland no longer has the capacity or expertise to produce large-sized metallurgical products.
Well maybe if the government didn't villify hands on trades, and opened up the economy to cheap imports and coercing people into bubble creating service sectors we might have a few handy andy's about. But they are near extinction levels now.
 

Cassandra Syndrome

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When oil prices start rising above the cost of these alternative energies then they will at last be financially viable and there will naturally be more investment in them. The market pricing system so long as unobstructed sends the signal necessary for all of this. People will develop alternative fuel sources, even better, cheaper and more efficient. The oil price is going to skyrocket - then invest in barrels and barrels of oil, keep them off the market until the prices are up and there is massive demand, then sell them and make a fortune, you would be providing a valuable service surely by keeping oil for times of scarcity. Nasty, monstrous speculators!!




Isn't it a wonder feargach how you just take it for granted that food is on the shelves of your local supermarket whenever you need it, I would have thought that someone like you by now would have panicked at the thought of leaving our food supply to something as "dangerous" and unreliable as "market forces"!!
+1

I have been blue in the face trying to explain this in the environment section of this forum. The solution for renewable energy lies with the dynamics of the market. A consumer will choose the cheaper choice of energy. Renewable energy is cheaper if left for entrepreneurs to develop it out of incentives.
 

feargach

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Wood burning power stations?..come on lads...how much energy can be extracted from burning wood?..no where near oil anyway..if we'd done something about this 20 years ago we mightn't be as badly off, but i reckon its too late now..Wind and tidal would have been good if thought of 20 years ago too..Ethanol is a joke, as is hydrogen..I actually think we hit peak oil in 2008..many think its was 2005..the financial crisis was one way of killing demand for a few years..
I'm pretty sure you can extract more energy from wood than from wind.

How can it be too late to start mitigating the effects of peak oil?

I don't mean preventing our lifestyle from falling sharply, I just mean preventing some of the worst effects of the disasters that result.

Right now, oil is still super-cheap. We can, theoretically, make use of that to build the major engineering works needed to prevent mass deaths (say, 1000+ per winter month above pre-peak-oil trends)
 

c_q_d

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+1

I have been blue in the face trying to explain this in the environment section of this forum. The solution for renewable energy lies with the dynamics of the market. A consumer will choose the cheaper choice of energy. Renewable energy is cheaper if left for entrepreneurs to develop it out of incentives.
But at that stage the cost of production of wind turbines and tide powered generators goes through the roof too..
 

Malboury

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+1

We have the resources and enterprise to create all of this, but the eco fascist Greens and technocrats hamper entrepreneurship in this country so we have to rely on the Statist to dictate energy policy. Zero point energy is another source waiting for Edison type inventors to tinker with and make it widely available to people. But too many rules and regulations and a corrupt banking feudalist system denies people's rights to pursue this.
While I make no comment on whether or not greens are keeping down innovation in Ireland, it's worth pointing out that Zero point energy, while real, has never been demonstrated to be extractable for less energy than that drawn out. Nor indeed has there ever even been a serious theory laid out as to how this might be possible. It's most likely a pipe dream; we could probably make a device from extracting ZPE, but it would use far more power than it could ever make. While ZPE might be infinite, our ability to 'extract' it by mucking about with changes in vacuum tubes is almost certainly not. We'd be better off spending our time working on fusion.

As an aside, someone mentioned we have few wave resources. That might be true, but there's plenty of room for ebb based tidal generators in Ireland. These basically damn a tidal estuary and use the ebb and flow of the tides to make power, as millions of gallons of water move back and forth in a predictable, weather resistant way. This plant in France: Rance Tidal Power Station - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is over 40 years old and makes power in this manner for less per unit than a nuclear station. We'd only(!) need 40 or so of these plants to produce all the power we currently use. We could probably build better ones now as well, given nearly fifty years of innovation. They're not great for the estuary environment, true, but they're probably better than a lot of the alternatives. As an aside, you don't even strictly need an estuary to do this; you're just using the estuary as a large container for tidally moved water. You could build this on any shore; it's just cheaper to do it on an estuary.
 

feargach

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Incidentally, who should be in charge if peak oil happens?

Say peak oil happens, petrol is unobtainable and the Dáil decides to build a strategic power station to prevent people from freezing to death.

But some NIMBY folks in the site of the station, plus opponents of the pylons needed to transport the energy to population centres seek, and obtain, judicial injunctions (in line with pre-peak oil legal precedent) to prevent building.

Do we respect the orders of the courts and accept the preventable deaths, or does some form of executive authority with the power to make things happen seem more appropriate?
 

ManUnited

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Incidentally, who should be in charge if peak oil happens?

Say peak oil happens, petrol is unobtainable and the Dáil decides to build a strategic power station to prevent people from freezing to death.

But some NIMBY folks in the site of the station, plus opponents of the pylons needed to transport the energy to population centres seek, and obtain, judicial injunctions (in line with pre-peak oil legal precedent) to prevent building.

Do we respect the orders of the courts and accept the preventable deaths, or does some form of executive authority with the power to make things happen seem more appropriate?
Why would the court issue an injunction in these circumstances?
 


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