are we in the dark (literally) about oil depletion?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Taylor, May 23, 2004.

  1. Taylor

    Taylor Well-Known Member

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    Hi, all, just wanted your thoughts - our nearby city's liberal-leaning (usually) newspaper printed a column by a man who apparently has done his homework, with the gist of the article about the impending shortage of oil. To sum it up, we think $2 a gallon is outrageous, and we will probably soon be looking back on this as the good old days, due to the fact that "peak oil production" either has already happened or will shortly, and the world's dependence on oil will be disastrous. There isn't any more of it, relatively speaking, and no good alternatives to our need for transportation on a global scale. I had always thought it was interesting that when the Bible speaks of the Last Battle, in various prophesies, they refer to the battle taking place among all the nations of the world fighting on horseback. Fascinating, eh? Anywho, what plans would be prudent in face of the soon-to-be skyrocketing prices of not just oil, but every other commodity due to transportation costs (we are already seeing higher prices on building materials, boughten foods, etc)? How many of you are set up for solar or wind energy on your place? I was telling my hubby that if we could figure out how to put solar panels on the considerably huge south roof of our 100+ year old bank barn and create our own home energy system, the durn electric company would have to buy our excess. He was doubtful, having not followed this line of thinking before. And I know very little about how to initiate such a plan, but would welcome idears from you all.
    Plus one other observation: my parents NEVER forgot growing up post-Depression, and raised us to be frugal. We are the odd ones of this generation who listened (and didn't build a mega-mansion with the usual trappings of the consumer society) and have our place paid for, such as it is, and are thinking when it gets really bad economically we will need to have room for the relatives who are laid off and hungry. We feel the Lord has guided us and blessed us, and we know how to do a lot of "old-fashioned" things on this little farm including hard work, so we would want to help out any of them we could. Do many of you have experience with alternative energy systems? What are your thoughts?
    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    http://www.homepower.com/

    This mag is really good and you can download it for free every two months. They obviously get all their money from advertisers. Most mags sell paper copies pretty close to cost.

    As far as selling to the utilities, most of them require all kinds of expensive hookups and then only pay you at their avoided expense rate which is a lot less than they charge you. A better plan is to start with a battery bank and a good 110v charger and hook it up so when the power is off you have back up. But first you need to do a power audit on your home. Backwoods Solar has a good book that will show you how to cut your consumption way down. Solar is only practical if you really slash your usage.

    Start by asking yourself 'what do we really need that uses electricity?' Then see how you can reduce or eliminate that usage.

    For instance;
    HOW TO REDUCE ENERGY
    USAGE OR ELIMINATE ALTERNATIVE
    1. Vacuum get rid of carpet
    2. Water pump can't solar dc,
    hand pump, grav
    -ity, wind
    3.refrigeration canning, drying propane, solar
    keep fewer lefto-
    vers etc

    4. TV Toss it!
    5. Radio solar dc, battery
    hand crank etc
    6. cooling passive

    These are just a few of the things most people use a lot.

    After you have done all this, look into the solar panels. The prices have dropped a lot since I first went solar. I'm in a town right now on the mains, but I've lived on solar quite a bit.

    I'm sure there are others who are looking into this pretty seriously right now.

    Hope this helped. Kim
     

  3. Taylor, you had some very interesting points - I like it when I get to see something I've looked at for a long time from a different point of view. I also never thought of getting rid of the carpet as a way of not having to vacuume (not my favorite chore). What a great idea!
     
  4. Herb.

    Herb. Well-Known Member

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    My wife wants to get carpet because she hates to sweep and mop. she sweeps at least once a day and mops about twice a week, says she can vacume once a week and shampoo every three months plus carpet will save on the heating bill in the winter, is nicer for the kids to play on and to lay on to watch TV. I know it feels better on bare feet on cold mornings on my way to the coffee pot. Don't know for sure but I think the carpet is worth it.
     
  5. RAC

    RAC Guest

    It is a pain to shampoo a carpet, and you can never get it as clean as you can get a floor. What about a large area rug? Worst comes to worst (no power to run a vacuum) you can hang it on a line and beat most of the dirt out of it.

    Of course, the best way to keep carpets and floors clean is not to wear shoes inside, but not everyone remembers to take shoes off, or even wants to (if you've ever dropped something very heavy or very hot on you foot, you know what I'm talking about). Many houses don't have a mudroom, or even a decent space near the front entry to put a basket for shoes/umbrellas/whatever. The garage is sometimes an option, but it's no fun finding spiders in your boots/shoes either.... Oh, and no eating where there's carpet either.

    Don Aslett has a book out about making your house do the housework, and suggests that carpeting should be the color of the mud around your house....
     
  6. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    When you look at new oil discoveries and demand on a graph, it doesn't take a genius to see that we are headed for trouble. If they don't solve the problems with Hydrogen or come up with some other energy source, we are going to see higher and higher oil prices. In my opinion the best plan is to be situated where you can stay put, have plenty of good quality hand tools and nonelectric appliances, also start growing open polinated vegetables and grains where you can save the seed.
    I overheard two young ladies in the grocery store who were looking at frozen dinners, "I don't want to cook tonight, lets just eat out", now they are in trouble in times of crises. Have you ever seen a run on a grocery store during a hurricane or winter storm warnings and how fast the shelves empty, things can get very serious in a hurry for the majority of folks today. How long could you survive without going to the grocery store? I also think about protection, can you protect yourself and your family? When you see the violence and low morality in the world today, what do you think it would be like in very hard times, it will be survival of fittest. This might be a worse case senario but its best to be prepared. Anybody have a mule for sale?
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Had all that stuff in nice neat columns. Keep forgetting this thing reformats the text when you post grrrr.

    Carpet never come clean no matter what you do to it. And if you ever have to live with it and can't vacuum you will be ripping it out tuit suit.

    Vacuums pull about 12 amps these days.
    12a X 110v = 1300 watts of 110v ac

    1300w / 12v = 110a of 12v dc

    .5 hrs/day X 110amps = 55 amp hrs/day

    using Shell module SM110 at $540 each

    6.3 amp X 4 = 25.2 amp hr/day

    You need 2 modules just to be able to vacuum! You also would need to buy a good inverter. Min price about $500. Plus all the extra wiring etc. You also need a bigger battery bank.

    Some people do have the money to do a really beefy system, but most of the big systems have been purchased on credit.

    You can do pretty much everything you need with 12v dc except vacuum, or use an electric washing machine. Even washing really doesn't need that electric machine tho.

    Two people can easily manage with only 2 of the panels total and have plenty of lights, water pumping, stereo all running on 12v dc. If you have to pump from a well you can use wind power, pull it up by hand or mule or whatever suits your situation. (I would avoid fossil fuel generators tho, I've seen too many of them crater too quickly. It is a MUCH more expensive way to go.)

    If you start small it isn't so expensive and you may find that you never feel the need to get a bigger system.
     
  8. Cygnet

    Cygnet Guest

    The technology not only exists, but is in use NOW,to make light crude oil and gasoline from any carbon based matter, ranging from plastic to turkey guts. At $10 a barrel, manufacturing cost. It's being DONE now. Butterball is fueling one of their plants with this technology, from what I understand.

    No catch that I've heard, either, except that the technology is still new and people are still suspicious of it. One of the nice things about this, though, is that light crude can be manufactured locally rather than being transported long distances, which reduces the chance for environmental damage from spills.

    Leva
     
  9. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    Just read a article were you can run your diesel car on vegetable oil! A company called Greasecar sells conversion kits for eight hundred dollars.
     
  10. There are plenty of good alternatives.

    Biodiesel for example, made from plant oils to power diesel engines.

    Ethanol made from grain to power gasoline engines.

    There is much farmland that could be put into production growing crops needed to make the above fuels, and farmers could actually make a decent living out of it.

    Problem is, oil companies buy political influence, so you won't see it wide scale until things really get bad.

    But we could have solved the oil problem 30 years ago....
     
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    We have been running out of oil since we first started using it.I doubt we will run out in our lifetimes,I put little faith in the oil predictions.But manipulated shortages and higher prices,we will probably see that.And how much oil is Iraq producing,anyone know?
    BooBoo
     
  12. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    All doable and being done right now.You can get a freezer that will run on 150 watt panel.Imagine a manhatten Project for alt. energy?If you can buy a new car,you can be offgrid in style.Same price.
    BooBoo
     
  13. Greenwitch

    Greenwitch Member

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    NY
    First let me say my relatives in Europe laugh when I tell them gas is over $2 a gallon - they have paid between $3.50 and $5.00 a gallon for years, because European oil and gas is not subsidized with tax money like American fuel. Were just not used to seeing the bill at the gas station.

    Anyone interested in this topic should read "The End of Oil" by Paul Roberts. Here is the Amazon review:

    The End of Oil is a "geologic cautionary tale for a complacent world accustomed to reliable infusions of cheap energy." The book centers around one irrefutable fact: the global supply of oil is being depleted at an alarming rate. Precisely how much accessible (not to mention theoretical) oil remains is debatable, but even conservative estimates mark the peak of production in decades rather than centuries. Which energy sources will replace oil, who will control them, and how disruptive to the current world order the transition from one system to the next will be are just a few of the big questions that Paul Roberts attempts to answer in this timely book.

    As Roberts makes abundantly clear, the major oil players in the world wield their enormous economic and political power in order to maintain the status quo. Of course, they get plenty of help from the tens of millions of consumers, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, who guzzle oil as if there is an unlimited supply. And this demand shows no sign of abating--nearly half of the world's population lives without the benefits of fossil fuels and they desperately want to be among the haves. In countries such as China and India, where energy systems are already breaking down, Roberts discusses how they are looking to oil to fuel their race for development, in many cases ignoring environmental considerations altogether.

    Though there is much to be pessimistic about, Roberts does uncover some positive developments, such as the race for alternative energy sources, notably hydrogen fuel cells, which could help to ease us off of our oil dependence before a full-blown energy crisis occurs. No one book could cover every aspect of what Roberts calls "arguably the most serious crisis ever to face industrial society," but The End of Oil is a remarkably informative and balanced introduction to this pressing subject. --Shawn Carkonen
     
  14. Taylor

    Taylor Well-Known Member

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    Some great thoughts and ideas, thanks to everyone who replied. I love the website on solar power! Over on Freedom/Self Reliance, a similar post gives a very informative but disturbing website: http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
    This explains more in detail than we really want to know, what may happen. Best to be prepared, no matter what, and I appreciate your suggestions on ways to cut back energy use, etc. Does anyone else feel that our society cannot go on living such a materialistic and often meaningless lifestyle? Is it a coincidence that the folks who were participants in Frontier House and Colonial House series said that they re-evaluated their lives after the experience, due to finding out what was really important? (and what wasn't?) Makes one think - perhaps there is hope in all this if we come to a reordering of our priorities.
     
  15. prairiegrass

    prairiegrass Guest

    I am a member of a yahoo group about this topic (over 2000 members, I think now) called, "running on empty 2." This is the link:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RunningOnEmpty2

    There are some very interesting discussions (also morbid and scary too) and some scientists and others who have done lots of homework about this post frequently.

    Also, I would recommend another book highly:
    _The Party's Over_ by Richard Heinberg

    The future coming is one of great change and is both exciting and scary, but at least the planet will be better off (if the damage we've done can be mended) without the burning of massive quantities of fossil fuels.

    (editied to correct website address)
     
  16. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Having looked at solar for nearly a decade, we don't think it will suit our needs or our lifestyle in ways that would make it a reasonable alternative (unless to comes down a lot more in price and offers better usage), not to mention the prices are way out of our budget. I cut back about $30 a month on my electric bill just by being energy smart- and that was in a month we had a guest in the travel trailer using the a/c (we never use the a/c or central heat) and I had my new cabinet incubator going and chicks in the brooder. When those things are off we save an additional $10 a month. Turning lights off, washing dishes by hand, showering during the times of day the water temperature is comfortable directly out of the well, using a clothes line to dry... this is what I was doing. This summer I plan to turn the water heater off. Our new meat grinder is manual.

    I think that people won't start looking for savings until they hurt financially. I'm almost certain that no one on this board, who is trying to live on a very small income, needs to be told to turn the light off when not in use or to combine trips into town. By contrast my family members who do not worry about their salaries continue to live in wasteful ways and buy SUVs. I saw As Good As it Gets a couple of months ago and was highly annoyed by all the lights on at the beach house all the time :rolleyes: I'm constantly on energy conservation even living in a house that is entirely dependent on electric (even our wells). Now, when I can afford a windmill and some solar panels and my son is out of the nest- I will go that way. I'll have torn this carpet out long before then (I hope).
     
  17. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    Solar panels are very costly to buy. How about making your own? My SO built a small one for us for approx $140.00. It will run the lights in the living room, blower on the wood stove and TV (yeah, he has to have that) for approx 6 hours with a full charge. He just recently ordered another set of cells so he can build another one. It's amazing how much just that little bit helps in the winter on our electric bill.
    Leay
     
  18. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    We sure are not in the dark! tho I would be worried about China industrializing might put a strain on Oil reserves.

    BTW remember armwire? that place up in Alaska they wanted to drill for Oil, but the ENVIROMENTALIST were worried about the caribou!

    BTW the Alaskan Pipeline has HELPED the caribou population, you see those pipes are warm and it increased the caribou population.

    I say, throw the enviromentalist/tree huggers in Prision and get the Oil. and in the mean time dump Billions into new resources(like drilling for Oil on Mars!)

    and where I live we got a huge Geological area called "The Illinois Basin" it is a Oil producing region, and 60% of the reserve remains unexplored, it has been proven by a 10,000 ft well that filled up with free oil, there is Oil down there, we just got to figure out how to economically pump it out, tho if the price for a barrel of Oil is around 50 bucks, that may be economical!

    there is plenty of Oil, the problem is Eco-terrorist don't think that can can get the oil cleanly.

    And dipping into the Emergency Reserves would be really stupid(like Bill Clintion did)

    Remember: Gas prices: Fast to rise, slow to fall.
     
  19. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The current raise in oil/gas prices has NOTHING to with supply or demand of oil. It has to do with greed. Greed from oil speculators It has to do with the fact that there hasnt been a oil refinery built in the US since 1976 because of of eviormentalist protest and EPA rules.

    Gas prices are at an all time high and so is oil company profits.
     
  20. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    BS! I disagree, perhaps maybe OPEC is greedy for cutting BACK one million barrels of Oil, the oil compaines are not that greedy, it's OPEC!

    When they cut back production the price rises, increases revenues for that country, Heck, they need to announce they're cutting another 2 million barrels and we'll see what happens to the price of crude.

    What's wose than that, WE ARE IN CONTROL OF A COUNTRY CALLED IRAQ, THAT HAS MUCH OIL. ....and they say that the Oil in Iraq will pay off the war fiasco! Right now it sure is COSTING US.