Rosa Muerta and Joshua Tree

May 22, 2009 at 10:16 am
Contributed by: Chris

Photos from FATYR: Memorial Day 2009 – Rosa Muerta and Joshua Tree National Park
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Updated Oil Price Outlook

May 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I weigh the bullish and bearish factors affecting oil prices, and advise caution in the near term but accumulation for the long term.
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Offshore Oil and Gas Technology

May 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I take a closer look at some of the amazing deepwater drilling and production technology on display at last week’s 2009 Offshore Technology Conference.
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The Great Divide on Energy Policy

May 8, 2009 at 5:50 am
Contributed by: Chris

For this week’s Energy and Capital, I offer highlights of the energy policy debate at the 2009 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, the world’s largest oil and gas industry conference and trade show.
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Facts and Myths About Offshore Oil

April 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I take a fresh look at the debate over offshore oil drilling, its risks and rewards, and put the Outer Continental Shelf production potential in perspective.
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Macro Musings on Earth Day and Green Energy

April 22, 2009 at 11:29 am
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital column this week, I celebrate Earth Day by finding many reasons for optimism in the wave of green initiatives sweeping the nation, but also find a market still staggering under the weight of a broken financial system.
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Space Based Solar Power (And Other Energy Pipe Dreams)

April 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I debunk the recent excitement over space based solar power and other energy pipe dreams, and shift the focus to utility scale solar players with real technology and real profits.
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How to Profit from Energy Illiteracy

April 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I consider the long time frames of energy transformation and the energy illiteracy of most Americans, and find a profit opportunity in the ignorance gap.
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Natty Dread

April 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In this week’s Energy and Capital, I see an air pocket forming in future natural gas supply just like the one I anticipated in oil, and suggest that it’s time to buy gas.
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How to Protect Your Portfolio from the Fed

March 25, 2009 at 1:41 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For this week’s Energy and Capital, I analyze the effects of the Fed’s “quantitative easing” and see life returning to the oil and commodities sector as a hedge against reflation.
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The Vision Thing

March 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I find hope in the Pickens Plan and Better Place for a transportation revolution, but a paucity of leadership in Washington
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Mexico’s Troubles Are Our Troubles

March 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I draw connections between Mexico’s violent drug cartels, the declining state of the Mexican economy and the outlook for Mexican oil and gas imports to the U.S.
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The Sleeping Threat of Low Oil Prices

March 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I argue that oil prices in the $40s are creating a time bomb under the world economy which will explode around 2012 and send prices skyrocketing.
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Cleantech’s Week in the Sun

February 25, 2009 at 1:49 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In this week’s article for Energy and Capital, I survey an amazing week of cleantech news and conferences, and declare that there has never been a better time to invest in the sector.
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Smart Profits on the Smart Grid

February 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In this week’s article for Energy and Capital, I discuss smart metering and other smart grid technologies, and suggest six companies that are well positioned to profit from the grid’s transformation.
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Searching for “Plan B”

February 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm
Contributed by: Chris

If you were wondering where I’ve been for the last week, I just returned from a trip to Oregon along with some associates from The Oil Drum and the Post Carbon Institute. We went up there to meet with various farmers who are pursuing the sustainable agriculture and farmers market approach to relocalizing food production, several agriculture professors, a restauranteur who buys all of his food locally direct from farmers, and other like-minded souls interested in peak oil and relocalization. As we believe that food production and distribution is particularly vulnerable to the risks of peak oil, we wanted to know how much can be achieved through local food production and distribution using methods that use as little fuel as possible, and without the use of petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer.

The people we met were truly amazing: focused, smart, dedicated, and very hard-working (14-hr days are the norm for these folks). Farming is an incredibly difficult thing to succeed in at any scale, and my hat is off to anyone who does it. Small intensive organic farmers must compete with the economies of scale enjoyed by big commercial agriculture and food distribution in an incredibly low-margin business (somewhere on the order of 5% I would say). Large scale farmers who produce commodities like grain and grass seed (a major product of the Willamette Valley) have it even harder in some ways, with the costs of fuel and fertilizer see-sawing wildly from year to year, while having to borrow enormous sums from banks in order to plant the next year’s crop. And of course all are subject to the weather, which has been growing increasingly unpredictable.

I believe that within the next five years, as terminal oil depletion becomes a tangible reality for the average citizen, backyard vegetable gardens will become commonplace, and more people will seek low-energy lifestyles. However, there is an enormous gap between the demand for food, and the supply from small scale organic farmers operating through farmers markets, which accounts for less than 5% of the total food supply even in the best markets. So there is an enormous amount of work to do to “fill the gap” that will open as oil depletion sets in.

I don’t have a “Plan B” yet, but I learned an enormous amount in just a few days this week, and I am filled with ideas and motivation to come up with one. The future may very well find me with a shovel in my hand, scratching a living out of the dirt along with millions of others.

If you have had similar thoughts, or have explored your own Plan B options, please write me or submit a comment to share your perspective.

–C

The Climate Change Imperative

February 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In this week’s article for Energy and Capital, I survey the damage from recent extreme weather events around the world, consider the environmental consequences past and future, and argue that insufficient science on global warming is the very reason to take action, not an excuse for inaction.
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Oil Exports May Soon Dry Up (The Futurist)

February 4, 2009 at 9:28 am
Contributed by: Chris

A guest editorial I wrote on declining oil exports has been published by The Futurist magazine (March/April 2009). You can download it here.

Obama’s New Course on Energy, Climate

January 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital post this week, I discuss Obama’s stark change in policy direction on CO2 emissions, energy efficiency and energy strategy.
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When “Change” Comes to Energy Policy

January 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In this week’s Energy and Capital, I turn over a new leaf in honor of the new administration, and focus on the exciting opportunities for investing in the next generation of renewable energy and cleantech.

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