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March 13, 2006

Army Corps Of Engineers On Peak Oil Peak Oil

What does the Army Corps of Engineers think about peak oil? Energy Bulletin links to an Army Corps of Engineers report titled Energy Trends and Their Implications for U.S. Army Installations. Sounds like they've been reading Past Peak. Excerpt:

The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing to a close. Domestic natural gas production peaked in 1973. The proved domestic reserve lifetime for natural gas at current consumption rates is about 8.4 yrs. The proved world reserve lifetime for natural gas is about 40 years, but will follow a traditional rise to a peak and then a rapid decline. Domestic oil production peaked in 1970 and continues to decline. Proved domestic reserve lifetime for oil is about 3.4 yrs. World oil production is at or near its peak and current world demand exceeds the supply. Saudi Arabia is considered the bellwether nation for oil production and has not increased production since April 2003. After peak production, supply no longer meets demand, prices and competition increase. World proved reserve lifetime for oil is about 41 years, most of this at a declining availability. Our current throw-away nuclear cycle will consume the world reserve of low-cost uranium in about 20 years....Coal supplies may last into the next century depending on technology and consumption trends as it starts to replace oil and natural gas.

We must act now to develop the technology and infrastructure necessary to transition to other energy sources. Policy changes, leap ahead technology breakthroughs, cultural changes, and significant investment is requisite for this new energy future.

Time is essential to enact these changes. The process should begin now. Our best options for meeting future energy requirements are energy efficiency and renewable sources. Energy efficiency is the least expensive, most readily available, and environmentally friendly way to stretch our current energy supplies. This ensures that we get the most benefit from every Btu used. It involves optimizing operations and controls to minimize waste and infusing state of the art technology and techniques where appropriate. The potential savings for the Army is about 30 per cent of current and future consumption. Energy efficiency measures usually pay for itself over the life cycle of the application, even when only face value costs are considered.

Renewable options make use of Earth's resources that are not depleted by our energy consumption practices: namely solar, wind, geothermal, geoexchange, hydrology, tidal movements, agricultural products, and municipal wastes. Renewable options also make use of the large stretches of land in America, much of which is owned by the government. These options are available, sustainable, and secure. The affordability of renewable technologies is improving steadily and if the market is pulled by large Army application the cost reductions could be dramatic. [Emphasis added]

So, whatever else is true, we know the Army knows about peak oil. We also know they realize that energy efficiency — i.e., conservation — is the most effective action to take near term. If only the White House would get that message.

Posted by Jonathan at March 13, 2006 11:12 AM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb