Monday, July 30, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Administrivia: MWF Schedule

Just a short note on blog schedule. Historically, I aimed on this blog to do a post once each morning on weekday mornings.  This was never perfectly true: I always missed the odd morning when something didn't work out, and have occasionally added extra lunchtime or weekend posts as time and interest allowed.

However, in recent months I've had a lot of work-related travel and I've been failing more consistently to do more than a few posts each week.  I think it would be better to acknowledge this explicitly and provide readers with a bit more predictability by switching to a target schedule of posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  Again, this won't be perfectly true, but I'll aim to make it true 90% of the time.  Posts will continue to be primarily quantitative/empirical exploration of issues in the area of energy/environment/economy with a focus on things that I think are important but not well-enough covered elsewhere.

Bleg on Minisplit Ductless Airsource Heat Pumps

Sources have told me that in the last few years it has become possible to heat buildings in cold climates (eg the US northeast) with the latest generation of ductless minisplit air-source heat pumps.  I am seeking detailed technical information on the performance of these kinds of systems that would allow me to evaluate the low temperature limits, thermodynamic efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of doing this in a retrofit context.  I haven't easily come up with sufficiently detailed information in Googling around - can any readers point me in the right direction?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tight Oil could not Render OPEC Irrelevant

Steve Levine has a blog post discussing the idea that the "unfolding new age of fossil fuel abundance" will have profound effects on various things, including OPEC:
With prices dropping and competing supplies flowing from numerous new producers, OPEC will lose much relative influence, and may simply cease to be a pivotal economic player. "OPEC will descend into chaos as an organization," said John Hofmeister, former president of Shell USA. "They don't know now how much they are hated by the entire world. But they will find out as things unfold."
The key factor behind this kind of thinking is the rapid rise of production of oil from tight rocks like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.  I haven't taken a strong position on what the limits of production are from these sources - it just isn't clear to me yet from the data that I have available.  But we could certainly place some limits on how much geopolitical impact this could have on OPEC.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012