Energy for the Future

Originally written: November 2008

Dear Friend:

I know all of you are worried about the future and how this crazy financial crisis will affect you. So far, I have not felt a huge impact like some have, but I am sure it will trickle down and hit me in my wallet sometime soon. It's nice to see the price of gas down in the $2.65 a gallon range, but I'm positive that is only a temporary thing. As you can see from the "average" line in the graph below that the price never goes down. And funny things seem to happen to the price of gas just before an election...

gas price chart

OPEC is walking a thin line between wanting to squeeze us out of every penny they can while at the same time knowing that they can do serious damage to the world economy if they raise the price or cut production too much. They are meeting as I write this newsletter, but it looks like they are going to cut production yet again.

So... what can you do now to prepare yourself for the sure to come financial/energy storm? And... why do I call it a financial/energy storm? Because I believe energy costs are at the root of all these financial problems. Peak Oil and high energy costs are making everything more expensive. When "everything" gets more expensive, guess what?... people can't afford to pay their mortgages, car loans, and credit card bills anymore. If you listen to some of these foreclosure sad stories on TV, you'll hear them say... "all my bills went up - health insurance, electricity, gasoline, cable, phone, etc. I couldn't afford to pay my mortgage anymore!"  Some of these people probably shouldn't have been given a home loan to start with. Especially an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). But what's done is done.

Anyhow, here's some problems I predict in our near future...

  • Global Warming - Ya'll all know, I'm not a big believer in all the global warming gloom and doom. I'm not even sure if it is man made or natural. My best guess - it is a little of both. But you can't deny it's existence. Just take one aspect of the global warming issue... rises in sea level. Would you believe that they expect the sea level to rise by 7.87 feet (2.4 meters) in the next 50 years? Heck, I'll probably be underwater in Savannah if it rises just 3 feet! At 5 feet, most coastal cities will be underwater. All this in the next 50 years? That is a serious, serious problem. You know, when you think about us pulling all that oil out of the ground and then burning it, you got to believe that it has a little something to do with global warming. It took millions of years of heat and pressure to make those fossil fuels. Now we are sucking it out of the ground in a matter of hundreds of years and transforming it back into heat energy and dumping it into our atmosphere. That's got to have some effect! Not to mention the greenhouse effect.
  • Rising oil prices - Even though there has been a recent downswing in the price of oil, the average price of oil is still going up over the long run. And that means everything else goes up in price too! Prepare yourself now while you still can!
  • No solution - I look into these alternative energy schemes all the time. Most of them are shady at best and they NEVER seem to come to market in an affordable way. Over 5 years ago, I put information in my book "Electricity - Make it, Don't Buy it" about fuel cells. Fuel cell technology is no closer to coming to market today than it was 5 years ago. So a "free energy" savior or even a good "alternative" does not seem likely any time soon. So we are left with conservation and the old standbys of solar, wind, biodiesel, ethanol, biomass, etc. And the biofuels have their problems too.

Also... don't forget about the state and government assistance!...

  • 30% Federal Tax Credit (with no limit after Jan 1, 2009)
  • $1000 per kw for wind
  • Up to a $5000 tax credit for a ZEV (zero emission vehicle). This is great when used in conjunction with the "Build Your Own Electric Car" book.


Bill Anderson