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us threatening the Russians with lowering our consumption if they make trouble over eg. Kosovo.
What have you been smoking mate?
by vladimir on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our "energy weapon" against Russia is quite potent, if only we thought about it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The figures just don't make the test Jerome. We will need every JULE of energy we can get our hands on in 2020, come from gas, oil, solar or other... and it's ALL gonna be more than welcome.

By arguing that the EU has bargaining power against Russia in the energy sphere requires that two conditions are met:

1. that the Russians can't sell their energy elsewhere - which is false because they're busy building pipelines going East to Asian markets;

2. that the EU can actually do without Russian energy supplies - which by my books isn't reality. Maybe you can contribute some data to the discussion? Cheers.

by vladimir on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Russia CANNOT sell its energy elsewhere. There is no infrastructure to do so. And there won't be for a long while. And the oil or gas that might go to China would never go to Europe anyway.

  2. Europe could do without Russian energy supplies if it had an energy policy other than "give me all your gas quick and cheap". We might stop building gas-fired plants, we might start focusing on energy savings, etc... Obviously, we don't do it, but we could.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about #2, it would be a source of concern for Gazprom if the EU decided to stop building gas-fired power plants. Do you think if Gazprom buys utilities in the EU it will make it harder for the EU to regulate gas-fired power plants away?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:27:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. If the political will is there, I think it'll actually make it easier: Just fire up a really nasty carbon tax. After all, it'll only be the Russians' pocketbooks that are hit...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 12:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see some rather obvious advantages to reducing our energy dependence... (and no, I didn't mean giving Jérôme more work by buying more wind turbines -that would indeed be a drawback, since he couldn't post much then).

Of course, that may just the environmentalist in me. But also, if Europe were to become a world specialist in all things energy  consumption reducing, could it fail to be repaid tenfold when all countries will start to be desperate for energy savings?

Of course, it would require policy choices of a rather different nature from what we have seen of late. Surely the fact that Schröder had a nice rich seat waiting for him at Gazprom is no sign that all was being done to relieve Europe of the dependency...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 06:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if Europe were to become a world specialist in all things energy consumption reducing, could it fail to be repaid tenfold when all countries will start to be desperate for energy savings?

now that's an interesting idea for would-be entrepreneurs around here :)

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 06:11:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't need natural gas. Gas is a choice. There is nothing gas is used for where there isn't a competitive substitute.

Just look at Sweden. We use practically no gas (except a single gas-fired CHP which might just as well use wood), and things are nice here anyway.

If Europe wanted, gas imports from Russia could be eliminated in 10 years. But it's pretty hard to see what use that would be, except as a way of weakening Russia. And I don't think that's in anyones interest, at least if things don't become a lot worse.

Remember that the gas relation worked very well even during times of much greater tension, like in the 80's when Andropov et al in their utter senility where huddling under their tables, awaiting a NATO nuclear first strike!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
perhaps not directly, however what about fertilizers which are -as far as I know- largely manufactured using Natural gas ?

Le caoutchouc serait un matériau très précieux, n'était son élasticité qui le rend impropre à tant d'usages.- A.Allais
by armadillos (armadillo2024 (at) free (dotto) fr) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 12:35:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope. The only things needed are air, water and energy. It's beautiful.

The Norwegians began making fertilizer from hydroelectricity 100 years ago.

At the turn of this century Professor Kristian Birkeland[1] of the University of Kristiania (soon to be renamed Oslo) was experimenting with a device called the Terella. This was a laboratory model of the earth, complete with magnetic field, placed in an evacuated vessel into which ions could be injected at high voltage. By observing the discharge glow, Birkeland was able to understand the three-dimensional structure of the Aurora Borealis. However, the equipment was expensive and money, then as now, was hard to come by. Kelvin suggested to Birkeland that research into armaments might prove lucrative and allow him to continue with the Terella. This was not the first time this idea had occurred to a physicist, Birkeland with his expertise in electromagnetism, set about producing an elektriske kanon, a rail-gun.

On Feb. 6th, 1902 Birkeland's kanon short-circuited and exploded during a test, but the disappointment he felt was muted by the observation of a disc-shaped arc, spread by the magnetic field, and the smell of nitrogen oxides. The reason this was intriguing was that the world was then gripped by a fear greater even than that of the looming conflict in Central Europe - that of world famine. Chilean nitrate deposits, on which the world depended as a fertilizer, were on the brink of running out, and chemists were scurrying to find an economical way of fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Clearly the acrid brown stench of nitrogen oxides was the smell of nitrogen being fixed, as it was a short hop skip and a jump to nitric acid and any nitrate you please.

Birkeland was not the first to fix nitrogen by electric arc - Crookes in Manchester already had a pilot plant producing calcium nitrate by this means - but the disc-shaped arc promised a high yield[2]. However, a week after the explosion he met a man who was already working on the means which would make economical production possible. That man was Sam Eyde, a civil engineer who was fascinated by the enormous potential of Norway's mountains and rainfall for the production of hydro-electricity. After that things moved with breath-taking speed. A week after meeting, Eyde and Birkeland submitted a patent for artificial fertilizer. They obtained money from the Swedish financiers, the Wallenbergs, and a mere three years later a hydroelectric plant had been built out of the wilderness at Notodden and a Birkeland-Eyde arc furnace was producing the first Norgesalpeter - Norwegian Saltpeter, i.e. calcium nitrate.

In the same year as the first Norgesalpeter was produced, Fritz Haber discovered a much better way of producing nitrates via ammonia made by what is now known as the Haber process. Indeed, the Norwegians soon abandoned the arc furnaces and adopted Haber's idea. However, Birkeland's discovery had started something irreversible: the large scale development of hydro-electric power in Norway by the company he and Eyde had started: Norsk Hydro.



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 07:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
er... from the citation you used they say they finally embrassed the Haber process  which as far as I know use Natural gas...

Le caoutchouc serait un matériau très précieux, n'était son élasticité qui le rend impropre à tant d'usages.- A.Allais
by armadillos (armadillo2024 (at) free (dotto) fr) on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 05:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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