Although I didn’t bother to watch Obama’s oil spill speech because I doubted it would be little more than political posturing, I did see a few seconds on the national news. And that clip confirmed my thinking about political posturing. Because in that clip Obama talked about energy conservation. (Yawn)…….. borrrr-ring!
It’s been known since at least the late 70’s that the U.S. is way too dependent on oil. There’s been a lot of talk over 30 years about reducing that dependency. Lotsa talk, but little walk.
We talk about energy conservation but then ride around in SUVs. Yep, that’s a real good way to conserve energy, isn’t it? And when gas hit $5 a gallon some folks reacted as if high gas prices were some sort of Bigfoot – just a myth that could not possibly be real.
Interesting what happens when myth becomes reality. Suddenly, gas efficient vehicles were in demand. Even scooters. But after gas prices dropped back down to “acceptable” prices, the SUVs literally came roaring back.
I miss $4 gas; it was the only time I ever regularly passed SUVs because they were trying to squeeze out every mile from a gallon by driving below the speed limit. But I know… we all know… that high gas prices will be back. Just like the Terminator. And everyone will be surprised…again.
About 50 miles from where I live is the world’s largest and most technologically advanced wood pellet production plant. These pellets are burned in coal-based power plants, reducing coal consumption by 20% and thereby reducing C02 emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Guess how much pollution reduction this plant is achieving in the U.S.? Absolutely zero. The entire production of the facility, which is owned by a Swedish corporation, is shipped to Europe.
Why are those pellets not used in the U.S.? Because the U.S. did not sign the Kyoto Protocols and the Europeans did. So they need those pellets to reduce the C02 emissions. (Don’t worry, I’m sure the U.S. is taking up the slack in ensuring that polar bears become extinct.)
Some folks say that the Energy Star program is promoting energy conservation. But as one of the more gluttonous oil consuming countries, shouldn’t we be conserving more than others? We are not.
In 2006, the minimum SEER rating in the U.S. was raised from 10 to 13. Many other countries require a minimum of 18. So who is serious about energy conservation? The U.S. or….?
With summer upon us unfortunate Floridians (who suffer both the heat and the humidity), my thoughts are on air conditioning. Especially after too many days of consecutive temperatures between 95 and 100.
Coincidentally, a company involved in energy conservation with air conditioners is in my backyard. (Well, maybe 5 miles from my back yard.) Unsurprisingly, it is not an American company. It is a Danish and Australian venture which produces “inverter” compressors for AC units.
AC units with “normal” compressors are always running at a fixed RPM when they are operating. While there are “variable speed” fans for air handling, that is not the case with the compressor. And since the compressor is the energy hog in an AC unit, that fixed RPM is expensive.
The “inverter” compressor which Danfoss-Turbocor produces can operate at variable speeds. Anywhere from 0 to 40,000 RPM. And the shaft is suspended in a magnetic field so there’s almost no friction and it needs no oil. How cool 😉 is that?
Now, guess how many residential AC units in the U.S. have an inverter compressor? No surprise….none! With commercial buildings, it is an underwhelming 10%.
You’d think that the company could easily sell its entire production to American companies. But half its production goes overseas.
In Europe, about 25% of residential AC units use inverter compressors and it is now the “standard” technology there. By the end of this year, 30% of all commercial compressors in China will be inverter type.
So tell me, just how serious is this country about reducing oil dependency? I’d say it’s lotsa talk and little walk.
And for the folks who think Obama has messed up in dealing the Deepwater Horizon mess, here’s where the disaster really originated: