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Energy and National Security

January 20, 2010

President Obama’s First Year Clean Energy Progress Report: 3 E’s and an A?

I am hope you heard the following statement several times during the 2008 presidential campaign.

America has always risen to great challenges, and our dependence on oil is one of the greatest we have ever faced. It’s a threat to our national security, our planet and our economy. For decades, Washington has failed to solve this problem because of partisanship, the undue influence of special interests, and politicians who would rather propose gimmicks to get them through an election instead of long‐term solutions that will get America closer to energy independence -- Barack Obama and Joe Biden: New Energy for America

This campaign was the first time Economic, Environmental, and Energy/national security (the three EEE’s) were connected as one issue -- and the connection was continued to make clean energy and alternative transportation fuels real solutions.  I believe voters were able to make this connection and vocalize that these issues were on the top of their agenda too.

This evolution was also a first for environmentalists. This was the first time environmental organizations were officially embracing clean energy and alternative transportation fuels as solutions and publically recognizing that lowering fossil fuel use was the way they could achieve their air pollution and climate change goals.  People in the environmental community even started having the word “energy” included in new titles on their business cards.  But, in just seven short months the honeymoon was over as -- Disillusioned Environmentalists Turn on Obama as Compromiser. So I started to keep track of headlines so after the environmentalist honeymoon I could see where the Administration stood on connecting the dots on the three EEE’s -- Economic, Environmental and Energy/national security.  Are the dots still being connected?   Is the Obama Administration on the right path?  The  compilation of headlines and stories below are from July 2009 to January 20, 2010.

Economic security is one of the E’s that was often missed by the environmental community – but that may be changing.  Without economic stimulation attached to environmental security, national surveys show fewer consumers will care, and fewer policy makers will vote with only their environmental heart in hand.  We are somewhat lucky that it is highly unlikely that aside from clean energy and renewable alternative transportation fuel technologies – there are very few other choices that can generate the magnitude of wealth our economy needs to sustain its quest for environmental protection, economic stimulation – and defeat our reliance on foreign sources of oil, which is holding our international diplomacy hostage.

New Report Shows Recovery Act Supported 63,000 Clean Energy Jobs Last Quarter:
Sierra Club, January 13, 2010

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a new quarterly report highlighting the success of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act at creating jobs and fueling economic growth. The report, which includes analysis from outside economists, shows that the Recovery Act has saved or created  1.5 to 2 million jobs through last quarter. 63,000 clean energy jobs were created by the $5 billion (out of approximately $90 billion total) in clean energy investments spent under the Recovery Act so far. The report estimates that, in total, the Recovery Act's clean energy investments will create 719,600 job-years (one person employed for one year) through 2012.

And then...

In an effort to move 31 renewable energy and transmission projects into high gear, the Obama administration has put them on a fast track permitting process. But such deals, which would take place on federal lands, have some opposition -- and it's coming from those in green corners, who say that certain ones should be relocated.

Everyone still needs to work on connecting the energy security dot to national security.  If the goals for energy security do not become as important and reverent as the goals for national security, the environmental effects from the 3rd Persian Gulf War and resulting scale up of nuclear weapons in the Middle East may make the effects from Climate Change appear distant and miniscule.

Now it's time for President Obama’s first year progress report.  The parade of positive headlines say – nice first year – keep up the good work! The President should get three E’s for helping the United States get closer to achieving Economic, Environmental, and Energy Security and an A for effort.  And ethanol and next generation biofuels should get an A too for the sum of their parts E+E+E.

Survey Finds That Support for Cap-and-Trade Hinges on Economy

Investors Representing $13 Trillion Call for Climate Action Now

Obama Administration Awards $2.3 Billion for New Clean Technology Manufacturing JobsLabor Department Awards $155 Million to Support Green Jobs

Treasury, Energy Announce More Than $2 Billion in Recovery Act Tax Credits for Energy Manufacturers, Tax Credit Program Will Increase Economic Development, Promote Manufacturing of Clean Energy Equipment

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $100 Million in Green Jobs Training Grants Through Recovery Act

Michigan's climate action plan could result in 129,000 jobs

U.S. Labor Secretary Expects More Green Job Hiring

"Cash for Clunkers" Program Will Create or Save 42,000 Jobs in Second Half of Year

Obama Wants Worldwide End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $62.5 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Obama Administration Delivers More than $106 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in Nine States

Obama implores Senate to pass climate bill

And the seven month accomplishment list goes on and on below, but in the end...by other standards....

League of Conservation Voters Awards President Obama a B+ for First Year in Office

The House narrowly passed a major climate bill

Biofuels Could Cut Global Emissions by 80%:

New Study Shows Cars Running on Cellulosic E85 Have Lowest Carbon Emissions

President Obama Establishes Biofuels Interagency Working Group

U.S. Departments of Energy and Treasury Now Accepting Applications for Funding For Renewable Energy Projects

USDA's Farm Service Agency to Begin Accepting Applications for New Biomass Crop Assistance Program

Federal Funds for Energy Efficiency Set to Rise!

Obama Administration Announces Billions in Lending Authority for Renewable Energy Projects and to Modernize the Grid

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Awards for Up to $11 Million for New Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems

President Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness Month

Funding Up 3 Percent to $2.24 Billion for Renewables & Energy Efficiency in Fiscal Year 2010

Obama Presses Case for Renewable Energy

Novozymes Receives $28.4 Million Advanced Energy Tax Credit to Advance Biofuels Production and Create Jobs Read more

DOE Awards Nearly $80 Million for Advanced Biofuels Research and Fueling Infrastructure Read more

DOE Grants Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Partners $44 Million to Develop Algal Biofuels Read more

Army Corps of Engineers Grants Coventa Energy Corp. $1.5 Million to Develop Technology for Conversion of MSW to Diesel Fuel for Military Use Read more

USDA Undersecretary Tonsager to Address 4th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Biofuels Interagency Working Group

DOE to Award $187 Million to Improve Car and Truck Fuel Efficiency

DOE to Award $47 Million to Boost IT and Telecom Energy Efficiency

DOE Announces Additional Energy Efficiency Enforcement Action to Protect Consumers

DOE to Support Clean Energy Projects in Costa Rica and the Caribbean

President Obama Says 'Insulation Is Sexy'

EIA Energy Outlook Projects Moderate Growth in U.S. Energy Consumption, Greater Use of Renewables, and Reduced Oil and Natural Gas Imports

Energy Secretary Chu Pledges $350 Million Clean Technology Fund to Sweeten Deal at Copenhagen

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $100 Million for Advanced Research Projects:

Nine Swing Senate Democrats Lay Out Climate Goals for Obama

Obama Administration Announces More Than $600 Million Investment in 19 Advanced Biorefinery Projects - Private Company Investment Brings Total to Nearly $1.3 Billion:

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $620 Million for Smart Grid Demonstration and Energy Storage Projects

U.S. Department of Energy to Invest $18 Million in Small Business Clean Energy Innovation Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Signs Agreement for New Hydrogen Power Plant

Remarks by President Obama New National Fuel Efficiency Standards

Obama Administration Announces More than $38 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in Alaska, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia

National Outdoor Lighting Improvements Would Save $5.1 Billion Annually

New Economic Data Released on Clean Energy Legislation

Treasury, Energy Surpass $1 Billion Milestone in Recovery Act Awards for Clean Energy Projects

U.S. Energy Secretary Chu Announces $528 Million Loan for Advanced Vehicle Technology for Fisker Automotive

Secretary Chu Announces $144 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Transition to the Smart Grid

White House Clears Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

House OKs Green Vehicle Research Bill

$100 Million in Recovery Act Funds Go to 43 Transit Projects Chosen to Reduce Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

DOE Awards Up to $14.6 Million to Support Development of Advanced Water Power Technologies

DOE Launches New "H-Prize" Offers $1 Million for Improved Hydrogen Storage

Report Says Strong Copenhagen Deal Means Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Interior Department Launches Response Strategy to Addresses Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Lands and Oceans:

DOE to Fund up to $454 Million for Retrofit Ramp-Ups in Energy Efficiency Projects for Businesses and Homeowners

White House, Oil, Gas Industry Spar Over Taxes

On Energy, Obama Finds Broad Support - Poll Shows Backing for Reform Efforts, But Cap-and-Trade Bill Is Harder Sell

U.S. Department of Energy Selects Biofuels Projects to Receive up to $21 Million in Funding

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Missouri Conversion Facility First with Biomass Crop Assistance Program Producer Payments

EPA to Declare CO2 a Dangerous Pollutant

U.S. Department of Transportation Awards Contract to Prototype Solar Road Panels

Energy Secretary Chu Announces Completion of Critical Energy Conservation Appliance Standards

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces More Than $13 Million to Help Meet Country's Renewable Energy Needs

EPA Raises the Bar for Energy Star Televisions

Poll Shows Support for Energy Bill
Vice President Biden Announces Finalized $535 Million Loan Guarantee for Solar

Secretary Chu Announces Nearly $300 Million in Clean Cities Grants to Support Clean Fuels, Vehicles, and Infrastructure Development

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $6.4 Million for Solid-State Lighting Research

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Awards More Than $4.2 Million for Woody Biomass Utilization Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Sets Awards To Evaluate CO2 Storage Technology While U.S. EPA Seeks Comments on New Information About Sequestration

Obama Administration Delivers More than $101 Million for Weatherization Programs in Guam and Pennsylvania 

Obama Administration Awards More than $51 Million for State Energy Programs in Alaska, Guam and New Jersey 

U.S. Government Seeks to Limit Federal Energy Use

President Barack Obama's Grandmother Joins the 'Solar Generation' in Kenya

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $37 Million for Small Business Clean Energy Research and Technology

Clean Energy Patent Growth Reaches Record High

Companies Secure Nearly $200 Million for Projects in Advanced Clean Transportation Technologies

President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Grants to Accelerate the Manufacturing and Deployment of the Next Generation of U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles
U.S. Department of Energy Announces Recovery Act Funding of up to $5.5 million for Ethanol Blends Infrastructure and Outreach

DOE Secretary Chu Announces Up to $30 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Renewable Energy, Transmission Grid, and Advanced Biofuels Projects

Obama Administration Awards More than $162 Million for State Energy Programs in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding Available For Bioenergy Development And Production: 

Energy Secretary Chu Announces More Than $47 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Advance Smart Grid Development

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Policy Statement Seeks to Accelerate Deployment of Smart Grid Technology

U.S. Department of Energy Announces up to $52.5 Million for Concentrating Solar Power Research and Development
Geothermal Lease Sale Generates More Than $9 Million

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Announces Nearly $300 Million Rebate Program to Encourage Purchases of Energy Efficient Appliances

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $14 Million to Go to 28 New Wind Energy Projects - New DOE Study Shows U.S. Leads the World in Wind Energy Capacity

States Awash in Stimulus Money to Weatherize Homes

Recovery Act Announcement: Secretary Chu Announces More than $37 Million for Next Generation Lighting




November 14, 2009

Veterans Day 2009: Veterans, Persian Gulf Wars, and Energy Security

Freedom is not free: The price may be energy security.

I first learned about energy security, using oil as a diplomacy weapon, and alternative fuels from my father.  My father was a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp for the last 3 1/2 years of World War II.  He rarely talked about his experience as a POW, but one day he did take a moment to answer my juvenile and naïve question “Did you have any fun in prison camp, was it like Hogan’s Heroes?”  His response changed my life.  “We siphoned the fuel out of the Japanese trucks and drank it.”

Dad-AngelIsland My father went on to explain how the U.S. threatened Japan with an oil embargo in an effort to get them to side with us in World War II.  At that time the U.S. was the world’s largest oil producer.  Their answer to our threat was to bomb Pearl Harbor – which was the first oil related attack on U.S. soil.  Because the Japanese no longer had oil supplies from the U.S., and their allies did not have any either, they had to convert their Saki industry to fuel their domestic military fleet. They had to save whatever oil they could buy to fuel their planes and other military equipment that could not be replaced with ethanol (Germany used methanol).

My high school class was the first not to face a mandatory draft for military service in a generation or two. The visions of the Vietnam War on TV were still fresh in my mind, the price of gasoline doubled the year I got my drivers license, and being from a military family I had a sinking feeling that the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 was the prelude to the next military mission.  With a dreadful fear of boot camp, some family photos, and very selfsih desire to stay out of the next war, necessity drove me to search for the mother of all un-petroleum inventions. I started researching alternatives to oil with father’s conversation in mind.  In 1977 I presented my father with my future plan based on his POW story.  At first he did not share my optimism about alcohol fuels and my American [day] Dream. He said “The United States Congress does not have the optical will and private industry does not have a genuine interest in changing status quo. 99% of the people don’t care – because they don’t know – and there are few leaders with the courage or enough money to tell them different.”  I spent the next 30 years proving him right.

Dad-MugshotI sincerely believe we are in a longer term war over oil.  It is becoming increasing clear every day since we did not find weapons of mass destruction and Sadam Hussein’s trail ended that our involvement in the Middle East may be less complex than it appears on the surface.  Some may disagree with my view that that Persian Gulf Wars I, II and II, and the Global War on Terror have everything to do with oil, but most may agree oil accounts for at  least 50% of our mission and can be rated as one of the top two reasons.

But the next 30 years are going to be different!  Times are changing and political will is growing stronger.  We have a renewable fuel standard and there are more democratic and republican leaders everyday that have the courage to tell Americans they are addicted to oil and it’s time for intervention.  The internet and blogs, in combination with the growing number of countries that respect democracy, education, and the freedom of speech will help people find the truth about oil.  In the meantime, our military fights every hour of every day to selflessly protect democracy, capitalism, the world economy and the pursuit of liberty for all – even if one of the root causes is oil.  The next time you fill up with gasoline, even if it is only 10% ethanol, stand tall and know that Americans have been heard, the challenge is being met, and our true national leaders are rising to the occasion.

Dad-Flags The next time you feel like you need a good God Bless America find some E85 and put it in your FFV as your personal effort to acknowledge our energy security mission and hopefully bring the troops home one day -- and God bless you if one of them is yours.  The people who think “business isn’t personal” obviously don’t know anything about the energy  business and energy security.

On Veterans Day I went to Arlington Cemetery to place a flag on my father’s grave. I could not help but notice the rows in Section 60 were growing with Persian Gulf War veterans. As the rows move east the birthdates change from the 1920’s to the 1980’s.  World War II, Vietnam, and Korea are replaced with Operation Desert Storm (Second Persian Gulf War), Operation Iraq Freedom (Third Persian Gulf War) Operation Enduring Freedom (War in Afghanistan).  The memorial for Operation Ultimate Justice (Global War on Terror) is across the street at the Pentagon.

Section 60 Veterans Day 2009 lead me down a path that filled with three generations of conflicts over oil and back to that conversation that changed my life.  Take a moment to talk to a veteran about war and oil – it might just change your life too – and maybe even change your mind about the next type of car you buy.

God Bless America and our troops that protect her.

Some recommended reading to learn more about Energy Security. 

1. Winning the Oil Endgame, by Amory B. Lovins, published by the Rocky Mountain Institute in cooperation with the Department of Defense.
2. Freedom from Oil, David Sandalow, published by McGraw Hill.
3. Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Imported Petroleum, by Michael Klare, published by Henry Holt and Company (an Owl Book)
4. Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century, by Gal Luft and Anne Korin, published by Praeger Security International.
5. Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak, by Kenneth S. Deffeyes, published by Hill and Wang (a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
6. Turning Oil Into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice, Anne Korin, Gal Luft, published by BookSurge Publishing
7. Energy Victory, by Robert Zubrin, published by Prometheus Books
8. Over a Barrel: Breaking the Middle East Oil Cartel, by Raymond J. Learsy, published by Nelson Current
9. Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy by Matthew R. Simmons, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
10. The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World, by Paul Roberts, published by Houghton Mifflin Company (A Mariner Book).
11. The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and The Coming Global Financial Catastrophe, by Jeremy Leggett, published by Random House
12. The Plan: How To Rescue Society When The Oil Stops – Or The Day Before, by Edwin Black, published by Dialog Press
13. Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, by Peter Maass, published by Alfred A. Knoff (Random House)


October 17, 2008

Energy Security: What is it and Where Can I Buy Some?

Happy Anniversary? There is Some Good News...

Today is the 35th anniversary of the 1973 Arab oil embargo.  The United States uses 15% more oil today as net imports have increased from 35% to 57%.  Our oil addicted nation now imports three times as much oil from Persian Gulf nations and oil imports account for almost half of the U.S. trade deficit in 2008. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, for the first eight months of 2008, net petroleum imports totaled $281.14 billion dollars (or $421.71 billion/year if that level is maintained over a 12-month period).

OPEC Net Oil Export Revenues Exceed $1 Trillion in 2008

Thirty five years later we have finally witnessed the convergence of energy, economic, environmental, national security at the top of the national political agenda. These issues  have always been intricately linked and connected to your personal security and economic freedom. So what is energy security worth?  Unlike greenhouse gas caps, credits, and trading which spur environmental security gains, energy security gains still do not translate into dollars per gallon at the pump for domestically produced alternative fuels.

We insure our bodies, cars, houses, boats, motorcycles, and even our pets against possible harm and misfortune.  We pay extra for quality products that we see as improved or that exceed our minimum expectations (e.g., cars, TVs, Starbucks, vodka, spring water, organic food, and premium gasoline).  When will you demand and pay for energy security? Never, if you think you it’s not a problem.  What do you think?  Not sure?  Please read on and let me know what you think.

Since Sept 11, 2001 it appears oil prices just kept rising. Until our recent economic woes set in.


What is Energy Security?

"American energy policy has been focused on a narrow definition of energy security that strived to ensure sufficient supplies at affordable prices. This has translated into policies promoting diversification in supplies of oil and natural gas, with little emphasis on energy alternatives. A policy that relies on a finite resource concentrated in a few countries is doomed to failure. Our long-term security and prosperity require sufficient, affordable, clean, reliable, and sustainable energy.” U.S. Energy Security – A New Realism, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) speech to the Brookings Institution on March 13, 2006

Energy Security is National Security

"Energy security impacts every aspect of life in the United States, from the cars we drive and how much we pay at the gas pump to our vulnerability to foreign terrorism and our relationships with other countries. Many of the countries that export oil have unstable or hostile governments that threaten American national security. By buying oil from these countries instead of developing domestic fuels, we support governments that are repressive to their own citizens and potentially dangerous to the American people."  -- Energy Security IS National Security, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

"The national security risk posed by our oil dependence requires fundamental change and a long-term serious commitment. You just can't call 1-800-dial-the-military." General Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.) Former Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command

"America's dependence on oil makes vulnerable the country's economic and military security and our nation must finally address this fundamental risk. As co-Chair of the Energy Security Leadership Council, I am completely committed to actively working with this diverse group of fellow business leaders to make the case for an aggressive, comprehensive policy to improve energy security." --
Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO, FedEx Corp. (co-Chair) Energy Security Council

But in the interests of our national security, our climate, and our pocketbooks we should now move together as a nation – indeed as a community of oil importer nations – to destroy, not oil of course, but oil’s strategic role in transportation as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. April 18, 2007, Testimony of R. James Woolsey (former Director of the CIA) U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Hearings on Geopolitical Implications of Rising Oil Dependence and Global Warming

What are we paying for not having energy security?

How much do we really pay for oil and gasoline? - Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS)

Energy Security is about Terrorism and Geopolitical Stability: "Since the industrial revolution the geopolitics of energy – who supplies it, and securing reliable access to those supplies – have been a driving factor in global prosperity and security. Over the coming decades, energy politics will determine the survival of the planet." -- January 2008 Carlos Pascual, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy , The Brookings Institution

"The wealth produced by oil underlies the power of the three totalitarian movements in the Middle East that have chosen to make war on us: the ruling Iraqi Baathists and Iranian mullahs, and al Qaeda, which was spawned by Saudi money. [..] We are at war. We should start by asking what we can do, as soon as possible, to undercut our enemies' power. Other considerations should now follow, not lead. [..] If we do not act now, we will leave major levers over our fate in the hands of regimes that have attacked us or have fallen under the sway of fanatics who spread hatred of the U.S., and indeed of freedom itself. [..] For all of them, their power derives from their oil. It is time to break their sword." - R. James Woolsey, CIA Director, 1993-95, Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2002

Energy Security: What is the Problem?

The Truth About Oil: Supply, Demand, Alternatives, Proven Reserves, and Geopolitics
The United States has 3% of the world’s oil. 14 of the top 20 oil companies in the world are government-owned.  90% of the world’s known oil reserves are controlled by those government owned oil companies. 50% of the oil reserves are owned by countries without democracies or free market economies. Oil demand is expected to increase by 50% by 2030. We need to find two new friendly democratic Saudi Arabia’s to make up for that new demand - Flexible Fuel Vehicle Club of America

Energy Security Is Peak Oil

M. King Hubbert conceived of Peak Oil in 1938. In 1956, he predicted that U.S. production would peak and begin declining in 1969. It actually occurred in 1970.  – Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas

All the easy oil and gas in the world has pretty much been found. Now comes the harder work in finding and producing oil from more challenging environments and work areas.
William J. Cummings, Exxon-Mobil company spokesman, December 2005

"U.S. oil production peaked in 1970 and has been in decline ever since. The same happened in the U.K., Norway, Indonesia and Mexico, to name a few. In 2005 the Swedish Royal Academy noted that 54 out of 65 of the largest oil producing countries were in decline, so it is not difficult to comprehend that world oil production will decline before long." -- Dr. Robert L. Hirsh, past chairman of the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems at The National Academies and lead author of the “The Hirsch Report” — formally known as Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management — sponsored by the Department of Energy.

Let’s stop the attacks on ethanol. Ethanol production today is on par with imports from three OPEC nation’s -- Joe Petrowski – Gulf Oil CEO, July 11, 2008

"With the embargo now a distant memory for many, we are still learning more about its lessons for America’s current dependence on foreign oil." -- Jay Hakes A Declaration of Energy Independence: How Freedom from Foreign Oil Can Improve National Security, Our Economy, and the Environment

That was then is now?

Are We Ready for the Next Oil Shock? The Washington Post, August 11, 2006, Frederick W. Smith and P.X. Kelley Energy Security Leadership Council Co-Chairs

July 23, 2008 -- The House voted 414-0 Wednesday to require the intelligence community to study the links between high energy prices and national security.  Under the legislation (HR 6545), the director of national intelligence would write a national intelligence assessment on topics such as the national security ramifications of Venezuela, Iran, or other oil-rich countries using their resources to put pressure on U.S. policy. House Calls for Intelligence Study of How Energy Prices Affect Security.  --  Tim Starks, Congressional Quarterly

September 9, 2008 -- Crude oil prices fell below the critical $100 a barrel level on Tuesday for the first time since April as hurricane Ike shifted its course away from the Gulf of Mexico and traders bet OPEC would leave production unchanged.Since jumping to an all-time high of $147.27 last July, the combination of the slowdown in the global economy, which is damping oil demand, and higher production from the OPEC oil cartel have brought down oil prices 30 per cent. Crude prices fall below $100 mark

Sept 10, 2008 -- OPEC has surprised the markets by agreeing to abide by the production limit it had set for its members in September 2007. The cartel views the market as oversupplied. Carola Hoyos in Vienna and Javier Blas in London, Financial Times

September 11, 2008 – 85 Percent of July Trade Deficit Caused by Imported Oil  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, reported that Americans spent $52.8 billion on imported petroleum in July, twice the amount from a year earlier, and representing 85 percent of the month’s $62.2 billion trade deficit. During the period January–July, 2008, the United States has imported petroleum products valued at $276,905,841,000.

Where is the Oil and Who Owns it?\

The world's oil wealth is concentrated in a relatively few countries. 4 of the 5 nations with the largest oil reserves are in the Middle East -- Saudi Arabia at 267 billion barrels (1973) -- Iran at 133 billion barrels (1979) -- Iraq at 115 billion barrels (today) -- Kuwait at 104 billion barrels (1990).  Canada is 4th because of oil shale reserves. Oil reserves are also large in the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Russia, Libya and Nigeria. Adding Canda to these countries to the big five producers raises the total to 86 percent of world reserves.

Do the countries above look familiar?

                 Major Disruptions of World Oil Supply


Source U.S. Department of Energy

Are the World's Oil Reserves in the Hands of Democracy?

Nearly 50% of the worlds oil supplies are in countries categorized as “mostly unfree or Repressed”  Just 3 of the 30 countries that control nearly all of the world's oil wealth score highly enough on The Heritage Foundation, 2006 Index of Economic Freedom to be categorized as free—the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. These countries rely on private companies to run their energy industries, but they have only 16 percent of world reserves, almost 90 percent of it in Canada. The United States passed its production peak in the 1970s, and the United Kingdom may have done so recently. Neither is likely to add much to conventional world oil supplies. -- Vol. 1, No. 4, April 2006, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Running on Empty? How Economic Freedom Affects Oil Supplies, by Stephen P. A. Brown and Richard Alm.

Energy Security Risks are not Restricted to our Borders

In the aftermath of Russia’s incursion into Georgia, U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar is embarking on a two-week, nine-nation mission that focuses on the trans-Atlantic alliance’s energy security. Lugar will meet with officials in France, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Germany, and at NATO and EU headquarters in Brussels.

It is time for the trans-Atlantic community to establish a credible energy security strategy that diversifies energy sources for all Europe, establishes a collective framework to work with Russia, and refuses to tolerate the use of energy as an instrument of coercion,”

“The absence of a collective energy security strategy will lead to greater fragmentation among European nations and across the Atlantic.  This fragmentation will not be exclusive to energy policy; it may also detrimentally impact our ability to act upon shared security and economic issues,” – Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) April 15, 2008

"The recent conflict taking place in Georgia, however, is prompting fear among some. While Georgia is not a significant oil and gas producer, it is centrally located and has become a launching pad to transport those commodities to Europe. Indeed, the 1,100 mile Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline circumvents both Russia and Iran and is used to supply about 1 percent of the world's daily oil needs. The line, long a contention between Russia and Georgia, has not been damaged during the battle. But Russian-led Georgian separatists have threatened to sabotage it. For Russia, control of Georgia and the pipeline would restore much of its influence over many of the former satellites of the U.S.S.R.," says James Williams, publisher of the Energy Economist newsletter, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "It would have the clear benefit of increasing Russia's energy chokehold on Europe." -- Russia's Rise, Ken Silverstein, August 20, 2008, EnergyBiz Insider

Your Energy Security is Blowing in the Wind

"The storm slammed into Galveston, Texas, early Saturday and plowed across much of U.S. oil producing country in the process. Initial reports from oil refiners in Texas and Louisiana were encouraging. Most of the 14 refineries shut down in advance of Hurricane Ike — nearly 20 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity — could reopen by week’s end, several firms said. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources reported that the basic infrastructure of that state’s oil and gas industry appears to have weathered the storm “with almost no damage.”  Preliminary surveys suggested that a number of production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico may have been destroyed, however.  The Department of Energy said Sunday it released a 309,000 barrels of crude oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to stave off any shortages at refineries caused by Ike or the earlier Hurricane Gustav.  Gasoline prices spiked nevertheless, climbing over $4 per gallon in several states Monday. President Bush said over the weekend that the Federal Trade Commission and Energy Department will keep close watch to ensure that consumers are not being gouged at the pump in the wake of the hurricane.  -- Energy Picture Grows More Complex In Wake Of Ike, Sept. 15, 2008 Adrianne Kroepsch

Americans Spent Ten Times as Much on Oil Imports in June Than Was Invested in All New U.S. Ethanol Producing Capacity Last Year: U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, (R-IN), August 12, 2008

In 2007, the Air Force spent $8 billion on fuel.  For every $10 increase on a barrel of oil, U.S. taxpayers must pay an additional $600 million.

Which Energy Security Weapons of Mass Construction do we Have to Fight Back With?

There are no magic beans.  Will we drill more oil (with 3% of the world’s oil?), use more coal, use more nuclear, use less, tax more, or wait for people to buy smaller cars and ride their bikes or take metro to newly designed cities – or continue down the path of improving biofuel production?  Right now, considering our drive don’t drive options, and for the immediate future it appears ethanol is the only significant weapon we have to fight oil imports.  We simply do not have the cars or the refueling infrastructure to make a significant difference with any of the other options (hybrid, plug-in, natural gas, electric, hydrogen) because it takes 17 years to turn the fleet over and possible longer considering the economy.  But we are making progress on both fronts.

U.S. Gasoline Demand Drops for 23rd Week, MasterCard Says

U.S. Ethanol Production To Surpass Middle East Oil Imports

The net imports of the world’s biggest consumer are expected to fall between now and 2030, ending what has been an almost relentless 30-year climb in the use of foreign oil and a fall in domestic production. In 2006, George W. Bush said in his State of the Union speech that America was “addicted to oil” – often imported from unstable parts of the world – and said he would work to address.  Guy Caruso, head of the US Energy Information Administration, said that that trend was set to continue as people adjusted to high oil prices and the impact of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which became law in December 2007, was felt. “The 1970s is the last time we saw any significant decline in net import dependency in the US. It shows that markets do work, policy changes do work, technology does work,” Mr Caruso said.

Are Alternative Fuels Like E85 Working? In some places E85 is Outselling Premium.

"For the month of August 2008, E85 sales in Minnesota were estimated at 2.1 million gallons - approximately 7% more than was sold a year prior in August 2007.  At an average price of $2.95 per gallon, E85 was 67 cents less than the average price of 87 octane gasoline in the state during the month of August.  For the period of January through August 2008, E85 sales were up more than 14% over the same period in 2007.  For the fourth month in a row gasoline sales in Minnesota fell - more than 11 million gallons or 4% in August, compared with August 2007 sales."  -- Kelly Marczak, Director, Minnesota Clean Air Choice Team, Clean Fuel & Vehicle Technologies, American Lung Association of Minnesota CleanAirChoice.org

After hurricanes Gustav and Ike, E85 was available to gasoline marketers and consumers in Atlanta after gasoline pipelines started to run dry. (PDF)Download e85_atlanta_biofuels_market_alert_100108.pdf

E85 Stations Exceed 1,800: Up 28% in One Year. "Only 7 states do not offer E85: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Alaska and Hawaii." - National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, October 13, 2008

Poll Says 74% of Americans Think T. Boone Pickens' Energy Plan Can Work:
RenewableEnergyWorld.com, August 18, 2008

In a new national Sacred Heart University Poll, 74.0% of Americans said it was very or somewhat possible that the 10-year energy independence plan proposed by Texas oilman, T. Boone Pickens, could be accomplished. Pickens is running advertising touting his plan to use American ingenuity along with solar and wind energy as well as bio-fuels to cut dependence on foreign oil in 10 years. Only 14.4% of those surveyed indicated the plan was somewhat impossible or not at all possible to accomplish and 11.6% were unsure.

What happens if we don’t improve energy security?

Its getting worse and there is a tremendous economic opportunity left on the table of chance. It's not about what we have, it is about what we could have had, and what we might just get.

"Shock Wave" brings together a distinguished group of experts in energy, economics, the military, intelligence, politics, and foreign relations to explore the delicate balance between the supply of oil, increasing international demand, and the global political situation. At the center of the documentary is the ground-breaking war game "Oil ShockWave," a crisis simulation developed by Securing America's Future Energy and the National Commission on Energy Policy that asks the question: What would happen if events around the world stopped the flow of even a small amount of oil? The stimulation is led by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, with a group including former Senator Don Nickles; James Woolsey, former CIA director; Richard Haas president of the Council on Foreign Relations; and others.

Where Can you Learn More About Energy Security?

Clean Fuels Development Coalition Energy Security Issue Brief

2007 National Summit on Energy Security with Senator Richard G. Lugar

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Security

Congressional Record Search "Energy Security" and HR 3416 — America's Energy Security Trust Fund Act of 2007

The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) Journal of Energy Security

Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas

The Energy Security for American Families Initiative

Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) and its Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC) hold a news conference to release "A National Strategy for Energy Security, an innovative, comprehensive set of solutions to the myriad problems posed by America's dependence on oil."

Google “Energy Security”

March 27, 2008

$4 gasoline and 4,000 troops: The Not So -- Hidden Costs of Oil

The Hidden Cost of Oil

A tribute to Milton Copulos (1947-2008).

Milton Copulos was a Vietnam war hero, a colleague in the fight for the development of alternative fuels, an advocate of ethanol and biofuels, and an energy security visionary. His work through the National Defense Council Foundation  on the “Hidden Costs of Oil” will always remain a very thoughtful analysis that will help consumers quantify what they are really paying for gasoline when the multitude of indirect costs that do not appear at the pump are added.

Elements of the “Hidden Cost of Oil” include:

  • The Cost of Oil-Related Defense Expenditures.
  • The Loss Current Economic Activity Due to Capital Outflow.
  • The Loss of Domestic Investment.
  • The Loss of Government Revenues.
  • The Cost of Period Oil Supply Disruptions.

When combined, these “hidden” elements amounted to consumers paying over $5 per gallon of gasoline and the economy taking a $825 BILLION annual loss – in 2006!  Those costs are no longer hidden as they are appearing on retail gasoline signs along our highways and in our national headlines.  Consumers are paying much for gasoline then they know or may care to admit.

Mr. Copulos’ The Hidden Cost of Oil: an Update and America's Achilles Heel, The Hidden Cost of Imported Oil, his testimony before Congress, and a National Security briefing he prepared for then Texas Governor George Bush can all be found on the homepage of the National Defense Council Foundation at www.ndcf.org.

"You are a warrior for freedom, I appreciate your relentless drive to work for the betterment of all mankind" Then-Governor George W. Bush