Why Pricey Oil Is Good For Us

The Brits now plan on building lots of nuclear power plants, and Silicon Valley has produced a really cheap solar cell. So in 15 years oil will just be a chemical feedstock, and the world will be much safer.

To avoid becoming a client state of the Russians, Gordon Brown has finally bitten the bullet:

A new generation of nuclear power stations will be encouraged to supply unlimited amounts of electricity to the national grid, The Times has learnt.

The Cabinet will give the go-ahead for the new building programme today and John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will announce the decision on Thursday.

He will pave the way for the nuclear industry to play a much bigger part in meeting Britain’s energy needs by making plain that there will be no limit on the amount of electricity it can supply to the grid.

Nuclear waste can be safely disposed of by vitrification then burying deep underground in areas which are radioactive anyway. Or the Brits could use it rebuild their stockpile of bomb grade plutonium – it’s bound to come in handy.

Until we get fusion power, fission reactors and coal are our only viable options for base load. The forests of subsidized windmills and wave machines only provide power when the wind blows or the sea gets rough, and base load power fills in the gaps for the other 60% of the time.

Even better news for us in Southern Europe, plus most of the US, Australia, New Zealand, and India – solar just got really cheap (my emphasis):

…this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality.

The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute.

With backing from Google’s founders and $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, Nanosolar’s first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year.

We plan on being early adopters for this, since combined with heat pumps it makes us almost grid-independent.

Oil used for transportation is on its way out too, since within 10 years someone will produce a decent electric car

Here are the world’s top 10 oil exporters:

1. Saudi Arabia

2. Russia

3. Norway

4. United Arab Emirates

5. Iran

6. Venezuela

7. Canada

8. Mexico

9. Kuwait

10. United Kingdom

By 2020, the Anglosphere and Norway and their free allies will no longer import oil and be using their own to make iPods, starships, and so on.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, UAR, Venezuela, Iran, and Kuwait will then either have to work for a living, or revert from modestly rich hellholes to desperately poor ones. With luck the people will chuck out their despotic rulers and join us in the sun.

That leaves the Mexicans, but they just have to give up their fixation with socialism.

Historians will thus see the past 30 years as a brief window in which, through the accident of oil, repressive and backward creeds gained power and population over creative societies of free men and women.

Now we just have to survive the next 15 years.

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4 Responses to Why Pricey Oil Is Good For Us

  1. Jeff Crump says:

    At about $125USD shale oil becomes economical and Colorado becomes the new Saudia Arabia.

  2. gandalf says:

    Jeff

    If we added up all the peripheral costs of Saudi oil – including keeping thr Saudi princes in business, 9/11, and securing the tanker routes – the kingdom’s oil would already come out way above $125.

    Whereas $125 Colorado oil has minimal transportation costs, zero security costs, and a huge positive impact on the US balance of trade.

    What’s not to like?

  3. Jeff Crump says:

    Grandalf,

    The only thing that really stands in the way is that the lift cost of extracting Saudi oil is around $15USD per barrel (I think). If there is a significant competitive threat the OPEC countries could drop the price, reducing their margin but still making a huge profit, whereas the extraction cost of shale oil wont fall until a significant investment in plant and equipment has been made.

    Luckily the OPEC countries seem hell-bent on bringing market pressures against their high priced commodity.

    Jeff

  4. Heat Pump says:

    An incredible amount of money is being made from oil and this is stopping real developments being pursued in terms of renewable energy. With the right sort of investment amazing things can be achieved, just look at the MIT students and their durable paper solar cells.

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