Sunday, April 28, 2013

Is your community ready for the net-energy cliff? We are moving faster toward it

Peak oil isn’t dead: An interview with Chris Nelder: "And there’s a turning point on this — it’s called the “net energy cliff.” When the ratio of energy output to energy input gets down to about 6, then you fall off this cliff, and it’s just not worth doing. In the early days of oil production, that ratio was about 100 to 1. Globally, right now, it’s approaching 11 to 1. And it’s even lower for some newer sources. The return on investment for heavy oil from the Kern River field in California is about 4 to 1.
The point is that the net energy available to society has been declining radically. Researchers have done a number of papers on this. If you want to run a society, your net energy for oil production has to be at least 5. And if you want to run a modern complex society, with televisions, iPads, highly advanced medicine, etc., then you probably need an EROI closer to 10. So it’s reaching the point where we’re in the danger zone."

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