Future Energy Source: Coal

In an article in La Repubblica 27 April 2005, Vittorio Mincato, the CEO of ENI {Italian conglomerate} supported the idea of natural gas as a source of energy to feed the electricity generating stations. In reply to the proposal of Paolo Scaroni, CEO of ENEL {State Electricity company} to use coal as an energy source, Mincato said: The main road to follow to meet the limits set down by the Kyoto agreement … is the substitution of coal and oil with natural gas” … “Every time this topic is discussed people claim it’s scandalous, but natural gas is the only way ahead. It isn’t the way defined by politics or by opinion, but it’s the way that physics teaches us: for the same energy produced by gas, there’s a lower level of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. “

Those who support coal, state that it is the most economical fuel (defined by whom?) and that the cost of electrical energy in Italy is the highest in Europe. And yet it doesn’t look like that if we look at the chart shown here. In this, Italy comes after Portugal, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.


Source: International Energy Agency

Every year 10 thousand Chinese people die each year extracting coal. (Is this why it is so economical?) And by burning it in our electricity generating stations gives us an increase in the emissions of carbon dioxide and prevents us from meeting the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol: we have to pay enormous fines through our taxes as opposed to paying through the electricity bills (which would be fairer)

The Italian State, that is us, is paying really high prices for “emissions trading” with States that pollute less, so that we can pollute more.

What hasn’t been mentioned is that in fact it wouldn’t be necessary to have new electricity generating stations, if serious energy saving policies were put in place. By using alternative sources of energy (wind, solar, biomass etc) and with energy-saving technology for end-users we could save 45% of our energy consumption.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 01:34 PM in | Comments (11)
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Interesting ...

Posted by: Andrea Batazzi | February 9, 2007 09:23 AM

I think hydrogen cars are just the the oils companies way of keeping their market, if a reasoanble electric alternative was offered where would you go to fillup, at home of course so no more need for 1000's of petrol stations and the shells and BPs of this world suddenly drop not only out of the top ten of the fortune 500 but probably right out of the listing all together. Electricity can be made cheaper and by natural methods (though I do not rule out Nuclear), it is already distributed so does not cost to increase distribution and every one has access. Someone point me to a critical independant discussion of the pros and cons of H2 cars but it will have to be convincing to change my mind.

Posted by: richard smart | April 3, 2006 11:29 PM

Good Morning: Could someone please explain why the Italians are so far behind in engergy matters. They were late with unleaded gas; they have the potnetial for alternate energies wine solar, wind, wave, alt fuels but they do nothing. In the USA we are not perfet but some states provide grants for converting private residences to total solar electric that not only meets the family needs but also can be sold back to the electric company.
It is a shame- Italy has shuch a beautiful history, land, culture etc but no one ther is proud of it, no one there wants to protect it.

Posted by: victor raimo | February 4, 2006 02:49 PM

Before we all go crazy be mindful that the technolgies exist to lessen our addiction to oil.
The vast use of oil is for heating home and diesel applications- vegetable oil can be used in its place.
The technolgy existis to harness the sun either for heating water or providing domestic electric service. These units are readily for sale at many home improvement centers in the USA and some states are funding individual/ home converssion to solar power. What is missing is the political will to make this happen on a national scale.

Posted by: victor raimo | January 3, 2006 03:09 PM

The Oil War Now and Tomorrow

While much time and discussions ware spent on finding reasons for the invasion of Iraq, one of the clearest strategic reason for the USA to attack Iraq in 2003 was securing future oil supplies. The proposed reasons (links with Al-Qaeda, threats to other countries, the WMD) have all been refuted or, at least, shown to be seriously flawed. The world consumes about 30 billion barrels of oil per year with a global reserve (including all possible future discoveries) of about the remaining 1000 billion barrels. Neglecting increases of consumption there is oil until maximal 2038. The USA has about 25 billion barrels reserves while consuming about 7.5 billion barrels per year. Around 2010 more than 50% of the world’s oil production will come from OPEC (reserve of about 500 billion barrels) and with other major supplies also being in unstable areas - eg. Venezuela (reserve of about 40 billion barrels), Russia (reserve of about 90 billion barrels)- there is a great fear that the USA could be held to ransom in the future, especially since it uses far more oil than any other country. It is not unusual in the history for countries to strategically go to war to secure something that they absolutely need and do not have. The industrial civilisation is extremely depended on oil and alternative energy sources or nuclear fusion even in its modernst design (ITER) will not be able to replace oil in a near future (30 years). USA and Europe would have not worried to liberate Kuwait (58 billion barrels), or invade Iraq (71 billion barrels), if did not have together 129 billion barrels oil reserves. It is probable that there will be many more wars for oil in the first decades of the 21th Century. There are four countries which will decide future wars: Europe (EU), Russia, China and the USA. Europe has high energy use but its federal structure may not be strong enough to use its armed forces to secure oil supplies. Russia has the advantage of having its own large reserves of oil and gas (about 90 billion barrels), and its military will probably be concerned with stopping others getting access to it, rather than obtaining other countries' resources. China does not, as yet, require large amounts of energy and its future attitude could depend on how it could restrict the growth in energy needs. The USA is the key player: it is not only the highest energy consumer in the world, it has the strongest military forces, but, unlike the other three, it has no land access to the two largest oil and gas sources – the Middle East and the Caspian region. Transporting oil and gas by sea is a very vulnerable method of supply. It is much easier to replace a length of oil pipeline than an oil tanker. It is easier to bury a pipeline underground than to design a submersible tanker. This vulnerability will make USA likely to be centre stage in future wars.

Posted by: Andrea Galli | January 2, 2006 02:29 PM

Hi there, I hope we forget coal and all old fuels and concentrate on solar, wind, hydro (tidal also) and Hydrogen. The use of hybrid cars in the US and Canada and the geewiz (geewhiz?) electric car in Europe r great! I am new in Nice and hoping to meet friends, pls write me:


Steve, Cagnes sur Mer

Posted by: Steve | December 26, 2005 07:27 PM

Mr Mattei, the President of ENI, was murdered many years ago by Italian secret services because he wanted to supply Italy of freedom with natural gas.
Obviously, every time someone defends the same ideas that Mattei supported all 7 sisters get worried.
Riches don't want that people get free and the energy is a weapon against who need it.
Italians need to fight against riches, because they always get rich killing someone else's life.

Posted by: Lorenzo Funaro | November 23, 2005 04:51 PM

All this is only about power! Technologies to replace an economy based on the oil are there since ages, and if they are not one can invest in reaserch and find them. And then, let's be serious, the engine of the cars everybody of us use it is based on a project, which date back to the 19th century!!! Do you really believe that since than, no other technology could be developed to move ahead a fucking car??? So, the point is not about technologies but power (and money, of course!!). The power of the big oil companies, the power of politician who invest money in those companies (not difficult to think to someone!!!), the power of financial institution, which base their business on oil. I mean, wars have been made just to control countries that have large oil fields. So, do you really think that they will intentionally switch from an oil economy to a hydrogen/water or whatevere else economy? No, it will never happen, at least not silently and peaceully. Big changes in whole human history always happened during/after big catastrophies. Didn't we probably change from the old coal economy to the oil one, during/after WWII? Well, it will happen again. Don't know yet what, how, when, but we will surely change only following some sort of big catastrophy.

The dusk is close!

Posted by: Fabio D'Agostino | November 22, 2005 06:28 PM

This is cool, you have to try it. I guessed 85225, and this game guessed it! See it here - http://www.funbrain.com/guess/

Posted by: Allison Trump | November 16, 2005 10:15 PM

I am afraid but the situation is much worse than one where we have to choose one source of energy v/s another.
I got hold of a movie / documentary titled "The End of Suburbia". Perhaps I've been dreaming until recently, but I've blown away by the possible consequences of what was the depicted in it.
We are running out of oil, fast.
There's no replacement and no time, with the current levels of use, to find alternatives via technology that will support the way we live.
Since the end of WW2, the western world has counted on a cheap, abundant supply of energy to spread what was supposed to be "country living" to the masses.
Once that's gone, not only we won't have those asparagus from Chile in our supermarkets or Italian mineral water in Australia.
There won't be food on our tables because there won't be trucks to carry it, reliable roads for the trucks nor there will be fertilizers to squeeze vegetables from the depleted soil.

Good luck to us all !

(Way to go Beppe)

Posted by: Dario | November 10, 2005 09:46 PM

"You know what this is, you know what
we're seeing here? We're seeing the end
of Western civilization as we know it."
(Greg Kinnear in You've got mail)

He was right!
now what?
back to the coal century?

shouldn't it be the other way around?

powerful people think they can just go on destroying the planet.
we are one of the endangered species fighting for our lives.

who is gonna help us if we don't do it?

Posted by: Emiliana Di Carlo | October 11, 2005 03:19 PM

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