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More oil from old wells and more electricity from the wind

Crude prices have fallen from their record levels. Apparently the wise folk on Wall Street now think Turkey will not attack ther Kurdish area of Iraq.

Crude prices have fallen from their record levels. Apparently the wise folk on Wall Street now think Turkey will not attack ther Kurdish area of Iraq. Still, crude prices are in the $85 range and many renewable energy prodeucers think they can compete as long as oil is above $50 per barrel.

That said a start-up wind energy fimr just ordered $350-million worth of wind turbines from General Electric. Third Planet Windpower will place these on windmills in Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming starting in 2009. Here's what the wind folks say on their website about their new company, "Third Planet Windpower (TPW) was established in 2006 to develop, acquire, own and operate a diversified portfolio of wind generation assets. The company has 20 projects under development, comprising more than 7,500 megawatts."

Their press release goes on to give a big green kiss to GE, "GE's wind turbine technology is a key element of ecomagination, the GE corporate-wide initiative to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water." now that's some of that marketing NoImpactMan was dreaming about, I guess.

TWP, as I now know them, also deals with one major environmental complaint against wind farms: the slicing and dicing of flying critters. As a birder I actually care about these things. TWP claims in their FAQ section that their turbines will be carefully placed with concern for flying animals.

An interesting aspect of this GE contract. A lot of the work will be done in the U.S. I don't often find much evidence of trickle down economics. But in this specific case the folks in the Carolinas can be pleased. Two factories there will be busy making the 167 turbines for TWP. Old Oil Wells Renewed?

For those folk still making a living in the oil biz, there may be good news from a Dutch researcher. He says hydrophobic gels can help get the oil out of the apparently defunct wells.

First, let's clarify that this gel has nothing to do with rabies of any kind. Secondly, what it does do is form a barrier between the water and petroleum molecules, making the separation easier. In many old oil wells the mix of water and oil creates an economic barrier to extraction and refining by making the processing of the crude so complex and expensive.