Oil shale and solar status
Update: Shell’s in-situ R&D
Update 2: One description of the process, with attendant energy costs.
Update 3: Then of course the Oil Drum analysis takes time to read.
Update 4: Vtcodger sends this cool link giving us some history, geology, and current synopsis of processes at extraction. Update 2 describes Shell’s attempts in more detail.
The Rocky Mountain News reports on oil shale development moratorium from last May:
The Senate Appropriations Committee today narrowly defeated Sen. Wayne Allard’s attempt to end a moratorium related to oil shale development in Colorado.
It was a big day for Colorado energy issues on Capitol Hill as Gov. Bill Ritter testified before a senate committee asking lawmakers to move cautiously on oil-shale development until more is known about the environmental impact and other issues.
Meanwhile downstairs, the appropriations committee was considering a massive Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill. Allard, a member of the committee, attempted to insert an amendment that would reverse the moratorium that lawmakers approved late last year.
The moratorium prevents the Department of Interior from issuing regulations so that oil companies can move forward on oil-shale projects in Colorado and Utah. Allard said the moratorium has left uncertainties at a time when companies need to move forward and in the long term make the United States more energy independent.
“If we are really serious about reducing pain at the pump, this is a vote that would make a difference in people’s lives,” Allard argued.
But in a 14-15 vote, the committee spilt strictly on party lines and rejected the amendment.
One of the key votes was from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who said Sen. Ken Salazar had urged her to reject the amendment even though she personally thinks the moratorium on oil-shale development is unjust.
Landrieu vowed to try to lift the moratorium when the large appropriations bill reaches the floor of the U.S. Senate in coming weeks.
Hat tip to The NYT on the request for a two year process for environmental impact statements on solar mega watt projects (130 licences) before issuing licenses to proceed. Tax credits are due to expire this year for solar purchases.
Yet just last week, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne saw fit to stand next to President Bush in the Rose Garden when he called on Congress to allow development of oil shale on public lands in the Green River Basin which straddles Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Department of Interior web site has news on both subjects, and a photo op for shale oil. In the 2005 Congressional intitiative to explore the possibility of development, impact statements are still in process but further along closing public comment last March.
Bush complained that Congress has blocked the leasing of federal lands for oil shale development.
It is also hard for me to imagine that mountain top removal for coal mining is comaparable in impact.
I could be wrong, since such projects in solar are new…then again, so are oil shale commercial processes.