Preparing London Ontario for Natural Gas Depletion... by 2010

Here is a discussion starter that I posted to the Post-Carbon London mailing list, which generated numerous responses and suggestions. I'll clip and repost some of the best responses from the mailing list, and see if we can add more here, with a focus on rapid adaptation at the household and community level. Original post:

----- Reposted from http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/postcarbon-lo -----

Hm... I just ran across the scariest picture I've seen all year: North American Natural Gas Production Curves, projected over the next few years, with a massive production collapse projected between now and 2010.

Check it out at: http://europe.theoildrum.com/story/2006/11/27/61031/618.

It raises the following very interesting dilemma:

“Simply put, by 2010 Conventional Gas production can be half of what is today in North America, falling from 20 Tcf/a to 10 Tcf/a. Jean doesn't hesitate to say that shortages will soon occur in this part of the world. Production already peaked in 2001, declining 5% up to 2005, so a downward trend is already there, but will that cliff unfold? Unconventional Gas production has been rising too slowly to avoid the peak, can it avoid the cliff?”

Now I realize that this is not news to many of you, (See: http://www.highnoon.ws/) but the immediacy of the production collapse was news to me!

Since moving to London, I've been struck with how unusually dependent we are on natural gas in Southern Ontario: I'll bet over 95% of homes here are gas heated, and the few that are not use electric heat, with at least some of the juice generated in gas-fired plants. I have not seen a single oil furnace since moving here, and the place we bought our wood stove from said 98% of their stove and fireplace installs are gas, not wood or pellet.

North American natural gas production cuts of 50% within three years (if the stats are roughly accurate) don’t mean ‘expensive gas’, they may mean ‘no gas’, depending on how the politics of NAFTA and competing regional distribution demands play out. I wonder whether 50% cuts would even allow the current pipeline distribution system to stay filled and pressurized.

The post and comments at The Oil Drum is pretty technical, but is a good starting point for discussion. Some questions to ponder:

1. Are the facts incorrect, or am I mis-interpreting them? Do we really have only 1000 days 'til the heat goes out in much of Ontario?
2. Can the natural gas distribution system continue to function under this level of deloading?
3. If this projection is accurate, why isn't everyone involved in gas distribution and emergency planning freaking out big time?
4. What mitigations are possible for London as a whole? Coal-derived ‘town gas’? Electric conversion and generation? Super-insulation?
5. What mitigations are possible at the neighbourhood and home level? How can you prepare your home or apartment building for gas delivery disruptions that could last several weeks?

I don't have any answers to these, but hope that you do... and that we can start discussing it now!

Suddenly Feeling Very Chilly!

tahoevalleylines's picture

Pickens/Sloane Group input on rail transport component

The discussion is always about home heating energy or cars. Suppose we started at a point regarding the best Guarantor of "SOCIETAL & COMMERCIAL COHESION"? In the little transport field manual: "Rail Transport and The Winnig Of Wars, James A. Van Fleet wrote in 1956 of the "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform" -railway networks- Mains, branchlines, Electric Interurban Lines, and neighborhood streetcar lines, usually operated by local utility companies. Van Fleet's eerily prescient (he writes about disasters, homeland attack, reliance on foreign fuel, etc.) book is available from the Association Of American Railroads librarian (202-634-2100). All transportation planning bureaus should have a copy. Maybe readers with initiative can see about getting a copy for their local office.

The easy way of getting the rail rehab program going state by state is to enlist the National Guard Commandant in YOUR STATE or District. They will need copy of the Van Fleet Book, copy of GCOR in the US, Canadian RR Rules north of the 48. Also needed will be copy of the US & Canadian Rail Map Atlas volumes from (spv.co.uk) so officialdom can relearn the existing and dormant rail corridors, helpful in prioritization of rebuild and line extension. Recommissioning the military organization Railroad Operations & Maintenance Batallions is elemental ways & means of assuring human resource pool for private sector rail rehab & expansions.

Relocalize members with initiative and interest in food & toilet paper availability in trucking breakdown can see (peakoil.net) articles 374 & 1037 for one-sheet discussions on the railway tool in the Oil Interregnum Parallel Bar Therapy. Other policy features will include government steel scrap held for railway rail and track material, re-assignment of several automobile plants for electric trolley (tram) production, on lines of the 1940-s no-frills PCC models. This rail expansion is a bridging element, maybe lasting many decades, while population stabilizes to a sustainable equilibrium with energy & food supply.

T. Boone Pickens is to be commended regardless of his motives; he has seized the initiative to change the direction of the fossils economy toward large-scale renewables emphasis. Fine tuning his wind energy and natural gas equipped rubber tire emphasis to include railway expansion is a necessary adjustment & in fact will assure sucessful implementation of the "Pickens Plan". We will stay fed with railway matrix when the long-haul trucks falter. Trucking will return to the earlier pick-up & delivery methodology: supplementing railways. Easy study of localized railway matrix in a region can be found in books describing Spreckels rail empire: The Pacific Electric Railway, moving people by day, freight & victuals to downtown farmers's markets at night. Certainly, the new small farm movement will benefit with rehab of nearby dormant rail lines. In CA, examples of these sorts of lines ran to Placerville, Sebastopol, Isleton, Calaveras, Monterey, Tahoe City, Esparto/Capay Valley, even El Portal/Yosemite.

These are not difficult things for anyone reading this if you can read a map, operate a computer & a telephone. Mention these particulars in the ASPO Sacramento meeting on Sept. 21-23 and with participants, please. Political candidate staff need this info too, as well as big trucking enterprises like Wal-Mart, FedEx/UPS, US Mule, and all the US Port Authorities. That is just the beginning of the list; this is a re-orientation of human economic assumptions about "Just-In-Time", based on cheap & plentiful fuel in swarms of trucks. Cantarell is a nearby reminder of urgency.

----

Tahoe Valley Lines is a CA registered Not-For-Profit Public Benefit Corporation. Our mission is to alert planners to the need for railway corridor rehab as crucial necessity for maintaining Societal & Commercial Cohesion thru the Oil Interregnum and after.

tahoevalleylines's picture

Pickens/Sloane Group input on rail transport component

The discussion is always about home heating energy or cars. Suppose we started at a point regarding the best Guarantor of "SOCIETAL & COMMERCIAL COHESION"? In the little transport field manual: "Rail Transport and The Winnig Of Wars, James A. Van Fleet wrote in 1956 of the "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform" -railway networks- Mains, branchlines, Electric Interurban Lines, and neighborhood streetcar lines, usually operated by local utility companies. Van Fleet's eerily prescient (he writes about disasters, homeland attack, reliance on foreighn fuel, etc.) book is available from the Association Of American library (202-634-2100). All transportation planning bureaus should have a copy. Maybe readers with initiative can see about getting a copy for their local office.

The easy way of getting the rail rehab program going state by state is to enlist the National Guard Commandant in YOUR STATE or District. They will need copy of the Van Fleet Book, copy of GCOR in the US, Canadian RR Rules north of the 48. Also needed will be copy of the US & Canadian Rail Map Atlas volumes from (spv.co.uk) so officialdom can relearn the existing and dormant rail corridors, helpful in prioritization of rebuild and line extension. Recommissioning the military organization Railroad Operations & Maintenance Batallions is elemental ways & means of assuring human resource pool for private sector rail rehab & expansions.

Relocalize members with initiative and interest in food & toilet paper availability in trucking breakdown can see (peakoil.net) articles 374 & 1037 for one-sheet discussions on the railway tool in the Oil Interregnum Parallel Bar Therapy. Other policy features will include government steel scrap held for railway rail and track material, re-assignment of several automobile plants for electric trolley (tram) production, on lines of the 1940-s no-frills PCC models. This rail expansion is a bridging element, maybe lasting many decades, while population stabilizes to a sustainable equilibrium with energy & food supply.

T. Boone Pickens is to be commended regardless of his motives; he has seized the initiative to change the direction of the fossils economy toward large-scale renewables emphasis. Fine tuning his wind energy and natural gas equipped rubber tire emphasis to include railway expansion is a necessary adjustment & in fact will assure sucessful implementation. We will stay fed with railway matrix when the long-haul trucks falter. Trucking will return to the earlier pick-up & delivery methodology: supplementing railways. Easy study of localized railway matrix in a region can be found in books describing Spreckels rail empire: The Pacific Electric Railway, moving people by day, freight & victuals to downtown farmers's markets at night. Certainly, the new small farm movement will benefit with rehab of nearby dormant rail lines. In CA, examples of these sorts of lines ran to Placerville, Sebastopol, Isleton, Calaveras, Monterey, Tahoe City, Esparto/Capay Valley, even El Portal/Yosemite.

These are not difficult things for anyone reading this if you can read a map, operate a computer & a telephone. Mention these particulars in the ASPO Sacramento meeting on Sept. 21-23 and with participants, please.
----

Tahoe Valley Lines is a CA registered Not-For-Profit Public Benefit Corporation. Our mission is to alert planners to the need for railway corridor rehab as crucial necessity for maintaining Societal & Commercial Cohesion thru the Oil Interregnum and after.

tshell's picture

Natural Gas

I've got the solution and it starts with Alaska..."drill here, drill now" ...I'll provide the funding to rent portable restrooms for the workers...

DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW!

SacredCowTipper's picture

no, you're not mistake

We're about to bump into all sorts of limits. North Dakota has had chronic diesel shortages, here in Iowa we're seeing spot outages of gasoline, primarily effecting the little indy stations, and the price of ammonia is going nowhere but up.

People tend to think of these things as digital and they're not. You want to cut gas consumption? How about a commodity price spike that drives people to double up on housing? If 50% of your housing there goes empty due to financial distress your gas usage just dropped by half. Oh, and prices will be such that people will do anything in their power to conserve.

You can't force it on 'em, so just set up resources as best you can for the day when people are asking "What do we do?"

Shane ONeill's picture

here are two statements on gas fro the oil drum europe

I found these entries the other night and they are rather thought provocing for Ontarions and natural gas.

I hope that it is ok to copy/ paste a portion from another site or does it have to be just the link- please confirm

The Round-Up: December 29th 2006
Posted by Stoneleigh on December 29, 2006 - 3:05pm
Topic: Site news
Tags: biofuels, CANDU, ethanol, income trusts, lng, natural gas, nuclear power, oil, pipelines, subsidies

Canada gas exports to U.S. could plunge

Canadian natural gas exports to the United States could post the largest drop in a generation in 2007, an analyst says, as exploration cuts reduce supply and home-grown demand to fuel oil sands output booms.

Martin King, who follows energy commodities at FirstEnergy Capital, a Calgary investment bank, expects exports to fall by up to a billion cubic feet a day next year, down about 10 percent from current shipments around 10 billion cubic feet a day.

"The supply picture is looking rather negative," King said. "You have to go back to 1984 to see a (similar) downward trend."

King speculated the cut in exportable gas will come on both the supply and demand side.

this is the other item that I picked up from the site- but now I can not find it on the site of the oil drum- do not know why?- the reason why I am posting it is to remind readers that LNG is a reality of the only possible way out for supplying gas and yet again the big picture is so disorganised- the article below refers to two new LNG plants in the same geographic region- why and does the new purchase agreement by the US not confirm the immediate to get the $29 billion of gas into the US?

http://canada.theoildrum.com/node/2126#more

A new Canada- U.S. border disputemay be closer now that two U.S. companies are seeking U.S. government approval to build controversial liquefied natural-gas plants near the Bay of Fundy.

Downeast LNG applied yesterday to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct a US$500-million LNG plant in Robbinston in the northeastern corner of Maine next to New Brunswick.

Late last week, rival Quoddy Bay LNG filed an application with U.S. federal energy regulators to build a LNG plant in the same part of Maine.

Massive LNG tankers heading to either plant would have to sail through Canadian waters, something Ottawa says it will prohibit. The U.S. government says Canada cannot deny access to its ports.

Dan B's picture

Home and Neigbourhood Adaptation to NG Depletion

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread: I'm going to add some scattered thoughts on household-level adaptation to the coming NG crisis.

Before I do though, I want to acknowledge that these are not 'solutions' but merely adaptations and mitigations. My hope is that divese mitigation strategies applied by many people in London will give the city a shot at surviving a NG crash that takes down the distribution system.

Some of these are short-term measures to get through a temporary NG cut, and others apply to longer-term failures. Still others are applicable to those who have the means to change their heating system within the next 2-3 years.

I'll gladly accept corrections and new additions to the list -- please contribute.

System-shifting: Geothermal, corn-stove, solar, wind and other options have been suggested for those that can convert their dwelling to something other than NG. All of these in combination can make our neighbourhoods more robust: homes that are not gas-dependent can act as informal warming-stations for neighbours during a NG shutdown. The more people in London that convert, the better off we will all be.

Combining Households: Anyone with heat during a winter NG crisis can open guest rooms to friends and relatives without heat. It will be possible to squash the population of London into 30-50% of the current housing stock if we need to. Get that guest-room ready!

Abandoning Houses: Abandoning a house in an extended NG shutdown will work much better if it is done systematically and with forethought. If you cannot switch your dwelling from NG to an alternative heat source, you will probably have to abandon it during periods of extended NG shutdown. Think through how you will do this: NG shutoff, water shutoff, electric shutoff, food bedding and supplies loaded to go to the family or friend's home you have pre-arranged to use as your NG crisis shelter. Questions: can your water system be drained so the pipes don't burst? How can you contribute to your host's expenses and make your enforced stay as painless for them as possible? Have you arranged for some level of security for your abandoned home, and packed away valuables? Stocked up on extra food and medicine for self, kids, pets, and those in need?

Weathering it though: If you are going to atay in a NG-heated house without NG for the duration of the shutdown, think about how you will keep your water pipes from freezing, and how to maintain a single heated room as your home-within-a-house. As Richard has pointed out, blackouts will probably be a side-effect of an NG crisis. I expect that they will be managed as 'rolling blackouts', so a house might have electricity 25% of the time, for example, on a more-or-less scheduled basis. Expect to use an electric space-heater, electric range, and a whole lot of layers of clothing to stay warm in a room you have selected and insulated with extra drapes, etc. Use thermoses to save hot soup/tea/coffee/water boiled during times the electricity is working. Remember to shut off the heater and appliances when the electricity goes out again. If you use a gas or propane camp-stove, use it in a fully ventilated cold-sector room of the house. Careful! Careful! Set up a toilet bucket or portable toilet. Insulate all pipes that run through the cold-sector of the house, if you can. If you have a utility room, give it a little heat by switching from compact flourescent bulbs back to the old incadescent ones -- that wasted energy is wasted in the form of heat, which can help to keep a utility room a notch above freezing.

OK... that was just a smattering of thoughts to get started with: please add your own thoughts and experiences: how would you go about preparing for a long stretch without NG in a typical Ontario winter? What tricks and tips for keeping warm can you share? What are your plans for modifying your dwelling, or finding an alternative home 'for the duration'.

lamantia's picture

Living with Natural Gas

I like the idea of figuring out how to live without Natural Gas. The more ideas we can get the better prepared we will be. The following is just some musings of mine.

Natural Gas in our house is only used for heat & hot water. So on the heat side it will only be a serious problem in London Ontario for 3 or 4 months.

I think the first thing one can do is forget about the idea of central heat (i.e. heating the whole house). At night time only a few rooms are used. The short answer is don't have any heat & just get a good sleeping bag. One rated for -40 will have no problem keeping one cosy during the coldest nights. When it is not so cold good blankets should do the trick. There are probably things one can do to bring some heat into the room if electricty is available.

Heat some water and bring it into the room. If not much is available put it into hot water bottles (or plain water bottles). Build/get some radiators to hold water. Just use pails or other containers but be sure to cover them to avoid increasing the humidity in the room Humidity & moisture is the enemy when trying to stay warm with just your body heat.

Bringing all family members into the same room, putting towels at the bottom of the door will make a big difference. However don't forget about ventilation or the humidity will get too high.

Don't forget about the sun. If it is a sunny day use that to heat some water. You don't need fancy equipment just use what you have: a pail, a garden hose, water/pop bottles sitting on the roof. This is where creativity will really come into play. Copy your neighbors good ideas. Of course you need to be able to survive until the sun comes out, but I bet one will be ready for a nice bath by the time the sun does finally show itself.

If you are cooking with electricity stop pouring that valuable boiling water down the drain when your noodles are al dente. Your grandmother would slap you across the head if you tried that in her house. Drain it into another pot & let it cool on the stove - or your bedroom. Again be sure to keep the lid on it to avoid humidity.

Keeping the pipes from freezing is a serious concern. But again this is only really a problem for about 3 - 4 months. And during that time only for short spells of about 1 or 2 weeks at a time. So one may really only have to take special action 3 or 4 times a year. As I write this it is mid January and I don't think there would have been any freezing in the house up to this point. I realize this can quickly change. Some ideas I have on this:

Keep a trickle of water running in the sinks, tubs, toilets etc. This will prevent freezing if you think there is a risk and you haven't done a full drain/shut down of the plumbing. The size of the trickle depends on the temperature. This is a trick I used when making ice rinks that past few years. (this year was too warm so I'm not doing it). Some days a very small trickle was good. On colder days this would eventually freeze up and so a faster water flow was required.

Be very careful about plumbing near the extremities of the house. While the inside of the house may not be in danger of freezing, the pipes near the outside will very definitely be in danger of freezing. This risk increases dramatically as the temperature inside the house drops. For example if you house has an inside temperature of 21C (ie lots of natural gas available) & the outside temperature is -10C the pipes near the outside and even the garden hose taps outside may not freeze. This is has been the situation all of my life.

However if the inside temperature drops to 5C and the outside temperature is -5C the situation is very different and pipes will start to freeze.

Regarding draining & shutting down the plumbing completely, I will think about this more. We can post ideas on this separately. Living in a modern suburban house without natural gas is a completely new idea & we need lots of people to contribute ideas. Draining the plumbing is not a new idea. Please do this at their McMansion Cottages all the time so I suspect this is well documented on the internet. We should find & post some links about the INs & OUTs of doing this. What to use for anti-freeze in the toilet etc etc

I am not a fan of fancy technological solutions. I like simple creative ideas that one can do as and when required. That's why I have a hard time talking about $20K worth of geothermal options because they become very constraining. Technical solutions always come with a lots of contraints, dependancies and baggage such as:
Will it work long term? or will it be broken and require unavailable parts or service?
Will electricty be available?
Do we even want to, or be able to, stay where the investment is made?
Can $20K be better off elsewhere?
Will the parts just get stolen?
Is the standard design just overkill that assumes that the only solution people want, is to heat a whole house,with 6 showers/day when in fact one only needs to heat a few rooms for a few months.

Anyway just some rantings about what's going through my head. Of course there is lots more to it. It would be quite a challenge.

One last point: Be flexible and don't be stubborn, try new things and don't be afraid to just get the hell out as required. Especially if very young children or older adults are concerned. Safety is important and a small sniffle could turn to pnemonia quickly. It doesn't matter that "that shinny new ground source heat pump" just needs a new widget. If someone is ill move to higher ground.

Jim

Richard Wakefield's picture

Living without gas

The only way to know for sure if you can do this is to shut off the gas now and don't turn it on until April and see how you do. I think you will find it will not be so simple. Food freezing in the cupboards, etc. Constantly being cold is hard on the body, especially the elderly.

But it's not just homes that is the issue. What happens to people in appartment buildings, stores, factories, nursing homes, hospitals? How do they cope with reduced NG?

Personally, I'd rather spend the $ and keep warm in the winter than have my standard of living reduced because of depleted NG. At least I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is. Besides, the GSHP will be used to also heat my greenhouse so I can grow food all year. Besides, having such cold in the house for 3-4 months will kill my pets, and they are as dear to me as anyone.

I'll await your report on your no gas experiment in the spring.

Richard
Komoka

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

lifetree76's picture

China facing natural gas crisis

We're all in trouble.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/IA10Cb01.html

If not you? Then who? If not now? When?

Dan B's picture

Shane on London Ontario NG situation

I would like to repost some of the comments from the Post-Carbon London mailing list, to add them to the discussion. Shane had the following comments:

Shane: I believe the facts to be correct because of several issues.

- Remember the spike in NG during the summer - it was due to US power stations running on gas consumming so much gas in any single moment (reason = air conditioning)

- 2006 is the first year when you see 206 new power stations opened up and consumming gas - this never happened before and they need the gas to make the electricity - consider for a moment that Florida now has no oil or coal power plants - they have all been closed and even knocked down- they need the gas. The 206 plants was part of Bush's first policy in the White House and they have only come on stream in the past two years

- the amount of gas appliances has soared and so has gas furnaces - as replacement to oil in many cases in the London area (reason = house insurance if you have an oil drum for storing the oil)

- the wastage has reached excessive levels - I mean quite literally we have soared in our use of NG.

Dan: Can the natural gas distribution system continue to function under this level of deloading?

Shane: No, and this is why we though it prudent to form the Post Carbon Group in London, as London is a weird place - she has no form of power production and is within the catchment of fuel sensitive cities. We wanted to push an awareness program and this has begun... the next stage is to instgate the Community Energy Plan.... remember Council were offered a report on Peak Oil but they declined needing to sanction it... as such it is business as ussual for this city... so there will be problems... as for the decline, if cities do not recognise this issue then they are commiting the public to very quick hardships - I believe that rather than funding the replacement of light bulbs we should be showing people how to use less gas.

Dan: If this projection is accurate, why isn't everyone involved in gas distribution and emergency planning freaking out big time?

Shane: an act of calm denial, again it has to do with awareness- the worst for the denial are actually the gas workers and furnace installers, they say there is no problem. The problem begins with the politicians- Elizabeth May has been the only politician to date to actually be aware of it and wanted to raise the issue if she had been elected, as for the other Ferderal candidates in the recent election- none of knew nor cared.

Dan: What mitigations are possible for London as a whole?

Shane: Since doing Energuides for the region - I have stopped recommending gas appliances, rather I would like to see people save the money for geo-thermal. The US just purchased $29 Billion of NG from Qatar a couple of weeks ago and it is due to statrt coming into the States by 2008 - only problem is that they do not have the ships or the LNG ports, as such Nova Scotia will be a point of access, and we are building that facility as I write. Get off big gas, see if your gas appliances for cooking can be converted to propane and go solar for hot water or geothermal for heat and DHW

Dan: What mitigations are possible at the neighbourhood and home level? How can you prepare your home for gas delivery disruptions that could last several weeks... or a full winter?

Shane: Yes it is possible and this again is a reason for Post Carbon.... we have to get out and have the awareness program.... there are allot of ways to make one still live the same as before gas- as for disruptions - did you see Thunder Bay a couple of weeks ago- there was no preparaness for the disruption- people were asked to leave their houses. ... yet again I stress the need for Post Carbon to bring the awareness of this and the types of issues one will need to face

Richard Wakefield's picture

Warmer winters

As a foot note. The biggest conservation of NG is warm winters like the one we are having now. Thus prey for more global warming.

Richard
Komoka

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

Richard Wakefield's picture

Natural Gas Depletion

Shane: I believe the facts to be correct because of several issues.
- Remember the spike in NG during the summer - it was due to US power stations running on gas consumming so much gas in any single moment (reason = air conditioning)
- 2006 is the first year when you see 206 new power stations opened up and consumming gas - this never happened before and they need the gas to make the electricity - consider for a moment that Florida now has no oil or coal power plants - they have all been closed and even knocked down- they need the gas. The 206 plants was part of Bush's first policy in the White House and they have only come on stream in the past two years

Need I remind all of you that it was the NDP in this province, and the green movement, that said we must get off coal and on to NG. Now a major coal plant in Mississauga is gone, and the Liberals have vowed to remove the rest. That action just killed people in the future once NG depletes. Nice going people. We need MORE coal plants, MORE nuke plants to suppliment the electrical output we will need.

Dan: Can the natural gas distribution system continue to function under this level of deloading?
Shane: No, and this is why we though it prudent to form the Post Carbon Group in London, as London is a weird place - she has no form of power production and is within the catchment of fuel sensitive cities. We wanted to push an awareness program and this has begun... the next stage is to instgate the Community Energy Plan.... remember Council were offered a report on Peak Oil but they declined needing to sanction it... as such it is business as ussual for this city... so there will be problems... as for the decline, if cities do not recognise this issue then they are commiting the public to very quick hardships - I believe that rather than funding the replacement of light bulbs we should be showing people how to use less gas.

How? All the large malls and food stores are heated with gas. Appartments are heated with gas. All new homes are heated with gas. You have to heat your homes, so how do we significantly use less? Besides, it's not using less that is the issue, it's getting off NG completely to shield yourself from the depletion.

Dan: If this projection is accurate, why isn't everyone involved in gas distribution and emergency planning freaking out big time?
Shane: an act of calm denial, again it has to do with awareness- the worst for the denial are actually the gas workers and furnace installers, they say there is no problem. The problem begins with the politicians- Elizabeth May has been the only politician to date to actually be aware of it and wanted to raise the issue if she had been elected, as for the other Ferderal candidates in the recent election- none of knew nor cared.

The gas industry knows, how can they not? I can't see that they have not told federal politicians, how can they not? So it's deliberately being kept from public attention. All this hype of GW is a smoke screen. Keep people fixated on another issue, and prey a solution to this problem happens. But it won't.

Dan: What mitigations are possible for London as a whole?
Shane: Since doing Energuides for the region - I have stopped recommending gas appliances, rather I would like to see people save the money for geo-thermal. The US just purchased $29 Billion of NG from Qatar a couple of weeks ago and it is due to statrt coming into the States by 2008 - only problem is that they do not have the ships or the LNG ports, as such Nova Scotia will be a point of access, and we are building that facility as I write. Get off big gas, see if your gas appliances for cooking can be converted to propane and go solar for hot water or geothermal for heat and DHW

I'm moving to geothermal this spring. Cost is expensive as I have already noted in this forum. Cost for a small house is $20K min. It also takes time to implement as there are only so many drilling rigs around, and only so many furnaces can be built at a time (in factories heated by gas, btw). Also, moving people from NG to geothermal means more electrical demand. That means we need more power plants, that means more coal fired plants. You have to choose: people freezing to death or more smog. I've already posted an action plan below that we can do locally. If you want to prepare London for a winter without gas, we need to get on that task ASAP.

Dan: What mitigations are possible at the neighbourhood and home level? How can you prepare your home for gas delivery disruptions that could last several weeks... or a full winter?
Shane: Yes it is possible and this again is a reason for Post Carbon.... we have to get out and have the awareness program.... there are allot of ways to make one still live the same as before gas- as for disruptions - did you see Thunder Bay a couple of weeks ago- there was no preparaness for the disruption- people were asked to leave their houses. ... yet again I stress the need for Post Carbon to bring the awareness of this and the types of issues one will need to face

What happened in Thunder Bay?

Richard
Komoka

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

Richard Wakefield's picture

Possible living quarters in winter

There is one thing we can do. Homes use far more energy to heat because their surface area to volume ratio is small. The larger the building, the flatter the building, the less that is exposed to the elements as a function of it's volume. Thus you can house more people, use less energy to heat a large building than those people staying in their homes.

So, what can be done is a systematic evaulation of every large building. Generally buildings like the Super Centre, WalMart, malls and large warehouses. Find out how many there are, how many people could be put into them for the winter, and how much energy they use. Then quarter off the city so there is a plan of who in what area would go to which building.

Apparments should not be included. They are worse than homes. Large surface area to volume in a narrow tall building. And if most here in London are like my Daughter's where the outside wall is just concrete and brick, no insulation at all, and the windows are just one pane that leak bad, then they cannot be considered and would have to be abandoned. (They heat the place so much that she has to open the window in winter to cool their unit down!!)

So if we are serious about ringing the alarm bells on what looks like a major NG shortage in 4-6 years, then this is one plan of action that can be presented to Council.

But understand that this will be perminant. Once the NG shows signs of waining it will never recover.

Richard
Komoka

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

Dan B's picture

David Hughes on Canadian natural gas supply

Up-to-date information on Canadian gas supply, from a Natural Resources Canada geologist, and Post-Carbon Institute fellow.

A three-alarm reinforcement of the urgency of getting London off natural gas -- within the next 1000 days -- or facing a full regional system failure.

Detailed, factual and urgent.

http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/interviews/823

Richard Wakefield's picture

How to get off gas.

Getting all of London off gas, even if you can convince politicians and citizens that you are not crazy, will be next to impossible. There is little in the way of options. Any substantial change will require three things. Time, product and money. For example, I'm moving ahead this spring to ground source heat pumps. It takes time to install the system. There simply is not enough time in 5 years to convert every home, every school, every appartment to heat with GSHP. Factories would not be able to produce the system fast enough, nore is there enough qualified people and drilling rigs to install them. Then there is the money. Average home would cost $20K. One school in Markham did it and it cost $3M. Add it up and it is not possible for everyone to come up with the money. I'm cashing in RRSPs to install mine.

Regardless of the replacement for a gas furnace you will have the very same limitations. Convert to oil heating? There probably isn't enough delivery trucks any more to supply the demand.

So what's going to happen? That depends on the winter and how cold it is. But the first step I see is that governments will force shut everything but home heating and the few food stores (the big ones, They use more gas, but less on a per sqr foot basis. Volume to area ratio is smaller. Bigger buildings are easier to keep warm.) So all the small stores, shops and office buildings will be cut off. That will keep the pressure up, we hope.

The big issue is that every winter we consume more gas than is produced. In the summer it's the reverse. That excess in the summer is stored for the winter. This means any distruption will be in the winter, most likely at the coldest time. So will those reserves run out before the spring?

That's why I'm getting off gas now. And oh, BTW, once the gas starts to short people will buy and use electric heaters. That will put a huge demand on electrical requirements. Blackouts are very likely. They need to go ahead on that nuke plant on Lake Erie ASAP!!

Oh, and global warming? Pray it keeps winters here warm, we will need it. Kyoto? Once people start to freeze in their homes they won't give a rat's ass of how much CO2 they are producing. Stop wasting time and money on curbing CO2 emissions. You can only attempt to fund either CO2 control or replacement for NG to heat with. So which is going to hit first?

Richard

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

quixotic's picture

Comment from Red Deer, Alberta

I first noticed a disturbing blip about 2 years ago. The Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas was in town, and they mentioned in our local newspaper that we only had about 10 years left of conventional natural gas left. That scared me quite a bit, but what's even scarier is that no one here is paying any notice. I've since written a couple of letters to the editor on the matter, but there's been absolutely nothing else about the matter in the local media since.

So, what to do? Why, run for mayor, of course! We've got a mayoralty race coming up this year, and even though I probably don't have a snowball's chance of winning, I'm still going to run. Beats writing letters to the editor.

I think people are just waiting for some kind of technical deus ex machina to come down and save them at the last minute. Well, I'm going to do my best to disabuse them of that ridiculous notion. Check out the link below for a bit more info and some really good graphs.

http://www3.telus.net/awareness/actionplan.htm

lifetree76's picture

NG and greetings to Post Carbon London

First of all, greetings and congratulations on starting this chapter of the Post Carbon Institute! It's nice to have someone in the neighbourhood that is only 2 train stops away!

As for NG and its future. I live in the city with Duke Energy's branch office HQ, formerly known as Union Gas. I dropped the bomb about NG in a recent public information session and also in a meeting with strategic planning for the municipality. I don't think it really sank in. As for myself, I have the poor man's guide to windpower which I will be building my own wind turbines (yes plural) from as well as purchasing a corn stove and building my own bio-diesel processor (all this from someone without an engineer degree!)

The best we can do folks is continue to speak eloquently to the public in a manner that is neither alarmist or too sedate. We need a mixture of humour, time tables, and practical off the shelf solutions for people.

Even my own family that acknowledges these concerns have essentially gone back to sleep. It is difficult to rouse the public from the comfortable slumber of modernity. I hate peak oil, it's interupted my life's plans, but if I have to face it, I would rather with my eyes open, our challenge is to open a great deal more eyes before the capacity to heat homes and grow food (fertilizer,) and power industry, not to mention that 900 jobs in my municipality depend directly on the stuff.

Keep the faith, we're all in this together,

Lance

CKOAP Coordinator

If not you? Then who? If not now? When?

Richard Wakefield's picture

Be proactive for NG depletion

Best thing one can do is get off NG asap. You won't convince anyone of NG depletion, they don't want to hear about it.

There are few options that are viable. Multiple options better. We're getting a ground-source heat pump put in, and a wood stove that can also heat with coal as well as wood (brick lined). Other than that your options are quite limited.

Richard
Komoka
No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.