NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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    WALL STREET JOURNAL selects NewEnergyNews as one of the "Blogs We Are Reading" --

  • 05/14/2007
  • 04/16/2007
  • 03/28/2007
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      Anne B. Butterfield of DAILY CAMERA, a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews


    • My Novels: OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades & OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades by Mark S. Friedman
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
    • As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
    • In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
    • As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
    • Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
    • Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction by Mark S. Friedman
    • "...ours is a culture of energy illiterates." (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish's style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
    • The book is the answer an oil family's matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
    • She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
    • In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president's personal career.
    • There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish's repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
    • In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until--unexpectedly--he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
    • Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, "...may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won't be so surprised."
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • My Photo
      Location: Agua Dulce, CA

      *Doctor with my hands *Author of the "OIL IN THEIR BLOOD" series with my head *Student of New Energy with my heart






      Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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    • NewEnergyNews


      NREL’s history of fickle funding

      Anne B. Butterfield, April 12, 2009 (Daily Camera)

      Announcing $1.2 billion of stimulus funding last month, Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu said that leadership in science is “vital to America’s prosperity, energy security, and global competitiveness.”

      Dr. Chu’s aims are timely and focused, but let’s pause to look at some details because when we run billions through an out-sized federal bureaucracy, such as the Department of Energy, there is always a chance for error.

      And we have little room for error in light of our nation’s dire situation. Late last year the International Energy Administration announced that they project an annual nine-percent decline in output from existing oil fields — that could be offset only a bit by hundreds of billions of sustained, annual investment in drilling capacity.

      The oil gods are throwing us off a cliff.

      And the coal gods are next in line. Reports by the United States Geological Survey and other agencies show us that our nation’s supply of cheap coal may last us as little as another twenty years. So coal is unlikely to help much as we electrify our transportation sector.

      We are in a perfect crisis where hard choices must be made. We should start to divest from coal and oil, dead ends that they are, and run hard to non-food biofuels, advanced batteries, coal plants converted to burn beetle-kill biomass, and hundreds of gigawatts of wind and solar. And Lookie here –they’re all championed for large scale application by the researchers at NREL who helped bring the cost of wind energy down to being competitive with coal at 4-7 cents per kilowatt hour.

      Does Dr. Chu’s disbursement through his Office of Science lend strength to NREL? Well, the publicity on DOE’s stimulus funds for science makes much to-do about solar and biofuels and other energy modes — Check.

      Wind — No mention.

      Houston, we may have a problem.

      Or we can hope that Dr. Chu’s other $1.2 billion disbursement, through his Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, will make fine choices. But we can’t know; over two months after the stimulus bill was signed, this allotment remains undesignated.
      We have an interest in sound funding and more jobs coming here to Colorado where our renewable energy policy leads the nation, brings new industry, and where NREL has made breakthrough energy solutions for 32 years. It has done this in spite of funding that has swung from boom to bust with the shifting winds of politics, energy crises and the parasitic power of earmarks.

      The New York Times has often noted how NREL’s budgets have been hammered. Former Camera reporter Todd Neff investigated two years ago how NREL’s National Wind Technology Center has struggled with flat funding and outgrown facilities for years. Fortunately the wind site will soon receive two utility-scale turbines (1.5 and 2.3 megawatts) for installation and study, but this investment is in no way proportional to the challenge of a National Renewable Portfolio Standard or reaching 20 percent wind by 2030.

      Today’s wind power is many ways mature, but new efficiencies need to be reached. It would be impossible for our nation to embark on ambitious installation plans without wind’s A-team being tooled up, staffed up and ready to test the new blades, gear boxes, and drive trains that will be needed by a nation crazed to back off of coal and oil.

      Happily NREL’s main campus, where solar and bio energy are advanced with award-winning and record breaking results, has enjoyed new buildings and 400 new hires. “The main campus had been neglected for most of three years,” explained Bob Noun, NREL’s Director of External Relations. On the recent infusion of support, he added, “We’ve seen this before.”

      “At the dawn of the renewable energy age we have here in Colorado the world leaders of the past 30 years,” says Noun, explaining the need for budgets that are much more stout and steady if the nation is to hope for transformative energy products and global competitiveness.

      Tiny Denmark is the model to follow. Due to the ¤’70’s oil crisis and in contrition for their heavy coal emissions, Denmark committed strong public support to its fledgling wind power industry and now commands 38 percent of the world market. In the same period, our “strong on defense” president Ronald Reagan cut in half our renewable energy research and abetted wasteful use of energy; this has proven to be a betrayal of our national defense and global competitiveness. Now, finally, let’s get this right.

      (Anne B. Butterfield is married to the Chief Engineer of NREL’s wind center.)