Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Last Boom: Fracking. & Texas Lack of Solar Farms

I just got back from a few days in and around Odessa, Texas - which is in the latest oil boom due to fracking. It will be their last boom. In the meantime, good luck finding a house to buy or an affordable apartment to rent. People are calling and demanding the right to move in within 10 days of a seller selling it. There is no room at the inn. Traffic is full of trucks and deadly accidents occur almost daily.

A friend of mine has gone into the oil business and I learned some interesting things from him. A lot of the oil wells have gone dry. Fracking is bringing in shale gas but it requires massive amounts of water - in a dry land that is running out of water. A small town near Odessa has run dry. Odessa itself has started a program that will recycle waste water - yep, today's toilet water will be tomorrow's drinking water.

It will be the last oil boom before its all gone. I don't see them developing alternatives - although just over the horizon sit the Wind Turbines on Mesas that line Highway 385 that runs north of I-10. Giant electric lines are being strung from those West Texas Mesas along I-10 towards San Antonio and Houston/Dallas.

I found out fro my friend that if the oil that is pumped shows up with more than 1% water or other substances in it, it is rejected. Then the companies have to turn it over to another company to "fix" it. A whole new industry is growing to clean up this oil. Water is a key resource and is being recycled more and more. Companies are now focusing on finding ways to clean water before re-injecting it back into a well. If the water has algae or contaminants in it, the well will have corrosion problems.

It is evident that Texas needs to diversify NOW - soon the latest oil "boom" will turn into a "bust" like many we have seen before. Oil has been around 100 years. It took millions of years to form. When its gone, its GONE. Same for our water, which we are pumping from aquifers too fast and our Governor Perry just vetoed a bill that would study these aquifers and their reserves.

When that happens, millions of Texans will get hurt unless we manage our dwindling resources better -- and begin developing alternative energy sources like solar energy to help Texas supply our peak energy demands during the hot summer afternoons.

Yet Texas is not actively authorizing solar farm projects. The Governor is refusing to focus on water conservation - we can save more water than we can make. We have to do better in this high tech, global 21st century to stay ahead of the next economic hurdles coming our way.

Without water we are in trouble - and Texas is running out! Without more diverse energy supplies and clean power plants, we will have Texas blackouts. I don't see our Governor and top leadership responsibility preparing us for a world without oil and water.

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