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Friday, July 2, 2010

The "greenest" thing to do with the airport

Stop expanding it.

Comments (7)

New PDX bike assembly station


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Partnership completes solar panel project

Solar energy is at work at Portland International Airport, thanks to an innovative, environmental partnership involving Nike, Delta Air Lines and the Port of Portland.

The partners have completed the final phase of a three-year project installing solar panels that supply 100 percent of the Nike Store’s energy needs at PDX. The array of 140 photovoltaic panels is located on top of the canopy spanning the entrance to the airport terminal building, and is visible from the seventh floor of the short-term parking garage.

A display in the Nike Store illustrates the 30,000 kilowatt hours of energy produced annually by the solar panels, and is best viewed during daylight hours. Generating that amount of energy through solar panels helps keep nearly 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air each year, as compared to generating the energy through fossil fuels, such as coal. That’s equivalent to the air quality benefits of planting 450 trees each year.

Are you serious? Then what would the PDC do? You have to build more to be green don't you? Take up more land? Have more people move here? Encourage rampant growth! Those are all good green ideas!

Just read an interesting book by a Forbes writer called "$20 Per Gallon" that's a step-by-step look at what happens as gas prices increase $2 at a time. Pretty interesting. The $8/gallon chapter is pretty much all about the near-total end of commercial aviation (for the masses), including listing the order in which the major US carriers fail and why.

Since it's just a question of when rather than if, I'd say that anyone who proposes expanding any commercial aviation facility is smoking crack or simply trying to get the plunder while it's there for the taking.

The Brits have some fast long-distance trains to fall back on. That's where transportation investments should be directed in this country, too.

Expansion is based on the premise that there will continue to be growth in demand for air travel, as road projects assume increased demand for roadway. As we enter into the peak oil part of our history ( don't get too upset those denyers amongst you), many things will change, including the just in time,jet paced life. Recognizing it on the front end makes more sense than responding to the demands of unneeded expansion that must be paid for.
Build it and they will come is only a slogan out of a movie, it does not reflect real life.

Any discussion about peak oil and oil prices over the next decade must include an attempt to quantify emerging economy demand as an important driver at the margin. Here is a simple thought experiment using Chinese demand to give some idea of the magnitude of the supply issues we face:
- China moves from 3 bbls/person/year to the South Korean per capita consumption level of 17 bbls/person/year
- Transition takes 30 years
- No peak in global production

In next 10 years we must find 44 million BOPD. If you superimpose peak production on top of this demand profile using the following parameters oil prices would increase approximately 250% in real terms over next 10 years:
- Oil demand elasticity of -0.3
- Current production 84 million BOPD, current price US$ 80
- Peak production 100 million BOPD
- Post peak decline rate of 3-4%

If you want to try the model for yourself using your own assumptions it can be found at Petrocapita Income Trust:

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