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Profit from the Peak: An Enjoyable Read About Our Energy Problems

Aug. 01, 2008 9:25 AM ET45 Comments
James Cullen profile picture
James Cullen

An opening note of disclosure: a short while back, I received a free copy of Profit from the Peak: The End of Oil and the Greatest Investment Event of the Century.

Written by a pair of energy analysts, Profit from the Peak is a fairly comprehensive sketch of the energy problems facing America – as well as other industrialized, and industrializing, nations – in the coming decades.

What I Liked:

  • This definitely isn’t a fair-and-balanced view of Peak Oil or fossil fuels; the authors take a clear position that traditional energy production is peaking and we need to make immediate, massive investment in renewable forms of energy.

I am a believer in weak-form Peak Oil, if you will; I’m not convinced by the doomsday forecasters who believe we’re on the verge of imminent societal breakdown, but I think it’s completely reasonable to believe that it will become more difficult to bring new supply online, and that will lead to generally higher energy prices.

Similarly, I see the need for scaling up clean, renewable energy sources – but I think that fossil fuels can’t be overlooked as an investment opportunity for many, many years to come. One simple fact is that a large portion of our energy need is in the form of liquid fuels (which the authors note), and ethanol – the only renewable source masquerading as a solution – is causing enormous inflationary problems to everyone who isn’t a subsidized corn farmer.

  • The broad examination of various oil alternatives.

The meat of this book is the type-by-type analysis of the possible solutions to our energy needs – tar sands, natural gas, coal, nuclear, geothermal, solar, and other renewables. As I mentioned, the authors come down very heavily on the side of renewables, and nary a fossil fuel escapes condemnation for one reason or another. Even if you disagree on their assessments

This article was written by

James Cullen profile picture
I now work on a long/short consumer-focused hedge fund team and as such, no longer publish.

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