Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security by Amoryl Lovins, L. Hunter
By Amoryl Lovins, L. Hunter
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Despite heavier and more frequent spraying and the use of organophosphorous insecticides, “the cotton yield plummeted to well below yields experienced before the synthetic pesticide period. ” The near-bankrupt farmers were forced into a sophisticated program of integrated pest management based on reformed farming practices, minimal use of biocides, and fostering of beneficial insects. As any ecologist might predict, once biological balance was restored, pest levels dwindled and yields increased to the highest levels in the valley’s history.
5 For example, identical valves can fail at the same time if they are all exposed to conditions for which they were not designed, or if they were designed or built wrongly: a common-mode failure. Different energy systems that are supposed to back each other up independently—for example, programs for mining coal, making oil from shale, and generating electricity from coal and uranium—could all fail to be built because Wall Street will not pay for them or because Westerners do not want them: a common-cause failure.
24 Refineries designed for low-specific-gravity crudes cannot suddenly switch to high-gravity crudes without developing “bottlenecks” which limit their capacity. Refineries meant for sweet (low-sulfur) crudes are not built of the special alloys required to withstand the severely corrosive sour (high-sulfur) crudes. Waxy crudes require special handling: some do not flow until heated to the temperature of a warm room. There are similar restrictions on the purity, dryness, and heat content of natural gas suitable for various kinds of processing, transmission, and use.