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1 Dec 1 2010 @ 10:50am by Matt Smith in energy consulting, Global Energy, Natural Gas, Random

The Holiday Season, And Its Path Back To Energy

Ok, we’re back in business on the burrito after going awol last week. We have now rolled into December like a  runaway snowball, and are straight into the swing of the most wonderful time of the year. Nonetheless, try as we may, energy is never too far from our minds. So here’s ten yuletide meanderings, with their paths back to energy:

1) A Christmas Tree is something you hang your ornaments on. WrongA Christmas tree is a set of valves, pipes, and fittings used to control the flow of oil and gas as it leaves a well and enters a pipeline.

2) Christmas lights are pretty. Right. They don’t use up energy? Wrong. Do the math…hang on – someone already did. (conclusion = LED lights are costlier on the front end, but you breakeven after 10 yrs).

3) The holiday season is when most people like to have a tipple? Wrong. A tipple is a central facility used in loading coal for transportation by rail or truck.

4) According to Bing Crosby, this should be a White Christmas, while according to Elvis this should be a Blue Christmas. Both Wrong. According to Summit Energy’s sustainability team, this and every Christmas should be green.

5) Will Ferrell’s character Buddy in ‘Elf’ is powered by sugar, candy canes and cola. Right. But these are not as ridiculous a fuel as they may first appear; sugarcane-based ethanol accounts for 50% of current light fuel demand in Brazil, and…coal is an anagram of cola.  

6) Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Right. 7% of total US electricity generation comes from hydropower, which relies overwhelmingly on precipitation and snow accumulation.

7) The Polar Express – in a simple game of who is the biggest polluter on a per passenger basis, surely the car loses and the commuter train wins? Right. But express trains trump them both.

8) Double A-side single:  Home for the holidays / Driving home for Christmas – demand traditionally rises over Thanksgiving and Christmas? Right. But Memorial Day was the highest demand period of this year.

9) The Bears Who Saved Christmas – just a cartoon? Wrong. If bears take control of the markets in the coming weeks, we all might save this Christmas…at the pump. (although not on our utility bills, the way these things go). 

10) Every year, the citizens of Gävle, Sweden, build the world’s largest Christmas goat out of straw. This is their Christmas tradition. Unfortunately for them, almost every year the poor goat gets burned down. It’s a 13-meter tall (43 ft), 7-meter long (23 ft), 3 ton goat.  Err? This doesn’t actually relate to energy, I just found it two parts interesting, one part odd.

Happy December!

1 Comment on this post:

  1. Leslie Bates says:

    Ah, but straw goats DO relate to energy…According to Washington State University’s School of Economic Sciences (, incinerating a 3 ton straw goat would yield .00039 megawatts of electricity. Kind regards and Happy Holidays!

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