If the economy of the the Western Slope weren’t already hot enough, the promise (or spector depending on your perspective) looms over discussions about what the future might hold for the area.
Since the Colorado State Demographer already forecasts significant population and job growth for Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield Counties over the next 20-30 years (and that’s “without considering oil shale” goes the common rejoinder), what happens with oil shale research and development hoovers over the region’s collective imagination.
The region’s oil shale deposits hold enough potential “oil” (three times the reserves of Saudi Arabia) to attract a lot of national attention. Unfortunately, as an article in the San Francisco Chronicle reports, “the energy value of the oil produced would be about 3.5 times greater than the energy in the electricity used to produce it.”
Even if the technology evolves enough to extract oil from oil shale, we’ve centainly entered a would of diminishing energy returns.