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  • Annals of Energy Insanity

    Posted by David Foster on November 14th, 2010 (All posts by )

    Scotland is risking widespread blackouts, as nuclear, gas, and oil-fired power stations are shut down–without adequate replacement capacity coming on-line.

    In Britain, economic and “climate change” concerns are driving the dimming or turning-off of large numbers of streetlights.

    And in Massachussetts, a large solar (photovoltaic) facility is being installed, under the advertised belief that such facilities will eventually provide an economical replacement for the oil-burning furnaces now common in New England.

    Are things like this merely a reflection of widespread technological and economic ignorance, coupled with dysfunctional politics? Or are we seeing a manifestation of a subconscious suicide instinct pervading Western civilization?

     

    9 Responses to “Annals of Energy Insanity”

    1. Paul Milenkovic Says:

      My brother recently put a PV panel on his house in South Florida. He has a long commute, and I recommended he buy a Nissan LEAF, suggesting that when he drives it home from work every business day, he can charge it overnight from his solar panel (cue snare drum rim shot).

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      It is not subconscious. It is environmentalism, which used to be called communism, but the changed the name because of communism’s bad rep. Of course, as Virginia Postrel once said: “when they were communists, they at least claimed to favor some human beings.”

    3. Tatyana Says:

      I am convinced that majority of people who actively work toward mandating”energy-saving” technologies and programs as matter of policy are using the phraseology for a cover of the underlying agenda of robbing the public dry. Acquiring the smug self-satisfaction and halo of “green warrior” along the way is an added bonus. They don’t think about long-term consequences; or rather they bet on “it will somehow work out” outcome.

      I went to seminar on NYSERDA and it confirmed my conviction.

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I suspect most of it is ignorance and the well known tendency of politicians to respect the loudest voices. The productive sector of the British population is not a large share of the total. The greater London area is the only area of the UK with a positive GNP/ consumption ratio. Massachusetts and California have similar distributions of fools and producers. The legislatures, of course, are largely populated with fools.

      At least solar is an option for some in California. I was considering it and had a consultant come out to my house. My neighbor had some tall Italian cyprus trees and these cast enough shade to make it uneconomical, he told me.

    5. David Foster Says:

      Tatyana…”using the phraseology for a cover of the underlying agenda of robbing the public dry.”

      Several years ago, someone proposed the theory of **coalitions of Baptists and bootleggers** as the driving force of most social movements. In the prototypical case, the Baptists favor prohibition of liquor for religious reasons; the bootleggers favor it because open sale would cut into their profits. Similar combinations of motives can be found in many other cases, and I’d suggest that even within a single individual, the Baptist and Bootlegger motivations can be combined. I’m sure that there are venture capitalists who have convinced themselves that their lobbying for special “green” subsidies for companies they’re investing in is driven by their genuine concern for the future of humanity as well as by financial motivations.

    6. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      The 1968 extremely funny comedy The Producers gives the scheme underlying green energy policy.

      In the film, the Producer (Zero Mostel) tells his accountant that he has sold shares adding up to more than 100% of his projects. The accountant (Gene Wilder) says that is impossible and illegal. Still, as long as the productions lose money, no one will care about the particular portion that they own.

      Green energy is supported by scientists who want grants, and by a wishful part of the public who care more about saving the world than the cost. However, the reason that all of this has political support is that huge amounts of money can be spent by government and wasted, with flowback political contributions, as long as no one expects those projects to pay for themselves. The motto is “of course these new technologies are expensive, and we don’t expect them to be successful as yet.”

      It is exactly the expected failure and expense of green energy which hides the graft.

      The slogan is “Of course these technologies will lose money for 5-10 years. That is the expected cost of a new industry.” Yes, any industry formed by government with public subsidies and mandates. The expected failure and expense of green energy which hides the graft.

      <a href="http://easyopinions.blogspot.com/2008/03/tpm-adaquate-compensation.html#Blog1&quot;The Political Manual: Adequate Compensation – Search for “Create new contracts”.

      ========
      Encourage new ideas for garbage processing, recycling, green government vehicles, resource management, environmentally sensitive school cafeterias, concrete with recycled content, or biodegradable curtains and furniture.

      You and your family can form a service company FamCo which sells to a preferred company NewContractor. NewContractor can easily win the new government contracts by bidding 70% of the realistic price. It can be expected that the first application of a new technology will have cost overruns.
      ========

    7. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      That link above is: The Political Manual: Adequate Compensation – Search for “Create new contracts”.

    8. bill Says:

      Between the post and comments here, I think you’ve got it all summed up.

      I have a new wind generator less than a mile from me, though we are in a zone 3 (out of 10), which is marginal at best … and the site is not great, as I see it. They’ve had problems, and all but one smaller part came from out of the country, so it didn’t do much for stimulus. But there is some sort of guaranteed revenue … as long as the Chinese company stays in business … so someone is happy, for now.

      But the US has natural gas, nuke technology, and we (especially Illinois) are like the Saudi Arabia of coal. All those seem to be shutting down rather than ramping up. I’m not sure if it is subconscious western suicide … or something more deliberate, but we need an intervention.

    9. Joseph Somsel Says:

      It seems that having widely available, affordable, plentiful, convenient energy at low prices for every citizen is the antithesis of what the “power to the people” types really want.

      No, cheap, abundant energy is EVIL! If we were as smart as the environmentalists, we would see how energy destroys what we should hold dear – like plowing behind a mule, low caloric intake diets, and candle light.

      Yes, “Baptists and bootleggers” indeed! The ideological and the corrupt team up again.