The dawn of an economic boom, but without progress?

The dawn of an economic boom, but without progress?

Nowadays, fashionable business lies in big and large projects aiming at saving the planet by changing, or rather disrupting, energy supply and consumption. World business leaders align themselves behind the climate dogma, not so much that they believe in it, but because they anticipate monstrous business opportunities … and this makes them liking the dogma.

"Paris vaut bien une messe".

When pyramids were built in ancient Egypt, we can assume that it was made by draining huge resources from the whole pharaonic kingdom; the inhabitants of which had to foot the bill in one form or the other. Now we are told to do the same.

What was the social and economic value of this work: nil, zilch, zip, nada! We even don't know if the Pharaohs rest in a more peaceful peace than any other dead Homo sapiens. Not having to bear the cost of capital, tourism is now providing a trickle of cash flow, an externality that wasn't anticipated at the time. But we can easily imagine that quite a few suppliers, stone quarries, masons, slave trade, brothels, etc. got a nice business from it. Pyramids may have contributed to the illusion of a better way of life by accomplishing a religious act; and we know how dangerous it is to ascribe a value to illusions. War is then at such corner.

This example shows that a useless project can be hugely profitable for some of the players, but this will be done at the cost of the rest of the society. This doesn't sound at all like progress to me.

Therefore, we should never ask business leaders about what is good for the common good (good bye Davos!). Neither should we ask the same question to adepts of any cult: their answer is already known.

So, business people, climate-credulous, and politicians, all will pretend that saving the planet should be good for our feelings, for the economy, and for re-election. And they will persist even as no planet needs no saving, thus, as we know, the proposed demanded actions will remain futilely ineffective.

Huge costs for all, huge revenues for some, no significant benefit: this is not the idea I have about good policy and good governance.

I call this "pyramid pathology." Like an Ebola virus, it is spreading when, regardless of the impossibility to achieve the objectives, tales are told of jobs creation and of a future dazzling economy. In truth, it is a mix of opportunism, plain laziness, and lack of courage. Actual challenges are avoided, those for which no ready cooked meals are already served.

For energy, remaining in the realm of established technologies, it suffices to look at alternatives, they too offer job creation and good business perspectives. For example, constructing nuclear plants, better and safer ones, new or in substitution to those getting too old, will, in addition, provide power 90% of the time instead of leaving unresolved the conundrum of "renewables but intermittent" power only available 10-25% of the time. Or to better abate fine particles, NOX and SO2 emissions from coal fired plants in China at a fraction of all other costs. Or to improve hybrid trucks and cars that, from oil well to road, are delivering the best energy yield, and don't require any additional infrastructure.All this, isn't it green and clean?

Not subsidizing and investing at all cost in wind or photovoltaic will have an added advantage, that of freeing the time and the energy of many intelligent people to make more intelligent things, those about which we have no evident solutions but are real problems, such as reducing hunger and poverty, improving health, enjoying not only a decent but a better cultural life, etc. Human and financial resources are dearly needed to meet such challenges, they shall not be kept hostage of a monomaniac green eco-climatic mainstream that is requesting priority above everything else.

Business "leaders" (or just "leading mercenaries") should know better than to conform to a belief that leads them to a futile, useless, and expensive activism. Will they really remain motivated by building modern pyramids?

This is a reblog from MR's blog. Cliquer ici pour une version française.
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Gäste - Philippe Huber am 25.01.2017
well written, but which technology is able to deliver flexible power at low costs?

The challenge is not be able to provide 90% of the time continuous power, but when it is ask for, safely, climate friendly and cheap. This is the challenge the humans are facing since the are on earth. Nuclear power plants are today not fullfilling many of those requests. Wind and solar plants, neither, this is right. But the goal of reducing the foot print of a still growing population with huge power needs is not that wrong. In this sense the results of the COP 21 in Paris gives at least the hope, that the humans can agree on a common vision, A clever implementation remains allways the main challenge.

The challenge is not be able to provide 90% of the time continuous power, but when it is ask for, safely, climate friendly and cheap. This is the challenge the humans are facing since the are on earth. Nuclear power plants are today not fullfilling many of those requests. Wind and solar plants, neither, this is right. But the goal of reducing the foot print of a still growing population with huge power needs is not that wrong. In this sense the results of the COP 21 in Paris gives at least the hope, that the humans can agree on a common vision, A clever implementation remains allways the main challenge.
Michel de Rougemont am 25.01.2017
There is no need for "flexible power" nor to reduce whatever "footprint"

The pyramid pathology is most frequently encountered in subjects suffering of an irreducible aversion against (pacific) nuclear technology, or those who are fully climate-gullible of the unproven anthropogenic hypothesis (model calculations and simulations are far away of any scientific proof), or more generally in people inventing any hypothetical problem -preferably without any evidence- to justify any kind of activism. Thus, we are faced with modern pyramid-like projects such as "energy transition" at all costs.
There are no solutions to non-problems.

The pyramid pathology is most frequently encountered in subjects suffering of an irreducible aversion against (pacific) nuclear technology, or those who are fully climate-gullible of the unproven anthropogenic hypothesis (model calculations and simulations are far away of any scientific proof), or more generally in people inventing any hypothetical problem -preferably without any evidence- to justify any kind of activism. Thus, we are faced with modern pyramid-like projects such as "energy transition" at all costs. There are no solutions to non-problems.
Gäste - Philippe Huber. am 25.01.2017
don't spend glasses to a blind men, it will not help him

I agree that in the case you you are persuaded that the huge use of carbon based ressources by our actual civilisation and the consequences on our climate are not a problem, there is no reason to find a solution

I agree that in the case you you are persuaded that the huge use of carbon based ressources by our actual civilisation and the consequences on our climate are not a problem, there is no reason to find a solution
Markus Saurer am 25.01.2017
Germany's Energiewende - A disaster in the making

Fritz Vahrenholt zeigt auf, dass die Energiewende in Deutschland gerade keine Lösung ist - sie lässt die Karbonisierung in der Stromproduktion sogar ansteigen:

http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2017/01/Vahrenholt-Energiewende.pdf

In der Schweiz werden die kontraproduktiven Umweltwirkungen noch weit grösser sein, weil wir nicht 20 bis 30 Prozent, sondern 40 Prozent Atomstrom ersetzen müssen. Der Ausstieg aus der Kernkraft wird in der Schweiz über weite Bereiche ein Einstieg in die fossile Stromproduktion sein.

Fritz Vahrenholt zeigt auf, dass die Energiewende in Deutschland gerade keine Lösung ist - sie lässt die Karbonisierung in der Stromproduktion sogar ansteigen: http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2017/01/Vahrenholt-Energiewende.pdf In der Schweiz werden die kontraproduktiven Umweltwirkungen noch weit grösser sein, weil wir nicht 20 bis 30 Prozent, sondern 40 Prozent Atomstrom ersetzen müssen. Der Ausstieg aus der Kernkraft wird in der Schweiz über weite Bereiche ein Einstieg in die fossile Stromproduktion sein.
Gäste - Philippe Huber am 26.01.2017
right, a clever implementation is the key

Das ist korrekt und auch was ich meine. Die Regulierung in Deutschland ist sicher kein gutes Beispiel für die Schweiz. Wir müssen und können es besser machen.

Das ist korrekt und auch was ich meine. Die Regulierung in Deutschland ist sicher kein gutes Beispiel für die Schweiz. Wir müssen und können es besser machen.
Markus Saurer am 26.01.2017
Auch die cleverste Implementierung führt ins Desaster

Nun, dem fundamentalen technisch-ökonomischen Problem, dass mit zunehmendem Anteil volatiler Stromquellen die Systemkosten überproportional steigen, kann auch die beste Regulierung nichts ändern. Solange Strom nicht in grossen Mengen zu marktfähigen Kosten gespeichert werden kann, ist jeder weitere Ausbau von Photovoltaik und Wind unter europäischen Witterungsbedingungen nicht nur sinn- und zwecklos, sondern ökonomisch und ökologisch untragbar.

Nun, dem fundamentalen technisch-ökonomischen Problem, dass mit zunehmendem Anteil volatiler Stromquellen die Systemkosten überproportional steigen, kann auch die beste Regulierung nichts ändern. Solange Strom nicht in grossen Mengen zu marktfähigen Kosten gespeichert werden kann, ist jeder weitere Ausbau von Photovoltaik und Wind unter europäischen Witterungsbedingungen nicht nur sinn- und zwecklos, sondern ökonomisch und ökologisch untragbar.
Gäste - Philippe Huber am 30.01.2017
Das ist etwas komplexer

Es geht nicht nur um Speicher, sondern um die Flexibilisierung der Lasten, wie Boiler, Wärmepumpen, Kühlaggregate, usw. Das Potential besteht, wurde aber bis heute weitgehend nicht genutzt, weil die technischen Möglichkeiten fehlten. Das wird sich ändern. Daher kann einen moderaten Anteil an PV- und Windkraftwerke Sinn machen. Was mich stört in der heutigen Auseinandersetzung zwischen Befürwortern und Gegnern der Energiewende, ist die Radikalisierung der Aussagen der Parteien. Die Welt ist weder schwarz, noch weiss. Die heutigen KKW lösen bei weitem nicht alle Probleme, sondern verursachen auch welche. Der Ersatz der KKW durch Importe oder Gaskraftwerke auch.

Es geht nicht nur um Speicher, sondern um die Flexibilisierung der Lasten, wie Boiler, Wärmepumpen, Kühlaggregate, usw. Das Potential besteht, wurde aber bis heute weitgehend nicht genutzt, weil die technischen Möglichkeiten fehlten. Das wird sich ändern. Daher kann einen moderaten Anteil an PV- und Windkraftwerke Sinn machen. Was mich stört in der heutigen Auseinandersetzung zwischen Befürwortern und Gegnern der Energiewende, ist die Radikalisierung der Aussagen der Parteien. Die Welt ist weder schwarz, noch weiss. Die heutigen KKW lösen bei weitem nicht alle Probleme, sondern verursachen auch welche. Der Ersatz der KKW durch Importe oder Gaskraftwerke auch.
Michel de Rougemont am 30.01.2017
Still an useless strategy, without justification

Anyway, an electric car cannot be charged with solar power during the night when it is not in use!
And the widest swings of intermittences cannot de smoothed by adjusting some house appliances. This would also put big question marks about the necessary inquisition into the private life of paying customers.
Let's not forget that 75% of consumption is made in other sectors than households. Many of these are critical in term of instant availability.
A "moderate" portion of PV and wind is OK, Experts tell that it begins to be problematic above 20-25%; we are not yet there.
Back to the overall justification of all that drama:: a climatic dogma and the eagerness (hubris) to realize an epochal and grandiose work, as useless as pyramids. .Playing with Lego costs less.

Anyway, an electric car cannot be charged with solar power during the night when it is not in use! And the widest swings of intermittences cannot de smoothed by adjusting some house appliances. This would also put big question marks about the necessary inquisition into the private life of paying customers. Let's not forget that 75% of consumption is made in other sectors than households. Many of these are critical in term of instant availability. A "moderate" portion of PV and wind is OK, Experts tell that it begins to be problematic above 20-25%; we are not yet there. Back to the overall justification of all that drama:: a climatic dogma and the eagerness (hubris) to realize an epochal and grandiose work, as useless as pyramids. .Playing with Lego costs less.
Gäste - Philippe Huber am 31.01.2017
On that I agree

You are right. If we don't want to use nuclear energy any more in the future, we will have to burn gas to substitute the missing 25 Twh of electrical power. Wind an PV will be able to substitude max 15 Twh. Or we will have to increase dramatically electricity imports in the winter season. Substituing Oil and Petrol needed for heating and mobility will anyway be the much bigger challenge. I really would like to hear that from the department of energy from Doris Leuthard in the coming debate on the energy strategy.

You are right. If we don't want to use nuclear energy any more in the future, we will have to burn gas to substitute the missing 25 Twh of electrical power. Wind an PV will be able to substitude max 15 Twh. Or we will have to increase dramatically electricity imports in the winter season. Substituing Oil and Petrol needed for heating and mobility will anyway be the much bigger challenge. I really would like to hear that from the department of energy from Doris Leuthard in the coming debate on the energy strategy.
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