Having invested so much in renewables, the German government and Greens apparently are having great difficulties in coming to terms with the recently discovered huge reserves of cheap shale gas worldwide. This source of energy is not only affordable for consumers, but it is relatively environmentally friendly as well. But exploiting the gas would require governments and believers to abandon a big part of the green religion, i.e. renewables.
What do people do when they get so deep into an investment, and have worked so hard to convince everyone it is the right and moral thing to do, and then find out that there’s suddenly a much better and cheaper way? Do they simply abandon the entire endeavour? If the endeavour has become a religion and the meaning of life for them, the answer is no. They continue on a path to self-destruction.
That may indeed be the case for Europe and the Green Movement, who are now so deep into renewable energy that they may have gone beyond a psychological and emotional point of no return, a tipping point, and so they will refuse to abandon it no matter the cost. That could mean that the cheap and plentiful gas beneath our feet will simply be kept there, and we will be forced to continue paying exorbitant prices for an unreliable energy source and endure lots of pain.
Technically and economically, the recent discoveries of these huge deposits of natural shale gas in Europe make all the renewable energy pain completely unnecessary in the future. That ought to be good news, and governments ought to be breathing sighs of relief. But it isn’t so. Many European governments are not about to let anything disrupt their romantic visions of a future of renewables and the Truth.
Remember they are enlightened and infallible. So forget the drilling permits.
Michael Miersch and Dirk Maxiener at the online DIE WELT explain how the discoveries of shale natural gas have rendered renewable energies a complete flop. In a piece called Our Energy Dreamers Are Burning Money Instead Of Gas, they write:
Everywhere globally, huge reserves of natural gas have been discovered, from Israel to Qatar, from South Africa to Ukraine or Poland. The discoveries exceeded all expectations. The USA has found so much gas that it can become completely independent of imports. At current levels of consumption, there are enough for 100 years. And also Europe has gas for at least another 50 years – whereby the second biggest reserve is in North Rhine Westphalia.
Anyone in good psychological health would welcome such a blessing. But it seems we are living in times of increasing power madness. For example Maxiener and Miersch comment on the International Energy Agency’s (IEA), reaction:
But instead of expressing delight over the gas reserves, many of the archictects of our energy future are in a state of shock.
Equally shocked are the German energy dreamers with their solar cells because natural gas is relatively environmentally friendly and far more affordable than the option of Green-romantic alternatives.
So instead of burning the gas, the government will ask its citizens to burn their money to stay warm.
12 responses to “Beyond The Political Energy Tipping Point – Leaders “In A State Of Shock””
Gaining perspective on electric vehicles and the natural resources cliff.
“In the first three quarters of 2010, the world produced an average of 86 million barrels of crude oil per day. That works out to 0.65 metric tons, or 200 gallons per year, for each of the planet’s 6.6 billion inhabitants. There’s no doubt about it, oil is a scarce resource – at least until you compare it with metals that are two to five orders of magnitude scarcer. To put oil in its proper perspective, the following table summarizes global production data for several critical natural resources.
Natural Global Production Per Capita
Resource (Metric Tons) Production Per Captiva
Crude Oil 4,282,736,000 648.9 kg
Iron & Steel 2,400,000,000 363.6 kg
Aluminum 41,400,000 6.3 kg
Copper 16,200,000 2.4 kg
Lead 4,100,000 0.7 kg
Nickel 1,550,000 0.2 kg
Rare Earths 130,000 20 g
Lithium 25,300 4 g
For every thousand pounds of global oil production, we produce ten pounds of aluminum, four pounds of copper, one pound of lead, six ounces of nickel, a half-ounce of rare earth metals and a tenth of an ounce of lithium. No thoughtful investor can compare per capita production of oil and essential metals and rationally conclude that we can increase metal consumption in the name of conserving oil.
The resource sophistry can’t work in anything beyond technical puppet shows for lazy, impressionable or childish minds.”
Have you got this Rob?
I am thinking along the same lines. PV panels, Wind turbines and Lithium batteries all require the traditional fossil-fuel based industrial infrastructure to be produced. They are luxury items like Chanel handbags, and by relying on them instead of on the underlying fossil fuel infrastructure, we INCREASE the amount of fuels we require in the end. This should be straightforward to see, as it shows in the inflated prize for the energy produced by renewables. When it’s more expensive, it always needed more resources; simple rule really.
This also means that the renewables bubble is self-regulating – it cannot persist on its own. And when the prize for fossil fuel goes up, so will the prize for renewables, as fossil fuels are needed for their production.
One more word about the renewables bubble: The typical pattern for a technology bubble is hype-crash-steady growth. We are in the crash phase (for 3 years already). The crash is not over yet. It is such a protracted affair due to political meddling that slows the crash down; that’s why it’s so painful to watch and so expensive. Without subsidies, market forces would have finished the crash within six months.
Perhaps Rob and his girlfriend are on holyday?
According to the excellent article about the madness of electric vehicles or better said the impossibility of the entire concept above, please read it carefully, we have to shelf the entire Green Doctrine.
From A to Z.
Green, we know now is the opposite of sustainable.
It’s a fairy tale for lazy, impressionable or childish minds.
A single wind mill farm takes twice the amount of materials we need to build a nuclear power plant.
The power plant will deliver an impressive power out put.
The wind farm decorates the landscape.
Replacing fuel tanks with kilo’s additional materials is not sustainable.
End of the Green pipe dream.
I love this piece of writing in the article.
“I am a relentless and unrepentant critic of plug-in vehicle hype and propaganda because any plan to use hundreds of pounds of metal to replace a fuel tank must fail. There aren’t enough metals in the world to make a dent in global oil consumption and using scarce metal resources to make non-recyclable components like batteries and motors for plug-in vehicles can only make the problem worse. It’s sabotage masquerading as a solution”.
@ Dirk H
20. Februar 2011 at 15:09
“This also means that the renewables bubble is self-regulating – it cannot persist on its own. And when the prize for fossil fuel goes up, so will the prize for renewables, as fossil fuels are needed for their production.”
You are right in economic terms Dirk but wrong in political terms.
As the author has stated: “It’s sabotage of our societies masquerading as a solution”
Those behind this ‘sabotage’ should be prosecuted and locked up.
When will we rise and say NO and not a single step further?
I believe that the EU commission will simply ignore this. They will also ignore the recent events in the US congress where the IPCC has been defunded, the EPA is having its wings clipped and NASA is being urged to explore space and stop studying climate, apart from satellite measurement.
Since Europe is no longer a democracy there seems to be very little that can be done in the short term. However, the crash of the Euro, rocketing fuel prices and the general disenchantment with the institutions of the EU may lead to widescale civil unrest, as has been commented on this site. Don’t think this is simply a German problem, the UK is increasingly disenchanted with “green” policies and the EU.
Daimler presents small, roofless, windowless electric fun car study on trade fair. 85 mph or so. Doesn’t look like a convertible – it really seems to have no roof. So maybe it’s for indoor use 😉
I wonder if making the things ever more impracticable is really the way to go…
Maybe. However, if Europe continues to get brutally cold winters while windpower fails to deliver the required energy then the public will vote for politicians ready to ditch the nonsense. Just look at the Republicans at the last US congressional elections.
20. Februar 2011 at 16:57
I think your’s close but this is the truth.
The EU, the US the UN are all set out to completely disturb our markets,
destroy our resources, destroy our economies and create the chaos and turmoil that happens during revolutions.
People today are to stupid to see what’s going on.
They want our freedom, our assets, our savings, our pensions and when they got it we can all starve.
But before we go, half the Arab and the Third World will be gone.
All died from hunger and misery caused by price hikes of food and fuel.
I anyone may think we are short on resources, we have about 4000 kilo copper available for every person on the planet.
We don’t have a lack of resources but a lack of production capacity.
All we can wish for is tht the EU blows up it’s selfs and that we have our own Jasmin Revolution to kick all the hacks out of office.
It’s just boutique electricity for fantasists.
On the other hand, there are rumblings that the shale gas panacea is not all it’s been cracked up to be…including an apparent peak already in the Barnett Shale