Free Markets, Free People

Sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh ruefully

Mostly because you get tired of saying “I told you so”.  Focus – Germany:

With Greenpeace successfully forcing the shutdown of nuclear power, and keeping out fracking for gas, what’s left? A boom in coal. In fact, over the next two years Germany will build 10 new power plants for hard coal.  Europe is in a coal frenzy, building power plants and opening up new mines, practically every month. It might sound odd that a boom in German coal is the result of Greenpeace’s political success.

Yes, this is the sort of thing that happens when governments try to set priorities in a market for political reasons and it blows up in their face:

Europe’s appetite for cheaper electricity is reviving mines that produce the dirtiest Across the continent’s mining belt, from Germany to Poland and the Czech Republic, utilities are expanding open-pit mines that produce lignite. The projects go against the grain of European Union rules limiting emissions and pushing cleaner energy. Alarmed at power prices about double U.S. levels, policy makers are allowing the expansion of coal mines that were scaled back in the past two decades. Lignite demand worldwide is forecast to rise as much as 5.4 percent by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.

And the preferred energy sources just don’t deliver:

Germany’s wind and solar power production came to an almost complete standstill in early December. More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still. One million photovoltaic systems stopped work nearly completely. For a whole week coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 percent of Germany’s electricity supply.

But if you ask them, these same folks will tell you how much smarter they are than you, how their priorities make more sense than yours and why they should be able to use force to make you live with their choices.

The irony is simply hilarious:

Coal remains the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity in the U.S. and coal exports are growing fast. Demand is being stoked by the rise of power-hungry middle classes in emerging economies, led by China and India. By the end of this decade, coal is expected to surpass oil as the world’s dominant fuel source, according to a recent study by consultant Wood Mackenzie.

And that brings us to the paradox created by government:

Germany’s energy transition has also been a transition to coal: Despite multi-billion subsidies for renewable energy sources, power generation from brown coal (lignite) has climbed to its highest level in Germany since 1990. It is especially coal-fired power plants that are replacing the eight nuclear power plants that were shut down, while less CO2-intensive, but more expensive gas-fired power plants are currently barely competitive. Energy expert Patrick Graichen speaks of Germany’s “energy transition paradox”: the development of solar and wind farms, yet rising carbon dioxide-emissions.


Oh … and we told you so.


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20 Responses to Sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh ruefully

  • But global arctic vortex climate change!
    More sea ice because there’s less!
    Colder because it’s hotter!
    The sun revolves around the earth …how’d that get back in there?
    Coldest weather in decades!  which means….uh…..that it’s been this cold….before….but… have to be old or something and you probably don’t remember it.
    OMG!  You can get frost bite from cold air and wind!   It can even kill you!  This is unheard of!  It’s obviously caused by anthropogenic global warming climate changing!

  • I hope that somewhere a good set of actual…you know…ECONOMISTS are ginning up a study showing how much money the Gorebal Climate Thingy central planners have cost the nations all over the world with their druid religion.
    Of course, nobody will ever be able to calculate the misery experienced by actual people who have been forced into “energy poverty”, or left to die in the cold.
    Another study I would LOVE to see is the impact of deforestation in places like Germany, as people were forced to go into the woods to try to find fuel to keep warm.
    And MARKETS would have prevented all of this.

    • There you go with that crazy idea that markets correct themselves!  As many times as we’ve been instructed that they REQUIRE government correction, and still you continue.

    • The good news is, the temp in MooseSqueeze is 13 degrees (F).    I wonder if chowderhead has a CO2 producing wood stove to keep his toes all toasty warm during these climate change episodes.

      • He’s got a generator which runs on smugness.
        Keeps his whole block powered up.

      • The ultimate irony would be if he actually uses a coal stove….and doesn’t comprehend the hypocrisy of his own life…

        If he has a wood-burning stove, it had better be a “legacy model”.  The anti-science Nazis at EPA will keep Americans from affording a new model.

        • We can always institute a ‘split wood’ tax.
          Plus surtaxes on the type of wood based on it’s tendency to produce more or less soot, creosote, etc.
          And A list of protected types of wood that may be burned, but require annual registration and inspection to ensure they were harvested and seasoned prior to implementation of the protected tree policy.  This will require state and federal tags and so forth issued for the owners, with the ability to transfer titles and such.
          And Mandatory State and Federal inspections to ensure that wood being burned has been properly seasoned to the specifications established by USC-title 520,375,292.001 Version 7.32 wherein the precise ages of all split wood will be determined by carbon dating to be paid for by the owner before said wood may be burned or combusted in approved devices with a minimum of 2 years, 29 days and 12 hours of curing time for 75% of the samples taken from any selected cord.
          And notations that wood species may not be mixed in cords without special EPA certified exemptions that must be applied for no less than 6 month prior to delivery and use of the mixed cord.
          Furthermore,  cord owners must store all cords in readily accessible storage facilities that meet dimensions as specified in USC-Title 200,375.212 for the storage of burnable wood products and must meet all handicap accessible requirements of the ADA of 1990 (addendums 325,342,234,100 chapters 1-15).
          That should do for starters…..
          You’re free to burn wood, we would NEVER restrict Americans keeping warm in winter so long as they adhere to the regulations.

          • You can inspect my firewood when you pry it from my cold, dead hands…
            Being…among a lot of other things…a welder, I will MAKE my own wood-burning stove.  The EPA can rotate…

          • No doubt we’re working on regulations about you being a welder.  You, personally.   Because as much as government does that sort of thing under any administration, THIS administration is the Michelangelo of inhibitive regulation precisely targeted and delivered to miscreants such as yourself   🙂

  • Here’s another bit of irony:  Germany’s misadventures with solar and wind resulted in such high energy costs that people, in huge numbers, are resorting to burning wood for home heating.  This, of course, releases far more CO2 than the coal and natural gas, and particularly nuclear, power that was displaced in favor of renewable energy.  Not to mention the deforestation….

  • Also, the German beer industry opposes fracking on the basis of centuries old water purity laws. The fear is that fracking will contaminate the water supplies and ruin the beer. Never mind that the gas lies far far below the water table and that the chances of ruining the water supply are no more than any other industry.
    Big Beer vs Big Gas. Get your tickets for the fight of the century!
    I have to think that this whole shambles is really just political expediency in (1) using a plentiful fuel that you can literally scrape off the ground with all infrastructure already in place for doing so, (2) reduce the dependence on dear old Uncle Putin’s gas for a few years, (3) avoid crippling the economy further with idiot green subsidies, (4) placate the anti-nuclear lobby for a while and (5) save the gas for later, it ain’t going anywhere.

    • Big Beer vs Big Gas
      >>> Usually it only takes me a little beer to produce big gas 😉
      Seriously though, in this scenario, big beer will win every. single. time.

  • Oh, look kids…it’s official.   It’s ‘weather’ again and not a sign that global warming isn’t.

    • Super-Typhoon Haiyan was proofPROOF I say!–of global warming climate change consensus hockey stick watermelon goodness.
      “Super storm” Sandy was PROOF. The Moore, OK tornadoes were PROOF.
      Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has PROOF–she feels more air turbulence when she takes an airline flight.
      Don’t you call them weather. They were climate. They were PROOF.
      All this cold weather is just weather. It’s nothing.

      • I’m gonna go out on a limb here, and predict something new and unusual.
        I’ve noted after extensive research conducted throughout my life, that around this time of year, it seems to get cold, ice, snowy, shorter days.  I’ve coined the term “winter” for this condition.   I’m collecting data, and will soon present my hypothesis, shortly followed by government funding and increased taxes to help further my research.
        It may even be that there are historical trends that go back thousands of years to further validate my own observations, but as of yet I haven’t had the funding that will enable me to travel to Europe and review the records they’ve surely kept there in places like Rome, Paris, Monaco, Lisbon… maybe Berlin if it’s the right time of year (I want to avoid the possibility that this ‘winter’ thing I hypothesize might catch me in Berlin or any of the more northerly cities of Europe, because if I’m right, it could be dangerously COLD, though I admit, that would further substantiate my arguments).
        I’ll of course let the other kibitzers like myself on QandO know before I go completely public with it, so they can get in on any ground floor investment opportunities that may result.

  • ith Greenpeace successfully forcing the shutdown of nuclear power, and keeping out fracking for gas, what’s left?

    >>> How about spending a winter in the cold and dark, then having the angry mob take it out on GreenPeace?

    • “having the angry mob take it out on GreenPeace?
      They won’t be available unless you have a sled dog team.  I expect they’ll be stuck in the ice somewhere at sea.