No Minister

Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

How exactly is Net Zero sustainable?

with 3 comments

The forecast lithium demand to meet the Net Zero targets look to be completely unachievable. That is an enormous amount of new mining that would no doubt be opposed by self described environmentalists. The story of global growth and prosperity from the industrial revolution is tightly entwined with use of energy starting with coal, other fossil fuels and nuclear. It seems to me the underlying socialist green agenda is happily to take us all back to an agrarian lifestyle. They decry growth and seem happy to leave the undeveloped nations where they are and take the world down to their level, rather than encourage the use of fossil fuels to bring everyone forward.

Advertisement

Written by Whiskey&Pie

November 1, 2022 at 10:35 am

Who blew up Nord Stream?

with 26 comments

Was it the Russians or the Americans? Or maybe the Ukrainians? Which ever side you land on seems to be an almost ideological position, making it difficult to really explore the question. However, Mark Stein is not afraid of doing so, with his guest, James Melville:

People say, well this couldn’t be the Americans because Denmark and Germany are their NATO allies. Well, when they bugged out of Kabul, they didn’t let the British or anybody else know that they were abandoning Bagram Airbase. Those guys just woke up in the morning and found that all the Yanks had left! So, so, if they were doing something like this, it’s entirely possible that they wouldn’t let the Danes and the Germans in on it?

Mark Stein

Full 1 hour Mark Stein Show of which the above clip is just one small part.

Sky News Australia host, Chris Kenny is likewise not afraid of tacking the questions, with his guest, Global Directions think tank Managing Director Keith Suter:

Through the pipeline, Russia has a source to almost unlimited earnings from Europe by selling gas, if it chooses to; but also, it’s main point of leverage over Europe over energy, so why would it blow up it’s own key, strategic, link?

Chris Kenny

Recently, however, Jordan Peterson did suggest that Russia would be likely to turn off the gas at some point, so maybe there is an argument to be made that Russia did it. Though, turning off the gas versus damaging the pipe so that it would take time to repair before it could be used again seems to be an extreme way of reducing gas supply to Europe.

NZ Disinformation Project key researcher, Dr. Sanjana Hattotuwa considers anyone not falling into line in the correct manner (as determined by who, in particular?) to be promoting Russian propaganda:

Everyone’s an expert or a propagandist; or maybe people are just trying to figure out what the hell is going on and maybe, just maybe, are trying to find a way out that doesn’t involve plunging the whole world into a war that destroys everything and everyone in it’s path.

Meanwhile, just streamed live discussion run by Tim Poole, who is the intersection between my generation Gen X, and my Gen-Z sons. They will watch Tim, when he interviews people they watch, while as he also interviews people I watch. In the video below, they start the discussion on NATO threatening retaliation from the 5 minute mark:

I’m assuming they are not talking about Nord Stream, but they might be, because Germany relies on it. But it’s a weird thing, because; I’m trying to figure out what they are trying to say. Ok, are they blaming Russia for it, directly: no; but several member states are. If they are, it’s very weird that they are like: Our adversary’s infrastructure was like blown up and we’ll retaliate if someone blows up our infrastructure; it’s like; it sounds like you blew it up, and now you’re worried they’re going to blow up yours.

Tim Poole

Written by Lucia Maria

September 30, 2022 at 1:35 pm

A Union boss speaks the truth

with 4 comments

Gary Smith, the general secretary of the GMB, tells the New Statesman’s Rachel Wearmouth…

We import a huge amount of fracked gas and we import methane from America, which is basically fracked gas… Now we have a choice: we are either going to import gas that has been fracked somewhere else in the world and put on diesel-bombing ships or we take responsibility for our own carbon. If it can be done safely, and that is demonstrable, then it’s time that we took responsibility for our own carbon emissions. …the idea that the future is going to be all about electricity, or that we’re moving to a future simply about renewables, is just not true. … listen to unions that are in the energy sector, such as the GMB.

We should not get caught up in a bourgeois environmental debate driven by the bourgeois environmental lobby …The debate on the left needs to seriously talk about climate change, but it needs to be focused on jobs. And the renewables industry, and many of those who espouse it in politics, have no interest in jobs for working class communities. And we should stop pretending that we’re in an alliance with them. The big winners from renewables have been the wealthy and big corporate interests. Invariably the only jobs that are created when wind farms get put up, particularly onshore wind, have been jobs in public relations and jobs for lawyers.

hat/tip Guido Fawkes quote of the Day

Written by Whiskey&Pie

September 23, 2022 at 10:00 am

Metaphorical Fun

with 9 comments

It’s nice to know that there are many decent people in our world, including people who have no reason to be decent to people who likely want to destroy their lives.

Having said that I’d be willing to bet that while the tourists whose electric car ran out of juice will see the decency of the men who helped them out, they’ll not see the irony of this moment and they’ll still continue to vote to screw those men into the ground, likely with the rationalisation that they’ll get jobs building solar panels or windmills.

This just shows you coal miners are good people and will go out of their way to help anyone friend or foe. I’m honestly glad they ended up where they could get some help because they couldn’t get a tow truck to come and this is out in the middle of nowhere. one guy even dropped off a Friend of Coal license plate when he left to go home.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 9, 2022 at 5:42 pm

Escaping from the rest of us.

with 6 comments

Cool Pic. Very 2001ish. HAL’s unblinking red eye is in that small, black rectangle at the end.

It’s only one line – but a memorable one – from this report in The Guardian about various billionaires spending lots of money to prepare for something bad that may happen.

Prepping is no longer for Low Rent nutters…

Eventually, they edged into their real topic of concern: New Zealand or Alaska? Which region would be less affected by the coming climate crisis? It only got worse from there. Which was the greater threat: global warming or biological warfare? How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help? Should a shelter have its own air supply? What was the likelihood of groundwater contamination? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.

It’s as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust

What’s really funny is that this group of the mega-rich actually invited this guy, Douglas Rushkoff, a self-described “Marxist media theorist for advice on where and how to configure their doomsday bunkers“, to advise them about their plans – apparently not caring that he would include all this in a book and then an article in every Lefty Luvvie’s fave news site, The Guardian (well, not every one of them – the True Believers only read Jacobin).

Of course they don’t care because their wealth insulates them from anything this guy might say “back home”. Still, it means he can write about his obsessions by leveraging off their obsessions:

Never before have our society’s most powerful players assumed that the primary impact of their own conquests would be to render the world itself unliveable for everyone else.

Eh? I’ll grant you that the IT world sucks up an incredible amount of energy – for a time the global BitCoin insanity was gobbling more power than nations the size of Argentina – but it’s traditional industries and agriculture that’s getting the blame for despoiling our world. The former for at least two hundred years if William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” is anything to go by. It’s a good bet that these assholes are totally behind the WEF, insects as food, ESG Investing, electric vehicles and “de-carbonising” the economy.

But like all good Marxists Rushkoff doesn’t see that because he’s onboard for most of those things and doesn’t see how badly his beloved Toiling Masses are going to be screwed by the flipside of his Scientific Inevitability. The disasters heading our way, starting with energy deprivation in Europe, stem from things that Rushkoff supports and which these guys have the wealth to be insulated from – but he blames them.

Having said that I did appreciate his social, human advice – which they scoffed at, and in doing so revealed perhaps their major weakness, which is that they don’t seem to really have a fucking clue about humanity.

One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

I did have to laugh. Any professional skilled in the use of violence is probably going to want more than just access to food and water; he’s probably going to want access to the wives and any other females linked to these clowns – and that’s while things are good. When the supplies run low the “billionaires” will need to stop talking about “their” bunker and perhaps even make themselves scarce – and hope they haven’t put on too much weight.

The thing is that Rushkoff is right on that last part, although I was surprised to see him keep it micro, making only a slight reference to what I would think is his larger point as a Marxist; about expanding partnership and solidarity to a large collective in order to meet future challenges.

But these clowns can’t see that, for all the smarts that have made them fantastically rich. They also can’t see human history either, which offers the answer. Clans and kinship based groups will do well. Relationship based groups will do well. Some random former billionaire surrounded by 12 militaristic types…

It’s also a good example of how capitalists, especially the richest ones, really don’t get that Capitalism is a cooperative effort, but then Business has always been a frenemy of Capitalism.

He calls it Silicon Valley escapism – The Mindset – but read the whole thing.

When did the Germans become this stupid?

with 8 comments

The Lamps Are Going Out All Over Europe’

Germans have never struck me as being stupid people. It may be cliched to picture them as sober, serious, stolid citizens who make machines and systems that work, but that’s because cliches often derive from basic truths.

But there is that whole German Political Party That Must Not Be Named thing, which often seemed to be both led and run by hysterics, so perhaps there’s some flaw in the German national character that just bursts out from time to time.

Begging also does not seem to be them either.

Oh dear:

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Canada recently begging Justin Trudeau for Liquified Natural Gas. “Canada is our partner of choice,” said Scholz, adding “we hope that Canadian LNG will play a major role” in his country’s attempt to wean itself off Russian energy.

Trudeau was characteristically dismissive, saying there has “never been a strong business case” for exporting Canadian LNG to Europe. Of course, he was also letting himself off the hook for his government’s entrenched anti-resource-sector policies: Canada currently has not one single LNG active export terminal, and Canada’s regulatory framework is responsible for the outright rejection of sixteen of the eighteen proposed terminal construction projects since Trudeau took power.

All of this is due to the German Energiewende (clean energy transition) running into a few problems, mainly because the only way to make the transition “work” was to import large amounts of Russian gas to make up the difference – and now that strategy is stuffed because of all the sanctions against Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine. That article looks at the sad efforts to move away from coal – until now:

Of course, the plan to fire up the coal-fired power plants has been presented as an ‘emergency’ measure, in response to the war in Ukraine. As recently as December, the German government was promising to accelerate the phase-out of coal power. Instead of eliminating coal by 2038, as Angela Merkel had planned, the new government aims to end the use of coal by 2030. 

There was also more begging:

On top of reopening coal plants, Habeck was forced to visit Qatar earlier this year, in order to secure new supplies of liquefied natural gas. Photos of Habeck bowing to the Qatari energy minister were met with widespread derision on social media. This was widely seen as a betrayal not only of Habeck’s green principles, but also of the ‘moral foreign policy’ that the Green Party had promised. 

Humiliating, but what else could he do? Beggars can’t be choosers, and Germany is very much a beggar.

The Russians know it too. That’s why they’ve cut down LNG flows to Germany by 60 percent, blaming “mechanical problems” while ostentatiously burning $10 million worth of natural gas per day at the mouth of the Nord Stream pipeline rather than sending it to Germany. Russia is making the same amount of money from 1/5 of its former supply: an own-goal by the Euros.

Even in the face of this disaster the Germans are also still being fanatical about closing their nuke plants, although that has begin to at least wobble a bit in the wake of exploding energy costs. Luckily for the Germans the entire EU has declared that not only are nukes Clean and Green – but so too is Natural Gas:

The European Union voted on Wednesday to keep some specific uses of natural gas and nuclear energy in its taxonomy of sustainable sources of energy.

Ecoactivists and unhappy bureaucrats are already complaining the move is “green-washing” nuclear power and natural gas. Austria intends to bring the matter to the European Court.

Meh. They’re hankering for the 1980’s anti-nuke past while these current events are already clearly changing attitudes back to nuclear power:

The U.K., Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have all announced plans to build new reactors, adding to Europe’s decades-old reactor fleet

Mind you, as goes Germany, so goes Europe.

The story is much the same throughout the continent — in Poland people have been lining up in their cars for multiple days in the hopes of buying rationed coal to get them through the next several months (the E.U. has also embargoed Russian coal imports). The manager of Finland’s power grid has begun telling the country to “prepare for shortages this winter.” The British were recently informed that their heat and energy costs would increase by 80 percent as of October 1, and their national grid managers, too, have begun to talk more about shortages than cost.

Meanwhile, China and India happily use all the fossil fuels Europe is not.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 4, 2022 at 6:00 am

One Energy Future

with 6 comments

For the last few years I’ve been following the bureaucratic twists and turns that the company NuScale has been following in Amercia as it tried to get approval for a new type of nuclear reactor.

As smart and as sensible as their approach seemed I did wonder if they’d ever make it through or whether this would turn into yet another case of a startup company bankrupted by the government.

It would seem not. US regulators will certify first small nuclear reactor design:

On Friday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that it would be issuing a certification to a new nuclear reactor design, making it just the seventh that has been approved for use in the US.

But in some ways, it’s a first: the design, from a company called NuScale, is a small modular reactor that can be constructed at a central facility and then moved to the site where it will be operated.

That’s what so unique and clever about this machine. It’s built in a factory, shipped to where the power is needed and, when the fuel is exhausted, shipped back to the same factory where it is disassembled, the nuclear fuel re-processed, with unused fuel recovered and radioactive by-products stored. Much of each machine can also be re-used for new reactors.

Aside from this rather clever, holistic concept, these reactors are also designed to be passively safe: no operator actions are necessary to shut the reactor down if problems occur. Having said that it’s not as clever as things like Molten Salt Reactors (molten uranium salts as the reactor fuel); it’s still has uranium rods, control rods and boiling water as the energy transport mechanism.

Still, the whole “Buy it, install it, run it, return it when used” may make a difference in a lot of places around the world.

But not New Zealand I’m sure. Imagine what Lucy Lawless would have to say. Mind you, multi-millionaires, especially the frivolous creatures of Hollywood, are freed from the cares of much of the rest of the world, which is why she’s so keen on growing vegetables in Remuera.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 1, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Crush Depth

with 2 comments

Some genius architects and urban planners have come up with a brilliant idea for future cities on Earth.

“The Line” is a proposed three-dimensional city that is 200m wide, 500m high, 170km long, and built in the Saudi Arabian desert, 500m above sea level, according to the NEOM Project’s official website. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Board of Directors, Mohammed bin Salman, made the announcement on The Line’s official site.

No roads, cars or emissions, it will run on 100% renewable energy and 95% of land will be preserved for nature. People’s health and wellbeing will be prioritized over transportation and infrastructure, unlike traditional cities…[It] will eventually accommodate 9 million people and will be built on a footprint of just 34 square kilometers.

Here’s their two minute video.

So, what do readers think?

I think it blows! Big time. Just one of the objections I have is that line about “preserving nature” – as if humans are not also part of nature.

It’s something out of a dystopian Science Fiction story, starting out like those bright, clean spaceships in 2001: A Space Odyssey and other SF movies of the 1950’s-60’s, but likely to degrade to a BladeRunner type locale. It should be noted that critics praised the move in SF movies away from “bright and shiny” to “gritty” as being likely a touch more realistic.

Also, humans don’t react well to being “re-engineered”. We’re organic beings and often the things we create, like cities, are organic too, even if we use machines to build and run them they develop in quirky ways. Planned cities like Brasila (“...the Hotel Sector, the Banking Sector, and the Embassy Sector…“) are not regarded with any great love:

Nothing dates faster than people’s fantasies about the future. This is what you get when perfectly decent, intelligent, and talented men start thinking in terms of space rather than place; and single rather than multiple meanings. It’s what you get when you design for political aspirations rather than real human needs. You get miles of jerry-built platonic nowhere infested with Volkswagens. This, one may fervently hope, is the last experiment of its kind. The utopian buck stops here.

— Robert HughesThe Shock of the New, Episode 4: “Trouble in Utopia”, (1980)

Fervant hope dashed. I can’t recall a time in my life when Central Planners have ever given up on any of their utopian goals. At best they’ve destroyed themselves, in the sense that their plans have produced undeniably dreadful results, but mostly they’ve encountered pushback in the form of people refusing to cooperate with their grand plans and escaping to places where the plans are not being effected.

But like rust, the bastards never sleep. They never give up on their utopian schemes, witness the constant hopes in Lefty bastions like The Daily Blog and The Standard, that the government would once again own the entire power industry here.

There’s also another unspoken aspect to this, summarised well by the secondary headline in this article, The Dehumanizing Tyranny of Densification:

The prevailing vision of environmentalism today caters to a global oligarchy.

Or perhaps Kip’s Law:

“Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner.”

In other words I very much doubt that Mohammed bin Salman or any of the other Saudi Princes will be giving up their palaces to live in this utopia. It’s probably intended for the army of Pakistani immigrant workers that their economy needs in order to operate.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 29, 2022 at 2:19 pm

The delicious bite of reality

with 3 comments

Let’s start with the good news before getting into the bad news.

Investment Giant BlackRock Loses $1.7 Trillion In Six Months

BlackRock lost $1.7 trillion of its clients’ money since the beginning of the year — the largest sum ever lost by a single firm over a six-month period, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg analyst Marc Rubenstein.

Blackrock are one of the largest fund managers in the world, controlling trillions of dollars of their clients’ funds – which is often the retirement and pension savings of typical American investors.

So why is this good news? Because BlackRock have been one of the leading proponents of the bullshit known as ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), insisting that companies it invests in use this method of measuring themselves rather than boring old crap like revenue, profits, dividends and ROI (Return on Investment):

By adopting ESG goals — or, in the case of BlackRock, pushing portfolio companies into adopting ESG goals — executives commit themselves to pursuing green energy, appointing a certain number of minorities to serve as managers, or otherwise blending profitability with progressive politics.

BlackRock have been bullying bastards on this matter since they have so much financial power. They even managed to place three environmental activists on the 12-person board of Exxon Mobil. That’s how much power they have.

Or perhaps had. You’ve all heard of luxury goods, things you can buy when you have a lot of money. Well there are also things called luxury ideas; electric cars in a world of $NZ 20/litre petrol; a world of organic farming and 100% renewable energy, But also very gauzy academic ideas like ESG or White Privilege and Critical Race Theory.

Which is to say that when times get tough, when the food, the petrol and the money start running out and that Bachelor in Environmental Gender Studies just ain’t pulling in the big bucks, luxury ideas tend to get jettisoned, and right quick. BlackRock is not at that stage yet; more pain must be inflicted on them.

However, an exclusive Daily Wire poll conducted by Echelon Insights showed earlier this year that 64% of respondents believe “individual investors whose savings are being invested” should ultimately decide whether retirement funds and pension plans are allocated according to ESG criteria. A mere 20% believe that “Wall Street asset managers” should make such decisions.

As an old varsity buddy cum investment manager in Wellington told me in the wake of the 1987 share market crash, regarding some clients who’d ignored his warnings, “People don’t react until the blowtorch is applied to the goolies”.

Goolie burning is a nasty business, as Sri Lanka has found out and which deserves its own post. But for the moment let’s note this:

“But the underlying reason for the fall of Sri Lanka is that its leaders fell under the spell of Western green elites peddling organic agriculture and ‘ESG,’ which refers to investments made following supposedly higher Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria. Sri Lanka has a near-perfect ESG score (98) which is higher than Sweden (96) or the United States (51).”

Michael Shellenberger, from his article ‘Green Dogma Behind Fall Of Sri Lanka

It’s a tempting idea to kidnap the BlackRock execs and dump them in Sri Lanka where they’ll have, shall we say, direct contact with the joys of near-perfect ESG score. Assholes.

Meanwhile in China….

Because nothing says “Your bank is safe but you can’t get your money out” than encountering a Main Battle Tank blocking the front doors.

Could be worse; in the future they’ll probably be using these instead – and this is not from the well-known firm, Boston Dynamics that pioneered these things: this is a Chinese model.

Germany’s a gas, man

with 12 comments

It was apparent several years ago to people like President Trump that Germany was getting far too hooked on Russian gas in its attempts to shut down it’s own coal-fired and nuclear generating plants. However, when Trump addressed this to Chancellor Merkel she dismissed the concerns and when he raised it again in a UN speech…

Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.

…. the arrogant German representatives literally laughed at him (the video from which this is taken shows this even more clearly).

I guess the dumb bastards aren’t laughing any more, judging by the release of this analysis from Deutsche Bank.

Wood for heating? I’m cool with that for the farm, in fact I love my wood-burning fireplace. But for a mass of urban dwellers in a 21st century developed nation? How many houses would even have such a thing anymore?

And as this article points out, you can actually run cars on wood gas, and during WWII they did so in Germany and other nations.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 19, 2022 at 7:40 pm