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A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Unread postby ennui2 » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 13:38:00

Ibon wrote:Would be if this doom orientation had the power to freeze you into just complaining and doing nothing pro active with your life.


OK, here comes the judgmentalism. Monte said it himself. Peak-oil is economic, is it not? Well, I'm doing something. I'm making a very good living in BAU while I'm still able to do so. That is my competitive advantage, which is not the standard doomer off-grid playbook. It doesn't score a lot of points with those with their doomsteads, but at my current salary I can afford to weather very expensive oil. I would not be nearly as well positioned had I abandoned my IT career and moved to the doomstead to sell organic veggies.

So, do you still think I'm not doing something pro-active with my life? I'm making a grave error? That's your prerogative to say so. But I spent years weighing the pros and cons of zigging or zagging. I've made my peace following this path. It works for me.

Do people want to transfer this thread into nothing but people bragging about their solar arrays and their water catchment systems? I find that kind of doomer bragging just illustrates how insecure some people are, that they have made such a high-cost bet on things going to hell in a handbaket that they need to justify unplugging from the rat-race. I'm not going to come down on anyone for taking the Mosquito Coast approach as long as they don't come down on me for holding onto the BAU career track for the time being.

Ibon wrote:Who is this "doomer" if not your alter ego that you go around projecting on to others?


It's a conglomeration of the attitudes that some posters project. You don't think it's accurate but it is. If I need to compile some statements of people here to prove it, I will. Sometimes I think people don't really step back and evaluate what they write and how it comes across. It just streams out of their fingers like a reflex.

Ibon wrote:creative force rather than a reason to just whine and complain.


Whining and complaining cuts both ways though. There's nothing Orlov or Kunstler writes that can't be classified as whining or complaining. And Greer isn't far behind.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 14:06:35

And you ennui. You outwhine the so-called whiners a million times. However you seem to be slipping? I only count doomer doomer doomer doomer several times here.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 14:09:08

You could say Ennui likes to whine about us whiny doomers hehe.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby ennui2 » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 14:44:33

pstarr wrote:And you ennui. You outwhine the so-called whiners a million times. However you seem to be slipping? I only count doomer doomer doomer doomer several times here.


Yeah, I should be like you and just tell other posters I don't like to fuck off. Then I'll be a paragon of poster etiquette.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 15:12:47

vtsnowedin wrote: If it comes down to it in the future there maybe times when work schedules will get adjusted to the weather forecast to match energy intensive activities to availability.


Dinner time will be determined by the weather? Maybe smart grids will shut off appliances intermittently to deal with peak loads.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 15:25:24

ennui2 wrote:OK, here comes the judgmentalism. Monte said it himself. Peak-oil is economic, is it not? Well, I'm doing something. I'm making a very good living in BAU while I'm still able to do so. That is my competitive advantage, which is not the standard doomer off-grid playbook. It doesn't score a lot of points with those with their doomsteads, but at my current salary I can afford to weather very expensive oil.


So could many of us, but that's not the point. Are you prepared to weather the end of growth or a protracted depression? Having lots of money won't be much of an advantage when it is worthless. Remember, those dollar bills are really IOU's. They represent money borrowed at interest or they wouldn't exist.

And I said PO is an economic crisis that will affect everything we do, not just how much things cost.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby ennui2 » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 21:48:42

MonteQuest wrote:Are you prepared to weather the end of growth or a protracted depression? Having lots of money won't be much of an advantage when it is worthless.


I'm about as prepared as I can be given my own life circumstances. Yes. Beyond my current earning potential, our family as a whole owns property both in Massachusetts and Florida. The inner-suburban property here in Massachusetts is extremely valuable. In another three years I'll be an empty-nester and in a position to cash it out, at which time I will be sitting on a large nestegg with no debt (far larger than the one I was sitting on when I wrote my doomstead blog). I also stand to inherit a share of my grandmother's property when she passes (she's in her 90s). And I don't know how long my parents will last, but I'm pretty much on the hook to take care of them. In other words, I'm looking at this as a family survival plan, not just me as an individual, in which we pool resources. Whether my parents are on-board on the doomer train or not, I'm stuck with them, and in return they're going to have to let me assume their net worth sooner or later. Last I checked, you had your own family obligations did you not? Not everyone is so unencumbered that they can just suddenly head for the hills without impacting loved-ones.

The idea of the nuclear family and every new generation setting forth and getting the white picket fence will be the first casualty. If 50% of the population or more is unemployable, what you'll see is a return to extended family living conditions as well as tons and tons of roommates, like what you see with Mexican immigrants. People will have to just accept that in any given household maybe only a couple people will work and everyone else will just be helping out around the house as glorified freeloaders. That's what "lifeboat ethics" will look like at first, a willingness of people's innermost circle to provide food and shelter. Under this scenario, I think there will still be more than enough food and energy to go around, but people will be terribly demoralized by not being able to find work. (They will also be forced to relearn the art of interpersonal communication that has atrophied in the age of facebook and smartphones, otherwise they will be at each other's throats in no time.) However, I don't view this as a particularly doomy scenario, as it just erodes the very top end of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

The reason I think all this will be possible without starvation is that the cost of basic sustenance is not really that high. Rent, for instance, is split in half the second you take in your first roommate. Then continue dividing it with each additional roommate. Same with utilities. So it's possible for one white-class worker to support, I dunno, 4-6 freeloaders. How we have things arranged currently is a function of our current surplus, and that's the fat that will be cut first.

That is assuming a purely economic crisis. Add in waves of crop failures, though, and all bets are off. So this constant beating of the drum about "jobs, jobs, jobs" isn't really raising my pulse. The endgame to me I think revolves mostly around agriculture.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sun 10 Jan 2016, 23:38:47

ennui2 wrote: That's what "lifeboat ethics" will look like at first, a willingness of people's innermost circle to provide food and shelter. Under this scenario, I think there will still be more than enough food and energy to go around, but people will be terribly demoralized by not being able to find work.


Yes, but we aren't headed for a depression where deflation rules (too little money chasing too many goods), we are headed for a no-growth depression where money has no value.

Remember, every dollar is loaned into existence with interest with a promise to repay from economic growth.

During the Great Depression, the money supply evaporated when loans defaulted and new loans were impossible to get. Imagine a world where no new loans ever happen. That debts cannot be repaid at all. That debt cannot be rolled over. Money becomes not worth the paper on which it is printed. Maybe they will try Weimar Germany hyper-inflation where 1,400 printing presses ran 24/7 to keep up with the deflation of the currency.

Please school us on how a debt-based monetary system that demands infinite growth to exist remains when growth ends.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 06:17:35

MonteQuest wrote:
ennui2 wrote: That's what "lifeboat ethics" will look like at first, a willingness of people's innermost circle to provide food and shelter. Under this scenario, I think there will still be more than enough food and energy to go around, but people will be terribly demoralized by not being able to find work.


Yes, but we aren't headed for a depression where deflation rules (too little money chasing too many goods), we are headed for a no-growth depression where money has no value.

Remember, every dollar is loaned into existence with interest with a promise to repay from economic growth.

During the Great Depression, the money supply evaporated when loans defaulted and new loans were impossible to get. Imagine a world where no new loans ever happen. That debts cannot be repaid at all. That debt cannot be rolled over. Money becomes not worth the paper on which it is printed. Maybe they will try Weimar Germany hyper-inflation where 1,400 printing presses ran 24/7 to keep up with the deflation of the currency.

Please school us on how a debt-based monetary system that demands infinite growth to exist remains when growth ends.

I think you have a slanted view of how things were in the great depression. My father lived through it and always said that FDR closing the banks was the worst thing he ever did. My father lost some $67.00 when they closed his bank. But after that those with cash were king and we were still on the gold standard and your change was real silver. During that time my father bought and sold houses for $1500 apiece. The worst problem was a shortage of work and he went as far as Cleveland in pursuit of it.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby Pops » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:01:44

MonteQuest wrote:Yes, but we aren't headed for a depression where deflation rules (too little money chasing too many goods), we are headed for a no-growth depression where money has no value.

In deflation the value of real money increases relative to assets.
(bank money never had vaue to begin)

Cash appears scarce because people have no good place to invest it and it goes under the mattress. They are trying to get out from under failing investments, trying to sell whatever assets because they are losing value. They hold off purchases because the item will be cheaper tomorrow.
Cash goes up, stuff goes down.

Remember, every dollar is loaned into existence with interest with a promise to repay from economic growth.

This is another old chestnut that makes no sense and never has excpt to justify the anti-capitalist, die-off fantasy. Granted, inflation pays some of the interest, which is why some inflation is good for the economy. But real money (as opposed to "deposits") is a representation of value, and value comes from work, so the cost of borrowing (renting) money gets paid with work — no different than the cost of corn flakes or anything else consumed.

You don't say that paying for your corn flakes requires the economy to grow, why would you say that about paying for the time value of a loan?

It's called the time value of money because money today is worth more than money tomorrow. Even in a situation where money is appreciating, it takes money to do economic work. Without money today to buy seeds and fertilizer and fuel you won't have a crop tomorrow. And of course it goes double when the value of money is increasing.

During the great depression the average interest rate was around 2%. Total loans outstanding fell by 2/3 because, obviously, the economy had over invested and blown a bubble. But there were still profitable uses to put money towards.

The same will happen if energy declines faster than the economy can cope. The energy bubble will burst. "Overinvestment" in energy-intensive and energy-wasting stuff will evaporate as the economy shrinks. That is your pinch point, not that "growth stops" but that "waste stops"

But, again, Real Money—FRNs— become more valuable in deflation, it is your mid-management job, Lexus, mini-manse and 401k that become less so.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:18:09

vtsnowedin wrote:I think you have a slanted view of how things were in the great depression.


Slanted? In what way? What about his statement is slanted? "During the Great Depression, the money supply evaporated when loans defaulted and new loans were impossible to get."
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:24:17

ennui2 wrote:The reason I think all this will be possible without starvation is that the cost of basic sustenance is not really that high. Rent, for instance, is split in half the second you take in your first roommate. Then continue dividing it with each additional roommate. Same with utilities. So it's possible for one white-class worker to support, I dunno, 4-6 freeloaders. How we have things arranged currently is a function of our current surplus, and that's the fat that will be cut first.
You have contradicted yourself. If only that single white-class (no classy people of color?) guy supports 4-6 freeloaders how can he expect rent to be split? Those 4-6 free-loaders have not rent money. I'd be one angry classy guy :-x .

This income disparity renders the utility problem exponentially worse. No one room can be shut off to save heat or air conditioning costs/energy. Homes in the US are well-insulated cartons that maintain internal temperature, but not for individual rooms. There is little or no ability to isolated conditions, as heat/cold will always migrate through thin 4*4 walls that have no insulation.

ennui2 wrote:That is assuming a purely economic crisis. Add in waves of crop failures, though, and all bets are off. So this constant beating of the drum about "jobs, jobs, jobs" isn't really raising my pulse. The endgame to me I think revolves mostly around agriculture.

So you are a doomer after all. But the catastrophic effects of AGW will probably not play out for decades. (Darth Nino seems to be refilling reservoirs good for many years) so are you talking about the dearth of tractor fuel? Transport fuel? What makes you an agricultural rather than economic doomer?
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:42:32

Pops wrote: Cash appears scarce because people have no good place to invest it and it goes under the mattress.


No, cash becomes scarce because loan defaults and loan repayments reduce the money supply. It disappears back into the thin air out of which they were created. It's called fractional reserve banking. With not enough new loans coming into existence to replace the money supply, prices drop in response to having to compete for the remaining dollars in circulation. This is why the govt spent money into existence WPA projects. The Federal reserve uses interest rates and bond sales to control this, trying to find that Goldilocks setting.

Pops wrote:
Remember, every dollar is loaned into existence with interest with a promise to repay from economic growth.

This is another old chestnut that makes no sense and never has except to justify the anti-capitalist, die-off fantasy. Granted, inflation pays some of the interest, which is why some inflation is good for the economy.


Inflation creates new money? Inflation destroys the purchasing power of money. Deflation increases it. Makes no sense? It is how our money system works. Money is created through loans and destroyed through repayment of principle or default. Only coins are real money, all other currency is debt (IOU's), loaned into existence with interest.

Pops wrote:You don't say that paying for your corn flakes requires the economy to grow, why would you say that about paying for the time value of a loan?


I didn't borrow my cornflakes with interest.

Pops wrote:The same will happen if energy declines faster than the economy can cope. The energy bubble will burst. "Overinvestment" in energy-intensive and energy-wasting stuff will evaporate as the economy shrinks. That is your pinch point, not that "growth stops" but that "waste stops"


All waste is bought and paid for before it is wasted. Accumulated debt doesn't stop.

A depression without end. Everybody is dodging my question: How will a debt-based monetary system that demands infinite growth continue to exist remains when growth ends? How ill the debt be serviced?
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:04:09

MonteQuest wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:I think you have a slanted view of how things were in the great depression.


Slanted? In what way? What about his statement is slanted? "During the Great Depression, the money supply evaporated when loans defaulted and new loans were impossible to get."

Loans were impossible to get from a" bank"! My father sold a 100 acre farm for 200 cords of kitchen wood cut split and stacked ready for delivery cut from that farm. He trucked it to town and sold it for $10.00 a cord. He bought my farm from his cousin for $3000 using a bond for deed where if he did not pay it off in full in two years it reverted to his cousin. He sold two houses and had it fee simple in one year.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:17:26

vtsnowedin wrote:Loans were impossible to get from a" bank"!


Should have said nearly impossible to get. My bad. But hardly a slant.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 13:24:45

Wind is no doubt leading the way with regard to renewable power generation. Manufacturers of wind turbines claim these turbines will last 20 to 25 years. This compares to life spans of 40 years or more for coal, gas, and nuclear.

A study commissioned by the Renewable Energy Foundation has found that the economic life of onshore wind turbines could be far less than that predicted by the industry. By 10 years of age, the report found that the contribution of an average windfarm towards meeting electricity demand had declined by a third. That reduction in performance led the study team to believe that it will be uneconomic to operate windfarms for more than 12 to 15 years, not 20 to 25 years. 4,500 wind turbines installed in the mid 80’s are already rotting in the Californian desert near San Gorgonio Pass, of which 500 are still standing, and are generating nothing but bird kills and oil leaks. Some have already been replaced with new ones. Hawaii has six abandoned wind farms. 9 miles from where I live, some 90 wind turbines often sit idle due to lack of transmission line capacity.

Data shows that the average wind turbine must be in operation for a minimum of two years to pay back the carbon cost of construction, dropping those numbers to 10 to 13 years for net production.
Image

Lack of maintenance seems to be one of the biggest factors in short life spans. But hasn’t that always been the case with windmills?
Image
Does wind really offer the developing world a realistic alternative to coal?
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby Pops » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 13:46:21

MonteQuest wrote:No, cash becomes scarce because loan defaults and loan repayments reduce the money supply.

And why do loans default?

Because assets are worth less, they deflate ...

deflation ...


MonteQuest wrote:I didn't borrow my cornflakes with interest.

No, you consumed them outright.
OMG! Their value is completely gone!

Yet the system continues.

When you borrow money, you merely rent it. In the case of renting bank "money", you are merely renting a credit line. It isn't money at all, just credit. Ledger entries. It is called "inside money" because it only exists inside the banking system.

you pay the rent with work, just like you pay for the cornflakes you consume outright.

not growth.

How do you pay the interest on seed money for instance?
With the value you gain from planting the seed and harvesting a crop.
The "time-value" is having the money in the spring when you can put it to work, worth more today than tomorrow.

Why is that so hard to understand?
Interest is paid with the value of work, not growth.

Inflation creates new money?

I didn't say that, I said it helps pay interest. With inflation, tomorrow's money is worth less than todays, loans are paid back with cheaper dollars.

Only coins are real money, all other currency is debt (IOU's), loaned into existence with interest.

Coins are no more "real" than FRNs. Both are real because the gov says they are. The fake money is what you believe to be in your bank account, only a fraction of which is backed by real government money. Every bank account you have is simply the bank's promise to pay your draft, it's merely an IOU from the bank to you. On my checks and debit cards nowhere are the words, "Legal Tender" — because they are merely IOUs.

All waste is bought and paid for before it is wasted. Accumulated debt doesn't stop.


What does that even mean? LOL
Of course accumulated debt stops, it's called a default. That is what will happen when whatever cheap energy based debt becomes unpayable.


Everybody is dodging my question: How will a debt-based monetary system that demands infinite growth continue to exist remains when growth ends? How ill the debt be serviced?

No one is dodging your question, the premise is merely wrong. The system is not based on growth. We may be used to high growth, increasing population and advancing technology but none of that is required.

Even Adam Smith acknowledged that growth is not required. In The Wealth of Nations, he says once a nation possess "a full compliment of riches" that profits might fall to such a low rate that "almost every man should be a man of business or engage in some sort of trade."

We have obviously exceeded our full compliment, to say the least. 8)
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby Pops » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 13:47:08

Sorry, I was just following the flow of discussion, I'll get back to RE...
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 14:57:38

Pops wrote: And why do loans default?


Because they can't be repaid.

Pops wrote:When you borrow money, you merely rent it. In the case of renting bank "money", you are merely renting a credit line. It isn't money at all, just credit. Ledger entries. It is called "inside money" because it only exists inside the banking system.


I know that and you know I do.

Pops wrote:Interest is paid with the value of work, not growth.


Interest is paid with money borrowed at interest. No amount of production or expansion of business activity can bring about an automatic increase in the amount of money in the economy. Only the deliberate actions of banks to grant more loans can maintain or increase the supply of money in circulation.

Pops wrote:Coins are no more "real" than FRNs. Both are real because the gov says they are.


Except coins aren't loaned into existence with interest.

Pops wrote:
All waste is bought and paid for before it is wasted.

What does that even mean?


It means waste is part of GDP and provides jobs. Eliminating waste reduces economic activity. OUr system doesn't run in reverse very well.

Pops wrote:Of course accumulated debt stops, it's called a default. That is what will happen when whatever cheap energy based debt becomes unpayable.


One person's debt is another person wealth. Connect the dots. Money becomes worthless. Hyper inflation ensues. Look to Weimar Germany for an example.

Pops wrote:No one is dodging your question, the premise is merely wrong. The system is not based on growth.


Yes it is. It's based on debt. Without economic growth the debt cannot be serviced.

I guess all the machinations the FED goes through to ensure growth is just for show, eh?
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 15:41:34

I would add that without growth lenders become much more reluctant to lend especially considering the interest involved.
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