Friday, 8 April 2011

Response To"M" & Robert Scott Kelly

Part of my as yet unpublished comment at Turton's place:

* * *

M: .... Yes countries like Denmark for instance whose total electricity production is only a fraction of Taiwan's: >40 TW hours per year as against 230 TW hours per year. So 25% in Denmark is <5% in Taiwan, and guess what Taiwan's renewable percentage already is?

RSK: .... I did not say the area is "impossible" to find. The issue is not whether 25% from renewables can be technically accomplished - of course it can be - the issue is the costs (political-economic; not merely financial) of doing so on such a scale. Believe it or not, I like wind turbines, but demand for a wind farm on that scale means Taipower (and by extension, us the taxpayers) are going to get royally screwed in lease rates, unless the government turns fascist on the farmers associations.

* * *

Meanwhile Lewis Page at the Register reports on how windfarms in the UK have gotten swallowed up in a rent-seeking trap... so it seems I may need to revise my enthusiasm for the aesthetically sublime Enercon E-126:
"...wind-farm operators make most of their money not from selling electricity but from selling the renewables obligation certificates (ROCs) which they obtain for putting power onto the grid... Thus when wind farmers have a lot of power they will actually pay to get it onto the grid if necessary in order to obtain the lucrative ROCs which provide most of their revenue, forcing all non-renewable providers out of the market."
Given Turton's unwillingness to defend his position with actual arguments rather than childish smears (e.g."Randplanet"), I suspect my recent "unbanning" will be temporary...


  1. Any govt sponsored program gets swallowed up into a rent trap. It's generally best to have govt do as little as possible, because the waves of distortion are so great. Gun control laws came out of one politician's desire to only have his own men armed. Global warming was an Enron idea that took off. I've yet to see a cost analysis published much less discussed fairly in a newspaper or magazine that is mainstream.

    As far as RSK and MT, they are believers. Climate change is a apocalyptic cult with lots of money and prestige for those who buy into it. "Influence: The Power of Persuasion" has a great chapter on cults and climate change(AGW) is a cult. They even have the Goreacle. ;)

    Have you read Hernando De Soto's "The Other Path"? Basically it took a death cult to get a socialist country to embrace capitalism. I'm afraid that may be the case with the rate at which most people I converse with know about history.

  2. "Any govt sponsored program gets swallowed up into a rent trap."

    Yes! That's as true as night follows day.

    "It's generally best to have govt do as little as possible, because the waves of distortion are so great."

    I'd go even further than that, but then we get into libertarian nirvana territory... I prefer to confine myself to tactical applications of principle.

    "As far as RSK and MT, they are believers."

    Oh yes I know - what (was) interesting to me was the question of why. I've said before - Turton's ethics is strongly pragmatist and he considers issues from the archimedian point of what Lionel Trilling called "the social imagination". This is why he is very sympathetic to the utopian wing of the Left and the environmentalists, and I take a perverse fun sometimes in watching him trying to keep himself in check: how many posts has he written directly on Taiwan's nuclear energy since March 11th?

    "Have you read Hernando De Soto..."

    No, but I know who he is - I know my way around Austrian economics, and whilst I don't have any academic expertise on this, I've got the gist of it down in clear layman's terms - details I have available to hand for reference.


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