Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wind Power

Greetings good citizen,

There is nothing more infuriating than observing the kabuki dance of international ‘uncompetitiveness’ as it is played out against the backdrop of currency manipulation. In some respects, the chutzpah of the MSM to even run an article like this one takes the breath away.

Worse are the false claims of politicians that ‘alternative energy’ is the engine capable of returning our empire to greatness. (The fallacy here lies with the word ‘our’.) Investors in Chinese alternative energy will most certainly wax very wealthy indeed. Great for them, sucks for US. (Double-entendre intentional.)

I’ll jump on my ‘socialist’ high horse for a moment to condemn the irrational practice of placing private investment ahead of the public good. The ‘lowest bidder’ only benefits those who can play, everybody else gets the shaft!

This equipment will be sold to public utilities for a profit, who will in turn, charge their customers a premium so the utility can pay their bond owners a ‘dividend’…the unanswered question here is why these ‘middlemen’ are allowed access at all?

Our civilization is collapsing because too many ‘parasites’ are baked in to every deal, both public and private. No irony should be lost on the fact that every (I hesitate to call them this but) ‘Great’ civilization throughout history has crumbled for precisely this reason.

The ‘Great Contradiction’ of capitalism is the impossibility of pursuing your own interests AND those of the society. What’s ‘good’ for you is ultimately ‘bad’, not just for some but for many (if not most) others. For every opportunity created there are a thousand denied.

Ownership don’t float in a universe of limited resources…and we only have a single planet to work with here!

Anyway, I’ll give it a rest and you can make up our own mind about tonight’s offering

China Leading Global Race to Make Clean Energy

Published: January 30, 2010

TIANJIN, China — China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year.

China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants. [Is this a case of those ‘clever’ Chinamen…or those fucking traitorous, cheapskate capitalists? No irony whatsoever should be lost on the fact that China still claims, er, ‘loyalty’ to Communist principles. The ‘People’ are doing very well, just some more so than others…but I digress.]

These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China. [Why do you suppose investors think that? Could it be because even the oil industry is now admitting that demand is outstripping supply?]

“Most of the energy equipment will carry a brass plate, ‘Made in China,’ ” said K. K. Chan, the chief executive of Nature Elements Capital, a private equity fund in Beijing that focuses on renewable energy. [What do you suppose would be revealed if we ‘scratched the surface’ of this ‘vulture fund’? Who do you think we’d find under there?]

President Obama, in his State of the Union speech last week, sounded an alarm that the United States was falling behind other countries, especially China, on energy. “I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders — and I know you don’t either,” he told Congress. [Yet ‘Uncle Tom’ hasn’t lifted a single finger to put a stop to the ongoing off-shoring of US jobs. Worse, the traitorous corporations who engage in this reprehensible practice have yet to have their (corporate) charters or their patents revoked! But, naturally, that wouldn’t be very ‘business friendly’…so what, exactly, is wrong with these idiots?]

The United States and other countries are offering incentives to develop their own renewable energy industries, and Mr. Obama called for redoubling American efforts. Yet many Western and Chinese executives expect China to prevail in the energy-technology race. [Currency manipulation…plain and simple, otherwise Chinese workers would starve to death.]

Multinational corporations are responding to the rapid growth of China’s market by building big, state-of-the-art factories in China. [Don’t suppose that has something to do with it, do you?] Vestas of Denmark has just erected the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturing complex here in northeastern China, and transferred the technology to build the latest electronic controls and generators. [Thwack! That’s the sound of investors kicking you in the gonads (or where your gonads should be!) Why these cokesackers aren’t swinging at the end of a strong cable remains a mystery. Make no mistake about it, the same people responsible for the destruction of the world’s economy are also responsible for the currency manipulation that made it possible!]

“You have to move fast with the market,” said Jens Tommerup, the president of Vestas China. “Nobody has ever seen such fast development in a wind market.” [What do you suppose that means for the future of ‘cheap and abundant’ energy, good citizen? Which is to ask ‘how will you pay’ in a world that no longer needs you? (it’s not an ‘idle question’.)]

Renewable energy industries here are adding jobs rapidly, reaching 1.12 million in 2008 and climbing by 100,000 a year, according to the government-backed Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association. [Sure looks promising…if you’re Chinese!]

Yet renewable energy may be doing more for China’s economy than for the environment. Total power generation in China is on track to pass the United States in 2012 — and most of the added capacity will still be from coal. [You build the future with the technology you have, not the technology you wish you had. An honest look at this concept reveals some frightening truths about our ability to deploy sufficient ‘clean energy technology’ to meet the demands of a growing population…with the ‘growing population’ part being the key.]

China intends for wind, solar and biomass energy to represent 8 percent of its electricity generation capacity by 2020. That compares with less than 4 percent now in China and the United States. Coal will still represent two-thirds of China’s capacity in 2020, and nuclear and hydropower most of the rest. [So, the energy needs of the rest of the world appear to supercede those of the world’s newest ‘workshop’. Is that also the work of ‘the investors’?]

As China seeks to dominate energy-equipment exports, it has the advantage of being the world’s largest market for power equipment. The government spends heavily to upgrade the electricity grid, committing $45 billion in 2009 alone. State-owned banks provide generous financing. [Contrast that with the crumbling energy infrastructure here in the US. Government can’t afford to ‘upgrade’ (too many demands on too little cash flow) and the private sector is unwilling to commit. (They are fully aware the consumer is tapped out and there aren’t any ‘public funds’ left to grab.)]

China’s top leaders are intensely focused on energy policy: on Wednesday, the government announced the creation of a National Energy Commission composed of cabinet ministers as a “superministry” led by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao himself. [Here’s an interesting question: how many of you will be genuinely surprised to see oil prices head for the stratosphere by Summertime? You already know the MSM will be utterly breathless, besides being shocked an awed!]

Regulators have set mandates for power generation companies to use more renewable energy. Generous subsidies for consumers to install their own solar panels or solar water heaters have produced flurries of activity on rooftops across China. [Probably the same kind of subsidies that St. Ronnie ‘trashed’ back in the eighties. There’s a fine example of ‘forward looking’ conservatism for you! Which is to ask, imagine where we’d be today if not for ‘the second worst president ever’?]

China’s biggest advantage may be its domestic demand for electricity, rising 15 percent a year. To meet demand in the coming decade, according to statistics from the International Energy Agency, China will need to add nearly nine times as much electricity generation capacity as the United States will. [Um, Chinese energy consumption, which is admittedly not the same as ‘capacity’ has fallen considerably so the initial ‘assertion’ in this paragraph is a boldfaced lie even though they try to camouflage it by saying ‘domestic demand’. There isn’t a way to ‘separate’ commercial use from domestic use and overall use figures are down.]

So while Americans are used to thinking of themselves as having the world’s largest market in many industries, China’s market for power equipment dwarfs that of the United States, even though the American market is more mature. That means Chinese producers enjoy enormous efficiencies from large-scale production. [That’s a steaming pile of manure as well!]

In the United States, power companies frequently face a choice between buying renewable energy equipment or continuing to operate fossil-fuel-fired power plants that have already been built and paid for. In China, power companies have to buy lots of new equipment anyway, and alternative energy, particularly wind and nuclear, is increasingly priced competitively. [Another statement that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny but there is very little about capitalist math that could be considered ‘logical’…]

Interest rates as low as 2 percent for bank loans — the result of a savings rate of 40 percent and a government policy of steering loans to renewable energy — have also made a big difference. [Understand what they’ve just admitted here good citizen! How the hell do you get a 40% savings rate? Chinese workers are ‘obviously’ overpaid BUT you would starve to death if you had to live on their paycheck! If it don’t make sense, it isn’t sensible!]

As in many other industries, China’s low labor costs are an advantage in energy. Although Chinese wages have risen sharply in the last five years, Vestas still pays assembly line workers here only $4,100 a year.

China’s commitment to renewable energy is expensive. Although costs are falling steeply through mass production, wind energy is still 20 to 40 percent more expensive than coal-fired power. Solar power is still at least twice as expensive as coal. [More fine examples of capitalist thinking…dimwits!]

The Chinese government charges a renewable energy fee to all electricity users. The fee increases residential electricity bills by 0.25 percent to 0.4 percent. For industrial users of electricity, the fee doubled in November to roughly 0.8 percent of the electricity bill. [Imagine if they tried to pull that stunt here?]

The fee revenue goes to companies that operate the electricity grid, to make up the cost difference between renewable energy and coal-fired power.

Renewable energy fees are not yet high enough to affect China’s competitiveness even in energy-intensive industries, said the chairman of a Chinese industrial company, who asked not to be identified because of the political sensitivity of electricity rates in China.

Grid operators are unhappy. They are reimbursed for the extra cost of buying renewable energy instead of coal-fired power, but not for the formidable cost of building power lines to wind turbines and other renewable energy producers, many of them in remote, windswept areas. Transmission losses are high for sending power over long distances to cities, and nearly a third of China’s wind turbines are not yet connected to the national grid. [This poses some pretty bizarre questions, doesn’t it?]

Most of these turbines were built only in the last year, however, and grid construction has not caught up. Under legislation passed by the Chinese legislature on Dec. 26, a grid operator that does not connect a renewable energy operation to the grid must pay that operation twice the value of the electricity that cannot be distributed. [Funny how capitalist principles of ‘non-performance’ have popped up in this so-called communist nation…all you need is a ‘payee’ and how many of those ‘payee’s’ just happen to be investors, looking out for their capital at the public’s expense! (Just like here…kind of reminds you of home, don’t it?)

With prices tumbling, China’s wind and solar industries are increasingly looking to sell equipment abroad — and facing complaints by Western companies that they have unfair advantages. When a Chinese company reached a deal in November to supply turbines for a big wind farm in Texas, there were calls in Congress to halt federal spending on imported equipment. [You all know T. Boone Pickens, the mighty capitalist, abandoned his plans for a huge wind farm in Texas after plans to import the wind turbines from China leaked to the press…and public outrage went right off the charts!]

“Every country, including the United States and in Europe, wants a low cost of renewable energy,” said Ma Lingjuan, deputy managing director of China’s renewable energy association. “Now China has reached that level, but it gets criticized by the rest of the world.”

What do you suppose the prospects are of ever seeing a ‘renewable energy industry’ (besides the ‘cottage industry’ of small-time, virtually custom built units available today) popping up here in the US?

Um, the latest ‘breakthrough’ in solar panel technology came from where good citizen? It came out of MIT, probably from Lincoln labs down in Lexington rather than the automation labs in Cambridge.

Where did this ‘innovation’ end up? Where do you think it will turn up? The answer to that question is simple, which Chinese energy company is partnered with G.E.? Why pick on G.E.? Guess who owns the world’s largest manufacturer? Did you guess J.P. Morgan?

Funny how we always seem to find ourselves back on Wall Street.

Anyway, we still haven’t answered the question, although you’d be correct to wonder which question I’m referring to as several have been left ‘open ended’.

Life as we have come to know it is built upon a foundation of ‘cheap, abundant energy’, once energy is neither, life as we have come to know it will cease to exist.

Which is as grim as it sounds. Yes, many alive today will not be alive tomorrow, the world is incapable of supporting them in the absence of cheap abundant energy.

Is there a sufficient number of resources available to build a renewable grid capable of supporting the ‘survivors’? Ironically, the answer is in the question, it is unlikely the number of survivors will exceed the resources available to build and sustain a grid.

However, if the ‘talent’ to build said grid becomes ‘collateral damage’ in the down/right-sizing of the population then all bets are off.

Just wanted to put those considerations out there before we tackled the more obvious question of ‘political salvation’. Understand that the next elections will be decided on such fantasies as building a domestic renewable energy industry as well as expanding educational opportunities (with a steadily decreasing amount of funding) for…’our’ children…just understand YOUR kids are unlikely to be included in these political calculations.

Oh what fun it would be to ‘pin down’ a politician with their own rhetoric! Watch the denial kick in once you start calling them on their ‘sweeping generalizations’! Depending on the firmness of their grasp of the situation (most of them don’t ‘get it’ at all) you will see some wild gyrations as well as some astounding contradictions! But once again I digress.

All kidding aside there is another ‘dynamic’ at work here, one the economists are either too stupid (most likely) or are too clever (far less likely), perhaps I should use this as an opportunity to challenge your gray-matter!

What does the ‘end’ of cheap fossil fuel and the geographic location of the world’s workshop mean to each other? No clue?

Um, okay, here’s a hint…when energy is no longer cheap, what do you suppose is going to happen to China’s alleged ‘competitive advantage’?

The mental image of a tiny ‘poof’ comes to mind. Now let’s turn that idea on its head. The world’s workshop is six thousand, no matter how you slice ‘em, miles from here…regardless of freight costs, what do you suppose this is going to do to ‘availability’?

A lot of this crap isn’t ‘locally produced’ anymore, there are no ‘competing products’. You either pay the price or you do without the sumbitch!

Um, not to raise a more ‘worrisome’ topic but guess what else comes to us from halfway around the world…computer chips! Bad enough we are totally dependent on foreign suppliers for our personal electronics but ALL of our MILITARY MIGHT comes from chips we don’t make for ourselves.

WTF were our lawmakers thinking? The ‘Cold War’ didn’t end until 1990 and it’s not idle speculation to consider that we are only experiencing a temporary lull, not a cessation of hostilities.

Which is to point out that our government is no longer run by public servants but greed motivated capitalist pigs who could care less about the ‘common good’, which explains why most of the nation feels the country is on the ‘wrong track’.

When our ‘forefathers’ set up this nation, it wasn’t so the government could hold the gun while our merchant/bankers raped us.

Um, sorry about that…better out than in.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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