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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"the main driver of economic growth has been, and continues to be, energy".

"As our very own Professor Peter Cameron, professor of international energy law and policy at the University of Dundee, wrote,

"Energy is at the heart of modern life"


"In modern times the main driver of economic growth has been, and continues to be, energy".
The interesting thing is not that Professor Cameron said this, Jerry Pournelle has said "The more regulation imposed the less competitive the market will be, and the more concentrated it will become. Economic freedom brings about efficiency. Energy plus freedom brings economic boom" and others have said similar. I believe economists tend to gloss over the importance of energy and technology generally compared to fiscal matters, which after all is their area of expertise, but virtually none deny that this is true.

   The interesting thing is that this was said in debate in the Scottish Parliament by the Energy Minister and that none of the other party representatives chose to disagree with it in any way. (I found this on They Work For You which David had suggested I check out - it shows what MPs and MSPs have been saying and voting for).

   Admittedly, having said and accepted that inexpensive energy is the driver of economic growth the rest of the debate was about how all parties wished to restrict, regulate and tax it more heavily to provide more pork barrelling for their various friends, mostly eco-fascist, which automatically makes energy cheaper and scarcer. Depressing.

      But nobody in any of these parties can now dispute knowing and understanding that by doing so & by having legislated the destruction of 58% of our current electricity capacity over the next 9 years they are deliberately destroying around 58% of national and personal wealth.
   So lets look at the world figures. From the CIA World factbook
United States 4,110,000,000,000 kwh 2008 est.

*China 3,451,000,000,000 2008 est.    {my est 4,164,000,000,000 2011}

European Union 3,080,000,000,000 2007 est.

 Japan 957,900,000,000 2008 est.

 Russia 925,900,000,000 2009

 India 723,800,000,000 2009 est.

 Canada 620,700,000,000 2007 est.

 Germany 593,400,000,000 2007 est.

 France 535,700,000,000 2007 est.

 Brazil 438,800,000,000 2007 est.

 Korea, South 417,000,000,000 2009 est.

 United Kingdom 368,600,000,000 2007 est.

 Spain 300,500,000,000 2008 est.

 Italy 289,700,000,000 2007 est.

 Mexico 245,000,000,000 2008 est.

 South Africa 240,300,000,000 2007 est.

 Australia 239,900,000,000 2007 est.

 Taiwan 238,300,000,000 2008

       *I have shown both the CIA figure for 2008 and my estimate for this year. 
  This shows an average growth rate of Chinese electricity as 9,8% annually since 1980.It is presumably not a coincidence that they have achieved an average 10% annual growth. In turn this means that their 2011 figure is likely to be 4,164,000,000,000 marginally passing that of the USA. The Chinese economy as a whole is much smaller than that, or it would be much larger than all the EU, but we would expect, if it is a prime cause of growth, that it would lead growth by some years. I am assuming no correction for growth in western countries is required. Scotland may be a particularly Luddite example boasting "In 2007, Scotland generated a total of 48,217 GWh of electricity, a decrease of almost 8% compared to 2006" but to expect growth in any western country's electricity and thus the potential for economic growth seems optimistic.
     There is no question that we could get back into high growth any time our politicians wanted it. Mass producing nuclear plants would make them very cheap. As I have previously demonstrated the cost could, in theory, be reduced by 93%. Indeed this fits well with the historical fact that the most advanced economies can grow fastest, assuming the political will. Chinese electricity is cheap and available because most of it comes from relatively low tech coal plants which, with nuclear are joint cheapest. However being a lower tech society they currently find nuclear easier (this will not last - South Korea is now a very large builder of reactors) whereas we still have much greater capability per capita. Thus if we went with the nuclear option at the cost it could be produced without political parasitism, our power could be a quarter of China's.
If our politicians actually wanted us out of recession. Our current numptocracy clearly doesn't. UKIP andarguably the BNP are the only sizeable parties in Scotland and possibly Britain which seem to have any true interest in ending recession. I have previously discussed the fact that Britain has the worst ratio of  electricity production to dollar GNP of any large developed nation. This ratio is described as the $nek value & is now unused by economists the world over.                                                                                                                                           

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That graph is scary in regards to the future. I just read an article in the March 2011 Scientific American saying that China is quote "adding alternative energy sources such as wind and nuclear power plants faster than any other country."
Certianly nuclear, since they are adding power overall faster than anybody else. The quote you gave counts nuclear as "alternative" which is not how the eco crowd usually describe it & suggests this is how they arrive at their "wind & nuclear" figure.

There is absolutely no technical reason we could not be growing our power & thus our economy at least as fast as China. The scary thing is not that China are grabbing their opportunities but that we aren't.
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