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Messages - etienne

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Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 14, 2019, 03:16:56 PM »
The merit order effect and falling battery prices will kill off the gas peakers shortly after coal.

Nukes got a lil while to die, too much sunk cost.

Renewable production is predictable and can't have a major problem because it is mainly distributed on large areas. Batteries are very good to balance it, but the issue will be base load. What to do if total renewable production doesn't match total consumption. This will make base load valuable. The issue will not be the GW that are required during a short time, but the MWh (or GWh, I don't know) that are missing from the renewable production. During the winter, CHP can be used (it also works with gasified wood), but what about the fall (summer will probably have enough sun to cover the need).

Since this would not be an "all year long" need, nuclear would not be a good solution, too expensive (and, personal point of view, too dangerous anyway). Maybe gas peakers will become gas base loaders.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 08, 2019, 10:56:37 PM »
Well, there is a reason for more PV in Germany.

Here are comparative electricity costs in 2012. Germany is in blue.

It is a French advertisement, so there is no value provided for the countries that are cheaper than France.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 07, 2019, 10:42:56 PM »
I'm sorry to continue out of topic, but we have a civilisation problem, not a personnal problem. Please remember it. A renewable energy transition is a civilisation change, and like in every change, some anticipate more than others. In the peak oil debate, somebody wrote something like "don't wait for the peak oil colapse, downsize now". It's a hard way, and I agree that it is depressing somedays, but there are also great success to be proud of.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 06, 2019, 08:30:11 PM »
The FF industry supports the funds, the funds have lobbies into governments and governments choose where subsidies will go.


The GJ movement is exactly the result I expected from this attempt to "price carbon".

Well, I already recommended this book earlier in this topic :
Power to the People Energy in Europe over the Last Five Centuries Astrid Kander, Paolo Malanima, & Paul Warde

You really should read it. FF are not here because lobbies, there are real reasons why we use FF. Lobbies are more active regarding regulations of FF.

FF have been first used because there was no way to have enough forests and wagons to produce and transport all the wood needed for cities like London and Amsterdam, it is first of all a land saving (it released land to produce grains instead of wood) and labor saving issue (you don't have to carry as many pounds per kWh with coal than with wood, coal was easier to mine than wood to cut). The fossil fuel story is always about land saving (fertilizers, heating source) and a labor saving (more efficient to produce steel with coal than with wood, more efficient to move a wagon with an ICE than with a horse, easier to regulate an electrical network with gas generators than with PV...), and speed (you don't have to wait until coal sprouts and grows, higher energy density allows bigger engines).
Now that we should go back to renewable energy sources, we have again the issue that land and money is limited (renewables don't have as much ROI), you can't put hydro, wind, solar on more sqr miles than your country has, and you still have to produce food, build houses... A renewable transition is difficult to achieve, efficiency is a key issue regarding production and consumption. We are more people on earth and we have a much higher per capita energy use than in 1800.

GJ is not a carbon pricing protest, but is there because of social inequality. The motto of France is "Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood", doesn't match too well with what's happening these days.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:08:25 PM »
I am also out of topic, this could be in the oil and gas issues, sorry but sometimes I feel that it is needed.

Pension funds invest in a range of businesses and this has nothing to do with who you work for.  Sadly FF burning companies have very good returns so pension funds tend to invest in them.

My sister in law is looking for a new car and she asked me if she should choose gasoline or diesel. My answer was that, if possible, she should wait and see what will happen in the next years. Unfortunately she can't because her car is too old. Anyway, I would say the same about FF burning companies, in the short run, it will be fine, but for my pension fund (I'm 48 now), I wouldn't trust it as investment. FF have a much higher energy density (just compare a 10 kW gasoline motor with its tank and a 10 kW electical motor with the needed solar pannels and batteries), so yes, in the short term it is better, but just like for the car of my sister in law, I wouldn't trust that business to be ok during the next 10 years.

I want to discuss renewable energy here because I believe that we have no other option, I believe in peak oil, not in peak demand, light tight oil and bitumen are a profitable business, but it's like the mouse that eats the cardboard when the corn flakes are finished.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: January 29, 2019, 07:07:57 PM »

b) windows getting too cold ? replace ?

They're only 5 years old. They're double glazing, because they're slanted roof windows.

This is typical. Usually, it's not a problem of the glass, but of the windowframe.

Normally, the glass is better insulated than the frame, so the problem is solved with a thicker frame. The problem of roof windows is that the rain water has to flow down, so you can't have a thicker frame on the upper side. The problem is even worse because in most cases glass plates are separated by a piece of metal which is a good heat transporter. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: January 27, 2019, 08:38:27 PM »
I'm reading right now a good book about energy transition, well mainly from renewable toward fossil fuels.
Power to the People Energy in Europe over the Last Five Centuries Astrid Kander, Paolo Malanima, & Paul Warde

The book provides a good view of what living with only renewable energy used to be, and describes the energy transitions (coal, petrol...). Well, it gives the feeling that there is a lot of work to do power the world with renewable energy. I haven't finished the book, I'm still in the coal era.

Here is what they say about themselves :
Power to the People offers new perspectives on the challenges posed today by climate change and peak oil, demonstrating that although the path of modern economic development has vastly increased our energy use, it has not been a story of ever-rising and continuous consumption. The book sheds light on the often lengthy and complex changes needed for new energy systems to emerge, the role of energy resources in economic growth, and the importance of energy efficiency in promoting growth and reducing future energy demand.

Some of the datas in the book are available here :

Well, Vietnam war just like apartheid ended, so we should wish the new generation a lot of success.

I also don't believe that kids have been instrumentalized. As teenagers, we were protesting mainly for human rights (apartheid...) and nobody was making pressure on us. My parents didn't really want us on the streets.

Of course, one day out of school might sometimes be a motivation.

I remember stories where a journalist said that all the people in the protest had a new hat, it was is some Asian country, don't remeber which one, but here it is clearly not the case.

Teenagers are often able to put common interest before their own. This is mainly true as long as their parents are taking care of all the material aspects of life.

Policy and solutions / Re: Water Resource Management
« on: January 20, 2019, 10:55:56 AM »
Water is not only an issue when thinking about desalination pollution. Glaciers are melting and once melting is over the water situation becomes critical.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: January 13, 2019, 06:47:36 PM »
Just for fun :

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: January 13, 2019, 09:45:20 AM »
The link is very interesting, it’s a good analysis, but doesn’t bring any solution. In Italy, there was a new party (5 stars) that is seen as populist, and in France it is « La Republique en Marche », but it is somehow new people doing always the same thing, it really is what he says, populist won’t be able to change anything, but I believe that new parties also won’t change anything.

I believe that the only solution is a boycott of unfair products, because I believe that the way we spend our money is the only power we have left, and it is what ended apartheid. I like saying that we can’t buy tax free products, but we can buy income tax free products (many international companies use tax heavens to avoid income taxes), and we should try to avoid it because it means that we support people cheating with our countries.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 09, 2019, 06:44:28 PM »
I found this in the  press :
Trump Administration Works Overtime to Make Sure Shutdown Doesn’t Stop Oil Drilling

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: January 05, 2019, 04:41:46 PM »
We had lots of chard this year and kale is also a great plant for the winter time ('boerenkool' - farmer's cabbage - is a Dutch specialty).

Well, now I have Kale, and nobody want's to eat it. I found a soup receipe with mainly potatoes and onions, but it wasn't a great success. If you have any suggestion... it would be a great product if we didn't have supermarkets because it is easy to use and easy to grow.

Winter spinach are better accepted, it works fine, excepted that they don't support too well the weather we have now, we oscillate between -5°C and +10°C.

Leaks are also fine this winter. The mosquito net during the summer did a great job to protect them.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 02, 2019, 09:06:57 PM »
So, Seneca's cliff can refer to both peak supply and demand.
Well, I don't belive in demand collapse. I had a discussion 2 days ago with a friend about a heater he produces and told him that pellets are very nice, but that I didn't understood why he didn't create also a log version. The answer was very simple : energy density. So I told him that coal is even better but we agreed that it stinks (the smell as well as the concept).
Regarding energy density, petrol has the best ratio between energy density and ease to use, so I can't imagine that we wouldn't use it as much as we can, and it's why we need CO2 taxes to make it financially less interesting.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 02, 2019, 08:54:49 PM »
As EV charging is rather flexible, it can be timed to match available grid capacity, whether during low demand periods or high intermittent supply.
Even the most optimistic scenario cannot switch transportation to fully electric in less than two decades. That is not so very rapid in terms of grid growth.
The dropping price of renewable generation means the cost may not be as prohibitive as you think.
HSR can and should be subsidized taking account of its environmental advantage over other forms of transport.
But even if the EV vision does come to pass ( I hope it does), and all your concerns above come to fruition (I hope they don't), I think the outcome will be far better to the climate and the environment than the alternative of continued petrol-based transportation, with its associated emissions and the vast oil exploration production and refining infrastructure behind it.
Still out of topic. If EV really become a mature technology, I don't think that it would take 2 decades to change all the cars into EV because ICE cars only have a life span of maximum 15 years and once EV are mature, there is no reason to produce ICE vehicles, and once more than 50% of vehicles are EV, it might get difficult to find a gasoline station.

What is sure is that EV can stabilize the electricity grid using the V2G technology, so this will be a great opportunity for all the base load electricity producers, but will make it complicated on days were the demand stays all the time very high (for example a hot and cloudy summer day, or a very cold winter night). I guess we'll keep some diesel and gasoline generators for these days.

I haven't been able to find out what HSR means.

The rest / Re: Arctic Café
« on: January 01, 2019, 07:12:15 PM »
Some food in the Arctic Café ?

Mixing an Italian and a Swedish receipe.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 01, 2019, 06:51:39 PM »
I had no idea that transportation made up such a large portion of EU's oil use. If coal and CH4 were added to the mix is transportation still a significant portion of GHG emissions?
Well, I have the 50% value from the youtube video Jay Mitchell provided in the Reply #2883 of this topic.
In Luxembourg, oil provides 63% of the energy used.

and energy used for road transportation is about 74% of the petrol consumption (EV are still a very small part of the road transportation total consumption so values can be compared without making a big error).

But Luxembourg doesn't have any industry transforming petrol and has many "gasoline and cigarette tourists".

Statistics without the gasoline tourists would make petrol 30% of the used energy (around 30000 TJ, 20000 TJ for local road transport), electricity being only at 22000 TJ.

So switching all local road transport to electricity would require an extra 6500 TJ of electricity (1/3 of oil TJ because of efficiency), or an increase of electricity consumption of 30%.

The rest / Re: Seasons Greeting New Year 2019
« on: January 01, 2019, 01:35:31 PM »
Vill Gléck am neie Joer

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 01, 2019, 01:31:21 PM »
As far as I understood, Seneca Cliff is related to peak extraction, not to peak demand. It is related to the fact that we replace slow depleting conventional oil field with fast depleting non conventional fields like shale oil. So if one day we can't find fast enough replacement shale oil, the drop in production could be very fast. I read somewhere that we are like mice, now that the corn flakes are almost eaten, we realize that we can also eat the cardboard box.

I don't believe in peak demand. Of course demand goes down in OECD countries, but that demand is compensated by what Sleepy called "exported emissions", well, in this case exported consumption.

EV vehicle also have a major issue, which is electricity production. Replacing 50% (transportation use) of the oil kWh consumption by 1/3 (because of efficiency gains) electricity kWh, day and night, winter and summer, during only 10 to 15 years is a great challenge.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 30, 2018, 04:52:31 PM »
great video on EV disruption of the Oil and Gas industry

Thanks for the link!  Their discussion of Ross Tessien’s article is very well done; explaining that rather than the usual EV adoption curve such as that from Bloomberg (first image below), the switch will look more like the second image below (“Source: Author, various data sources including EV Volumes, InsideEVs, Bloomberg NEF, oil sources such as Center for Strategic and International Studies, etc., see details in article”).
I agree that Bloomberg's curve is probably much too slow, I agree that oil consumption from cars will go down, but I don't believe that this will solve our CO2 emissions and peak oil problem.

In fact, it's a good news if only 50% of the oil is used for transportation, because that's a part that is easy to replace by new technologies, so peak oil wouldn't become too soon a problem, but I don't believe that oil would become cheap excepted for maybe something like a year.  The marginal cost of oil extraction is going up and it's not true that you can just extract more when prices go down to keep your revenues constant. Depletion of oil field is somewhere around 5% or 10% (more for shale oil), and that’s about the percentage of cars that become EV every year between 2020 and 2030, so without new developments, oil extraction could go down as fast as EV replace ICE vehicles.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 28, 2018, 06:26:00 PM »
There is a book that has just been transalted that should be quite good on the subject :
Oil, Power, and War: A Dark History from Mathieu Auzanneau.
To have a french book translated in English, it must be quite good. I asked the french version to Santa Claus (well, somebody will help him).
The guy has a blog in french :

Peeking at Peak Oil from Kjell Aleklett must also be good. Didn't get it yet.

Here is also a video of Mathieu Auzanneau.

The rest / Re: The problem of social media
« on: December 25, 2018, 10:40:32 PM »
I feel that I don’t really understand why people are on social medias like facebook. I checked the Minds page, looks good, but it really doesn’t interest me. I’m happy with the forum, I have a web page if I want to publish something, I can make comments on other people’s blogs, I have linkedin to stay in touch with ex-work colleges… I really don’t see why I would want more, but much more is possible without going on facebook type of application (blogs…). If I have something to say, I can always write an e-mail or make a phone call. I really don’t like the concept of publishing all the time what I do and think, I like to have some private space around my life, it’s also why you won’t find a picture of me if you google my name. I have also always refused to have a smart phone because I think that if something is important, people can call or make an SMS (just for fun, I designed this T-shirt that I never ordered For professional reasons, I believe that I won’t be able to go much longer with just my old Nokia, but a tablet without SIM, with just WIFI as link to the Internet might be enough. During the last months, I have regularely borrowed a smart phone for a few hours, mainly for the camera feature and to check systems connected to the Internet. I also have been borrowing the kids tablets, but now that they grow older, they don't want that anymore.
Seeing what the kids do on social medias, I feel that it is mainly a waste of time. The old landlined telephone system would probably be more efficient for what they do. When they organize something, it always ends with a phone call to finalize the partical details. Looks more like playing a game than like a media to communicate.

Walking the walk / Re: Is solar thermal heating out of date ?
« on: December 24, 2018, 10:19:44 AM »
Here is an energy consumption graph of a residential building with PV, batteries and heat pump. Red means from the grid, blue from the batteries, green is direct PV.

Globally, the building produces more electricity than it consumes, but self consumption only covers 50% of the needs (about 2/3 direct PV and 1/3 with the 15 kWh batteries).

As you can see, there is no way to go through the winter without grid.

My parents' situation is similar, excepted that they have solar thermal instead of heat pump, and during the winter, extra heat is directly produced with a standard electrical heater, but the house is build with the idea of getting as much heat from the sun as possible, also through the windows. This is only possible because they are high enough in the mountains, so that the house doesn't overheat in the summer.

Walking the walk / Re: Is solar thermal heating out of date ?
« on: December 23, 2018, 10:23:33 PM »
I have more details now.

My parents have to pay per year 45 CHF per 1 kWp installed. Offer is only valid for systems up to 10 kWp.

Battery available is 700 kWh per 1 kWp. It is not clear if it works like a battery (can be uploaded as often as needed as long as you don't go over the maximum) or if the battery can only be loaded once a year (if they just do at the end of the year the difference between injected current and imported current, with the free limit being 700kWh per 1 kWp installed). I guess it is the second solution because the first one would be too complex to manage.

Day electricity costs around 0.18 CHF per kWh
Night electricity costs around 0.14 CHF per kWh
Injected electricity (what is above battery capacity or what has been put in the battery and is not used at the end of the year) is sold at 0.07 CHF per kWh

They produce 7000 kWh with 6 kWp. It is because they are quite high (1400 m altitude) in a sunny area, so they have much less clouds than here in Luxembourg (we calculate with  maximum 1000 kWh per 1 kWp, depends of the orientation).

They are not allowed to install another battery.

The utility company gets the "garantie d'origine" of the produced kWh. Garantie d'origine is a tradable certificate that certifies how much PV power has been produced. It means that even if my parents use their own PV electricity, they might be classified as using nuclear power and the utility company can sale nuclear power to somebody else saying that they have bought PV power.

I don't know if it is a good deal, but it looks like they didn't really have any other choice.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 22, 2018, 06:37:53 PM »
A good few analysts, (including me) think that most of us will be in a real-world test bed to see what happens to "debt in a decreasing economy" over the medium-term.
I agree, it's why I opened this topic.
The french Newspaper "Le Monde" has an interesting article (in french) about mental health of climate scientists, that it is difficult for them to see what's coming, many would suffer of pre-traumatic stress disorder.
The debt is also a topic where the disaster is fully predictable.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 22, 2018, 10:15:19 AM »
I believe that these upper and lower limits are signs of the importance of bitumen and light tight oil (LTO) in oil supply. Bitumen production can easily be  modulated depending of the price of oil, and LTO doesn’t last long and requires always new drilling which doesn’t happen when prices are low. So we would be now in a situation where production depends of demand. Of course, there is a lot of inertia, which explains prices fluctuation.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 21, 2018, 10:35:08 PM »
Well, long term is more like this below.
It never really goes down, but also doesn't get really high.

Walking the walk / Re: Is solar thermal heating out of date ?
« on: December 21, 2018, 10:31:02 PM »
300 CHF per month?? Or per year? Or what?
At some point it's better to buy a home battery.
It's per year.

The virtual battery has an unlimited capacity without losses, so you can do long time storage. The battery can even deliver more than what has been injected (of course you have to pay for that energy).

On the systems I know, losses are very high on batteries during the winter because the inverters are always ready to load into the battery any sun that could come, it would be better to turn them off but this is not a standard option and might create problems with the warranty in case of technical problems.

I guess that the 300 CHF are more or less what my parents used to pay for the grid costs.
I don't know if the 300 CHF are related to the kWp of the PV panels. I guess so, otherwise it would be really expensive for small systems.

The rest / Re: Russiagate and the problem of social media
« on: December 20, 2018, 11:02:36 PM »
Would a solution be to prohibit anonymity on social media? No more nick names or pseudonyms, etc, only real names. Or pseudonyms, but showing the real names when clicking on them or some such.

Would that work? What would be the cons?
One of the problems of internet is that all what is written might be found back later. I remember writing a stupid comment in a forum around 1996 or 1997, and for many years after, when I was searching myself on Google, I found that comment. So anonymity is interesting when you discuss subjects that you don't really know and where you might say things that are really wrong or stupid.

This is also an argument against full transparency in parliamentary commissions and other political circles: if everything is open and public, if anything they say can be published, politicians might not say anything that is not fully controlled and this might increase the difficutly to find good deals.

Walking the walk / Re: Is solar thermal heating out of date ?
« on: December 20, 2018, 03:06:54 PM »
My parents (living in Switzerland) just saw their electricity contract changed. They use to sale the PV production and buy the electricity they consume.
Starting January 1st 2019, they'll do self-consumption using the network as a virtual battery. Since they produce more than what they consume, extra production will be bought by the utility company at 0.07 CHF (CHF is almost like US$) per kWh. If they would consume more than the production, extra consumption would be priced like for any other customer.
The only "problem" is that they pay an extra 300 CHF for using the network as virtual battery.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 19, 2018, 10:25:29 PM »
What is the trap that obliges us to grow ? Why is it impossible to choose another direction until we reach the limit and then go down with a lot of pain, doesn’t matter if the limit is climate change or ressources depletion ?
I wonder if the debts are not the main part of the trap. You can't agree to reduce your salary if you need it to pay back your debts.
Same thing with the countries: as long as the ratio debt on GDP is ok, the country is fine, but if GDP goes down, the ratio gets bad, so countries have to increase all the time the GDP in order to have the possibility to make debts when needed.
I feel that if we want to curb CO2 emissions, which I guess we agree that it means reducing the size of the economy, we need some flexibility and it seems to me that it is not possible with so much debt.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 19, 2018, 04:53:44 PM »
A lower debt is the solution to everything, this would also have allowed the mortgages to be paid like planned. The question is how to get there and if it would help regarding climate change. I guess yes because lower debt means lower consumption, but it might also mean bankrupted economy. I have no clue.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 19, 2018, 03:05:27 PM »
Etienne try listening to this jump to 15:30, Micheal Hudson lays it out.
Well, the idea of erasing debt is very interesting, but I believe that past and actual situation can't be compared.
3000 years ago, if somebody was smart enough to get the 1000 gold coins of the village, he would be able to lend them and get them back a few times since people had to pay interests. The only problem was that there were only 1000 coins, so erasing the debt didn’t change anything in the number of coins that the rich man was able hide in his safe. It's a little bit like when playing Monopoly, sometimes people prefer not to ask for all the money so that the game can continue.
Nowadays with virtual money, the situation is completely different. Money is created by debt and value is insured by a mortgage or whatever the borrower can provide as insurance, so if you erase a debt, you also erase a security. If we look back at the subprime crisis, a major problem is that the houses that were seized had often no value, so we had a valueless security for a not payable debt. In this context, if people had been able to stay in their home under some fair conditions, situation might have been better because for example mortgages would not have lost all their value.
Don't know if this is a solution regarding debts reduction to curb climate change, I don't even know if that concept makes sense.
To reduce debt, the best way is to increase interest rates, but this would be an economical catastrophe in many countries, even for myself since I moved in a bigger home.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 18, 2018, 10:15:00 PM »
Rem acu tetigisti. Debt kills in shrinking economy.


Definition of rem acu tetigisti : you have touched the matter with a needle : you hit the nail on the head

This is a big worry for me. Right now, economy is still growing, but I'm not sure that it is true if a ratio is done with the number of humans, just like petrol's extraction doesn't grow if you look at extraction per person.

Anyway, ressources are limited, so growth will not last forever and climate change requires a decreasing economy, so curbing climate change could also mean curbing debt.

Furthermore, these 53'000 pounds are certainly per person, so it makes 212'000 pounds for a family with 2 kids.
In Luxembourg (which is not known to be a poor area), minimum salary is around 2000 EUR, so for 2 adults with 2 kids and all social helps and some overtime work, maybe they can get up to 6000 EUR per month, or 72'000 EUR per year, still very far away of the 212'000 pounds. And lodging is very expensive, at least 12'000 to 15'000 EUR per year which also reduces CO2 emission possibilities (my boys have a friend who lives to 7 people - 2 parents, 2 kids and 1 grandmother -  in an old appartment with 2 sleeping rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living-room and it probably costs around 15'000 EUR per year).

The best discussion from Katowice so far, unless you're part of the high flying climate glitterati.

Very good discussion indeed. Crazy idea to ask to the 10% most polluting people to produce only as much CO2 than an average European, and it's crazy to think that it would reduce emissions of 1/3.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 14, 2018, 06:13:18 PM »
There is one more thing I wanted to add. Most people do not understand this but debt is not created out of thin air (though some believe it is). For every debtor there is a lender.  Every dollar owed is a dollar owned by someone.

Well, it's not what I undertsood. I understood that banks can lend like (don't know exactly how much) 5 times more than what they own. This would be why lending money creates cash. I don't know exactly how it works and what it is good for, but banks can also lend or place money in the central bank, I see it as a balance because money doesn't always enter and leaves in the same proportions.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 14, 2018, 04:40:54 PM »
If people pay their loan back in a declining economy that hits consumption so the decline is even faster - the Keynes multiplier effect. The Keynes idea was for Governments to save when the economy was going well, and spend when the economy hit bad times.
I started this topic because I wonder if Keynes is still valid in a decreasing economy. He died in 1946, so he probably never thought that there would a limit to growth.
When I mean decreasing, I don't think at a crash, but at a voluntary decrease because of climate change, or an imposed one in the case where renewables wouldn't be built up fast enough to compensate peak oil.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 14, 2018, 04:35:31 PM »
When we bought our first house, my wife and I knew that we wanted childrens, so we decided that the house shouldn't cost more than what we can pay back with just one salary. This is an easier choice when you both have an university diploma, but most people were looking at us just like we were crazy. This gave us the possibility to pay it back in like half the normal time and it ended up to be a great investment.

The rest / Re: Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 14, 2018, 03:33:12 PM »
In a (theoretical) continuously shrinking economy cash must be abolished and interest rates kept below zero so that nominal rate <nominal growth, if we want to engineere a debt reduction
This would be so cool and would solve many mortgage problems, but I don't believe this could happen. Cash is easier to abolish by getting companies and people bankrupt. If interest rates are negative, people would make many loans and this would create cash. The other way to reduce cash is having people paying their loans back.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 14, 2018, 08:50:30 AM »
On the ASPO France web site, I found an interesting report from Jean Laherrère about oil production and prediction. It's quite up to date, which is unusual.

The rest / Debt in a decreasing economy
« on: December 14, 2018, 08:47:07 AM »

I was thinking at a way to explain Ali Samsam Bakhtiari's recommendation to reduce individual debt in a context of peak oil (for example here and the reality that debt was a great way to improve our living at least since WWII.

I remember friends of my parents explaining that when they bought their houses, that debt was a heavy load for a few years, but thanks to inflation and increasing salaries, this ended up to be very light and didn't have any long term impact.

My experience is that there is not much inflation and even less salaries increase. I get most of the time an inflation adjusted salary, so the load of my mortgage really doesn't go down.

Now if the economy would decrease, well, mortgage would stay the same, but the load would go up because interest rate would go up with inflation, or salary would go down. Decreasing economy also means decreasing consumption possibilities.

So my idea is that :
- When there is economical growth, debt is not an issue, because it means that I already use now a part of my future incomes that would anyway be much more than right now, so I anticipate future comfort.
- When economy decreases, debt is a terrible problem because I already use now ressources that I will badly need in the future. Of course we (most people) need debt to buy a house, but that's not an issue if the house is adapted to future incomes, because lodging has a cost today and also will have one in the future, but if we make debts for a car in which we wouldn't be able to put gasoline in a decreasing economy, than we will have to pay for a car that will stay on a parking lot, and maybe won't be able to buy a bicycle to go to work.

This is a cartoonish way to turn it, but I think that there is some truth behind the concept.


Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 13, 2018, 10:46:29 PM »
I saw a surprising vertical windmill today in Belgium between Namur and Jemelle. I was traveling by train, so I couldn't stop to take a better picture.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: December 12, 2018, 09:18:44 PM »
From the grid’s point of view, choosing to NOT use energy from the grid at a particular point in time... is the same as feeding energy into the grid and simultaneously consuming it.

How the Humble Home Water Heater Could Play a Big Role in Energy Storage
One concept that often trips people up when thinking about using water heaters as batteries is that water heaters are not, in fact, batteries. An electric vehicle has a battery, so it’s easy to see how an EV could be used to take, and give back, energy to the grid. Scale that up to millions of vehicles, and now you have a very large battery to charge up, or discharge, at opportune times.

But how does this work with a humble appliance, like a water heater? Moreover, in the PGE-BPA study, the majority of the 600 test events consisted of a signal sent to customer water heaters to simply not start heating. “Don’t heat now!”—says the signal (by the way, we’’ll heat you up a bit later). To most, this may sound minor. After all, the water heater is not, in fact, putting energy back into the grid. But, it might as well be.

“You see, this has the exact same effect as an actual battery,” Eustis said. “I mean, what do you do with a battery? You choose when you put energy in, and you choose when you take it out. So simply choosing not to use as much energy is equivalent to taking energy out of a battery. The heater goes cold. Later, when we have that cold water at hand, we can choose to put excess energy back in from the grid, from solar for instance, to heat it up. From the viewpoint of the grid, it’s identical to a battery.” In other words, a fleet of water heaters can be used as a virtual battery. ...
Ok if you use it that way. But you should not overheat the water heater because insulation has been calculated for a specific temperature, and when you are above that temperature, losses get too high.

The rest / Re: Les 'gilets jaunes' de France et le Roi Macron
« on: December 12, 2018, 06:23:00 PM »
Marine Le Pen is some kind of alt-right drill baby drill type of politician. Her father, historical leader of the "Front National" had to leave the party because he was not able to talk politely about Jews, furthermore he was accused of committing torture during the Algerian war.

If you respect the rule that the fruits should be checked before approving the tree, you should look somewhere else to find a valuable speech.

Climate change acceptance and action?
I am very concerned by the developments in France. Finally some government tries to put measures to fight climate change, and the public is going out on the streets with short-sighted protest. Other governments and future politicians will probably remember this hint very well.
These are not climate change protests but taxes protests. Most of the protesting people are working poor that have difficulties to live until the end of the month, while taxes are reduced on the richer people and companies.
France has much more social protection than the US, but when the fridge and the purse is empty, the medical program won't help you.
The main actions to try to stop the move are an increase of 100 EUR of the minimal salary, a reduction of the taxes on work that is done in an overtime scheme and for poor retiered people.
The taxes on fuel are not "ecotaxes" because incomes are only partially planned for the energy transition, and mainly for normal business of the state.
Sometimes people having nothing are in a better situation because they have nothing to loose.  If you have a very low salary, a little house you were able to buy 30 years ago, an old car that might not comply with the technical control, but that you need to go to work, you're really in deep s..t.
The crazy thing with taxes is that major companies are able to avoid income taxes, but small local ones can't. If you want income tax free furniture, IT, or shoes, I guess you know where to go, and it really is unfair compared to smaller companies.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 03, 2018, 07:17:44 PM »
Qatar is leaving the OPEC

I guess they don't have enough oil anymore. They never had much of it (they are a LNG producer), so it probably doesn't make sense for them to stay in an oil Cartel.

I also heard somewhere that the US would like to make some legal complain about OPEC unfair trade practices, which is quite ironical because the first to do it was the Standard Oil, then the Texas Railroad Commission until the US passed the peak oil. After the US, the OPEC did the job. Oil market needs to be regulated otherwise prices wouldn't be stable enough compared to the investments needed to get it out of the ground.

The book "Oil, Power, and War: A Dark History" written by Mathieu Auzanneau is really interesting, I am now just after WWII.


Walking the walk / Re: Fundraising selling organic cotton clothes ?
« on: November 30, 2018, 08:14:33 AM »

I just wanted to give some feedback. Selling T-shirt really is not so easy, I was my only customer. Of course, I'm just a hobby designer, never was an art oriented type of person, found the message more important than the look, and my main social media activity is this forum (I don't have any account on Facebook, Instagram... just a low activity on LinkedIn). So my advertisement strategy was very weak, but with no sales at all, I didn't feel like investing money to be more visible.If you want to check the designs, the site is still active (, it doesn't cost anything, so I might keep it, I don't know yet.

The days with just one visitor is often myself who check the look of a new product, or who update the look of the site.

The quality of the clothes is very good, but since it is individual printing, the ink doesn't hold as well as standard products of major brands, this is why I avoid big printed areas.

It was fun and interesting, but if somebody wants to do some fundraising for the forum that way, it might be a hard work to get some success.


Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 28, 2018, 10:24:16 PM »
You can also find articles saying the opposite, like here :
Somehow, I don't believe either the ones who say that there is enough oil, nor the one saying that the trouble is for now, but I believe that renewable energy is not just supported because of climate change. I find that the climate politics regarding oil in the EU really look like peak oil politics.

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