Degrowth: A planned reduction of excess energy and resource use in rich nations to bring the economy back into balance with the living world, while reducing inequality and improving people’s access to the resources they need to live long, healthy, flourishing lives.
I have some initial thoughts after initial reading of Paul Levy’s piece on solar in MA, “Has the Mass. solar gamble paid off? Like other energy bets, costs high, hidden.” Levy’s introductory paragraph:
How much should we pay to promote solar energy in Massachusetts? Recent state government programs have resulted in the commitment of at least $10 billion of consumer funds—well over $1,500 for every man, woman, and child in the state. Is there a need for more government-directed subsidization, or have we reached a point of diminishing returns? Let’s look at the big picture.
and his conclusion:
What’s next on the list of well-intentioned financial mandates that will help reduce the risk for the developers of new energy technologies by passing along costs to the rest of us? Rest assured, the government will be asked to gamble with our money. And investors and advocates will do their best to keep things hidden so the rest of us don’t understand the costs they are asking us to bear. Some advocates now want unwarranted energy storage incentives. Some even argue for a return to expanded solar incentives. Let’s keep an eye on things and demand cost-effectiveness and transparency with regard to the amounts promised on our behalf.
There’s a lot in between. Unfortunately, he missed the big picture. The purpose of the “solar gamble” is to help transition us to using carbon-free (or at least carbon-neutral) energy not to save consumers money. The latter is a fringe benefit not the primary motivation. Levy misses the big picture because his focus is on financials. Money matters and how the costs of transition are shared – that they’re shared equitably – is important but leading with financials sets the wrong tone.
It’s especially important to press these priorities of security and solidarity now, when the share of US GDP going to profit has increased since 1984 from 2% to 16%–a difference totaling $17,000 per US worker. Wealth is jointly produced; well-being should be jointly achieved. https://t.co/eWSDDIMKs0
— Jedediah Purdy (@JedediahSPurdy) July 27, 2018
Interesting article PV Magazine, California electric car culture to cheaply cook the duck curve:
Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have done the math on California’s 1.5 million zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and found that the cars’ batteries can meet the goals of the state’s 1.3 GW energy storage mandates by absorbing a healthy amount of daytime overproduction and mitigating the early evening duck curve ramp.
Learn more about the duck curve here.
To make it work, it’ll mostly take controllable one-way car charging from the grid (V1G) and a small amount of two way charging/discharging from the car and the grid (V2G) to be used on the worst day of each forecast year.
That’s right, use your EV as a battery to power your house after you get home in the evening. Continue reading
11. Roberts writes: “Having only 2% on the farm [down from 40%] is a feature, not a bug. It’s a good thing. It’s a glorious thing. Because it allowed the creation of all the glorious things that would amaze the farmer brought into the present — the smart phones and the artificial knees and youtube videos, and cross-country travel and cars and the longer life expectancy and everything else we didn’t have in 1900 that makes life more pleasant and even more meaningful for the children and grandchildren of farmers in 1900.”
YouTube videos make life more meaningful?… Fine, I won’t argue that. Of that 38% who moved from farm to other occupations though, how many are involved with building artificial knees? More generally, what became of them? What fraction took manufacturing jobs, the kind that have been disappearing over the past few decades.
12. Also, with respect to migration from the farm and other demographic changes since 1900, I think of Robert Gordon’s paper from a few years back, Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds
13. Roberts writes: “Fracking - lower prices coming from innovation – is potentially more reliable than cheap imported energy that could go away. But that difference doesn’t change the point that the full benefits when prices fall from either change has a wider set of effects than just less expensive energy.”
Environmental impacts of continued reliance on carbon-based energy – you might want to look into those, Russ.
This 40 year old commentary aged well:
Sometimes I think we were more eloquent 40, 50, 60 or more years ago.
Okay, it’s not quite Tax Day yet but if I don’t post this now then I’m likely to forget.
John Scalzi in 2010, Tax Frenzies and How to Hose Them Down:
A question in e-mail based on all the recent “rich people feeling not rich” nonsense, and the associated commentary online:
Why is it that the people freaking out the most about taxes on the rich are the ones who don’t seem to know how the tax code works?
The answer is in the question: Because they don’t know how the tax code works. The major failing seems to be an incomprehension regarding marginal tax rates, but people also seem to fall down on the matter of taxable income vs. gross income (i.e. how deductions can work for you!), how to apply tax credits, and other various and fairly basic aspects of the tax code here in the US.
If you don’t know that stuff — if you basically wander through your life thinking the government taxes all of your income based on the highest possible percentage — then I suppose it’s no wonder you freak out. But it also kind of makes you the financial equivalent of the people who think that Darwin said we are all descended from monkeys, or that the Bible says “God helps those who help themselves.” In short, it means you’re a bit ignorant. You should stop being that. It’s easily correctable. In any event, at some point in time, real live grown-ups should understand the concept of marginal rates. It’s not that difficult to grasp.
All businesses should be employee-owned.