Thursday, February 28, 2013

Greater Greed Wins

How the fuck did a blind woman with
a weapon become the mascot for
 justice? I think it's a big trick.
By the fifth centruy B.C., many parts of Greece were almost totally denuded of trees. Plato compared the hills and mountains of his native Attica to the bones of a wasted body: "All the richer and softer parts have fallen away," he lamented, "and the mere skeleton of the land remains."

With wood scares and the sources of supply so far way, fuel prices most likely rose. Fortunately, an alternative source of energy was available - the sun - whose energy was plentiful and free*. In many areas of Greece, the use of solar energy to help heat homes was a positive reponse to the energy shortage. Living in a climate that was sunny almost year-round, the Greeks learned to build their houses to take advantage of the sun's rays during the moderately cool winters, and to avoid the sun's heat during the hot summers. Thus solar architecture - designing building to make optimal use of the sun - was born in the West.
Ken Butti & John Perlin  - A Golden Thread
In the Northwest, the dams produced so much cheap hydroelectricity that hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to the region during and after the war did not bother to insulate their homes. Insulation was expensive; electricity was dirt-cheap. In 1974, $196.01 worth of power from Con Edison in New York would have cost $24 if purchased from Seattle City Light. For Decades, the Norhtwest and British Columbia have had the highest rates of electricity consumption in the World.
Marc Reisner - Cadillac Desert

"...decades of subsidy, now amounting to over 90% of cost of production have destroyed all consumer incentives to construct and operate buildings efficiently."

Mike Wood describing situation in Kuwait
The state of the matter is as follows: Where coal is dear, but there are other reasons for requiring motive power, elaborate engines may be profitably used, and may partly reduce the cost of the power.
But if coal be dear in one place and cheap in another, motive power will necessarily be cheaper where coal is cheap, because there the option of using either simple or perfect engines is enjoyed. It is needless to say that any improvement of the engine which does not make it more costly will readily be adopted, especially by an enterprising and ingenious people like the Americans. AMERICA... FUCK YEAH!
William Stanley Jevons - The Coal Question 
These quotes speak to the mechanics and economics of energy. They tell the story of energy past, present and future. A story of oscillation driven by competition. A story of fundamentals.

Leges sine moribus vanae - Laws without morals are useless
This quote speaks to policy. It's not advice - it's a warning. A policy bereft of reason will lead to uselessness. I see a lot of uselessness these days in energy policy. I have faith the situation is temporary. 
Greater greed wins.
Mac Bandy - Today

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