Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Econonomist: "The euro may yet be doomed"

The Economist is spot on about the euro:

"If Germany, France and Italy cannot find a way to refloat Europe’s economy, the euro may yet be doomed." --

 "In recent weeks the countries of the euro zone have begun to take in water once again. Their collective GDP stagnated in the second quarter: Italy fell back into outright recession, French GDP was flat and even mighty Germany saw an unexpectedly large fall in output (see article). The third quarter looks pretty unhealthy, partly because the euro zone will suffer an extra drag from Western sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, inflation has fallen perilously low, to around 0.4%, far below the near-2% target of the European Central Bank, raising fears that the zone as a whole could fall prey to entrenched deflation. German bond yields are hovering below 1%, another harbinger of falling prices. The euro zone stands (or wobbles) in stark contrast with America and Britain, whose economies are enjoying sustained growth."--

"(But) without a new push from the continent’s leaders, growth will not revive and deflation could take hold. Japan suffered a decade of lost growth in the 1990s, and is still struggling. But, unlike Japan, Europe is not a single cohesive country. If the currency union brings nothing but stagnation, joblessness and deflation, then some people will eventually vote to leave the euro. Thanks to Mr Draghi’s promise to put a floor under government debt, the market risk that financial pressures could trigger a break-up has receded. But the political risk that one or more countries decide to storm out of the single currency is rising all the time. The euro crisis has not gone away; it is just waiting over the horizon."

The euro in its present form is bound to fail. The sooner it happens, the better. Unfortunately the present European politicians will do their utmost in order to deny the failure, thus seriously delaying the much needed economic revival in Europe.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The truth about wind and solar power: "Their output is entirely unable to respond to electricity demand as and when needed"

It is good to be reminded of the fact that wind and solar power are not even close to solving the energy problems of highly industrialized countries:
there is a major problem with these renewable energy sources. Their electrical output is not dispatchable. Their output is entirely unable respond to electricity demand as and when needed. Energy is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the weather, and certainly not necessarily when it is required.
For example solar power inevitably varies according to the time of day, the state of the weather and also of course radically with the seasons. Essentially solar power might only work effectively in Southern latitudes and it certainly does not do well in Northern Europe. In Germany the massive commitment to solar energy might well provide up to ~20% of country wide demand for a few hours on some fine summer days either side of noon, but at the time of maximum power demand on winter evenings solar energy input is necessarily nil.
Electricity generation from wind turbines is equally fickle, as for example in a week in July this year shown above. Similarly an established high pressure zone with little wind over the whole of Northern Europe is a common occurrence in winter months, that is when electricity demand is likely to be at its highest.
Conversely on occasions renewable energy output may be in excess of demand and this has to dumped unproductively. There is still no solution to electrical energy storage on a sufficiently large industrial scale. That is the reason that the word “nominally” is used here in relation to the measured outputs from renewable energy sources.

Finnish PM Stubb: "Russia´s repeated incursions into Finnish airspace are deliberate and designed to create tension"

The behaviour of Putin´s Russia is beginning to seriously irritate also the Finns:

Russia’s repeated incursions into Finnish airspace are deliberate and designed to create tension, Prime Minister Stubb claimed on Saturday.
Speaking on Yle’s Ykkösaamu politics show, the prime minister said the three alleged violations by Russian aircraft within the space of one week were “not a question of an accident”, and said the behaviour gave a “bad message”.
Stubb said Russia's foreign policy is based on "power politics" and the philosophy that "if I'm winning, you're losing". He said it was not uncommon for the superpower to forment instability on its borders, such as in Ukraine and in Georgia in 2008.
He described the situation as “serious” but said there is no cause for alarm. “You can’t compare what’s happening in Ukraine to the situation in Finland,” he said.
On Friday Finland’s defence forces announced its Hornet fighter jets were on standby to see off any further attempted airspace breaches.