Monday, July 25, 2011

Where does all the money go?

The cost of energy; this will make some historians chuckle and hopefully make some of you angry.
It cost Saudi Arabia $5-$12 a barrel to extract oil from 1986 to until 2002, 16yrs of steady prices.

Emerging countries saw economic growth over that period only hampered by the currency bailout in the 1990’s. Developed countries saw an overall decline of 1% over 20yrs all caused by the banking fiasco otherwise it would have been 1% growth.
Here is a quote from today’s Wall St Journal, the bastion of pure capitalism...

“Several OPEC countries have boosted spending this year to create jobs and build more housing. They therefore need a historically high oil price to cover the increased costs. Merrill Lynch said in an April research note that Saudi Arabia now needs as much as $95 a barrel to defray the costs after announcing the equivalent of $129 billion in new spending.”

While the US borrows to soften the economic impact of the downturn, Saudi Arabia and other Oil producing nations are charging us to bribe their people not to have democracy.

Does Saudi Arabia actually get $95 dollars a barrel? No of course not, how could Exxon report the single largest profits in history if it all went to the Arabs.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a capitalist, I just want you to recognize when people talk about ‘transference of wealth’ they mean they want it to continue to go to them and not to you.
So the cost of solar today per energy unit produced is high if you do not take into account 100yrs of infrastructure support from Governments for fossil fuel; the energy industry when regulated has guaranteed profits and receives between $23 and $52 dollars in incentives from government per ratepayer, per year; and new Nuclear cannot be built without government loans, insurance and guarantees, private capital won’t touch it with a ten foot stick.

I think we need Nuclear for one more generation of energy so we can develop dispatchable renewables or storage; which no energy source today has other than pump storage via fossil or nuclear. None of this broaches the subject of environmental impact, which is becoming so abundantly clear that to deny it makes you appear extreme and out of touch. So the next time someone tells you that solar is expensive please ask them in relation to what?

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