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Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Blindness


A classic Steve Sack cartoon

  • The cost of living will not rise if we switch to renewables. That viewpoint is so last decade.  Renewables are now as cheap as or cheaper than coal.  In fact renewables will cut the cost of energy.
  • Wind is now the cheapest source of electricity, even without subsidy, at around 3.5 US cents per kWh.
  • Utility scale solar is now 3 US cents per kWh compared with 10 cents/kWh for coal
  • Battery storage, the missing link (since wind and solar are variable) has been more than halved in cost by Tesla. Retail storage will have an LCOE (Levelised cost of electricity) of 12 c per kWh, wholesale (the "powerpack" of 4 or 5 cents.
  • This is all current costing. But each technology is falling in cost by between 10 and 20 % per annum. These costs have halved or more than halved over the last 5 years.
  • 30% of Indians and 80% of Africans do not have access to electricity. Instead, they use candles and paraffin, both very expensive, dangerous and toxic. The solution is not to build massive power stations and a grid (far too expensive) but to install small solar panels.
  • It is a lie carefully propagated by the fossil fuel industry that the world needs coal, oil and gas, and that to deny these "wonders" to poor countries is wrong. Developing countries would be much better off jumping straight to renewables.
  • The proportion of global electricity production produced by solar has doubled every two years for 30 years, by wind every 3 years. Combined they now give us just 3.5% of all electricity produced in the world. But by 2020 it will be 15%; by 2025 50%.
  • Mankind struggles to understand exponential growth. Costs of renewables are plummeting exponentially. They are already as cheap as or cheaper than fossil fuels, and their costs are continuing to decline. A classic learning curve. Their rate of decline means that the cost of renewables will fall by half over the next 5 or six years and by 3/4 over the next 12 years.
  • Knowing this, most politicians (except those in the pay of demented plutocrats and coal miners) ought to find it easy to be "green". Why wouldn't they when fossil fuels are no longer (as they were even 5 years ago) cheaper than renewables?  Answer: funding from oil and coal and the super rich.

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