Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “finance”

Annual Dutch National Energy Bill

The Netherlands has committed itself to be fossil-fuel-free by 2050. In that perspective it is interesting to know how much the Netherlands pays for fossil fuel. The estimate below is a very rough estimate:

20 billion €

GDP Netherlands: €902B (nominal), €936B (PPP)

This is the amount of fossil fuel that needs to be replaced by renewable energy and does not include (international) aviation or shipping.

After 2050 this bill will be 0 and be replaced by capital amortization and maintenance cost.

[] – Wat betaalt de BV Nederland nu jaarlijks voor energie?
[] – All 39 Dutch Electricity Companies in 2020
[] – Martien Visser
[] – Economy of the Netherlands

GDP Timeline

Dutch Renewable Energy Subsidies Q1+Q2, 2017

Overview subsidized renewable energy projects in the Netherlands to the tune of 5.8 billion euro. Half of that amount went to solar projects. The other half mostly to wind, biomass and some geothermal.

[] – Hoe komt Nederland aan 20 procent duurzame energie?

EU Fossil Fuel Subsidy €112B/Year

[] – Phase-out 2020: monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies

Solar Grid Parity in Germany, Holland, Italy, California and Australia

Notably in Germany and Holland it pays to invest in domestic solar energy

LCOE = Levelised cost of energy [*]

[] – Technology Roadmap, Solar Photovoltaic Energy – 2014

[*] – The LCOE represents the present value of the total cost (overnight capital cost, fuel cost, fixed and variable operation and maintenance costs, and financing costs) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle, converted to equal annual payments, given an assumed utilisation, and expressed in terms of real money to remove inflation.

Winners & Losers Oil Price Collapse


This development could postpone the financial Big Reset in the West for a while longer.

[] – The oil plunge: the facts and why we should care

Oil Price Collapse


Renewables Energy Subsidies 2013


The Big Reset


Self-made man Willem Middelkoop is a well known personality in the Netherlands. He has been a peak oil and financial Cassandra for several years and is often invited in the media. He ran a successful online gold business before he sold it. He is very active on twitter and as such one of the most interesting news sources in all things finance, politics and many other areas, mostly in English. His latest book, The Big Reset, is an international bestseller and translated in many languages. It is about the inevitability of the collapse of the international financial fiat money system and the dollar in particular. Unsurprisingly, he is a gold bug and expects that metal to play an important role again in the world of finance after the crash.

In principle fiat money can work, but only if strict discipline is being maintained and the amount of fiat money in circulation is correlated to the size of the economy. If a central bank is truly independent and has the task of keeping inflation low, than it could work. The German Bundesbank or the Dutch Nederlandse Bank can be seen as a positive examples. But the problem is, the central banks are rarely independent. There is always the politician who can’t resist putting pressure on the central bank to ‘help him out’ or the public demanding ‘an end to austerity’.

After a general introduction about the history of money, Middelkoop changes to a Q&A format, until the end of the book and poses and answers some 86 questions, of 1-2 pages each. Questions like: ‘what is fiat money?’, ‘what is quantitative easing?’, ‘how much gold does China really have?’, ‘will Special Drawing Rights become the new world currency?’, ‘what will be the role of gold?’, ‘how the gold price is manipulated?’, ‘possible debt cancellation scenarios?’, ‘can we grow out of debt?’, ‘could the renminbi replace the dollar?’, ‘is the Fed really independent?’, etc., etc. A few of the questions from the book will be discussed here.

[] – The Big Reset

Read more…

Peak Gold Now?

Youtube text: On behalf of Matterhorn Asset Management, financial journalist Lars Schall talked with exploration geologist and mining entrepreneur Keith Barron. They’ve discussed, inter alia: the challenges for gold mining companies; the effects of a downward rigged gold price on Third World countries; the “inevitability” of a gold price at 5000 USD per ounce in the future; and Barron’s support for the Swiss gold initiative.

*Peak Gold = a moment in time that gold mining peaks

[] – “I believe we’ve seen Peak Gold”, Keith Barron PhD

Country ranking by gold production 2013

Until 1985 the equation was: “gold = South-Africa”. Now China is the largest producer.
China and Russia are still able to increase production, the others are in decline, so the idea of ‘peak gold’ is not far fetched.

[] – List of countries by gold production (2013)

Editor: Keith Barron is an exploration geologist with over 27 years experience in the mining sector. He thinks that the world has reached the maximum gold production level (“peak gold”). Additionally he believes that the US in particular is not honest about its real gold stockpile and that most has been leased or sold.

270 Years of Consumer Price Index

The breaking point is 1913, the year of the creation of the Federal Reserve. Since then endless new money has been pumped into the world financial system, all against interest.

End the FED, end the dollar, end US hegemony (or should we say: hegemoney?) and end the world’s prime source of instability.
Get rid of your dollars by buying something of value, preferably precious metals.

India Ready to Pay Iranian Oil in Euro

New Delhi, March 23: India is likely to grant Iran’s request to be paid fully in euros for oil, against the current practice of partial payment in rupees… Reports quoting Mohsen Qamsari, director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company, said, “Indians are interested in increasing oil imports from Iran and we welcome this matter in the event that it would be possible for us to receive payments in euros in our accounts.”


Gold Production & Reserves

(Map shows yearly production in kg)

Many doubt the stability of the current financial system and predict a prominent role for gold in any future financial system. Here an overview of who produces how much. A few observations:
– With a current (Nov 2013) gold price of 1000 euro, 1 ton of gold represents 35 million euro.
– One glance at the map reveals why Mali is interesting for France (gold, uranium).

country-ranking-gold-reserves[full list]
(Country ranking official gold reserves. Source: World Gold Council)
These figures are to be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of western European gold is stored in the US, which refuses to allow verification, not even to members of Congress.

(Gold production 2012, source U.S. Geological Survey. Mali ranked #11 in 2006)

(10 largest gold companies: 9 Anglo, 1 Russian)

(World gold reserves. Source: )

[] – Country ranking gold production
[] – Largest gold companies

Read more…

Support for the Euro from Lithuania

We never heard of Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė before but we already like her. She is committed to bring her country into the euro area by 2015. She correctly denies that there is any euro crisis but instead a debt crisis, self-inflicted by irresponsible behavior of politicians. Hear, hear! Grybauskaitė rejects an opportunistic wait-and-see attitude and wants to join the euro out of principle and solidarity, because Lithuania is a European country. That’s the spirit! The EU is supported by 70% of the Lithuanians, even after the implementation of draconian measures during the past years, that were even more radical than the ones currently underway in southern Europe. Grybauskaitė wholeheartedly supports the austerity policies of Angela Merkel. We wished we had ten more Lithuanias in the EU and one Greece less. Where power hungry politicians with an eye on a career in Brussels try to sell a local southern European debt crisis as a euro crisis, using it as a pretext to further centralize the EU, this woman from Lithuania tells the truth.


The Next Reserve Currency

Reserve Currency Status[zerohedge]
According to Wikipedia: a reserve currency, or anchor currency, is a currency that is held in significant quantities by many governments and institutions as part of their foreign exchange reserves. Being the owner of a reserve currency means you are a top dog; that you are in the middle of where all the action is. During the past six centuries there have been six countries holding the largest reserve currency. Painting with a broad brush you could allocate a century to each of them:

  • Portugese Century (15th) – The concept of a ‘Portugese Century’ is a bit of a stretch for this tiny melancholic European outpost, but nevertheless it were Portugese dare devils who were the first and only ones during the entire 15th century to explore the planet in grand style, before they were overtaken by Spanish, Dutch and British. The Portugese set the tone for European imperialism for centuries to come.
  • Spanish Century (16th) – Christianity ruled supreme again in Spain, after the last muslims were kicked out, a process known as Reconquista and America was discovered for the Spanish crown, both events in 1492. Gold and silver were transported from the new world to Spain by the boat load, leading to the rise of Spain within the European state system.
  • Dutch Century (17th) – Nothing beats winning a major war before you can even hope to own a reserve currency. In this century the Dutch were the winners, the losers the Spanish. The resulting landmark Peace of West-Phalia meant the consolidation of Protestantism in Europe, with Holland as its supreme bastion, a religion emphasizing the value of labour, economy, money and profit. The Dutch commercial fleet was three times the size compared to all other powers combined. All the foundations of modern economic life: capitalism, corporate structures, central banking, share holders, can be found in the Netherlands first as a fully developed integrated economic system, that would expand globally, perfected by the Americans and hold until today. The Dutch were the ones who kicked in the doors of modernity. The last great achievement of the Dutch was the military conquest of Britain and Northern Ireland by the Dutch army in 1688/1689, the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution‘. But please do us a favour, don’t mention this to the British, they don’t like to hear it. By plundering the vaults of the British treasury, the Dutch were able to hold the rising French power in check. The last European assault against Protestantism by Catholic ruled Britain and France against the Netherlands in 1672 was averted and Britain became a Protestant state. By exporting a winning religeous formulae to a larger country, the Dutch eventually digged their own grave. Holland is to be seen as the blueprint of Anglosphere and the United States in particular; heck, they even wrote the American Declaration of Independence, so Jefferson did not have to do it. The Dutch are pro-American to a fault, because of the religeous/cultural proximity and historic ties, no surprise they were the first to recognise the American Republic. Here are more than 50,000 Dutch assembled in the Amsterdam arena in May 2012, celebrating America. Not even the British would display this orgy of pro-Americanism, let alone the Germans or French. In 177x, the Dutch played a decisive role in bringing about the independent American Republic, together with France, at the cost of Britain. Britain fuming with rage, took revenge in the fourth and last Anglo-Dutch sea war and destroyed Holland as a large European power. But Holland had passed on the baton of its way of life to the United States.
  • French century (18th) – Next there were the French, who rose to continental supremacy, starting with Louis XIV, culminating in the conquest of the entire European continent up until Moscow under Napoleon. It is interesting to note that in this list of six, the French, who detest water, unless there is alcohol in it, were the only landbased power, unlike the Portugese, Spanish, Dutch, English and Americans, who are all seafaring nations (or ‘thalassocratic‘ nations if you have a degree in geopolitics and want to impress your mother and pretend that you understand the Heartland theory of Mackinder). The Anglos, who like to cultivate a certain dedain for these ‘cheese eating surrender monkeys‘, have yet to show for a similar military accomplishment (Subduing Hottentots or bombing women and children from safe three mile altitude or fighting German kids in the 1944 Ardennes does not really count). Just like that if you want to count in the modern world you need to have an ipad, in those days the snobs spoke French, like the upperclasses in the Netherlands or Prussia. The British, who by definition don’t like the strongest state in Europe, be it the Spanish, the Dutch, the French or the Germans (Balance of Power politics), organized a coalition against the French, who literally found their Waterloo in 1815.
  • British Century (19th) – From now on, for two centuries, the reserve currency would speak English. After Napoleon, the British empire was next, greatly stimulated by the invention of the steam engine, leading to vast industries, train networks and increased shipping. London was the true center of the world, much more than New York is today. By 1920 the British had acquired ca. 25% of the planet as a little Lebensraum of their own. But then the British committed suicide by applying their balance of power strategy one time too many and chose to destroy Germany, that had dared to outcompete Britain (and France) on world markets by the turn of the century. The British started to mastermind a coalition with the intent to destroy Germany (‘Germania est delenda‘), a strategy that succeeded initially, culminating in Versailles, the most cruel ‘peace treaty’ ever, but the same conflict was exploited the second time by extra-European powers USA and USSR. Although the British until today think that they won WW2, in reality they lost the largest empire in recorded history and unintentionally created the foundations of European unity, ending five centuries of British balance of power strategy. It is unlikely that we will hear much of Britain ever again as it remains to be seen if London can hold onto Scotland and Wales, or even onto itself as London is no longer majority English. Britain has acted as Europe’s geopolitical cat flap, that can be used by foreign powers to bring continental Europe down. The British are so fond of humor that they have decided to turn their own country into a joke.
  • American Century (20th) – The 20th century should have been the German century, but thanks to the actions of Britain in 1914 and 1939, Europe, that had ruled the planet since 1492, committed geopolitical suicide and the baton was passed to the USA and USSR. The American century was born. Or was it the jewish century, as this jewish author wants to have it? It was the Soviet spy Harry Dexter White, acting on behalf of the US government, who was the architect behind the Bretton Woods arrangement, that explicitly bombarded the US dollar as the reserve currency of the western world, now under leadership of the US. The western world experienced unparalleled economic prosperity, mainly thanks to unlimited supply of cheap fossil fuel. In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and soon afterwards the USSR disintegrated. What followed was the so-called ‘unipolar moment‘, where the real US power brokers behind the scenes, like Krauthammer, Kristol, Perle, Wolfowitz, Ledeen, Libby, the ethnic identity of whom you are not supposed to mention in polite company, were dreaming of a ‘benevolent hegemony‘ of the US. The event of 9/11 provided a pretext for the creation of a terrorism meme, which would be used to invade countries at will; not few suspected that 9/11 was setup for that purpose (‘inside job’). Whatever the truth of that, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan proved to be a disaster for the US, from which it will unlikely recover. Combined with the rapid morphing of the US into a third world country and structural fiscal deficits of 1+ trillion $, it is obvious that the days for the dollar as global reserve currency are numbered and that it can lay itself to rest in the reserve currency mausoleum, next to the pesos, guilder, franc and stirling. Washington wants to rule the world but it can’t. Even Samuel Huntington, the great American prophet of the coming identitarian multipolar world order, had to backtrack from his own theory, as he foresaw that possibly North-America would not fit into his scheme. According to Pat Buchanan, the US might break up before 2025 as a result of ethnic strife, just like everywhere else in the world and we support that view.

    So which currency is going to be the next reserve currency? Who are the candidates?

    Current reserve currency situation:


    Ranking nominal GDP:

    EU $17T
    US $15T
    China $7T
    Japan $5T
    Russia $2T
    India $2T
  • Dollar? All talk about American decline is premature and the dollar will stay in place? Owning a reserve currency means you can, to a certain extent, print money with zero nominal value in exchange for real values, first and foremost oil. But this setup presupposes that there are economic partners willing to accept this money in the first place. As we speak all major ‘partners’ like Russia, China and Brasil (BRICS) and now even Australia, are working towards the goal of eliminating/bypassing this essentially American free lunch.
  • Euro? Come-back of Europe? They ruled the planet for five centuries, even as a divided continent, until assorted inconveniences like Americans and Soviets came along and (temporarily?) interrupted the European party. The Soviets are dead and although the US can wipe out life on the planet 100 times over, the Russians, Chinese, French and British can do it at least one time, which is basically enough, militarily speaking to keep the Americans in check. A cowboy carrying hundred shooters is not necessarily in advantage facing an opponent with only one. Militarily the US are a paper tiger as soon as the famous boots are on the ground, as fiasco’s like Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq have shown. The American is a travelling salesman, not a warrior, or ‘lousy imperialists‘ as Pat Buchanan once put it. Europe already is the largest economic power on the planet, is for the first time united under a single currency and has 500 million Europeans in contrast to 180 million Euro-Americans plus 120 million of non-European origin, many of whom are a burden rather than an asset. Europe’s industry by-and-large outcompeted that of the US (cars, planes, trains, aerospace) and sooner or later this will have repercussions on the political power level. Not that these industries have a lot of future in a resource depleted world, but it does show the strength of the new formation. And then there is the option of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow alliance, the one advocated by French general De Gaulle (‘Europe of the Fatherlands’). Quintessential gas-pipelines to Europe already come from the East, not from the Atlantic, a geopolitical fact of the highest importance.

    The French president Charles de Gaulle in 1962 rejecting supranationalism and Atlanticism in favour of a Europe of the Fatherlands, including Russia after the demise of communism. The time is ripe for that vision to be realized.

  • Renminbi? The what? See, everybody on the planet knows what a dollar or euro is, or even currency number three, the British pound, but China still has a long way to go before at least 5% of the US population can discern this currency from a starlet featuring in American Idols. Would-be Nostradamusses like Jim Rogers already let their kids learn Mandarin (which is not a fruit), because, you see, China is the next big thing, just because these people are foolish enough to fill the shelves at Walmart with pedal bins in exchange for printed green paper.
  • Gold? Libertarians of all nations unite! Oh wait, that’s a ‘collectivist’ thing to do and we are all glad we are not like that. Seriously, gold has won considerable traction world wide since the FED began to print money big time and nobody was fooled by the soothing term ‘quantitative easing’. Yet as a coin gold is useless unless you bring your microscope when you buy a loaf of bread. Demanding that paper currency is backed by gold for 100% will work maybe for a couple of years, but soon another Nixon will come along and start to ease this restriction. In itself ‘fiat currencies’ can and did work, provided you have an independent central bank with the task of keeping inflation low. Best example is the Bundesbank, an institution that worked perfectly for decades. Why? Because the Germans had not set themselves impossible goals and merely concentrated on building cars and left ‘conquering the world’ gladly to the Americans. The Americans in contrast cannot let go of impossible imperial dreams and that’s what’s bringing them and their currency down in the end (‘imperial overstretch‘). They don’t have the money to fund all their imperial projects, so they print, which is noticed by the rest of the world, which votes with its feet, that is away from the dollar.
  • IMF run world currency? Well, as long as the IMF is (correctly) seen as an institution serving western interests, this is not likely to happen.


    First of all, in the rising multipolar world, there will be no second Bretton Woods, where one entity can impose its currency upon another. There will be several competing currencies and the acceptance of a foreign currency will be proportional to the package of products that economy can provide to the potential holder of that currency. You are from Kenia and you want a car? Forget your local currency, make sure you have dollars or euro’s and then you can come back. You are still from Kenia and now want oil from the Gulf to drive in your newly acquired French car? Bring dollars only, courtesy US army, which occupies the Gulf region, providing ‘security’ to that area. Or try the Russians, maybe they accept euro’s. So how is the graph above going to look like in 10, 20, 30 years time? We could be honest and say we don’t know, but that’s not a billable answer. So our guess would be that, ignoring resource depletion and the possibility of war, the green euro area will increase somewhat and that a small band representing Chinese money will appear, both at the cost of the dollar, but that if the international system remains stable, the dollar could hold out quite some time. But that is a big if. The greatest threat to international financial stability comes from Washington itself, in its unwillingness/inability to cut its spending and moderate its ambitions. Washington could reduce its military budget with 50% without compromising its own security, but it won’t. Washington is up to something, prepares to jump and does not mind if the American launchpad for that jump will get under water because of the jump and the rest of the world knows it and starts to react, putting Washington in dangerous isolation.

    But maybe all the talk about the reserve currencies of the past is meaningless for the direct future as the most likely successor for the dollar has not been mentioned in the list above: barter, meaning no currency at all. If everything breaks down and no trust is left, this is going to be the mechanism to keep economic life going, be it on a the back burner. In the thirties the Germans traded locomotives against Argentinian wheat, circumventing financial institutions in Anglosphere, which was not appreciated in London and New York. One thing we do know for certain, namely that the Unipolar Moment of US supremacy is going to be just that: a moment (1991-2003). What is really in store is a chaotic declining world, where modernity is going to be traded in for archaism, where all the peaks will be behind us, except peak hurt:

    1914 – Peak Europe (at the eve of the Great War)
    1969 – Peak USA (moon landing)
    2005 – Peak conventional oil
    2008 – Peak West (Lehman crash)
    2018 – Peak fossil energy

    Read more…

  • US Inofficial Debt $222 trillion

    RT text: The US national debt is twenty times higher than is officially reported, approaching $222 trillion, and today’s children could soon be paying their parent’s debts, reputed American economist Laurence Kotlikoff told RT.


    Read more…

    Euro In Safety Zone Again

    Bloomberg no longer believes in a euro breakup, if it ever did. The euro gained in comparison to currencies of six top rated nations and “the bonds of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy — the region’s most indebted-economies– have been the best performers among sovereign debt in that period“. The euro has appreciated 7.1% over the last six months. The currencies of top AAA rated countries like Canada, Australia and Singapore have fallen against the euro by 9.6 % in the past six months.


    Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

    [part 2]

    Erik Townsend discusses the consequences of resource depletion and peak oil for the international monetary system (IMS) and why rising energy prices could very well be the catalyst that will cause the present system to fail. The IMS is basically Bretton Woods, the basis for all international trade. [*] Core element is the elevation of the dollar to world reserve currency status, simplifying international trade. The dollar at the time was still fixed to gold ($35/oz) and was backed by the most credit worthy nation. Countries promised to keep their dollar exchange rates fixed as well. To that end they would be required to hold dollar reserves. That system survived until August 15, 1971, when Nixon abandoned the gold standard.

    In 1959 the economist Robert Triffin pointed at a dilemma: “if you choose a currency because it’s a strong credit, and then give the issuing nation a financial incentive to borrow and print money recklessly without penalty, eventually that currency won’t be the strongest credit any more!” Indeed, Nixon proved Triffin right when he ‘temporarily’ had to abandon the gold standard, after a bullion bank run, as the dollar was no longer as good as gold. Especially the French under de Gaulle were notorious for exchanging their surplus dollars against gold. At the same time successful exporting nations had a problem with all these dollars. Changing them back into local currencies would appreciate this currency and result in ever lower returns for export nations. The answer was to not exchange but to invest in US government bonds. The result was that the US government could spend even more, all being a consequence of the reserve currency status of the dollar. The author claims that these exporting nations have little choice but to invest in US bonds. The US can borrow almost against zero cost, a situation described by de Gaulle’s finance minister Valery Giscard d’Estaing as exorbitant privilege.
    The big miracle is that the IMS did not fall apart after 1971, when the gold standard was dropped. Sure, the Arabs forced an oil crisis, drastically increasing oil prices, partly because of this. But the system largely kept in place because there was no real alternative and because of the overarching power of the US military (DR: look what happened to Saddam and Khadaffi when they tried to circumvent the dollar).

    Now that the U.S.debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100%, and the U.S.has literally doubled its national debt in the last 6 years alone, we see increasingly that trading nations are conduction bilateral trade in their own currencies. Examples China, Brazil, Russiam Turkey and Iran. The author thinks that the Peak Oil energy crisis will be the catalyst to cause a global financial system meltdown, going hand in hand with the dollar losing its reserve status. Key questions: when and how is this going to happen? Answer: the loss of reserve currency status will be the forcing function that begins a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that brings about a U.S. bond and currency crisis. We see that major players like China are openly calling for their own currency to be and alternative to the dollar. The only reason why the US can service its debt is because the FED is able to keep interest rates low… because of the reserve currency status of the dollar. Once that is gone the rates will skyrocket and servicing the debt can become problematic. The author puts great faith in the arguments made by Eric Janszen, or more precisely the Janszen Scenario: the U.S. has reached the point where excessive borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility will eventually cause a catastrophic currency and bond crisis. He believes that all that’s needed at this point is a proximal trigger, or catalyst, to bring about such an outcome. He thinks there are several potential triggers that could bring such a crisis about, and chief among the possibilities is the next Peak Cheap Oil price spike. The crucial thing is that in the seventees the US represented 80% of the world oil market, today that is 20% and growth comes from other countries than the US. This means that it makes ever less sense to price oil in dollar. Once this really happens, trading nations no longer will need so many dollars and will start to dump them.

    The author ackowledges that unconventional oil/gas is not a marginal phenomenon, but denies that it will change a lot to the global picture and peak oil. In fact if the US would withdraw from the oil market because it can produce all its oil by itself (a big if), then this would hasten the demise of the dollar as reserve currency as oil exporting countries would no longer have an incentive in charging in dollar. The consequence would be dumping of the dollar and bonds, which would cause US interest rates to go up to a point where the US will be unable to finance its federal budget deficit. If the FED would respond by printing money, the dollar would lose its value and imports would become unaffordable.

    The author fears that the US could use its military as a means of last resort to stave off a catastrophe by using (nuclear) blackmail… sell us oil against 50$/barrel or else…


    [*] The man behind Bretton Woods was a Lithuanian jew and Soviet spy, Harry Dexter White.

    The Real State Of Western Finances

    The German MSM newspaper Die Welt published a financial Nachhaltigkeitsranking (sustainability ranking) of EU countries and the US. This not just encompasses national and private debt (dark blue), but also all promises made into the future like pensions and medicare (light blue). A value of zero means you have to do nothing and can continue behaving like before. The higher the value the more drastic the countermeasures need to be to avoid financial ruin. It turns out that the three largest European economies Germany, France and Italy are in relatively good shape and that Greece and the US are worst off, meaning they both have to undergo drastic measures to escape financial ruin/default. Greece can be saved, as proposed by the Deutsche Bank, because of the recent gas and oil finds to the tune of 600+ billion dollar, an amount in the order of total public debt. As far as the US is concerned, it does not mean that the ruin is inescapable, but that very drastic measures need to be taken to avoid a meltdown. Candidate measures: tax increases to European levels, dismantling of all 800+ foreign basis and scutling of all 12 carriers in the mid Atlantic. That would be a start. Ron Paul would have been the right president to implement these measures, but alas. The US triple-A status is dubious, to say the least.

    Concentrating for a moment on the situation in Europa, surprisingly it turns out that Italy has the most solid finances. Mind you: not the state, but society as a whole. Reason: real estate. The total amount of Italian mortgage is relatively low in international context. It also shows that the overall financial situation of the Netherlands is hardly better than that of Spain. The Dutch trapped themselves in buying real estate for too high prices, caused by lax too liberal financial rules by the government, which caused a bubble in the housing market, which is deflating now, with 1 million households currently ‘under water’. It is not entirely clear why Spain has financial status BBB and the Netherlands AAA.

    Looking at total debt (figures in % GDP), excluding future obligations, than the differences between the states of the western world are not that dramatic, excluding Japan, Ireland and the UK.

    Read more…

    Cash Cow Wind Energy

    In 2010 four windturbines placed near Rønland in NW Denmark were the recordholder in generating energy: 63.2 GWh each since 2003, the year of installation. In market electricity prices at 20 euro cent per kwh, this equals to a yield of 12.6 million euro each to date. Extrapolating this over the total life expectancy of 25 year, this amounts to 45 million euro. These are 2 MW windturbines with an estimated price of 2 million euro, excluding maintenance. In financial terms these figures are fantastic. And after 25 years the cost of the tower and foundation is definitely not written off and they could last centuries, think Eiffel tower, built in 1889. Or this still functioning Dutch windmill, dating from ca. 1630. Expect this record to be broken soon. Considering these figures one cannot escape the conclusion that our energy situation is far from hopeless and that the energy transition is mostly a question of awareness and rethinking old assumptions as well as breaking vested interests of the gas & oil industry.


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