Simon Michaux: The Green Energy Myth

Hunger games. The capitol in the center and the districts in ever increasing circles around it. The further you are from the center, the worst your situation is/ the poorer you are.

1 Like

Definitely one part of the solution to consume less, since even the optimistical situation that Simon presents has no alternative for oil based plastic etc.
A fellow dutch guy is running (solar.) which focuses on these kinds of solutions, you might want to check it out.
Nice nickname by the way :wink:

There is a time for work and a time for rest, in cycles of more-or-less days, weeks, years, and millennia. We shouldn’t despise work. It’s a therapy; it keeps us humble and grounded. And neither do I despise the humanist millennium-scale idea of rest, except that I think it’s insufficiently grounded in reality.

1 Like

What Are The Steel Man Arguments?

Pushing back not because I disagree with the thesis nor conclusions, but because I think good arguments need to steel man the other side to temper the arguments and become stronger.  Here’s where I feel I’m weak in explaining this.
IMO, the best arguments on the other side are that 1) peak oil does not mean no oil, 2) we are not that efficient currently and there are a LOT of gains to be made that can offset growth needs and 3) the population demographics are changing, 4) the increase in energy needs is geographic 5) energy storage does not mean oil and 6)the debt based financial system requires token growth (e.g. dollars) to account for the interest payment, but not necessarily real gdp growth.

  1. Peak oil is not No oil. The argument here is that by doing some/more energy as renewables (solar/wind/wave motion, etc), we can use that for some things (residential heating and transportation) and thus incrementally reserve more and more of the remaining oil for more necessary operations like mining/shipping or plastics or what ever else we prioritize. In other words, peak oil does not imply that ships and mining trucks need to be electric next year. We have 50-100 years before we need that if we can become more efficient in other areas and fill the energy growth needs with something other than oil. Thus we should still try to do renewables as we are able even if it will never provide 100% of need. 100% isn’t the goal. The goal is simply to offload the heavy oil dependency.
  2. Some efficiency gains can made and this may be dramatic. We spend a %expletive% large amount of energy to do some things like heating buildings and water. E.g. adding insulation and sealing corners and upgrading windows can reduce this dramatically on a long term basis. While this might require energy for the raw inputs, those efficiency gains don’t necessarily add to the eventual no oil scenario because it has a payback. In many areas reduction in energy use by 25-50% or more is achievable and even without a lot of pain. We should at least add that to the computations.
    3/4) Demographics and Geography. The population growth has slowed dramatically in developed nations, and the dramatic energy use growth globally is primarily driven by countries/regions at the lower end of the economic scale and population growth. Energy use growth in developed nations is far more modest, or even non-existent. This may be in part because populations are not growing at the same rate, but also because the poor have less access to knowledge and tools to make some of those efficiency gains. But by sharing some of that knowledge we can bend the correlation between economic growth and energy consumption. In other words, the energy demand growth of the past is not necessarily predictive of the future demand because the demographics are changing too.
  3. Energy storage. It is well understood that wind/solar is not always on and thus requires fossil fuel backup. As pointed out some of this is also seasonal, so the energy deficits/surplus relative to averages can be quite large. But to me this is a battery problem, not necessarily an oil problem. E.g. a reservoir with a hydroelectric dam and pumps can and do solve this in many areas. Pump the water uphill when you have excess, let the water drain when you have need. There are other battery technologies such as cation flow batteries that are more space efficient where needed. So, while this is an issue, it seems solvable in ways that don’t require lithium and nickel for everything, or use of oil per say.
  4. Debt based growth requirements. I may not be able to articulate as well because I don’t completely understand it, but have heard some more reasonable arguments that the issues of monetary expansion in a debt based currency may not be as dire as presented. This is because the financial system growth needs argument (e.g. debt must be paid with interest, thus grows exponentially faster than credit) is related to a nominal growth, not real growth. It results in a purchasing power loss, but are measured against other real assets that have accumulated over time, and in real terms are still there. In analogy, if I buy a beer for a dollar on credit (creating a dollar out of thin air), and must pay the dollar with interest (destroying the dollar, but not the interest) then I must get the interest part from somewhere in the form of a dollar, so I must take out another loan to get that interest part. With recursion the amount of dollars in the system grows. But that growth is only occurring in the monetary system, and only affected the price of the beer, not the value of the beer. If the beer is consumed and I don’t work, this is an issue, but if the good purchased is a business generating work or some productive product, the same arguments don’t apply the same way. With these purchases, interest IS paid back because it comes from a productive output of the purchase (e.g. the oil ‘pays’ for itself with interest in the good things that can be done with it). So while a nominal price inflation occurs, but that is only evolving the value of the dollar, not the value of the goods. And because this nominal monetary growth is constant, but relatively low in comparison, people can account for it as a kind of productivity tax. Thus the system is not unstable where all the debt interest must be paid back, but instead a math operation where growth really can go on indefinitely because this ‘dollar value’ is only a numeric assignment at a point in time and numbers can be infinite.
    Again, all this is to say I’d like to understand the best other steel man arguments, and then discuss the best arguments to counter those. Comments?
1 Like

The Peak Oil Concept Is Not A Mere 20 Years Old!!!

Not to contradict you youngsters - however, you middle age guys aren’t old enough to have experienced the entire history of peak oil.
When I worked in the energy industry in the 1980’s I had the honor to meet M. King Hubbert, the originator of the Peak Oil concept. What the naysayers around 2000 missed is that there are geological constraint to the ability to find new oil. King was right, particularly in the US many basins were already level or declining. So, as with metals, newer discoveries are almost always less productive than those so easily found early last century. There is a common term in mining - “High grading”. Those with a financial background may remember the concept of dollar cost averaging - buying more stock at lower prices and less at higher, so the average cost is lower. So too, with mining, long-term profitability of a reserve is maximized when you work a larger area with mixed grade. However, in practice people go after short term profitability by mining only the most profitable portion of a reserve, usually making the remainder more expensive to access.

As you guys mention, 3 other legs: Resources, technology, economics. King’s ideas were prior to a lot of deep water tech and of course fracking tech. So, as oil prices fell and rose, often based on political machinations, not supply/demand drivers, non-middle eastern reserves grew last century. That growth has now leveled out.
In 2008 older folks (my age) in the energy business were already doubting the narrative and big oil was sneaking into green energy businesses to hedge its bets.
I was recently in west TX and eastern NM, the fracking areas. Two things we noticed - lots of new Power lines crossing the fracking areas and again Waste - in spite of need for energy and pollution issues, we still saw way too much flaring.
Less GDP is not necessarily a bad thing in a planned obsolescence economy. Much of our GDP is non-useful - junk and bling. Hurricane wipes out high-priced beachfront property. GDP goes up from the rebuilding - but why aren’t the asset losses deducted from GDP since those goods are no longer available for use? Just asking.


Green Energy Is A Form Of Ecological Masturbation

I only see two solutions to our predicament.

  1. There must be a mass die off of humans (awful option)
  2. abandon the stupid policies of “green” energy and replace it with nuclear power
    It is possible to use nuclear energy to make synthetic fossil fuels. The US Navy is doing this now with their jet from sea water technology.
    Germany produced synthetic oil from coal during WW2 with the Fischer-Tropsh process. The only real issue here is the cost of production. Can we make synthetic oil economically?
    There is also the possibility of using hydrogen fuel cells in cars to replace oil. The Japanese have made incredible progress with solid oxide fuel cells. Nuclear power could also be a source of rhodium to make fuel cells. We would need to reprocess high level waste to make use of this rhodium. (extraction of valuable metals from nuclear waste)
    Nuclear power can be used to make both electricity, process heat, or hydrogen. Hydrogen could then power fuel cell cars. Politics is the biggest hurdle to overcome. We have had the technology to extract these valuable metals for many decades.
    Green energy “feels” good but it is an awful policy choice.

Some Hope Finally.

This podcast was amazing, it gave me some hope for humanity.
I believe this is the right approach. An intense elite skilled based community. In a far away enough community with a solutions based mentality and limited regulations.
I am off grid and self sufficient. But everything I did was as an amateur and is failing. To the point it is cascading into multiple failures. I keep having to replace things before their life span has been reached because I did not install it perfectly.
I personally think I would like to join a hope community with cutting edge use of existing technologies creating fast results.
My however moments…
I still think the economy and capitalism is our major downfall.
So how do you create a community that is all equal. Capitalism which is a human need is almost impossible to overcome.
The idea of two currencies fosters some capitalism.
I love what Chris does. But his tribe mentality of a tribe that is geographically distant fails. I like the idea of 10,000 skilled people in a remote location. Hanging out at Chris’s place in a mad max society crumbles.
The need for money skills and distance from the mad max people is critical.
But I think Chris needs to look at what he has done and what Simon is aiming for. And think deep and hard. I think he is so important for society. He needs to be “kept safe” and his loved ones. Family is our driver for doing things we are not sure about.

Can The Transition Solve All The World’s Problems?

I found this comment odd:

If we get this transition wrong – either by failing to plan appropriately or, worse, fibbing to ourselves by selling a set of technologies that cannot do what we’ll need them to do – then massive pain awaits. Economies will crash, as will populations. Wars will be fought.
Does anyone think that economies and populations won't crash if the transition is done right?

I thought about that. I even timed myself to see how long it would take to water 2 29 foot rows of broccoli and how much water it would use. In my climate, this would need to be done about every 5 days. There are more than 15 beds. I need to eat less veg or eat more grain. I think I’ll go and eat some more chocolate chips…

1 Like

I have two. Love them! But my gas pump lets me run 6 small irrigation systems (one per bed) at a time.

The storage issue is not going to be an easy problem to solve. Just my opinion, I would rather have thousands of micro/mini reactors on the grid with massive amounts of excess reactivity at the start of core life. These reactors would be designed to load follow for many years. The issue of energy storage would disappear entirely with this solution. Simply raising the power levels of these reactors would be far better than trying to install grid scale storage.
I am following some interesting developments with advanced gas reactor designs. Triso fuel is getting a lot of attention right now. High assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) Triso with an enrichment of about 19.75% is currently being produced. This is happening now!
I am following the progress of Triso production closely. Production of the Triso compacts is going to begin any day now. I would not be surprised if it started before the end of the year.

I can work out who is wrong pretty quickly. Simply ask the person if they have ever been tasked with making electrical power for the grid. There are too many well meaning ignorant people out there that have no clue what it actually takes to make the electric grid work reliably. To hell with the other side’s arguments. If they are wrong, no amount of looking at their arguments is going to change that.
I spent many nights in late 2014, early 2015 working my ass off to keep a nuke plant online during extreme cold in Northern Ohio. I am speculating here, but I believe Governor Newsom was given a reality check when Diablo Canyon was scheduled to shutdown. It would not surprise me if he was told by people that actually know their stuff that the California grid was going to be at best 50% reliable once the reactors were shutdown and decommissioned. Can you imagine a worst hell than living in a DNC utopia during a power outage?
The sad truth is very simple. People want to flip the switch and have the lights come on. They have zero understanding of what it takes for this “miracle” to happen. If the lights do not work because the grid is down, they will loose their shit.
I lived through the Feb 2021 ERCOT grid disaster in Texas. I lived in Arlington, TX at the time and it was a complete shit show. It was not a fun time because not only did the power not work, many gas stations could not pump gas, grocery stores had massive inventory loses, and the water treatment plants stopped working. It took many weeks to get that mess sorted out and back to normal.


What is your alternative?

Then there is the question of building resilience (disaster resistant), Termite proof without spraying poisons, Fireproof, etc.

Well if you belive " capitalism" fails, why did you fail? Not enough education in the fields you tried to grow?, not enough time, or energy? Why should a " collective" of people pick up for your failings? I’ve failed at many things, and learned from them all. From this I’ve grown and learned. Now me and mine prosper. I would say with a resounding " no" do not look onto others to fix one’s problems but look unto oneself first. Mad max may come but if you don’t fix your own self worth no one will accept you

1 Like

Watched the video. Typical utopia. Won’t work. So some.ppl get private homes while the rest are in government apartments. Ie the projects. Ya that worked out well in the US. The alternative? Free people, who don’t pay taxes, own the land and minerals, produce what they need and sell off the excess, for whatever " they" deam of value. Gold, silver, oil, wood, food, anything. A real free market.“Planned communities” is what we have now. Ie collectivism. And we see how that’s working out. No thanks. I’ll burn my wood boiler, run my solar and wind, grow my crops and livestock. Kill my game.meat and fish, all of course without the governments licenses, because that’s a collectivist tax. Live free or die

The western world is completely addicted to consumerism and making more money than someone else. This will lead to the majority of society failing and a few elites, A few revenant aka self sufficient people battling to exist.
The question to me would be when. The governments are set up to lead us off the cliff with continual Debt borrowing on systems and green solutions that don’t work. They maybe able to carry in this narrative a few more years. Which leaves the people preparing for the real world (aka collapse) making its preparations …. For something that doesn’t appear or happen. Leaving us thoroughly bewildered. ???
How can everything be so fucked, but business as usual is all their reality.


Michigan Et Al

I was just reading about Whitmer signing the new Michigan fantasy, roughly half the country is along for the ride, it amazes be how the macro story is totally glossed over! or more appropriately completely ignored and covered up!

1 Like

American “leadership” Vs Real Leadership (china)

This would be the reason the United States is so FUBAR imo, our Legislative & Executive Branches are completely out of touch with reality.