Saturday, January 30, 2016

Good news for Green Energy

Many are concerned that lower oil prices will slow down the push to renewable energy.  The green machine believes that lower fuel costs will actually be temporary and will in fact boost the eventual deployment of greener vehicles and power generation.

One might ask why the Green Machine who uses thermodynamics as his guiding principles is optimistic that good will come of these low commodity prices.  With very low prices for steel, copper, aluminum, silver, glass, nickel, cobalt, polysilicon, and other raw materials that are used for the manufacture of new efficient vehicles, PV power stations, wind turbines, batteries, etc. more of these greener systems will be deployed around the globe.

The Green Machine is happy to see that China is embracing small electric vehicles and Europe is moving away from diesel vehicles to hybrids.  Younger people around the world are not that interested in even owning a vehicle.  Younger people are not interested in living in suburbia and the conspicuous waste of resources.  Car sharing will become a norm, car ownership may in fact drop quite considerably.

OPEC knows the world has gone through a sea change and they are now dumping oil on the market in a desperate attempt to continue their domination of the global energy market.  That OPEC is forgoing hundreds of billions of dollars in this futile attempt to turn back the clock is actually good for the world.  The money that otherwise would have ended up in corrupt hands is actually being spent on greener infrastructure in countries from India to Chile.  Money is being freed up for many infrastructure projects as global interest rates are diving.

The Collapse of oil prices and the resulting drop in global stock markets also means central banks will lower rather than raise interest rates.  This will not spur oil consumption but will spur investment is more energy efficient infrastructure.  30 years ago a strike in the coal or steel industry would cripple an economy like the US or the UK.  Now those industries are actually meaningless.  OPEC in 30 years will be meaningless.

The largest arrow in our quiver to green up the world is reduced consumption of fossil fuels and other mined or farmed resources via efficiency and the elimination of waste.  In 30 years I predict we will be using less oil, gas, and coal even with a population of 9 billion people.  In 30 years we will be using a quarter less plastics, steel, aluminum, glass, and cement on a global basis.  In 30 years folks will look back on the mid years of the second decade of the twenty first century and remark how the world woke up to a greener way of living.  In 2045 I will be 92 years old and will be very happy to see that I forecasted correctly.

Monday, January 4, 2016

China Cement

One thing that China produces a lot of is cement.  Bill Gates opined in June of 2014 that in the three years 2011 to 2013 China produced more cement than the USA produced in the entire 20th century.

But the growth in cement production in China is over and 2015 will see approximately a 5% reduction versus 2014.

Steel production is also hitting the skids in China.  In fact industrial production in China is headed south.   The last time industrial output was growing was in February 2015

From a green point of view this is wonderful.  From an economic point of view this is a disaster.   Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile and other countries that are the quarries of raw material for China are sucking wind. 

China will dump their steel in other global markets.  Cement is often too expensive to transport too far but I bet that China will dump cement on world markets.  The Pakistanis have been dumping cement in South Africa.  The Chinese are dumping the wheel barrows that carry the cement.

Folks the world is headed into a dumping tailspin and the WTO will be pretty busy with dumping cases.   As for my prediction on China it is quite simple.  For the next two decades, I doubt China will use as much steel or as much cement in a year as they did in 2013.  China will be dumping excess steel and cement on world markets for quite some time to come.