When Is Renewable Energy Not Renewable Energy? – When It’s Nuclear

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Or rather, when is nuclear energy renewable energy and when isn’t it? The answer being when someone wants to big up the contribution if renewables to the country’s energy supplies nuclear is a renewable and when someone wants to discuss how to provide the country’s future energy supplies nuclear isn’t a renewable:

Zero-carbon energy outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019
Rise in renewables and decline in coal-fired power leads to cleanest energy year on record

OK:

Zero-carbon energy became Britain’s largest electricity source in 2019, delivering nearly half the country’s power and outstripping fossil fuels for the first time.

Following a dramatic decline in coal-fired power and a rise in renewable and low-carbon energy, 2019 was the cleanest energy year on record for Britain, according to National Grid, which owns and operates the electricity transmission network in England and Wales, and also runs the Scottish networks.

National Grid’s latest data shows that wind farms, solar and nuclear energy, alongside energy imported by subsea cables, delivered 48.5% of Britain’s electricity in 2019. This compares to 43% generated by fossil fuels – coal, gas, and other carbon sources such as oil and diesel. The remaining 8.5% was generated by biomass, such as wood pellets.

When we want to show how far we’ve come nuclear is good. When we want to decide how far we should go nuclear is bad. Because these very same people who will be swooning over this zero carbon number will be exactly the same people who will shudder over the mere possibility of using nuclear electrons.

But then, you know, their being two-faced just gives us another pair of cheeks to slap them on.

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john77
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john77

Also, please note that biomass is renewable but not zero-carbon. What we need, if we’re worried about global warming, is zero-carbon which is not the same as renewables.

Derrick J Byford
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Derrick J Byford

Electricity generation is just a small part of total energy requirements. Very misleading to say that renewables are producing 48.5% of our ENERGY production!

Article from national grid
Wind solar hydro 26.5%
Hydro 2%

Wind & solar 24.5% electricity

UK energy 17.5% electricity

So wind and solar 4.3% of UK energy.
https://nationalgrid.com/britain-hits-historic-clean-energy-milestone-zero-carbon-electricity-outstrips-fossil-fuels-2019…

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

“And that’s the sort of error which not understanding that first basic point leads to. If money creation destroys belief in the value of money then the country will run out of money.” – Money is social construct and therefore limitless. Production is finite, resources are finite. Money is just the tool that we use to distribute REAL goods and services. Again the amount is somewhat irrelevant and prices are always relative. “That the banking system creates 97% of it, the central bank only 3%.” There is a lot of misunderstanding about what this means and is based on a… Read more »

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

So, back to my original comment. So much wrong there, best to scrap it and start over.

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Strange, the first part was marked as spam. Will try again in multiple parts. Fair enough. You would rather have the discussion? “In another sense MMT is truly weird for there’s a belief that the above simplicity means that the wilder dreams of social democracy can be brought about just by said printing more money. This isn’t remotely true.” You are right that this statement isn’t remotely true, but probably not quite in the way you intended. Where is the reference to academic literature that MMT says that it is? That is a pretty poor mischaracterization. Murphy is not an… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

“Where is the reference to academic literature that MMT says that it is?” I’m not talking about the academic literature. I’m talking about what Richard Murphy says. “Murphy is not an MMT academic and while he is getting closer in some regards, isn’t what I would call a reliable source at this point.” Other that wrong I’ve not found Murphy reliable on anything. “”Bitcoin is fiat money.” No, in both regards.” Well, yes, it is. I see the points you’re driving at and simply don’t take them to be important differences. Your definition also becomes markedly tautological. States issue fiat… Read more »

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Money is basically an IOU. It is the liability part that gives it value. Of course there are different levels of trust, so sure you have to believe that the issuer is going to do what they say, but the underlying value is the liability. Again, bitcoin and commodities have no liability attached. You are completely dependent on finding a counter party that wants the item you have as much or more than you do. Nobody needs bitcoin (or gold or tulips or beanie babies). Everyone that pays taxes though needs currency that is redeemable for that purpose. “Please note… Read more »

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

“Which is what gives us our limit on how much can be issued – no more than maintains the belief in its value.” No, available resources and productive capacity give us the real limit on spending in general at any given time. But, there is no real limit on quantity. Compare the Monopoly Here and Now Edition to the original game for a good example of why this is. Prices are always relative. “That’s not a fiscal purpose, that’s a monetary one.” No. Inflation is a macroeconomic outcome. Targeting inflation can be done using fiscal or monetary means. When establishing… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

“No, available resources and productive capacity give us the real limit on spending in general at any given time.” Sure, a point I’ve made many a time. ““That’s not a fiscal purpose, that’s a monetary one.” No. Inflation is a macroeconomic outcome. Targeting inflation can be done using fiscal or monetary means. When establishing fiscal policy (how much to spend or tax and how), inflationary concerns should be considered.” That’s rather twisting the logic there. “We should consider the monetary effects of fiscal policy”? Sure. But attempting to maintain the value of money is still monetary policy. “Money creation without… Read more »

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Good, we agree on resource constraints. Inflation – Price stability is a goal of monetary policy, but it is still an outcome that is affected by both fiscal and monetary (to a lesser extent) policy. “Bad effects” – sure, trying to create additional money to buy something that is not for sale has bad effects. The problem is ultimately that there isn’t enough to buy. It really doesn’t matter how much or how little money is in circulation if there isn’t enough food. This goes back to understanding the difference between causation and correlation. You may as well be saying… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

Will you please try to at least begin to understand. I’m making fun of Murphy, not MMT?

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

I completely get that. Maybe there are better ways to do it though. Have you tried calling him names?

The problem is that some people that read this will think you understand MMT because you say that Murphy doesn’t. So, why not get that part right and then have a go at Murphy all you want.

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Just out of curiosity, what is your beef with Murphy? Did he have an affair with your wife or something? It seems personal.

timworstall
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timworstall

Look up “Ragging on Ritchie” on my personal blog. I think the man’s dangerous. Because people in power sometimes do believe his nonsense. He was, quite seriously, once considered for a peerage as a quid pro quo for his being a Labour Party economic adviser.

timworstall
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timworstall

The point of the piece is that Murphy doesn’t understand it. Not that I do or don’t, nor even that MMT is right or wrong. It’s that Murphy doesn’t Grok.

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

I would agree that Murphy isn’t the best source to discuss MMT, but based on what I have seen from both of you, he knows it better than you do. If you have a beef with Murphy, this isn’t your best place to attack. He has the high ground.

timworstall
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timworstall

“There is a lot of misunderstanding about what this means and is based on a technical definition of “money supply” which does not include bonds or base money” Err, no, wide money supply measures will obviously include base money. ““The German money supply is increasing.” – So what? Germany is a net exporter and not a sovereign issuer of currency. What does this have to do with MMT?” Which is why we also have NZ there. Note again this is about Murphy’s interpretation of MMT. He wants to say – does say – that we must run a budget deficit… Read more »

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

M4 in the UK and M1,2,3 in the US do not include reserves or bonds. So unless, you are making a new definition for “money supply” (which is fine, just state what it is) then base money is not included directly. Only the bank deposits are counted which are part of the 97% that you mentioned regardless of whether they were created from reserve adds or lending. So, the 97% figure is very much definition dependent. Form a NET money supply standpoint in a more generic sense, only the money added to the economy by the government increases the net… Read more »

timworstall
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timworstall

You what? Notes and coins are narrow or base money. M0 includes notes and coins. M4 is M0 plus etc. Thus the idea that base money isn’t included in M4 is odd.

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Reserves are not included, only the bank deposit. Otherwise the same money would be counted twice. The bank deposit adds to your 97% number vs the 3% number. Notes and coin are included, that is correct. That is a very small portion, hence the 3%.

timworstall
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timworstall

Err:

” by the government increases the net position as money created endogenously by bank lending is offset by an equal liability within the economy.”

But the creation of base or narrow money also creates and asset and liability. The central bank promises to repay, recall? Therefore they’re creating a liability as they create the asset.

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Exogenous vs endogenous.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Something’s gone wrong with the comments – where have all the above 7 month old comments come from on an article published yesterday?

John B
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John B

And biomass emits ‘good’ CO2 which is not counted. But that CO2 still contributes to the greenhouse effect now, so it is not ‘clean’. ‘Zero carbon became Britain’s largest electricity source…’ So the National Grid is not counting the CO2 emissions coming from fossil fuel stations still running in backup but forced to disengage from the grid so wind and solar can connect… therefore those ‘zero carbon’ sources are not zero carbon at all, they have proxies emitting CO2 for them. And can only electrons from ‘zero carbon’ electricity transit the undersea cables? Climate Change Insanity has become normalised, even… Read more »

will
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will

“So the National Grid is not counting the CO2 emissions coming from fossil fuel stations still running in backup but forced to disengage from the grid so wind and solar can connect… ”

No such thing at scale. Today’s fossil powerstations, largely Gas powered, spool up and down extremely quickly