Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

More good stuff on the open frontiers in energy and publishing – 12-6-13

 Today, three articles on energy and publishing.

Publishing

12-4 – The Business Rusch – The Fierce Urgency of Now (Discoverability Part 3) – Kristine Kathryn Rusch summarizes what’s been long discussed: the days of get it now or you’ll never get it are gone.

Whether it is a movie that will only be on the screen for a few weeks, a book that will only be on the shelf a few weeks or months, or a music LP that will only be in the store a month or two, that limited shelf space is no more. Now you can get that movie streamed the moment you want it, download any one of several million books within seconds of when you decide to buy it, and get just about any single song that’s ever been released the moment you remember it. That affects publishing, especially if you are an independent writer / publisher / marketer. Much more in the article.

For little bitty players, like yours truly, that means the doors of opportunity are wide open.

Energy

11-27-13 – Wall Street Journal – U.K Offshore Wind Energy a Turnoff for Investors – Plans for a 1,200 megawatt wind farm were cancelled when not enough investors would step up to fund the construction.  I’m guessing that would be about 500 or 600 turbines (at 2.4MW or 2.0MW each).  Minor factors cited are the difficulty in drilling deep pylons, possibility of large cost overruns. Bigger factor is the uncertainty of subsidies from the U.K. government.

High cost and need for massive subsidies were mentioned by an investor:

“You worry at the moment, when [offshore] is very expensive, and relies on a long-term government contract at a very high price.

Article doesn’t mention the cost for this farm, but does say the British plan to develop 16GW of off-shore capacity is estimated at $US60B. That would be $US4.5B for a 1.2GW farm.

That would be about $7.5M or $9M per turbine. Something in the range, or slightly higher, than what it takes to get a shale oil well producing in the Bakken. But then oil shale is funded by the private sector.

Other comments on the competition from shale:

To make matters worse, the bounty of cheap oil and gas from shale finds in the U.S. has made renewable energy even less competitive.

and the relative cost position of off-shore wind:

Of these, offshore wind is arguably the priciest, and uncertainty over how subsidies will work is another reason for investors hanging back.

I don’t understand the reason for offshore locations of wind farms, but sure hope that basing model would reduce the volume of slicing-and-dicing of protected and endangered birds. But if not, I guess that means there won’t be any carcasses for researchers to find.

12-2 – Los Angeles Times – Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that’s not ready; Minders of a fragile national power grid say the rush to renewable energy might actually make it harder to keep the lights on

Keeping us cool in the summer and the lights on at night requires an extremely consistent amount of electricity across the entire nationwide power grid. Our moment-by-moment wants as consumers must constantly be balanced with the electricity flowing down the line. The volatility of energy provided by solar and wind are a threat to the entire power grid. The one or three-minute drop in electricity when a cloud covers a solar farm disrupts the grid.

In addition, the grid isn’t constructed to gather gigawatts from the desert or Montana hills and deliver it to California and New York. Article above explains it will take a trillion dollars in the next 15 years to set up transmission lines. Even then, clouds or a momentarily lull in wind could disrupt power across several states. Oh, you and I will have to pay that trillion-dollar installation bill and bear the risk of blackout.

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