"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Krugman really doesn't get it!

I cannot understand why Paul Krugman is held in such high esteem as an economist when he does not understand the simple fact  that solar is not economic because it only supplies power when the sun is shining, not when the customer needs it. Maybe that is not in Krugman's Economics 101 but it is definitely in Common Sense 101. In simple terms he may understand , when everyone supplies potatoes at the same moment to the market the product is not worth much - this Dr Krugman,  is called a glut- maybe you have heard of the term.  At midday on a sunny day, solar panels provide a glut of power for a short while and then nothing.  Unfortunately like potatoes people require power all year round and solar is basically useless in that context. Dropping solar panel prices does not change the equation and no one would buy solar power unless they were forced to because the idea is fundamentally stupid. The only thing that would change the scene is suitable battery storage to enable solar power to be stored and make it a marketable quantity. Krugman also goes on a rant against fracking showing the terror that this cheap new power source is engendering among environmentalists. He is very concerned about indirect costs of coal but neglects to calculate the huge cost of solar power subsidies and feed-in tariffs. He also thinks that Solyandra"s failure was caused by technological success - not because it was a silly idea to start with which could be very simply tested with a model and proper costing. What he calls "technological success" , normal mortals without the advantage of a PhD , would call "bad management" and "inability to compete with the Chinese in manufacturing."

 Fracking is not a dream come true; solar is now cost-effective. Here comes the sun, if we’re willing to let it in.
Cost-effective solar ? Krugman must be living on another planet!


  1. I've had a bit of experience with using solar panels to power radio-linked remote monitoring devices. That's when you find out just how erratic and unreliable solar power really is.

    You're right Baron; this guy obviously lives on another planet which always has one side facing the sun and is cloud-free.

  2. I just heard on the radio news that PM Brown wants coal-driven power stations phased out by 2050. I just wonder what he thinks will replace them for base load electricity generation. Solar? Wind? Wave? Geothermal? Can't be nuclear because look at what happened in Japan. Or do we all simply switch off the lights and go and live in caves while the Chinese enjoy a decent standard of living?

    There couldn't be a more gigantic gulf between down to earth reality and the Greens' fantasies (sigh).

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