21 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. China solar update.
    China has announced an abrupt solar policy change, widely reported and interpreted as slamming on the brakes, like Spain in 2009 or Germany in 2012. These conclusions are premature. Cross-comment by me from CleaTechnica (*****cleantechnica.com/2018/06/18/energytrend-predicts-new-china-solar-policy-to-cut-global-solar-to-95-gigawatts-in-2018/), lightly edited.
    The new Chinese policy is admittedly unclear. A careful English-language report here (*****lawofrenewableenergy.com/2018/06/articles/energy-policy/chinas-renewable-policy-shift-and-its-global-implications/#_edn2). The original Chinese text is here (*****ndrc.gov.cn/zcfb/zcfbtz/201806/t20180601_888637.html); I have run it through Google Translate.

    The way I read it:
    1. There is no cap on utility solar. “The scale of general photovoltaic power plant construction in 2018 will not be scheduled.” (Google translation; I take it that “scheduled” means “regulated”). Provincial governments must shift to competitive auctions. The grid feed-in price (basically 0.5 yuan/kwh or 7.8 US cents per kilowatt hour) is a ceiling and no state subsidy will be payable..
    2. The new volume cap of 10 GW is only for “distributed solar”, a weird China-only category that extends from rooftop up to 6 MW, combining the US categories of “residential” and “commercial and industrial”. Projects within the cap will still get an FIT of 0.32 yen or 5 US cents per kwh.

    The new policy is essentially a dramatic decentralisation to provinces, and we are likely to see very wide variation in provincial policies. It should be possible at current module prices under 30c per watt for utility developers to bid well under the ceiling price in much of China. An auction system has been trialled, so they know how to proceed. (Chinese provinces are the size of many European countries).

    The weakness is the non-recognition of the urban residential sector. Businesses will still be able to snaffle most of the reduced distributed capacity. Rural villages have their own scheme which is not affected.
    Chinese provincial governments are neither federal states nor democracies, and their leaders answer to Beijing, meaning Xi. They deal with and try to satisfy local interests like coal mining companies, but ultimately do what they are told. So the big question is whether Xi has changed course and is backpedalling on his signature “beautiful China” goal. I would need a lot more evidence before believing this. Does Xi really plan to throw China’s booming and world-leading solar industry into deep and loss-making recession simply because of a worry about subsidy levels? Chinese policy has swung around in the past, and the upshot has always been continued rapid growth.

  2. “The weakness is the non-recognition of the urban residential sector.”

    Given what I know about chinese urban residences [not a lot]… I don’t think that the contribution from single-family dwellings is expected to be large. The omission would be significant in australia or japan, but not in singapore nor I think china.

    The decentralisation is interesting, though. China’s pretty diverse, and different areas would have pretty different requirements.

  3. Avi,

    Goldberg and even Reinsch seem to be under the illusion that the American system delivers liberty for many or all. This is false. The American system delivers liberty only for the rich and propertied few. This has always been the mode of operation of Liberal Capitalism and especially that variant with American characteristics. It started with the destruction of the native American peoples and the theft of all their land. It continued with the import and exploitation of slaves. It went on with the exploitation of wage labor and the continued oppression of excluded peoples. Then there were the military adventures and global American Imperialism.

    What we have now is a late stage outworking of this process. The USA is so heavily founded on violence and expropriation it is now turning these methods upon itself. Witness the massive size of the imprisoned population in contemporary USA and the widespread deadly violence in its social fabric. The USA has reached the end of its Imperial overstretch. The reaction is the turning of its methods upon itself.

    Liberalism is a fallacious doctrine whereby a rich and privileged class arrogate all land, wealth and power to themselves and then claim that the principles apply to all. Any realistic reading of history exposes this as a continuous lie.

  4. Painful to comment on this blog these days. I was not recognized and directed to a WordPress account that I guess I used years ago and I reset a long lost password. If this gets posted I guess I finally landed on my feet!

  5. Sorry about that, but at least you have landed. I’m running the blog myself now, and I’d appreciate any advice about problems like this. I’ll see what I can do.

  6. Some minor good news on Adani – the Townsville Council has decided to reallocate to other projects the $18 million or so that had been earmarked for the Adani airport.

  7. Collin: I’m sure you are right about the big cities, where people live in blocks of flats (that still have roofs). What about the many lesser towns too big to be counted as villages? And new suburbs for the middle class like this (***media.gettyimages.com/photos/the-aerial-view-of-the-house-named-liangzhu-small-town-landscape-by-picture-id539610074?)

  8. There is no question that countries have the right to determine who comprise their population via immigration. Border control is both inevitable and desirable. Trump has simply attempted to enforce preexisting US laws as, indeed, Obama did. If critics don’t like these laws the critics should argue for a policy of “open borders” but they probably won’t do that because no country practices such policies and almost no one else would support such a policy. Indeed in most countries there is controversy over the level of quota-driven immigration let alone support for an “open borders” policy.

    The policy of arresting illegal immigrants coming into the US but not their children was presumably a policy designed to punish those who broke US law but not their unfortunate children who had no say in attempting the illegal entry. But it seems that Trump’s critics have won and now this separation will not occur. Now the children too will be detained. What a great victory for the Trump critics!

    BTW I readily agree that Trump is a poor US President but he was elected and it is not necessarily true that all his policies have been foolish. I suggest that his critics look at the policies and forget the man. I think people are tired of the self-indulgent fury of Trump’s critics and that this might work to his reelection advantage. If Americans are tired of him and disbelieve his policies they should, at the next Presidential election, nominate a more preferred alternative Democrat candidate than Hilary Clinton.

  9. Hardy Clarke: what weird source are you getting your news from? The separated children are clearly being detained by US officials, and are not free to fend for themselves – which would also be cruelty. Not even the Nazis set up separate prisons for children, though there were some in the Sovirt Gulag and Mao’s emulation.

  10. I have a question:
    Observation: Supply and demand are unconditionally taken to be the prime economic forces.
    Question: Why does the financial system supplies financial crises when nobody wants them?

  11. James Wimberley. My understanding is that the children are well housed/fed and being given classes and medical treatment. Comparing the situation to the Nazis, the Soviet Gulags and Mao’s China is not sensible and borders on Godwin’s Law. You do not create any moral authority by advancing such preposterous claims.

    The issue relates to parents who have illegally entered the US (and who took children with them) not those who have been unjustly prosecuted for political crimes. With the current reforms, the children will be imprisoned with their parents. What an improvement!

    The core issue is whether the US should enforce laws on their books. If they should not then they should abolish these laws. That in my view is an impossible alternative so, in my view, the laws should be enforced.

  12. Harryclarke: some of the 2,500 children forcibly separated from their parents are too young to benefit from the alleged schooling. Seeing that the Trump Administration has apparently no system for tracking the children for family reunification, we are entitled to scepticism about the idyllic conditions of their incarceration.

    The family separation policy crosses the line into full-blown fascism. It is entirely appropriate to raise the totalitarian universe of comparison. Would you prefer Pinochet and Galtieri?If we are using Nazi Germany, the Trump Kinderlager look similar to the Geneva-Convention POW camps run for French, British and American POWs. Though as I said, the Nazis did not stoop to special camps for children.

  13. Ernestine Gross,

    I refer to your question.

    “Observation: Supply and demand are unconditionally taken to be the prime economic forces.
    Question: Why does the financial system supplies financial crises when nobody wants them?”


    It seems to me as follows. Supply and demand relate to traded goods and services (products). Whilst financial products are traded, the overall system in which they are traded is not itself traded. The crisis occurs at the overall, untraded and intrinsically untradeable, level of the system. The overall system in which products are traded is a complex, historically partially-emergent and partially-designed system comprised of a combination of social, market and government institutions (including regulations and laws).

    To put this another way, there are products and meta-products of human social action. Products are designed to fit (or generate) specific felt needs, to make said products saleable in a market system. The market and other social institutions are the designed/emergent meta-product intended to circulate the products.

    This would seem to indicate that markets alone cannot generate all the structures that a society needs. Some expressions of market fundamentalism almost seem to assume this; (that markets can generate all the structures we need.) Dare I suggest speculatively or at least figuratively that this means that “the market” is not an endless Mandelbrot set which can keep reproducing its own structure from itself and needs no outside input?

  14. James Wimberley says: “Though as I said, the Nazis did not stoop to special camps for children.”

    The Nazis smashed the heads of infants against rocks, caved them in with rifle butts, buried and burnt them alive, tortured them in ghoulish scientific experiments etc… I think you’ve just forfeited the right to be taken seriously.

  15. One of the reason the working class in America have wages so low that they can’t live a dignified life is that illegal and legal immigrants push down wages for semi-skilled and unskilled jobs. The same applies in Australia although to a smaller extent.

    Last night SBS/ABC ran stories on Oz dairy, fruit and vegetable farmers complaining that they now find it hard to source cheap labour due to the closure of the 457 visa program. Many workers in those jobs get exploited and underpaid. But even if that was not the case, whilst we have 4 or 5 unemployed for each job vacancy, locals should be filling those jobs. It is up to employers to provide wages and conditions that are not degrading so that locals will take on the jobs.

    I simply do not buy the claim that local workers are too lazy to do these jobs. They aren’t lazy, they just don’t want to be paid a pittance and treated like trash (i.e. exploited) for doing work that will most likely leave them battered and bruised until they get used to it.

  16. Hugo: Too late to be read, but your OTT comment demands a response I suppose.

    First, comparing two things is not the same as saying they are equivalent. I nowhere said or implied that Trump’s immigration actions are anywhere close to Hitler’s in depravity, cruelty, and scale, nor has anyone else SFIK. You are attacking a straw man of your creation.

    Second, I deliberately used the term “fascist” not “Nazi”. Fascism is not a level of depravity, but a common type of political movement and action. It obviously has a range of levels of evil, as does communist totalitarianism. My attribution requires only that several key features of Trumpism, notably brazen mendacity, xenophobia, hate speech, alliance with elements of big business, and deliberate brutality are similar enough to non-Italian régimes commonly described as fascist (like Pinochet’s Chile and Vichy France) to deserve the term. If I am wrong, show me where. Clericalism is for instance not a defining feature: it was present in Franco’s coalition, but scarcely Mussolini’s.

    A telling anecdote. The establishment US Democratic politician Joe Crowley, the fourth most senior leader of his party in the House, ran for reelection just recently in a primary in his inner-city New York district. He described ICE as “fascist.” He still lost to a 28-year-old Latina Sanders socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If you are upset by my language, best avoid the news on the November US congressional campaign. A lot of Democrats are very, very angry. It isn’t Obama’s party any more.

  17. James Wimberely : “Second, I deliberately used the term “fascist” not “Nazi”. ”

    No, this is what you said: “Though as I said, the Nazis did not stoop to special camps for children.”

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