Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pipe dreams

The guy over at Sudden Debt is a pretty good read on a routine basis.  But, like all of us, he can go ga-ga for a bit and write something that doesn't fit in with the rest of things that he has written in the past.

Consider this latest post.  If only we would become like Portugal.  We can have our electricity guilt free, we will be missing out on a bright future, we are raping the environment, we won't get to get shiny new cars.  People will laugh at us.

But, this is the guy who bitches constantly about debt.  I would venture a guess that he is aware of the phenomenon of PIIGS and the attendant debt.  Maybe for a moment, I should be considered that the sheeny-shiny renewables that he so fervently desires are a result of the debt that he so abhors.

Even more important is the scales that this is built around.  Portugal is right around the size of Indiana (The 38th largest US State).  It has 11 million people and a coastline about 500 miles of coastline .  Sunny as hell too.  In other words, it is about as perfect a site for renewables as you can imagine.  It even has an appropriate size and population to do it.

The reason we can't do it is just because we are too damn big.  A land area the size one-hundred size that of Portugal lend's itself to some problems.  A country waste deep in debt lends another.  A complete lack of political consensus exists.  The spotty and low density of renewable is yet another.

The biggest reason that Portugal can get away with it is that Portugal has very nice weather (low heating bills), a very small area,  a population primarily concentrated on the coast, and access to a lot of Dumbass money from the EU.  They will default on the debt that they took out to pay for the miracle, and they will retreat to the tapa bars and laugh about the idiots who built this for them.

I don't think those options occur here.

1 comment:

russell1200 said...

Apparently Portugal has been having some problems for some time.

If they had gone into debt on the one time expense of going sustainable than it might be justified. One suspects though that (like everyone else) they went into debt propping up the ongoing expenses within the annual budget.

In NC the governor did not use stimulus money to prop up teacher employment, pointing out fairly reasonably that that only kicked the can a little further down the road.

For an interesting incomplete of Portugal I found this: