Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

Making energy invisible, once more: see Renault’s new ad titled “L’électricité pour tous est là” (“Electricity for all is here”, more stuff in English here). Alternate title: “Externalizing pollution, courtesy of the electric car”. And now, have a nice day!

Just one quick snapshot from the battlefield of the war for the financialization of everything. Here is a reputable scholarly blog on energy policy, and here is a recent interesting post by a guy who, after a short apology (about the provocative character of the message, given the nasty circumstances) advertises a book in which it is shown that “mean-variance portfolio theory pioneered by the Nobel-prize winner Markowitz in the 1950s can be applied by utilities managers and energy policy planners to optimize generation portfolios to maximize returns and limit their risk exposure”.

There is a funny comment, though, by another folk who seems to be pretty much into energy derivative’s maths:

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but Hello!!! Mean-Variance Portfolio Theory in the role of “risk management tool” just BUSTED a whole lot of banks and hedge fund (following pretty soon)!”

Before going straight to the inevitable Taleb link, the commenter provides the following civilizational, post-quantitative statement:

“It’s absolutely wrong to overoptimize something like power generation and power grids, our lives depend on them and there must be double, triple and quadruple redundancy if you want. That costs a lot of money, but it’s essential to the integrity of the civilization as a whole.”

Given that after a couple of weeks no further comment did pop up to contradict that, it has been decided on behalf of everybody involved in this thing called civilization that this commenter is right — thanks.

The mystery of Sarkozy’s atomic urge continues. Now France is going to get its second EPR (third generation pressurized water reactor), Sarkozy announced yesterday (see “France to build second new-generation nuclear reactor”, International Herald Tribune, July 3 2008, and “Nicolas Sarkozy confirme la construction en France d’un deuxième réacteur EPR”, Le Monde, July 3 2008).

Interesting. Especially if one considers that France’s nuclear overcapacity makes even the construction of the first one at Flamanville superfluous (see “2e EPR en France: une décision stupide qui disqualifie Nicolas Sarkozy sur les dossiers énergétiques et climatiques”, Greenpeace.fr, July 3 2008, and also, on the disastrous situation at Flamanville, “A Flamanville, les travaux de l’EPR sont suspendus après des anomalies”, Le Monde, July 3 2008). But it would be of course completely unfair to say that Sarkozy’s decision is pointless. Let us think and find out the clever rationale. Think, think hard.

One humble contribution: it’s about getting some business for the nice pal who is going to get Areva after privatization (see a couple of posts here and here). But wait: this hypothesis might be completely obscene compared to the straight fact that the merger between Suez and Gaz de France does also need to be fed with some nuclear agitation. Which one is the right hypothesis? Beep. The right response already delivered today:

“SUEZ welcomes the announcement made on 3 July 2008 at Creusot by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the construction of a second EPR-type nuclear reactor in France. In this sector undergoing deep mutation, this decision contributes to the safety and competitiveness of the energy supply in France and Europe, as well as to the policy of fighting global warming. Building a second EPR in France will benefit the French nuclear industry at large. The Board of Directors of the new group GDF SUEZ will decide on its options on the question of nuclear developments in France, by the start of 2009 at the latest in line with the timetable set out by the French President.” (from “GDF SUEZ will decide its options on nuclear development in France in early 2009 at the latest”, press release, Suez, July 4 2008)

(Although both hypotheses do not need to be considered as mutually exclusive, no?)