After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.

BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Solar projections rebound

From GreenTech Media:

Projections for utility-scale solar growth from 2020 to 2022 now exceed forecasts drafted before the Trump administration’s announcement of Section 201 tariffs, according to a new Solar Market Insight report from energy research and consulting company Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Many external factors, including global oversupply, a spike in corporate procurements and the passage of California’s SB 100 law mandating 100 percent clean energy, have helped shift the market since the January 2018 tariff announcement. Analysts say the overall health of the industry has blunted the industry’s worst-fear impacts, even if the dynamics of the market look different than they did then.   

“It’s absolutely not apples-to-apples, but to me that’s a really important message,” said Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables who covers the utility-scale market. “Not only has the market recovered and done really well despite the tariffs, it’s actually to the point where we expect more solar — at least on the utility-scale solar side — than we did in the pre-tariff conditions.”

Smith said WoodMac’s Q1 2019 utility-scale forecast for 2020 is 8 percent higher than its Q4 2017 forecast, released before the administration finalized tariffs. Its 2021 forecast is 19 percent higher than the pre-tariff projection. 

 [Read more here]
I see that their post-2022 forecast shows a decline, presumably because of the end of the investment tax credit.  I suspect that if there is a decline--and remember, solar is cheaper than coal and gas in many parts of the US even without the tax credit, so the loss of the tax credit shouldn't make much difference--it will be because the previous year's number is much higher as deals are brought forward.  Or, to put it another way, Wood MacKenzie's data are prolly not optimistic enough.

World Economies continue to slow

The PMI indicators are simple (and sample!) surveys which ask respondents whether their sales, output, employment, etc are up or down on the previous month.  They don't ask how much they're up or down.  National industrial production or employment  or retail surveys ask quantities.  So, it is possible that the bigger companies could be doing OK and smaller companies not, which would lead to indices of industrial production or retail sales rising while PMIs fall.  Usually, though, the two tend to move together, especially when smoothed.

PMIs continue to fall.  What that means (refer above) is that fewer and fewer respondents are seeing improving sales/employment/output each month.   But it also implies that economies are slowing, and if the PMI is below 50%, that they are contracting.

Still above 50%, but falling fast. Xtrm adjusted

Below 50%, back to 2012 Euro Crisis levels

Paused its fall this month, but trend is still down and now below 50%

Unweighted average of Eur, Jap,US.  Heading towards 50%.  Note: doesn't include China.

Sliding along with the world, plus Oz has some large own goals too.

People moved per hour

From Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative.

They've left out monorails, but my guess would be they'd have the same capacity as bus rapid transit (BRT) double lane and light rail.  And, a chart of cost per kilometer vs capacity would also be interesting.

Monday, March 25, 2019

You libs

A cartoon from The Nib

Sean Hannity's measure of success

The Hockey Stick, 20 years on

Hat tip to Climate Denial Crock of the Week.

From the AGU100 Blogosphere:

When we look back on 20th-century science a few decades from now, a few images that stand out above the rest. Earthrise may be the most famous. It was taken by Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders 50 years ago last December. I’ve written before about how that single image changed the way we humans see our planet. 

Here’s another image that also led to a dramatic change in how we see our planet:

That graph that would become known as the hockey stick. It was published in a paper by Dr. Michael Mann et. al on 15 March 1999 in the AGU Journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The stick was a powerful image showing how fast our planet’s temperature was rising compared to the stable climate of the past 1000 years. In 1999, there were a large number of people who insisted that the planet was not warming at all, and some even insisted that a new ice age was looming! The hockey stick showed clearly that we were indeed warming, and that something bad was happening to our stable climate. 

Twenty years have passed, and the hockey stick has stood up against the firestorm of criticism it elicited.  (Read this.) Most of that was from people with no background in science. Those who talk about any science quickly learn that when you show someone information that conflicts with their worldview, they will often dismiss it and or get angry, and accuse you of showing them fake data. This includes people who do not believe in vaccines and others who DO believe in chemtrails, UFO’s, or that pro-wrestling is real.

Source: Stefan Rahmstorf

All of this happened to Dr. Mann after that paper was published, and all of it fell by the wayside as others did what science requires: replication.

If others cannot replicate your work, it will not be accepted as good science.

Other scientists did indeed replicate it, and improved upon it, with newly recovered data and observations. Dr. Mann improved his first graph with even better data as well. This week, a more recent version was posted on Twitter this week by Climatologist Stefan Rahmstorf. The stick is even sharper now and gets more so every year. It now shows how unusual the last 100 years have been.

In his book, Brian Fagan (the renowned archeologist) has called the stable climate of the Holocene, “The Long Summer“.  All of human civilization developed in the stable climate of the last 6,000 years, but the data clearly shows that a real heat wave is headed for humanity and we are running out of time to deal with it.

[Read more here]

We need to start cutting emissions.  As fast as, and as soon as, we can. If we could cut emissions by a compound 5% a year we could reduce them by 80% by 2050.   That has to be our target.  And we could start by never building another coal-fired power station anywhere in the world ever again, while steadily closing down the old coal power stations which are wearing out. 

The best negotiator

A cartoon by Rob Rogers