Reiner Kümmel and Dietmar Lindenberger writing in the New Journal of Physics make the case that energy is worth much more than it costs.

The abstract’s opening sentence, while a little technical, said, “Energy conversion in the machines and information processors of the capital stock drives the growth of modern economies.”

Energy conversion supports the modern lifestyle, provides the power for jobs, economic growth, personal and national security, well, about everything. Its easily worth more than it costs. Its the disruptive impacts of price changes that throw economies and standards of living overboard – or provide a bit of relief.

The authors also point out that low energy inputs allow for higher personnel costs – thus raising the standards of living.

The full paper is open access here. Actually its quite technical.

Your humble writer has for years operated this site with an underlying theme- “More Better Cheaper!” that long time readers will recognize. Its a huge relief to see that some academics have put the basic sense of it to the test.

Its also useful because its something that policy wonks and journalists can be referred to. Those folks don’t like to have it pointed out that “they just don’t get it”, so having something a little more concrete than just common sense is very useful.

Examples of near mental illness in energy policy is right here right now and healing slowly. Japan in a terrible event with a tsunami crashing a nuclear plant set off the closing of nuclear facilities nationwide. The economic damage for the understandable knee-jerk reaction likely surpasses the damage from the tsunami itself if the lives lost are not considered. Only now with a few election cycles gone by has mass common sense come back into play – restarting the reactors.

Germany reacted as well choosing to be “ecologically responsible and safe” rather than use any sense. The country is facing its own tsunami of jobs and capital leaving the country.

A slow and pedantic USA regulatory system has been hard at sabotaging common sense while special interest groups hold sway over important decisions. Current nuclear activity is at a crawl with a very bright future potential all stopped up with regulatory barriers. The capital for wind is subsidized and the cash flow is guaranteed by consumers, even without them being told up front. Coal is under attack; a word that is really an understatement.

Meanwhile the free world’s private oil and gas industry has turned that energy sector on its head with no help other than innovation, intensity, skill and investment.

This new year could see more breakthroughs in every field. The fear has gone out of the energy production sector and the attention has died down. Some weeks its a task to find three items worthy of a post for this site. Publicity and public relations has drooped down a few gears.

But energy is vital: to food, clothes, shelter, defense, jobs, health and any field that can be named. A better life for ourselves and out children depends – completely – on energy -More Better and Cheaper.

Thanks to Brian Wang at NextBigFuture for spotting the paper. Happy New Year!


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