Sunday, March 27, 2011

Japan Powering Down?

Read this front page story on The Wall Street Journal's web site: "Powering Down for the Long Term".

Holy SMOKES!!!!!! You like apples? How do you like them apples??!!

Think about it. The fact that the world's preeminent capitalist media operation is talking about a permanent end of energy consumption growth in the world's 2nd/3rd largest economy means simply this:

The U.S. and China are next. Come on... Is the U.S. or China special? If not, then how far behind Japan is the permanent end of energy consumption growth for the other 2 of 3? Not very long at all.

While the U.S. might not be as efficient in its uses of energy, and therefore might tolerate the first round of "forced efficiency" reasonably well, this is not true of China, India, Japan, and the other large population but low per capita energy consumers (compared to the U.S.). Ergo, these nations will likely be willing to bid the price of energy much higher... with all of that outcome's concomitant effects on the U.S. as the world's largest Oil importer (as well as a nation that has come to rely on cheap Natural Gas... something the continuance of which I think must be questioned vigorously).

This is big stuff. Richard Heinlein, author of "Power Down", should be doing a victory lap right about now. Hat tip to Rich.


Anonymous said...

On the surface Japan looks like it could reduce its energy use immensely simply by insulating and considering thermodynamics in construction. On the other hand residential structures are assumed to have a useful life of roughly 25 years due to all the earthquakes. How one employs more expensive construction techniques with those time constraints is beyond me.


PioneerPreppy said...

Well Greg I still say the U.S. started rolling brown outs last Summer. I had several reports from friends and posts from others across South Missouri on a preparedness news group who were convinced it was no accident their power was going down every 12 days without fail. It makes sense that the gov would try and cut back from the rural areas before hitting the urban masses if they could.

I would also hazard a guess that larger cities West of the Mississippi will be shut down, or not supplied before they start cutting power and resources to the Eastern cities.

Giving Phoenix the blackout would cause an uproar but it would have a lot of vacant land to spread through before it could catch.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


No question that Japan can, and will, reduce energy use. The problem will be for their ability to repay a national debt that is 200% GDP at "Peak Japanese People" and Peak Energy consumption.

There is no question that every industrialized nation could get along at the level of consumption of India or Pakistan... it is the political, socio & economic repercussions that will be so interesting.

westexas said...

Of course, the US has been "Powering Down" our oil consumption since 2005.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


I think we are a ways from rolling brown outs... though perhaps not that far... I think it will happen where ever it happens because of resource constraints rather than politics... but your analysis has been hotter than mine of late.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


I think we are powering down in every direction and that there is enough waste and slack so that it only shows up as economic difficulty... I think Japan is farther along the path, but we are right behind them.

It was very cool to see a big time establishment operation like the WSJ make the postulation in such a venue.

westexas said...

Something that I haven't paid much attention to is the prequel to the ELM, to-wit, what happens to net oil exports given a production increase in an oil exporting country? Let's look at 20 years of data for "Export Land," from 1990 to 2010. The peak for our hypothetical country was 2000, when production was 2.0 mbpd, consumption was 1.0 mbpd and net exports were 1.0 mbpd. Let's assume a steady 2.5% rate of increase in consumption from 1990 to 2010, with production increasing at 5%/year from 1990 to 2000, and then declining at 5%/year from 2000 to 2010.

I have endlessly talked about the post-peak ELM net export decline (net export decline rate exceeds the production decline, and the net export decline rate accelerates with time), but from 1990 to 2000, the rate of increase in net oil exports exceeded the rate of increase in production (8.4%/year for net exports, versus 5%/year for production).

We saw something similar in Russia. Their 1999 to 2009 rate of increase in total liquids production was 4.5%/year, but their rate of increase in net exports over the same time frame was 6.4%/year (EIA).

Consider the supply signals reaching the market. Until net exports peak (which they appear to have done globally in 2005/2006), it appears that the rate of increase in net exports tends to exceed the rate of increase in production*, signaling ample supplies in the future, but then the peak hits, and everything changes--the net export decline rate exceeds the production decline rate, and the net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time, with all of this of course being compounded by the "Chindia" factor.

*Unless the rate of increase in consumption is very high, with a high consumption to production ratio, e.g., China and the US.

Global Net Export Data + Chindia;

Stephen B. said...

It's easier for a Chinese family that only consumes 2 or 3 gallons of gasoline a week in their new, small, car that they've just made part of their family for short, essential trips to pony up another few dollar equivalents a gallon than it is for the typical US SUV Mom who drinks down 35 gallons a week( even if the US family still has a higher income.)

John said...

Looks like Gen. MacArther was right and Truman was wrong(not surprising to me). We should have Nuked the bastards back in the early fifties and we would'nt have to worry about their rate of increased consumption(of Oil).
This ties into Monday's post as well. When the hell is everybody going to wake up and realize all this politically correct mumbo-jumbo is killing you! It is time to cut our losses. These G.-D. liberals are killing us all. I have to wait until civilization burns to the ground because some namby-pamby bitch does'nt like the fact that it is a mans world? Maybe she needs to get a real education and realize she's sitting on a million dollars! Except being old and dried up aint working for her any more. De opresso libre.

Anonymous said...