Symposium at TCD on June 16th.

Dublin Economics Workshop Symposium


Energy Policy Priorities


Date: June 16th. at 11 am.


Venue: Room M21, Museum Building, Trinity College.




11.00 Kieran O’Brien (Irish Academy of Engineering): Energy Policy and Economic Recovery 2011-2015


11.30 Rory Broderick (Trinity College Dublin): Wind Energy Economics: the Influence of Gas and Carbon Prices


12.00 Dieter Helm (University of Oxford): Energy Policy in Europe, the UK and Ireland


12.30 Panel Discussion.


Admission is free but places are limited. Book a place by emailing

14 replies on “Symposium at TCD on June 16th.”

Is there any authoritative information on using wind power in conjunction with pumped power stations.
Its the only method that I see that can make good use of the technically very difficult and problematic/variable wind energy in this country.
Pump power stations are essentially hydro batteries and although I do not wish to see any further scarring of our hillsides there may be a few corries that have some potential in this regard.
These may be capital intensive constructions but I can imagine Turlough hill operating with modern machinery for centuries so therefore its probably a better long term investment then the glass bottle site.

However one wonders in such a environment why should people give constructive advice when private utilties will extract wealth from the country – As we are all aware these various corporates are lining up to pick the carcass with its CB Money monopoly acting as protector for its private clients.

Whats the point unless you are a Dublin functionary that can get the scraps from the Euro table in reward for your loyality.

Looks like an interesting line-up. I presume the Blooms Day scheduling is entirely conincidental.

Dieter Helm has recently been appointed to chair an EU panel comprised of the ‘great and the good’ on one of its multiple ‘roadmaps’ as in:

“The Ad Hoc Advisory Group for the Energy Roadmap 2050 consists of the following persons:

Dieter Helm (chair), Professor, Oxford University
Claude Mandil (deputy chair), Director of Institut Veolia Environnement, former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency
Jorge Vasconcelos, MIT Portugal Program
David MacKay, Chief Scientific Advisor to DECC, Professor of Physics, Cambridge University
Andrea Sitarova (invited), Consultant, Advisor of the Slovak Minister of finance on climate change
Fatih Birol (invited), Chief Economist, Head Economic Analysis Division IEA
Arne Mogren, Programme Director Power at the European Climate Foundation
Frederic Hauge, President Bellona Foundation
Brigitte Bach, Head of Energy Department, Austria Institute of Technology
Coby van der Linde, Director of the Clingendael International Energy Programme, Professor of Geopolitics and Energy at Groningen University
Eugeniusz Toczylowski, Professor, Head of Operations and Systems Research Division, Engineering of Warsaw University of Technology
Ignacio J. Pérez-Arriaga, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Comillas University, visiting Professor at MIT
Wolfgang Kröger, Professor ETH Zürich, Chief scientific advisor for Swiss govt on energy issues
Giacomo Luciani, Director of International Energy Studies at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences-Po, Paris, Princeton University Global Scholar
Felix Christian Matthes, Researcher Öko-Institute and visiting scientist MIT”

Ho hum.

A little surprised that John FitzGerald’s recent Review of Irish Energy Policy doesn’t feature.

In any event, whatever about Irish energy policy, the immediate priority must be sorting out the current dysfunctional means of delivery – regulation and the semi-states.

@Paul Hunt
Looks a bit unwieldy to me – if these guys formed a committee for Ireland they may recommend a solar furnace for the Black valley basing their analysis on local “research data” !
But seriously ethanol production from Sugar beet production should be looked at again.
This cannot compete with crude oil imports or indeed sugar cane production elsewhere but I believe that if you factor in the cost of exporting money to the middle east for crude it is neutral or slightly positive.
Also in a WW 11 emergency situation it is always good to invest in a minimal redundancy option.
Sad to see the discontinuation of E85 sale facilities by Maxol as a result of the change in Goverment tax policey.
The Carberry group in Cork produced ethanol from whey and this has probably been discontinued as distribution needs to be local if it is successful
I think the poor tax policies in Ireland is a genuine ignorance of how tax should work – it does not collect real revenue.
Its only role should be to make a economy work more effeciently or productively – I am sure when they were doing the numbers they never factored into the cost the loss of money withen the economy when we export our currency for oil.
The monetarist/free trade philosophy that dominates our energy policey is sadly lacking as the Banking / opec corruption and decadence has sovereignty over previously partially free western countries.

@PH: “In any event, whatever about Irish energy policy, the immediate priority must be sorting out the current dysfunctional means of delivery – regulation and the semi-states.”

Paul, how about they get their heads around the actual substantive issue of energy: that pesky 2nd Law. They can waffle all they like, but that law trumps all – even Black Holes! I’ll go along for the experience. If I get to ask a question it will be about ERoEI for any alternate that has zero need for any fossil fuel input. (hint: there be none! 🙂 )

@ DoC: What we need is ZERO, and I mean zero incentives of any sort wrt ‘alternate energy’. Now if they were giving away some ‘free’ Joules – that would get my attention!

Brian Snr.

@Brian Woods Snr

Ok I suppose you accept that America should cease all military projection in the Gulf region.
Crude oil is a massively subsidised energy that externalises control outside of smaller oil dependent economies.
I do not like systems that are so efficient that they are in constant danger of breaking – the oil flow is always in this state of flux and consequently we are exposed to successive gluts and famines making long term investment almost impossible.
I am merely suggesting that we gain a minimum fallback independence in the event of a collapse of the petrodollar system which is dependent on the American Imperium continuing.
In a tradional Gold standard world the sugar beet ethanol would be cheaper then imported oil.
Anyhow I am merely saying ethanol should not be taxed , not subsidised.
Countries do not tax oil consumption to get revenue , they tax to reduce imports of oil.
Ethanol would become even more competitive if we increased taxes on oil imports , saving out currency for internal commerce.
The west in general must break from Arabia if we are to reassert any degree of control from the banks.

Ps – what do we do when we increase tax on imported oil , we do not reduce the money supply withen this juristiction – the spending power we have is constant at any given moment in time.
What we do is that we reduce these imports that unlike manufactured products do not add anything to our productivity.
The pre tax oil price is a tax that that externalises our wealth.
Why give the Banks and Sheiks the money to buy Concubines and Gold ?
These bastards are not adding anything of value – we must learn to be spiteful towards our enemies both internal and external and embrace pain and the mechanism is not to tax our labour but our essential but our non productive imports.
This will drive effeciency withen the domestic economy.
We need to double the tax on petrol in conjunction with ethanol production to replace the loss of demand , Diesel is however a more problematic fuel but a petrol tax / ethanol production drive is a good start.
Mallow and Carlow need to be given a chance.
Of course if the west in general seems to be reasserting control over its destiny the Arabs/Banks and Russians may decide to raise production.(if they can)

Twould be good if there are slides and/or recordings. The tech is so easy these days I hope organizers are arranging it. I’ll certainly be appreciative if they do.

@ Colm

Many thanks for the post.

Quote from the Irish MD of a significant wind energy company operating in US and UK after I emailed him with the information you posted.

‘Interesting but I find there are too many talking shops and not enough action. I do not think we are going to hit our renewable energy targets 2020.’

Ringnaskiddy et. al. (verdict today 10 Years late) why would private capital bother? Rhetorical of course.

@ All

We can discuss projects until we are blue in the face, but until someone takes a decision the investment capital moves on and all that goes with it.

5 year lease being signed this morning at 11.30am. taking a punt and 9 jobs starting in 8 weeks.

Project apprisal and decision – less than 3 months.

If there is a viable project in ‘current’ circumstances – put a paper together and sell it (beet, hydro ……)

No point trying to change the world with if, buts and postures – action is all that matters.

@BW Snr.
‘What we need is ZERO, and I mean zero incentives of any sort wrt ‘alternate energy’. ‘

Sorry Brian I have missed the point (humour?) here.

Maybe I should just have lay on this morning. 😉

Some links to recent papers on energy policy questions:

John FitzGerald’s recent overview:

The Academy of Engineering report:

The State Assets Cttee report (chapters 5,6,7,8 are on energy issues):

Finally Dieter Helm on Gas:

The Greencore privatisation did not work out too well did it ?

I believe 25 million euro was sunk into the Mallow factory in 2005 only to see it die a year later.
Economic externalities are not factoring into Irish treasuary thinking me thinks
The fact that farms around Mallow operate best when in rotation with sugar beet is a hugely significant factor.
A state industrial bank could create credit for a new plant before all of the expertise in that area dies a slow death.

Do we have any strategic planning left in this country ? – this monetarist nirvana has not been what it says on the tin.
It merely exposes us to new vulnerabilities from the oil / bank Medusa.

If states are independent entities they should have the ability to war game and assess / implement minimum strategic goals that increases the redundancy of systems when in crisis.
A emergency oil producing capability is not much different then investing in a defence force.
But I guess executive functions have now traveled to the banking sector so we need not worry.

Careful, Colm. You’re running the risk of kicking off a debate here that is based on analysis and evidence – rather than prejudice and ideology. Can’t be having that 🙂

Robert Zubrin on a flex fuel ethanol transport policey.

Zubrin understates the loss of output from agricultural diversion but his central point is that if this method is energy neutral or close to neutral it denies our enemies surplus income that they spend at our expense.
For instance if crude drilling transport and refining is 10% more effecient then Beet farming , ethanol production but some Arabian Sheik gets to spend the surplus 10% why is that good for me ?
We may try to continue to export manufactured or agricultural goods to Arabia to pay for this spice but what of the loss of oil in transit – thats a net loss to the entire system not factored into holistic accounts
This is in my opinion why world trade is breaking down – the big oil / banks cartel continue to reduce redundancy in systems which they call “structural reform” but what they are in fact doing is making sure the now smaller surplus continues to feed into multinational banks and industrial corporations via the mechanism of capital reduction and destruction such as the closure of the Beet industry in this country
We need to use fiscal measures to counter the monetory and free trade hidden subsidies that the banks use to cream revenue from the system.
The current Irish elite have grown up in a world where they have farmed global credit which in real physical terms is fluid energy in the form of oil in the middle east and elsewhere – they need to relearn the lost art of relying on internal capital to generate at least some wealth as the global credit / oil engine is dying.

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