Wednesday 30 December 2020

Covid Related Deaths more than Doubled during Second Lockdown

 The second lockdown began on 21st October and lasted for six weeks. Deaths due to Covid-19 during that period rose from 1,868 to 2,086. 

In the six weeks to 21st October beginning from 7th September deaths rose from 1,777 to 1,868. 

This means that deaths rose at a rate of 11% during the lockdown as opposed to 5% prior to that. 

So covid related deaths more than doubled during the second lockdown. 

The policy of locking down everybody every time there is a spike in cases should be abandoned but the pandemic is now more about hysteria than evidence.

All data from government official website -

Sunday 27 December 2020

The Financial Wonderland of Covid-19

According to economic experts, Ireland does not have to worry about paying back the massive borrowings that were needed to fund the endless lockdowns : 

“Government debt does not have to be paid back, particularly the kind that sits minding its own business in the vaults of the ECB” - Chris Johns, Irish Times

 The problem with that is Article 123(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU :


 This means that it is illegal for any Member State to use the ECB as a bank overdraft facility.  The only reason why we can afford the luxury of endless lockdowns is our access to lots of free money. The Irish government have already borrowed €20 billion interest free this year and they plan to borrow another € 20 billion next year.   This is in addition to around €35 billion borrowed at very low interest rates since 2015 from the ECB's PSPP programme, prior to the covid "pandemic". So the free money bonanza that has enveloped the EU is not a new thing as some commentators have argued. 

All this free money being created by the ECB has resulted in the ECB becoming the largest single creditor of the member states in recent years. The German Council of Economic Experts have warned that this could present a threat to monetary policy independence in the long term.

In 2008, after the banking crash, the debt laden on to the backs of the Irish was paid back through taxation. This makes the situation at present different as there is no pressure to increase taxes. 

The natural effect of all this free money is massive inflation but we have not seen any sign of that yet (it may help to reduce government debt by de-valuing the euro). What is the most likely outcome - my guess is that we will see some inflation next year but more importantly negative interest rates will skyrocket so that most of the extra cash lying around on deposit will be recouped.   

There is already a similar precedent for this in the EU banking system, when deposits were confiscated in Cyprus in 2013 in what became known as a bail in. 

So as Mr Johns maintains, the ECB may well continue to play ball by printing infinite quantities of free money but the price will be an eradication of savings, either through inflation or negative interest rates or a combination of both. It will also mean that the EU will once again bend and mold its own laws laid down in it's treaties. This further erosion of the rule of law will sow yet more discontent within the union. 

Saturday 26 December 2020

Electricity Prices have gone Bonkers ! rightly point out that Ireland has one of the highest electricity prices in the EU :

 But they fail to point out that this was not always so, an assumption one would make from their second tweet. If Ireland was always an island, then surely we always have had high electricity prices ? (Yes, I also hear you say but surely we don't have to import as much fuel now with all the windmills we've built - unfortunately does not address this point either)

It's just a fact of life, they say, everything is expensive here in Rip Off Ireland ! 

Well the truth is that during the 1990s and early 2000s, Ireland had comparatively cheap electricity, even cheaper than the UK as economist Colm McCarthy has often pointed out.  Irish wrote this back in 2009 :

What puzzles me, however, is that Irish electricity costs were not always particularly high relative to our trading partners. In fact, a chart (figure 3) in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment paper shows that electricity prices for industrial users in Ireland were well below those paid in the EU-15 for most of the 1990s, and were still no higher on average than in the rest of the EU-15 in 2002-2004. Yet in 2008 Ireland was the second most expensive country for industrial users in the EU-15. According to IBEC, Irish companies have seen industrial electricity prices rise by 70% since 2000.

We can see that Richard Tol and Colm McCarthy have been proved correct in the comments underneath the article :

Richard Tol

The fuel costs of wind are indeed zero. The capital costs are not. Without subsidies, wind barely competes — even in Ireland where the climate is favourable and other electricity is dear. Wind also has negative externalities for other power generators, first and foremost in its demand for reserves but perhaps also in higher cycling costs. 

colm mccarthysays:

The main things that have changed between the 1990s and the 2000s/2010s is the construction of 4,000MW of wind farms and supporting network infrastructure, funded both directly and indirectly in electricity bills, carbon trading and the growth of energy hungry data centres.  We are now paying the price for all of these ideological policies which have been implemented without any cost benefit analysis. There was also the change to the euro. 

It certainly has nothing to do with the importing of fossil fuels, most of which has been very cheap throughout much of the 2010s. 

Solving the Riddle of Zeno's Paradox

The ancient Greek Zeno posed a number of paradoxes on motion. In the dichotomy or the racetrack, Zeno argued that a runner will never reach the stationary goal line on a straight racetrack. The reason is that the runner must first reach half the distance to the goal, but when there he must still cross half the remaining distance to the goal, but having done that the runner must cover half of the new remainder, and so on. If the goal is one meter away, the runner must cover a distance of 1/2 meter, then 1/4 meter, then 1/8 meter, and so on ad infinitum. The runner cannot reach the final goal, says Zeno. There is also another version which states the inverse, namely that the runner cannot even take his first step because the first step can be infinitely divided up. 

Aristotle, in Physics, said of the Dichotomy that it is possible for a runner to come in contact with a potentially infinite number of things in a finite time provided the time intervals become shorter and shorter. Aristotle said Zeno assumed this was impossible, and that is one of his errors in the Dichotomy. However, it was not until the invention of calculus that a mathematical theory, which enabled the computation of the finite amount of time, could provide the detailed solution and it is calculus that provides the detailed Standard Solution to Zeno’s Paradox today. The sum of the series of path lengths or segments ½+¼+⅛+.... converges to 1 and not infinity. 

A far simpler solution could in fact have resolved the Paradox even without calculus. The runner is also composed of infinite units, so infinity divided by infinity equals 1. This means the runner does not have infinite space to run but has absolute space of equal parts in the same proportion to the runner’s sprint that sums to 1. At each point that his foot touches the ground, the same infinite units that Zeno recognises in the ground exist in the athlete’s foot and therefore the distance to be covered at each step is no longer Zeno’s infinitesimal decimal units but one unit. This allows the runner to complete the distance to the finish line within a certain amount of time depending on his sprint. Infinities are cancelled out by the existence of infinities within both the runner and the track. 

Infinity is the background noise to the universe, it is the commonality for everything. Zeno went wrong because he attributed infinitesimal qualities to only one part of matter and space and then set up a false Dichotomy. Because it is a commonality, the infinite quality of matter can be ignored, and what remains is the proportional relationship between objects and between objects and space i.e. ratios.

So the answer to Zeno’s Paradox is that infinity also lies within the athlete's foot. 

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Amber Alert With More Generation ?

 Eirgrid warned this week of an Amber Alert due to high peak demand, a loss of a number of generators and low wind generation :

“There were a number of reasons that gave rise to Wednesday’s alert. Firstly, two of the three units at Moneypoint, the country’s largest power station, suffered technical failures and were not available. This resulted in the loss of 570 megawatts of electricity.

“Generation at Whitegate power station in Cork totalling 450 megawatts was also unavailable due to technical issues. A 243 megawatt generator at Tarbert power station was called up but could not respond due to technical problems. 

“The electricity market was set up for Ireland to export renewable energy via the two interconnectors (EWIC in the South and Moyle in the North) linking Ireland and GB.

“Following the issuing of the amber alert we were able to reverse the flows on the Moyle Interconnector and on EWIC shortly after that. There was also a drop in wind generation greater than was forecast prior to the alert being issued.

“There was no loss of electricity during the alert which ended by 6.20pm on [Wednesday],” the spokesman explained.

 Apparently the last time we hit such a demand was back in 2010 but there was no mention of an alert back then. In 2010 there was 1,405MW of wind installed on the grid. In 2019 this reached 4,235MW (+2.8 GW). The 500MW EWIC interconnector was commissioned in 2012. 

So the question has to be asked, how is it that with 3.3GW of additional generation equipment, we are now struggling to meet demand? 


Saturday 12 December 2020

Have A Green Green Christmas !

 Blackouts on the Way ?

Val Martin reports on what we predicted many years ago would happen as unreliable wind energy became a major energy source in the grid:

There are a number of unusual events occurring at the same time this winter :

  • On the 10th December, peak demand exceeded that of 2010:

  • Two peat power stations have been closed down by the Greens, a loss of 228MW
  • Whitegate power station is offline due to a forced outage, a loss of 440MW
  • Indaver waste to energy plant is offline due to a forced outage, a loss of 17MW
  • The forced outage rates has increased every year for the past four years, which tends to support the theory that higher levels of wind energy leads to excessive cycling and ramping of generators which they were not designed for.
  • Increased reliance on UK interconnectors, a country that has trouble itself with keeping the lights on.
  • the all-island winter capacity margin has reduced every year over the past five years mainly due to increasing demand, dispatchable generation exiting the market and increasing generator forced outage rates. The capacity margin is the spare capacity available to meet peak demand. It is now at its lowest in recent times :

Source: Eirgrid Winter Outook

Wednesday 9 December 2020

128% Increase in Oil Generation Last Year

 While there was much hullabaloo recently in the media about a 4.5% reduction in emissions last year, there was no mention at all about the reversal in the trend of oil generation.  Oil generation was  mostly phased out of electricity generation in the 2000s and replaced with efficient ccgt gas generation. However, 2019 saw a 128% rise in oil fired electricity generation, mainly due to Tarbert power station in Kerry which runs on heavy fuel oil. 

With Moneypoint coal power station running much less last year (almost 70% less),  the official story is that wind and gas were able to fill the gap left by the loss of Ireland's largest power station, but in truth Tarbert power station only 2km away across the River Shannon, was also important in keeping the lights on. 

Oil fired generators are fast acting, they can be switched on very quickly, but are less efficient and more polluting than modern gas power stations. This blog predicted many years ago, as did  experts like Pat Swords, that more wind energy would result in more fast acting generators such as oil to balance the grid. Hence, emissions savings from wind would be offset by increasing reliance on oil. 

The 128% figure comes from a new EPA report, page 11 :

Some Christmas Reading


Electricity in the USA is already half the price it is in the EU. Therefore, by 2050 in the EU, it is highly probable we just won’t have any viable jobs and disposable income left to spend, as it will have all gone to the energy bill to eliminate the fossil fuels currently forming 72% of the energy mix. 

Charles MacKay in his 1841 book ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ pointed out: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one”. How on earth did we get to this situation, in a so called intelligent modern society? Were laws broken? Is there something wrong with the weather or do we just have a political crisis with respect to incompetent management? If for example you are paying serious amount of hard earned money for pollution, which is not occurring, can you get your money back or is there going to be even more of the same? [Pat Swords - 2020]

Pat Swords has written a new book on energy and other related matters which can be downloaded for free here :

 The Polluter Pays, but to Whom, How Much and On What Basis – Science or the Cult of Witchcraft ? 

It takes a look at the EU's mad panic to reduce carbon emissions and the negative consequences of doing so without conducting a proper assessment. 

I have also written a book but not energy related, about motion and perception, which includes a collection of articles on Einstein, Descartes, Newton, Empiricism, Mathematics, Ancient Greeks and Galileo and attempts to solve some of the paradoxes of motion and perception that they presented. It will also be free and if you want a copy send me an email. 

Saturday 5 December 2020

"Wet Pubs" - Is There Evidence that Incidence Rates Rose in Counties where Pubs Reopened ?


 Counties where so-called "wet pubs" reopened at the end of September experienced an increase in the 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 ten days laterA data analysis survey carried out by Ernst & Young (EY) and provided to Government stated that this increase was not seen to the same extent in Dublin, where wet pubs were not permitted to reopen. The report noted, however, that the reopening of pubs on 21 September - everywhere except the capital - also coincided with the opening of universities and specific sporting events.

 "Wet" Pubs in Dublin closed on the 21st September while in the rest of the country they remained open. What were the Covid incidence rates 10 days later ?

As you can see, Dublin had the third highest rates in the country, dropping from first place. This seems to be the sole reason for concluding that opening "wet pubs" results in higher incidence rates. But statistically speaking, there is no reason to draw this conclusion. Dublin rates are still increasing, as most counties are. 23 counties have lower rates than Dublin. If  almost 90% of counties still have lower rates than Dublin, 10 days after opening all of the pubs in Ireland except Dublin, then the problem is not "wet" pubs. 

What appears to be the case is that when "wet" pubs close, house parties increase, and with more people crowded into smaller spaces in the latter, the incidence rates rise faster. 

The evidence shows that "wet" pubs should be opened immediately. 

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Covid-19 Nine Times Less Deadly during October


In this graph from the CSO we can see that the second covid wave was nine times less deadly than the first in March. 

In March, mortality rates were at 48 per 1,000 cases which reduced to 5 per 1,000 in October. 

The ICU rate was 27 per 1,000 in March reducing to 3 per 1,000 in October. 

So for both mortality and ICU rate, that's a reduction of nine times. 

In the six weeks up until the end of October, the number of deaths from Covid-19 was around 21 per week. That works out at about 1,092 deaths per year at that (lower than first wave) rate. Compared with the number of deaths from pneumonia and other respiratory diseases for the year 2019, that's 3.5 times less (total deaths from diseases of the respiratory system in 2019 was 3,807 or 73 per week).

Which means the pandemic is well and truly over.