The world has experienced the worst economic decline in 40+ years. What is ahead?
Only now are we seeing some signs of potential recovery. While central banks throughout the world have tried to "stimulate" the economy, they have succeeded in two other areas. They have given banks temporary "wind falls" of profitability, as well as provided artificial stimulation of stock markets, benefiting speculators, investment bankers, and greedy banks. The stimulus, promoted first by George W. Bush, and later by the Obama Administration has served to further enrich the very ones who got us into this mess. It would seem that they had to make deals with the devil to save the economy for the rest of the population.
But we are seeing a few signs that offer encouragement.
- China has shown a rapid recovery in it's financial system due primarily to a strong handed central government that has both given the system money AND told the banks to lend, OR ELSE. American banks have felt free to ignore the USA's government request for them to lend, going the other direction, thus making the USA economy worse.
- China's manufacturing sector is showing the fastest growth in years, because of orders from U.S. companies that expect a recovery, perhaps as soon as 6 months. This has created a boom in China, and hopefully will mean recovery in the USA.
- New jobs are slowing coming back, as companies begin to hire.
- Passage of the new Health Care Bill should actually help business, as it does away with uncertainty, and deals with what has been a disgraceful decade of increased health care and insurance fees.
- Obama's continued press for new environmental manufacturing, new technology, and carbon emission standards will force business to see that enviromental emphasis can and will bring new jobs as well.
- Real estate foreclosures continue, but there are indication that home sales have increased lately, suggesting an improving market.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR ENERGY?
1. Oil will deplete gradually and go up in price.
2. Natural gas will expand with recent drilling, but in the long term will deplete and go up in price.
3. Water will continue to deplete, with a higher percentage of water becoming mineralized or too salty to use in agriculture.
4. Food will increase in cost, as the cost of fertilizer, herbicides, water, and energy for transportation and shpping increase.
Wind in the USA grew at an unprecidented rate of 37% in 2009, but many investors have felt the pinch of banks unwilling to lend in the wind industry. Other investors have left some promising states such as Texas, because of the corrupted PUC, dragging it's feet on building new "transmission lines", as well as favoring big oil and big utility companies. So investors are moving into areas with more favorable potential such as Minnesota. Wind will continue to grow but the biggest growth will be in "end user" turbines of a mid size range. These are turbines that will power a hospital, industry, dairy, or university.
Solar continues to make improvements and while wind can be produced for 5 to 7 cents per kWh, solar has been priced much higher. But we continue to see improvement in technology and the use of solar power will grow, perhaps in the long run, more than Wind.
Other technologies are emerging such as gas powered turbines, "black boxes" that can power commercial buildings, and solar water heating systems. It is now within the range of possiblility to visualize buildings that have a -0- electric bill.
Hospitals, universities, cities, are putting in new "renewable energy" technologies.
We fully expect to see more and more Desalination Plants, more greenhouses, more wind turbines, more solar panels, and about 20 years of more natural gas supply. Then the gas and oil depletion will begin in earnest.