Today’s Energy Tutorial

I’ve discovered a wonderful energy data tool,, that offers interactive real-time and historical maps of electricity production and consumption around the world (insofar as data exist, which it doesn’t for China and other key places). Check it out for yourself.

I want to draw a contrast between “green energy” Germany and France as of this morning (though use the time-slide in the lower left hand corner of the site and you’ll see that today’s contrast goes back years). As you will see, France has a much lower carbon-intensity (the amount of energy per unit of economic activity) than Germany, which boasts more “renewable” power than France. Gee—I wonder why that is? Nuclear power you say? A thing to remember as we emulate Germany rather than France in our “net-zero” mania.

P.S. I once asked a libertarian Frenchman I knew how France succeeded in building out a substantial fleet of nuclear power plants (mostly in the 1980s) at precisely the moment we gave up on them. His answer made sense: “It is simple; you see, in France, our Communists supported nuclear power, while your Communists [he had in mind Jane Fonda, etc] opposed it.” This is true: the French Communist Party, deeply embedded in France’s trade unions, saw lots of unionized jobs to be had.

Also, another key difference between American nuclear power and French nuclear power is perhaps best explained by . . . cheese. As my French pal said: “The problem with America is that you have one kind of cheese, and dozens of different nuclear reactor designs. In France, we have 300 kinds of cheese, but only one nuclear reactor design, making it cheaper and quicker to build.”

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