- A spate of wind turbine failures
- Canada’s answer to the Inflation Reduction Act
- “Just Transition” bill might disrupt 13.5% of workforce
- Silver (and gold) get some good press
- A TikToker walks into a hardware store…
“It left quite the crater,” reports Mark Dietrich, after a 400-foot-tall wind turbine collapsed on his father’s Wisconsin property on Jan. 18.
“Dietrich said he’s glad nobody was hurt, although massive pieces of debris were left scattered across the ground,” The Associated Press says.
Screengrab courtesy of ABC WISN
Clean up on aisle five…
NextEra Energy Resources, owner and operator of the toppled turbine, assures the public “this was an isolated incident as turbine malfunctions are rare.”
But the Wisconsin incident might not be all that “rare” — although there is no public data set tracking wind-turbine failures. (A fact that, in and of itself, is especially troubling.)
The incident is “part of a rash of recent wind turbine malfunctions across the U.S. and Europe,” says an article at Bloomberg, “ranging from failures of key components to full collapses.”
According to WindAction, for instance, another turbine in the Netherlands collapsed earlier this month. “Local reports said the incident took place [on Jan. 6, 2023] amid strong winds” — ironic, no? — “at the 18MW Eemmeerdijk Wind Farm, which was completed as long ago as 1998.”
Wind-turbine wreckage in the Netherlands
And the Bloomberg article’s headline is a real eye-catcher: “Wind Turbines Taller Than the Statue of Liberty Are Falling Over.”
(Indeed, the 400-foot-tall Wisconsin turbine exceeded “Lady Liberty” by 95 feet, as measured from the bottom of the statue’s pedestal to the top of the torch.)
“The problems have added hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for the three largest Western turbine makers,” Bloomberg continues, “GE, Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens Energy’s [Gamesa] unit.
“[Problems] could result in more expensive insurance policies — a potential setback for the push to abandon fossil fuels and fight climate change.”
Push to abandon fossil fuels? More like shove… a detail not lost on GE’s CEO Larry Culp.
“It takes time to stabilize production and quality on these new products,” Culp cautioned during an earnings call in October. “Rapid innovation strains manufacturing and the broader supply chain.” Sounds safe…
To wit, a Statue of Liberty-sized wind turbine? Absolutely dwarfed by some of the newer models. One 784-foot-tall behemoth in Germany, for example, capsized in September 2021 — notably, on the day before it was scheduled to go online. (How you say “d’oh!” in German?)
“We’re seeing these failures happening in a shorter time frame on the newer turbines, and that’s quite concerning,” deadpans Fraser McLachlan of London-based insurer GCube Underwriting, Ltd.
But the words “cool your jets” (an apt idiom, if there ever were one) — even in the interest of public and environmental safety — have zero meaning for militant green-agenda policymakers.
“The pressure to invest in green projects is so intense that breakdown fears haven’t yet slowed the flood of money,” Bloomberg concludes.
Which brings us to Canadian legislation called the “Just Transition” bill — first proposed by Team Trudeau in 2019. (Hmm… According to Reuters, it’s Canada’s answer to America’s spendapalooza, the Inflation Reduction Act.)
At its core, the federal “Just Transition” bill is “intended to help [Canada’s] fossil fuel labor force transition to a greener economy,” says Reuters. Theoretically, at least.
“Canada is home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves and is the fifth-biggest producer of natural gas.” As such, Canada’s workforce has reflected its global top-five status. Although numbers have been dwindling since 2014…
Source: PetroLMI, Reuters
Tucked among the bill’s provisions are “programs such as retirement bridging, relocation packages and C$12,000 ($8,945.21) retraining vouchers,” Reuters says, for Canadians to transition out of traditional energy-sector jobs.
“It’s 100% not that simple,” remonstrates former Canadian coal miner Len Austin, “to go from making C$100,000 to C$40,000 plays a big part in the decision-making that comes with the idea of losing your livelihood.”
Making such a transition? Seems more “untenable” than “just”…
“Say instead, the ‘Great Disruption’ — the most concentrated, massive reordering and dislocation of the national economy and the lives of working Canadians that has ever been contemplated,” says one of Canada’s best-known commentators Rex Murphy in an opinion piece at the National Post
“Every major area is targeted,” he says, “energy, manufacturing, construction, transportation.” As proof, Murphy cites the minister of natural resources’ own document to substantiate his claim…
We expect that larger-scale transformations will take place in agriculture (about 292,000 workers; 1.5% of Canada’s employment); energy (about 202,000 workers; 1% of Canada’s employment); manufacturing (about 193,000 workers; 1% of Canada’s employment); buildings (about 1.4 million workers; 7% of Canada’s employment); and transportation sectors (about 642,000 workers; 3% of Canada’s employment). [Emphases ours.]
To be clear, we’re in no way suggesting job losses for some 13.5% of Canada’s workforce; nevertheless, by the government’s own calculus, the precipitous move toward green energy will be a significant disruptor.
At the same time, Mr. Murphy implies some provinces are more equal than others. “The briefing document did note that the oil- and gas-producing provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador will be disproportionately affected,” he says.
“(As long as Ontario and Quebec are not so perturbed, all is well.)” A sick burn, by Canadian standards…
“Today Canada does not have a national government,” Murphy concludes. “It has a radical environmentalist government…
“The only core, fixed, not-to-be-abandoned principle and policy of the current Trudeau government of ‘post nationalist’ Canada is green globalism.
“Sitting on the molehill of a 31% minority government,” he adds, “the Trudeau Liberals are setting about to shut down oil and gas, revamp forestry and agriculture and let loose Niagara-sized plumes of government subsidy to every dubious ‘net zero’ fantasy OK’d by their favorite ‘consultants.’”
Meaning, if Team Trudeau manages to strong-arm passage of “Just Transition” legislation in 2023, there’s no telling the short-to-long term consequences on Canada’s workforce and economy.
But much like with the impact of a flattened, too rapidly innovated wind turbine, one might rightly anticipate what Wisconsinite Mark Dietrich said up top: “It left quite the crater.”
[In case you have any lingering doubts that “green globalism” is a thing…
“When you start to think about it, it’s pretty extraordinary that we — [a] select group of human beings… are able to sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet… I mean, it’s so almost extraterrestrial to think about ‘saving the planet.’” humble-bragged John Kerry a few days ago at Davos 2023.
From Kerry… to Trudeau… to Biden… green policies have proven disastrous, and it’s about to get worse for millions of middle-class Americans, teeing up an unprecedented February.
And prompting Paradigm’s macro expert Jim Rickards to ask: “Are you prepared for $1,000 electric bills?”
Whether you have that kind of margin in your budget or not, you’d do well to pay close attention to this video and learn how to opt out of the latest green scam before Feb. 1]
Surveying the market, all the major U.S. stock indexes are in the green today. The tech-heavy Nasdaq leads the way, up 0.85% to 11,400, while the S&P 500’s gained 0.45% to 4,030. The Dow’s the laggard — up 0.10% to 33,785.
At the time of writing, the crypto market is holding up nicely, too. Flagship crypto Bitcoin is up 0.55%, surpassing $23,000, and Ethereum is up about 1% to $1,600.
Checking on commodities, a barrel of West Texas crude is selling for $81.40, up 1.6% today. As for precious metals, gold’s pulled back nominally to $1,927.70 per ounce, but silver is up 0.25% to $24.
It’s worth mentioning, silver’s getting some good press — even in the most mainstream financial media. “Prices of silver could hit a nine-year high of $30 per ounce this year,” says CNBC, “possibly outpacing gold prices.”
“The largest segment of silver demand is industrial, [which equates] to almost 50% of total demand,” says Nicky Shiels of precious metals company MKS PAMP. “Silver is in a shortage… and there is a notable drawdown in the available physical stocks held in New York’s and London’s physical hubs, more so than seen in gold.”
And for more hot-off-the-press analysis, including gold and silver…
“Today, I want to talk about one of this year’s big opportunities: precious metals,” says analyst Greg Guenther who’s back contributing at Paradigm’s new biweekly Morning Reckoning newsletter.
By way of background, 10 years ago, Greg declared gold was in a bear market — he was spot-on — but he received hate mail nonetheless from riled gold bugs (one of whom called Greg the “antichrist”! Legendary.)
Presently, Greg’s forecasting a completely different setup for precious metals. “Not only are gold, silver and mining stocks powering higher on shorter-term timeframes,” he says, “they’re also creeping up on key long-term levels that could trigger a new secular bull run in the metals — perhaps the likes of which we’ve not seen in nearly two decades.
“Gold [is] on a collision course for $2,000 for the first time since August 2020,” Greg says. “The gold rally has lit the fuse on the miners, propelling the VanEck Vectors Gold Miner ETF (GDX) to a gain of 50% off its late September lows.
“Silver is also in play,” Greg notes. “It more than doubled gold’s performance in Q4, confirming that we’re finally seeing some serious flows into the precious metals space.
“Market conditions are aligning for an extended, multiyear move that could thrust gold and silver to new highs and beyond,” says Greg.
“The similarities between the market now and the mid-2000s are striking,” he says. “Consider the action in the years following the late-’90s dot-com meltdown:
- A secular bear market began with little to no upside traction in the indexes
- Investors dropped overvalued tech stocks in favor of value names and resource plays
- Gold finally posted a major breakout in 2004, triggering a bull run lasting seven years and gains of more than 350%.
“Fast-forward to 2023,” says Greg, “and it’s easy to notice the similar forces at play.
“Despite its success in taking its 2011 highs, gold has yet to extend higher,” he says. “That could change very soon as another attempted run at the 2K mark shapes up.
“The initial momentum move could also be the first wave of a new secular bull run for precious metals… Most retail investors will have to scramble to catch up with this breakout.”
Greg’s takeaway: “If you’re a longer-term gold bug, just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. If you’re looking for short-term gains, snag some miners for your trading portfolio.
“The next gold rally’s just getting started.”
Desperately seeking a Valentine before Feb. 14?
Skip the bars… Ditch the Bumble app… And head to your local big-box hardware store.
Apparently, among TikTokers, Home Depot is the trending spot to meet the MOYD (man of your dreams).
Who said brick-and-mortar retailers are dead?
You all take care! We’ll be back tomorrow with more of The 5…
The 5 Min. Forecast