The increase in production of energy from intermittent renewable sources poses two problems for programmable energy plants: volume, because a reliable production capacity is needed to meet demands not covered by wind turbines and solar panels; and flexibility, because the need for additional energy can vary greatly over very short periods of time. In this article, we will leave wind turbines aside to focus on the alternating day and night cycles of solar energy production.
Some of us - laureates of the Nobel Prize in economics - have been cited by French presidential candidates, most notably by Marine le Pen and her staff, in support of their presidential program with regards to Europe.
The extent to which Islam is responsible for the problems encountered in countries in which it dominates has been the subject of much attention. This column explores the effect of religions with differing organisational structures on progressive institutional reforms, state corruption, and political stability. Decentralised religions such as Islam are more conducive to institutional stagnation and political instability than centralised religions such as Catholicism or Eastern Christianity, with negative consequences for long-term development.
There have been calls for restrictions on junk food advertising to tackle rising rates of obesity around the world. This column examines the likely effect of a ban on potato crisp advertising. Results suggest that the total quantity of crisps sold would fall by around 15% in the presence of a ban, or by 10% if firms respond with price cuts. The welfare benefits from this would depend on whether current advertising is persuasive, informative or complementary.
The French electrical grid is connected to the grids of all neighbouring European Union member states, as well as the United Kingdom's and Switzerland's grids. Depending on dates, interconnectors enable us to export our energy surplus or import at a low cost to balance national electricity supply and demand.
On Monday 12 September 2016, the German energy giant E.ON listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange a company called Uniper, following its decision to focus on its “green” activities (i.e. renewable energies, energy networks and customer services) and to entrust Uniper with the more traditional electricity generation business from hydro, gas and coal stations. Less than a month later, on Friday 7 October 2016, it was the turn of the other major German energy company - RWE - to split itself into two, by listing on the stock market Innogy, which regroups its “green” activities. These splits are evidence of the major transformation of the electricity industry over the last 20 years, and they anticipate the major changes of the future. This blog post looks back at the first and considers a few areas of discussion for the second.
Following the election of Donald Trump, there has been a spat of various explanations as to why he has won. Let me synthesize here the various explanations that I have been able to find so far. I find this discussion fascinating not only for scientific reasons, but also because they speak to what seems to be major changes affecting all the western democracies.
The widespread use of self-driving cars promises to bring substantial benefits to transportation efficiency, public safety and personal well-being. Car manufacturers are working to overcome the remaining technical challenges that stand in the way of this future.