Posted by: graemebird | July 4, 2008

Socialism Killing Very Real Possibility Of Antarctic Business Development.

“As a bizzare hypothetical, shouldn’t we develop the Antarctic to develop wind power?”

So said Mark Hill at Club Troppo. Consider this as an idea. The main problem with wind power is just that the wind isn’t consistent enough. But Marks idea is different. Because you get no more consistent winds then what are to be found off the coast of Antarctica.

T. Boone Pickens is taking advantage of a wind corridor coming up through a small part of the North American continent. He is a self-respecting businessman who does not ask for subsidies. We can be confident that this is a money-making proposition for Pickens. And I note in passing that one year he put in an income tax return of 800 million USD.

But while he can get good winds going across a thin stretch of the American continent still more consistent winds can be found out at sea. But the capital investment is far higher. You have to somehow anchor all your turbines to the bottom of the ocean.

Marks idea is cool because the winds are so powerful and consistent down there. But you wouldn’t be going down there to just start setting up power generation. Rather you would be going up there to exploit other industry. And you would find yourself with a plentiful source of cheap energy if you were in the right place and were geared up to take advantage of it.

You do things bit by bit. Back off the coast of Australia pulling in a bit of wind power from the sea will become a more ubiquitous activity if we are able to have people homesteading small ocean-based property for the purpose of aquaculture. Because you’d have your setup out there. With your nets and platforms, floating and anchored. And then being out there and having these consistent winds blowing you might decide to take advantage of the opportunity to draw some power from these winds.

A couple of decades ago the Labour parties ludicrous love of meaningless symbolism came to the fore when the stupid bastards decided to set up these international treaties to cut Antarctica off from commercial development. Marks suggestion now tells us how idiotic and harmful this bit of vanity was.

Actually I’m now thrown into a bit of confusion as to what the Keating/Hawke crowd were up to back then. My memory isn’t up to it. They must have been somehow strengthening the existing treaty. Because I have the following quote:

“The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by twelve countries; to date, forty-six countries have signed the treaty. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, supports scientific research, and protects the continent’s ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists of many nationalities and with different research interests.[3]

 Supposing you went to Antarctica to homestead a port and a fish processing plant. Because there can be no doubt about it that it is way down South there that will be one of the few places where good and economic fishing is still a possibility now that overfishing is a big feature everywhere else…

…….. So supposing you did this. Well if you chose your position wisely your whole setup could be made more viable via access to an enourmous amount of consistent windpower.  You would get the best fish catches anywhere on the planet. No doubt about that at all.  The refrigeration would be basically free. And you would have all this cheap electricity generation. So what starts off as a fish port, fishing operation, and processing plant could start growing on the backs of ubiquitous cheap energy.

You have to start these things somewhere. And its something that would never happen in a great big hurry. But it cannot begin at all if we have these idiot politicians making idiotic treaties for no reason at all.

There can be little doubt that the unexploited continent of Antarctica will hold an enourmous amount of resources. The amount of oil and coal locked up in that Continent, will be truly awesome. Like a New North and South America all rolled into one and millions of tonnes of base and precious metals as well.  A potential El Dorado. But its such a harsh environment that the exploitation of these resources will always be a foolish daydream until you have a lot of small business infrastructure on the coast.



The Antarctic circumpolar current is such an interesting feature of our whole climate system that I think it is worthwhile going into it in some depth.

We are talking about a current that just goes around and around and around the continent of Antarctica. This is a current with far more power than the Gulf stream. It is my view that we will live in a too-cold planet just so long as this pattern exists. If for some reason the Southern Hemisphere obtained for itself a more OUT-AND-BACK current like the Gulfstream then we would have the opportunity of having the ice age end. But whilst we still have this circumpolar current around Antarctica all talk of dangerous global warming would appear to be just plain silly.

Now think of the ability to obtain the equivalent of hydro-electric power from this awesome current? I mean the ability to gain massive amounts of wind power is obvious enough. But how about channeling some of this current to turn turbines?

The total transport of the ACC at Drake Passage is estimated to be around 135 Sverdrups (135,000,000 m³/s), or about 135 times the transport of all the world’s rivers combined. “

A pretty potent energy source wouldn’t you say?  A cubic metre of water is a tonne of mass. This will be partly salty water hence a tonne is being conservative. And you have 135 million cubic metres per second moving past a single line. There is just no end to the energy that businesses could be drawing off this but only if they happened to have developed the INCIDENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

There is no use going all the way to Antarctica for the express purpose of solving the energy crisis for the rest of the world. Rather you must go there to develop other business opportunities. The North American rollout of commercial exploitation went something like this: Cod (by the secretive Basques) furtrapping, general fishing, whaling. Its only when they had a firm base of colonists there for other reasons that general farming, tobbaco, cotton, gold-mining and all that could get going.

What Marks seemingly nutty idea has made me think is that we have a real potential to start some small ventures out there, despite the harsh conditions, since we ought to be able to quickly put together the energy generation to make everything else viable. And at all stages the potential for expanding that energy generation is there.  Perhaps it would really take some deep pocket individual to kick in a couple of hundred million to start things off on a very humble scale. But we just need to get these stupid treaties out of the way. What a dopey idea to restrict the whole place to science-workers feeding off stolen money.

“Although coal, hydrocarbons, iron ore, platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, gold and other minerals have been found, they have not been in large enough quantities to exploit.”

Now here is the main principle that we have isolated here. Despite the interesting nature of Marks idea its not going to happen. As long as socialism rules in Antarctica no one resource, energy or gold or anything else except for fish, will be worthwhile exploiting on a one-off basis.  The whole thing has to be built up as a network of small businesses before any one resource becomes economic for export.

Lets look at this again:

“Although coal, hydrocarbons, iron ore, platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, gold and other minerals have been found, they have not been in large enough quantities to exploit. The 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty also restricts a struggle for resources.”

I ask you. If you found coal, gold, or other hydrocarbons near to where you are how large would the quantities have to be to exploit them commercially? Not real large right? But you have to have these things close to a pre-existing structure of capital goods.

And the fact that we would have ubiquitous and reliable wind power in Antarctica would just underwrite the building up of an Antarctic community.


 When will these environmental and socialist bastards get off our backs?



  1. […] shouldn??t we develop the Antarctic to develop wind power???? So said Mark Hill at Club Troppo.…The magic of low-hanging fruitAlways better to sell lower to existing customer than higher to new […]

  2. This is interesting. Some areas of agreement and disagreement.

    1. Homesteading is a good model for Antarctica because we are starting anew. I agree. It is the best method to give out property rights in this case.

    2. Like you, I’m more worried about the fish stocks being exploited, since there is no ownership nor property rights to sea lanes and so difficulty in promoting aquaculture.

    3. I think I spotted this in a Nature or New Scientist article.

    4. I didn’t even consider tidal power. Antarctic wind and tidal combined would be massive.

    5. Transmission restrictions and climatic challenges are not an excuse to put up rules against development.

    6. If global warming IS a problem (yes, I know you say it isn’t, my opinion is we don’t know yet) , then why not harness this massive energy source to save the ice caps?

  3. Look its just harmful to be even humouring these facist liars with such hypotheticals. Global warming isn’t a problem. Global cooling is a problem. Why let yourself be influenced by repetitive lying?

    When I first started writing this I was considering going into the theoretical problem of what restrictions on the flow of the ocean currents would do. It would help bring on a new ice age. Its one thing to exploit the wind and current for local production. But the CO2 scare is lies. And we wouldn’t want gargantuan schemes to too much add restrictions to the ocean currents.

  4. I don’t think you’d call it “tidal power” Mark. Is there even a name for it? Its really hydro-electric power. “Hydro-Electric Ocean-Current Power” would describe it I suppose.

  5. Brilliant stuff as always Mr Bird but it is always expedient to think 10 or so years into the future.

    Imagine these glorious set of circumstances coming together

    1) Mr Pat Buchanan or Dr Ron Paul becomes President of the US
    2) The UN is given 1 week to evacuate from its premises after which the building entire, whether with people or not is nuked to smithereens
    3) Taken by surprise in this way, the UN is unable to act promptly as Australia (under you as Prime Minister?) enters into an alliance with President Buchanan or Paul to annex the whole of Antarctica and split it in half between the two countries.
    4) Any country that so much as protests has an atom bomb dropped into its capital city.

  6. you are sick winchester. why would the US detonate a nuclear weapon on their own soil?

  7. You guys might do it for the Cathartic experience. Can a building housing UN usurpers ever be part of US soil? Still a friendly amendment to the Winchester plan might see bombs that produce less fallout rained down on the place. And perhaps a sort of ritualised spreading of salt to remind people fondly of the climax of the third Punic war.

    You guys cause a lot of problems for yourselves and others by suffering this wicked organisation to exist on your soil.

  8. Winchester is either a raving lunatic or ‘taking the puss’ as you Kiwis would say.

  9. I think Winchester has it down pat. i wouldn’t nuke the UN building as Donald Trump or some other developer could turn the valuable land into a luxury apartments complex on the East river. Perhaps we could neutron bomb it while in session.

  10. It seems like too hard an ask to head towards one of the mining towns. But the idea of being part of starting something off the Coast of Antarcitica is pretty inspiring to me.

    The bullshit environmental crises crowd out the real deal. And I’m sure the problem of overfishing is a big fat yawn to most people. But seriously. Within a few years the deep south could be just about the only place to get just tonnes and tonnes of fish. There ought to be a lot of business opportunities down there as a result of that being the only seriously productive fishing grounds around and the high price of fuel making it hard for normal fishing boats to get there and back productively.

  11. Mark I’ve been looking at this. And I think its a great idea to go Antarctica for the wind. Its amazing what these guys are doing. You go there for other business. But with the full knowledge that once you had a lot of industry going you were destined as a continent to be net energy exporters.

    Wind would be just massive in Antarctica. You would be building up various businesses. Then when you found coal you’d be easily able to scale up your wind to liquify this coal locally and ship it out to the rest of the world. Or you would be using the wind power just to underwrite an ocean iced-methane mining. All sorts of gear like that.

    With the modularity of wind you can scale up the energy at very short notice. Not like nuclear where nothing happens in less than ten years.

    There would be all sorts of coastal business in Antarctica. Hospitality for prospectors looking for ocean oil and frozen ocean methane. Fish processing and mass-export leaving the individual fishing boats to hang out and for the fishermen to kick back a bit. Tourism.

    Having battery power for fishing boats that you recharge for these guys nightly.

    And you are just waiting for the other energy industries. To underwrite them with your cheap electricity. Or to imbed that electricity via the liquification process.

  12. Great idea Mark good work.

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