A letter from the Vatican


Dear signor Giuseppe Grillo,

It is a pleasure for me to be able to send you this letter about renewable energy. My thoughts go back to the years when I started my activity as a university teacher at the University of Bonn. It was 1959 and still the time of the old university of ordinary lecturers.
Contacts with historians, economists and naturally with the theology faculty were very close. Once every semester there was a so called "dies academicus" in which the professors of all the faculties presented themselves in front of the students of the whole University, thus making it possible to have a true university experience: the fact that, in spite of all the specializations that at times make us incapable of communicating with each other, we form a whole and we work in this whole with the single reason with its various dimensions, thus staying together even in the common responsibility for the correct use of reason. This fact became a living experience. This internal cohesion in the cosmos of reason is not disturbed even when on one occasion one of our colleagues said that there was something strange in our university: two faculties that were concerned with something that did not yet exist: renewable energy.
Even faced with such a radical skepticism, it is necessary and reasonable to ask about energy from the wind and the sun. To reason about this and that this must be done in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: however in the whole university this was a position that was not discussed.


All this came back to me during a dialogue with Cardinale Tarcisio Bertone with whom you recently had a personal audience in Genoa.
Cardinale Tarcisio Bertone reminded me that we are relying almost exclusively on a single source of energy: oil. And that we must find alternative sources.
The dialogue covered all the structures that allow for alternative energy sources and it paid particular attention above all to the use of photovoltaic panels on buildings owned by the Vatican, starting with schools and hospitals. In this letter I would like to mention a subject that within the context of the topic "nature and reason" has fascinated me and that will serve as a starting point for my reflections on this theme.
In the seventh discussion (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by prof. Khoury, the emperor explains in great detail the reasons for which the spread of civilization by means of violence is against nature is something that is unreasonable. Violence is in contrast to the nature of God and the nature of the spirit.
The decisive statement in this argument is: to not act according to reason is against the nature of God and against the conservation of our planet. The editor Theodore Khoury, comments: for the emperor, a Byzantine, this affirmation was evident.
Here a dilemma opens up. One that today challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting against nature is in contradiction to the nature of God, only a Greek thought, or is it always valid and is it valid on its own merits? I think that on this point there is a demonstration of the profound agreement between what is Greek in the best sense and what is faith in God based on the Bible. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John started off the prologue to his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the λόγος".
This is the exact word that is used by the emperor: God acts with the logos. Logos means both "reason" and "word" – a reason that is creator and capable of communicating itself but, precisely, as reason. The faith of the church has always kept to the conviction that between God and us, between his eternal creator Spirit and our created reason, a true analogy exists, in which certainly the dissimilarities are infinitely bigger than the similarities, however not up to the point of abolishing the analogy and its language (compare Lat IV).
God does not become more divine by the fact that we push him further from us in a pure and impenetrable voluntary-ism. But the truly divine God is that God that has shown himself as logos and has acted as logos and acts full of love in our favour, including in this the natural environment.
In the western world there is widespread domination of the opinion that only positivist reason and the forms of philosophy that derive from that are universal.
But the profoundly religious cultures of the world see precisely in this exclusion of the divine in the universality of reason an attack on their most intimate convictions and living in harmony with the natural context.
A reasoning, that when faced with the divine is deaf and pushes away the religion to the ambit of sub-cultures, is incapable of inserting itself into the dialogue of cultures.
For a long time, the West has been threatened by the centrality of profit and of gain in opposition to the conservation of nature and its full enjoyment. It is to this great logos, to this vastness of reason, that we invite our interlocutors into the dialogue of cultures for the preservation of the planet.
I send you my greetings and wish you complete success in your initiatives.

From the Vatican, 11 January 2007.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 02:49 PM in | Comments (14)
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Selling Renewable Energy (Solar Etc.) Without Incentives
In short, we need to market solar as an investment that will save money while you own it and return most or all of your investment when you sell the building it's sitting on.

Chances are, as natural gas and oil prices go up, there will be a corresponding jump in your monthly electricity bill. So, instead of promoting a solar power system based on today's savings in electricity, we need to have easily understandable projections on what the savings will be over the life of a system. These numbers need to reflect what's really happening to the cost of energy!
Here are some ideas I'd like to share. First, we need to find a way to make renewable energy economically competitive without the tax incentives. We do this by answering the question: "What is the opportunity cost of not using solar to decrease your energy bill?"

There's something interesting I've found. There's a direct correlation among electrical rates, the cost of air conditioning a building, the heat index and the amount of sunshine on any given day. In other words, on the hottest, sunniest days, we use more electricity that costs more per kilowatt. So, why do we continue to promote average hours of solar production, when in fact (at least down here in California), we produce far more solar power per day during the heat of the summer when energy costs are highest, than we do in our temperate winter months when energy costs are lowest. A sound marketing approach would be to evaluate solar energy in "dollars" of production per year instead of in kilowatts. I'm sure there are some smart people out there who can match kilowatts of solar production on any given day of the year to what the rates will be (based on the projected costs of electricity).
Secondly, we should stop trying to sell a solar package as a "cost." In real estate, there is a principle that says anything affixed to real estate becomes an integral part of the real estate. Once a solar package is installed, it immediately increases the value of a property. So how can you predict how much more a building will be worth in 5-10 years with a package as opposed to without one? In the real estate appraisal business, there are three approaches to appraising a property. The market approach (what are comparable properties selling for), the reproduction cost (the cost of creating an identical building at current construction and material prices) and the actual original cost adjusted for inflation. In all three methods, there's a strong case that a system installed today will make the building worth more today and in future years.
We need some realistic numbers to predict how much more a property will be worth in the years following installation. I believe that if you sell a building 5-10 years after installing solar, you should recoup all of your investment in the system plus an added bonus. If the rumors are true, a residential system (using the market approach) adds $20 of value to a home for every $1 it saves on the electric bill.
For commercial appraisals, you would divide the income (savings) by a cap rate (which was about 9% at last report). A system that saves $2000 a year then would be worth $40,000 on a home or $25,000 on a business. But if the cost of electricity goes up (if that is remotely possible), then wouldn't the value of the solar power system increase as well? In reality, we are not selling something that costs — we are actually offering a financial investment that grows comparably with other forms of energy.
In short, we need to market solar as an investment that will save money while you own it and return most or all of your investment when you sell the building it's sitting on. In commercial real estate, they use a "Cash Flow Analysis" form as the tool to evaluate a building's value using the income approach. We need a similar tool for putting a value on solar. If solar makes sense with this approach, then just think of how much better the systems look when you add the tax advantages!
This approach also applies to the cost of Energy efficiency implementation.
Reducing operational costs increases the value of the business and or property.
Compiled by Jay Draiman, Energy analyst

Posted by: Jay Draiman, Energy Analyst | December 14, 2007 02:05 AM

A question to Andrea Di Simone
Regarding the web link you posted on your message (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-x) for the pope's message .... well, it doesn't work!
Can you be more precise?

Posted by: Roberto Tichelio | February 2, 2007 04:19 PM

A question to Andrea Di Simone
Regarding the web link you posted on your message (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-x) for the pope's message .... well, it doesn't work!
Can you be more precise?

Posted by: Roberto Tichelio | February 2, 2007 04:17 PM


When I read your comment my mind suddenly flew to Nikola Tesla, which was silenced by the powers of his time.

I hope that soon the truth will come to the surface.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | January 17, 2007 04:21 PM

Now I'm only waiting to see what the Divino Mago Otelma has to say.

Posted by: Luca Sala | January 17, 2007 04:10 PM


When I came to US twelve years I embraced the spirit you present in your comments in the illusion that the American people was living up to the ideals of freedom, peace, social justice and science their forefathers embraced. In time, I realized what I had already understood in Italy: the changes that you wish for, will come only through pain and difficulties.

This country (and with it the whole western world) is facing a time that reminds me of the pre-revolution France of the 1800's: corruption, social turmoil, hegemony, dismantling of cultural values, lack of political wisdom, war.

I have been installing PV for years now and at this pace (the pace we have held in the US and the world), it would take (literally… calculated) hundreds of thousands of years to switch to renewable energies.
Only a cataclysmic change of unheard proportion would possibly move the hearts of people to such a change and make it possible in a generation. Yes, heart, as this is not a technological issue, it’s a moral issue. As such, it is conceivable a divine like intervention. Hardly the one the pope is presenting. His tone is priestly, uncommitted, philosophical and feeble. His hierarchy is deeply married with the economic and political power. Even, their talking to Mr. Grillo is dubious. Don’t forget, they have silenced a slur of free thinkers throughout history. Some with the inquisition, others by phagocytizing them.

Occult powers move our world and hold a strong grip on true progress. Isn’t it incredibly disproportionate the technological advances in all field of science when compared to the field of energy? Isn’t it incredible the level of propaganda and brain washing that prevents people from seeing the simple truth of Solar Energy, its being the energy source for all forms of life? In a Christian view of the world, such blindness smells of demonic.

Rather, the afore mentioned intervention would be the one of true Christianity: moral, powerful, unrelenting, focused and uncompromising. It changed the world of Rome and can it change our world again, today.

I hope we will witness such changes in our lifetime and guarantee a true future to our children.


Paolo Tichelio
Advanced Energy Design
Melville, NY

Posted by: Paolo Tichelio | January 15, 2007 10:41 PM

What's up jay? your post is very interesting and you seem a very knowledgeable kind of guy. I can get very excited about renewables so I take what you said with a pinch of salt. Don't get me wrong I entirely agree with the points you made in your post and you seem genuinely enthusiastic about it. What worries me sick is that you failed to mention something very important. Political will. You know better than I do that in order to achieve such an ambitiuos goal you've got to have strong political support on your side. You are certainly aware that the fact that we are experiencing a global energy crisis is the direct consequence of some ill advised political decisions. We could have had by now cars that don't pollute and a significant reduction in carbon emission. These technologies exist. What's more these kind of alternatives have been discovered and tested many years ago, however very strong and influential caste of power forbade their development and proliferation.
In a nutshell, till the political will of the very powerful will remain profit oriented we can do very little to prevent global warming. The greedy bastards want to squeeze the lemon till there's juice in it. In other words there are too many billions still to be made from oil. Everything revolves around oil. The real issue here isn't how you stop global warming. I'd rather know how to convince the minds of those who really hold decisional power on our future. Thanks

Posted by: piero sanna | January 15, 2007 07:42 PM

The pope writing to Grillo?


He's weird... but that weird!?!?

Posted by: Doug Heffernan | January 15, 2007 05:40 AM

Jay,this is music to my hears,I hope you guys will start soon and the rest of the world would follow,cheers

Posted by: eva kulnura | January 15, 2007 04:06 AM


In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.
"To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality."

Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.

Installing renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

Posted by: Jay Draiman | January 15, 2007 01:27 AM

Why did you say this demostrate the stupidity of the masses(If is this letter not a false)?

Posted by: mimmo colombo | January 15, 2007 12:30 AM

One has to be enough stupid to publish false letters of sort. If so, this blog will be soon closed by the authorities as per the law regulating journalism and regular daily blog writers that exists in Italy.

Amazing the amount of comments in italian, over 1500 already. A classic example of the stupidity of masses.

Have a nice w(/e

Posted by: Hugo Victor | January 14, 2007 08:56 PM

If this letter were true all I could say is: how selective is the Church in the science they are willing to support!

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | January 14, 2007 06:00 PM


as I already commented in the italian section of this blog, this letter is FALSE. Beppe Grillo is voluntarily publishing FALSE information. The contents are copied from a real papal speech:


Maybe it's a joke that I just don't understand. However, let's stress it again. IT IS A FALSE LETTER.

Posted by: Andrea Di Simone | January 14, 2007 03:14 PM

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