(No) Power To The People

(No) Power To The People

America's "energy crisis" continued to grab headlines Tuesday, where "crisis" just meant (and forgive me here) it got cold and some states didn't know what to do. There's more nuance to it than that, but not much. "Gas pipelines began to seize up, wind turbines started to freeze, and oil wells shut in -- just as homes and businesses raised demand for heating to record levels," Bloomberg recounted. At least two people are dead. "To prevent the collapse of their networks, suppliers from North Da
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7 thoughts on “(No) Power To The People

  1. First we had Trump, then the evolving Pandemic, now it seems like the climate is starting to show what’s possible going forward, which is absolutely anything. All this on top of whatever is happening with the internet and social media and computers and smartphones connecting people across the world. Decentralizing power, with destructive as well as constructive results.

    It is possible that sane and stable is over? How do we function in a this new world? Feels like walking on a moving sidewalk winding through funhouse mirrors. What do we hold on to?

    On the flip side maybe these are birthing pains of a new civilization – humanity attempting to become a single organism. Will we survive? We are definitely in a period of mind boggling discovery and progress in ALL areas of science. Would be such a shame to fail now.

  2. Bill Gates addressed some of this in his Sunday 60 Minutes segment. I’d recommend giving it a look.

    Looks like he is close to building the first new generation nuclear power plant……smaller and much safer than the
    current designs and without the need for massive amounts of water for cooling.

    His basic approach is to innovate our way out of many of the planets problems.

  3. I used to live in Texas and I used to work in the power industry before I quit working. So I have some perspectives that are based on that experience.

    Texas regulatory system for all the good it’s done promoting renewables has a fundamental flaw. It is that the primary system operator and designer is also a supplier to the system centerpoint. To someone familiar with the power business the issue was glaring enough that I contracted with centerpoint for my power even though other companies looked like they might be lower in the near term. The risk of going outside their ecosystem was simply too great for me.

    It is relatively easy for the wires company to under invest in those facilities which would keep their competitors online. And since the calculation methodologies are relatively esoteric they do not lend themselves to a hands-off regulator as Texas prefers. In my view the way to simultaneously promote renewables and to achieve fairness in the power markets is to have a government owned wires company like we have found is wise for roads.

    I think this situation should be studied and published throughout the country as a model for understanding what can go wrong and we can go right about energy deregulation. That this event occurs now with a federal government interested in changing regulatory structure to promote wind solar is as much an opportunity as it is a problem. It also dampens political criticism of California for their ruling blackouts, a state that has deregulation but in a different form that I do not understand.

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