Stop Energy Bullying!

The cover of Time Magazine issue had an interesting article by Comedians Key and Peele titled “The Case for Mockery.” They claim we have changed our sense of openness in making fun of things and that has now thwarted a lot of creativity at the altar of political correctness. In a sense, their premise is that our inability to laugh at ourselves closes our minds to creative discussion and change. Their central premise is that certain groups are now bullying us into silence.

As I thought about this, it struck me that we have this bullying going on everywhere. I see it in our churches, politics, and even the energy industry. I believe the root to all of it is our tendency to be superficial. We are happy with our limited understanding just as long as the superficial sound bites satisfy our encapsulated dogmas and doctrines. Then, when we encounter others with different points of view, we become increasingly defensive about this and that. We have lost our sense of humor that perhaps, just maybe, we don’t know as much as we seem to think we know. Maybe new information might give us a bigger sense of the truth than the tiny portion of it we think we now own. As a result we become increasingly polarized and define ourselves by our unique perspectives.

I copied two of the most powerful quotes from the article into this blog to point out how obvious this is once you stop and think about it. Who can argue that we are now operating in a sea of political correctness where we can’t really call a spade a spade any longer?

Political correctness? Joel, are you kidding me? No, think about it. It has now become sacred to let energy zealots run the table on energy decisions in this country and, for that matter, around the world. Renewable energy is the new religion and they are on a crusade to replace the energy systems with solar and wind. Worse yet, the rampant inclusion of these sources without due consideration of the longer term financial and operational reliability impacts threaten the reliability and sustainability of the very system everyone in this country counts on. The bullying starts right here: People who think about this critically are called members of the flat earth society because their questions and concerns take the bloom off the energy zealot’s idealistic dreams. Sorry my zealot friends … that is bullying.

So, let me play Captain Obvious to anyone who truly knows anything about planning an energy supply system. You need both capacity and energy. You must have both and they must be there in balance. Disturb this balance and the lights go out. Sorry to destroy your simplistic energy doctrines and dogmas about renewables, but they are useless without real firm energy capacity … the kind provided by natural gas, nuclear, hydro and even coal.

Renewable energy sources are just that … energy sources. They are not capacity sources. They provide kWh but not kW. You need capacity sources to keep the lights on and you need an operational electrical grid to move the capacity sources to where the energy balance needs correction.

By the way, this grid was never designed with anticipation of these new sources and certainly not where they are being located. So, we don’t have the capacity resources located necessarily where we need them. Wind is often nowhere close to the load centers (population) and it is horribly intermittent. Solar sources can be located close to population centers but it is also often intermittent in many areas of the world. We need capacity to keep the lights on and the cost of that capacity has to be paid for by the users of the system in some equitable balance. And we need a transmission and distribution system that can accommodate the necessary flows while maintaining both voltage and frequency. By the way, the costs for this newly required capability is far from small and the existing ways these costs get recovered by no means charges the right people for the costs they are incurring.

So, as the article in Times Magazine points out, it is time to poke a bit of fun at the energy zealots for the obvious imbalance in their position. It is time to balance the electric rate making process to properly recover the true costs of including these new energy sources in the energy mix and from the right people.

But let me also point out that the conversational balance needs to also move away from the tone today which I would describe as a form of energy bullying. The energy zealots have not only gotten the microphone but they have dominated the agendas that result. They are also demeaning and failing to show respect for other points view. Tone it down please. Respect your elders.

Our society will not thrive if we continue to let this one point of view dominate the air waves. There is more to the story. There is more to keeping the grid reliable than what they are telling everyone.

If we fail to regain balance here, we are headed down a slippery slope of tragic energy decisions. We still have time in the United States.

Germany many have slipped into the abyss. Check it out if you are willing to face the complete truth:

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