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MasterResource Turns Five

On December 26, 2008, the free-market energy blog MasterResource began. Some 1,440 posts (from 150 authors) later, we are nearing two million views.

The original idea of MasterResource was to bring a distinguished group of energy experts together to attract a wider audience. The thinking was that a movement website would provide the critical mass to be heard in an increasingly crowded blogosphere.

Here was the original concept as explained in our first blog five years ago today:

We are just getting started here, but some of us veterans of the energy debate from a private property, free-market perspective have teamed together to offer our thoughts on late breaking energy items. When I read my newspapers each day, I have some thoughts that I wish I could share with folks from a historical, worldview perspective. I think we all have something to add–and thus the inspiration for this endeavor.

We have a good core group of principal (and principled) bloggers, as well as a growing list of guest bloggers. We aim to post new material most every day. What we have to provide to the reader is frequent insight so that you visit us regularly.

There will be some trial and error, but this is the time to launch. President-elect Obama and his team have little concept of history in the energy debate–what W. S. Jevons said about renewable energies in the 1860s or the perils of U.S. energy regulation learned from wartime planning and the 1970s. Some of us will dwell on this to add some unique perspective to the debate.

By the way, our blog name is inspired by the late Julian Simon (1932–1998). He labeled energy “the master resource” because it is the resource needed to bring other resources from a state of nature to one of human usefulness. Simon also used the term “the ultimate resource” to describe human ingenuity. As the institutional economist Erich Zimmermann once said, resources come from the mind, not the ground.

Finally, I do hope mainstream journalists and many other open-minded individuals will come our way in the great energy and climate debates. The Obama march to energy statism needs a lot of debate. Big Government Democrats are not the cure to Big Government Republicanism.

Oil, natural gas, and coal are middle class, working class energies. Wind and solar are for the rich. Windpower, in particular, as my friend Robert Bryce has put it, is the ethanol of electricity. Maybe, just maybe, these parasitic, inefficient energies will get the scrutiny they deserve from all sides of the political spectrum.

The original group included Ken Green (then of American Enterprise Institute; now with the Frazer Institute) Marlo Lewis (Competitive Enterprise Institute); and Jerry Taylor (Cato Institute). Believe it or not, there were that few of us following federal energy policy on a daily basis.

Joining our small group soon after was the indefatigable climate researcher, Chip Knappenberger, whose posts on the climate effects of public policy, and new developments in the physical science itself, were top-viewed items.

Then something interesting. New free-market voices of old joined in at MasterResource, and new talent appeared, some from academia and think tanks and some from the grassroots (the ‘talented amateurs’ who can tear up the ‘pros’ with their Internet outlet).

There were Tom Tanton and Robert Michaels waving the flag in not-so-friendly California; Glenn Schleede trying to keep electricity policy honest, Michael Lynch bringing hydrocarbon resource optimism to the daily debate; and Robert Bryce who turned to energy after laying the groundwork with his books on Enron and on cronyism.

Energy expert Donald Hertzmark, a go-to energy consultant around the globe, added his free-market voice to MasterResource. Then appeared a new voice, a different perspective, an energy philosopher: Alex Epstein (MasterResource posts here).

Two others of note were Paul Driessen, an unremitting voice for rationality in energy and environmental matters, and Marita Noon, a go-to energy voice that scarcely knew anything about her subject a decade ago.

And then came the grassroots anti-wind power brigade. John Droz; Jerry Graf; Kent Hawkins; Sherri LangeLisa Linowes; Kevon Martis; Tom Stacy; Jim Wiegand; and others.

There are many others whose names do not appear above that have found voice and influence via MasterResource. To all of you, and to our loyal readers, many thanks for a great, growing five years.

And just perhaps our free-market perspectives can come of age with a renaissance of freedom in 2014 and beyond.

5 comments

1 Wayne Lusvardi { 12.26.13 at 9:44 am }

Congratulations on five year anniversary of MasterResource.org, the only free market energy website of which I am aware.

It may be of interest to note that in California some cities are opting out of electricity service from the Big Three IOU’s (Investor-Owned Utilities) such as So Cal Edison, Pacific Gas a& Electric, and San Diego Gas and Electric — in favor of what is called a Community Choice Aggregator. For those who believe in choice as a condition of free markets this is an interesting trend to watch. The Community Choice Aggregation law came into being in California after the Energy Crisis of 2001. A CCA (Community Choice Aggregator) forms a pool of customers, buys its own power and only depends on the former regulated public utility for transmission, distribution, and billing.

The roll out of an all-green CCA in San Francisco has mimicked the roll out of Obamacare. SF found out the an all-green option for electricity would cost them 5 times what PG&E was charging! SF electricity customers would not have a “choice” to enroll in the CCA. Instead, everyone would be automatically enrolled and can only get out by filing an application to do so which would be discouraged. The “choice” in a CCA sounds like the old regulated monopoly of PG&E.

Moreover, an all-green option of indigenous green power to keep jobs in SF is not feasible. SF has over 100 days a year shrouded in fog and another 100 days in cloud cover. City-wide rooftop solar installations would still need huge gas-fired back up systems. Wind power — either off-shore or on-shore — is not an option in SF due to aesthetic constraints for the gigantic new Vesta wind turbines. SF is located on a peninsula and is a 100% built-out city. Conceivably, SF could put wind and solar farms in Hetch Hetchy valley (a clone of Yosemite National Park) where it gets its water from. But, once again, that would further ruin the “green” environment.

It is also interesting to note that Shell Oil (Texas) was the only bidder for SF’s CCA business. It offered to buy or build hydropower for SF but the CCA proponents want to keep jobs (and utility taxes) inside the city.

CCA’s aren’t much of a market “choice” in California but in name only.

2 Anthony Watts { 12.26.13 at 1:14 pm }

Congratulations on your milestone!

3 Soylent Green { 12.26.13 at 1:45 pm }

Congratulations, you truly are a Master Resource.

4 rbradley { 12.27.13 at 1:56 pm }

And thank you Mr. Watts for your mega-blog that helps MasterResource with some of our posts. And for your professionalism in the face of so much emotionalism from the alarmists who are losing the debate yet slow to make mid-course corrections.

5 John Droz { 12.29.13 at 10:54 pm }

In the old days, years ago, I used to think Rob Bradley was a big shot.

Now I know that he really is!

Congrats on the anniversary…

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