‘Green’ Energy vs. the Environment (Enron to BP to PG&E to Hawaiian Electric)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 30, 2023 No Comments

“Looking back with hindsight, the business opportunities were on the generation side, and the utility was going out for bid with all these big renewable-energy projects. But in retrospect, it seems clear, we weren’t as focused on these fire risks as we should have been.”

– Doug McLeod, former Maui county energy commissioner (quoted in WSJ, below)

Opportunity cost is a central concept in economics. Economics is about the unseen versus the seen. Resources spent in one direction are not spent in another. The same goes for corporations as politically correct, economically incorrect priorities crowd out good. Climate change policy is a premier example.

Government-forced substitution of dilute, intermittent energies for reliable incumbents has not only cost taxpayers and ratepayers. It has also cost the environment–dearly. The recent saga of Hawaiian Electric’s preoccupation with “the energy transition” at the expense of grid safety and reliability is the latest example of this.…

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Notes: 1998 Enron Meeting on Climate Change

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 9, 2023 No Comments

“… why doesn’t a congressional subcommittee call these companies and a few more to tell us exactly what they are up to and what is going to happen to energy prices where parties have to buy credits for something that is not a pollutant?  After the meeting the company that has done the most to sell Kyoto should be awarded naming rights.”

I had a front row seat to many things energy and climate during my 16 years at Enron (1985–2001). At Political Capitalism, I described my Enron experience debating climate science and renewable policy (here).

Enron, in the words of a Greenpeace ex, was “the company most responsible for sparking off the greenhouse civil war in the hydrocarbon business.” [Jeremy Leggett, The Carbon War (London: Penguin Books, 1999, p.…

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Texas Wind Power: The Beginning (1993)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 18, 2023 No Comments

“Another factor [for the inaugural project] is a new federal tax credit of 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour on wind power that begins Jan. 1. There was an earlier federal subsidy that fueled the first boom, but it expired in 1985.”

“Wind Farm Awaits State’s Go-Ahead,” read the title of a Houston Chronicle business article (November 18, 1993). The state’s first major wind power project was timed to receive the brand new federal Production Tax Credit enacted in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (1.5 cent/kWh, inflation-adjusted).

Note the following:

  • This is on government land.
  • A government agency is making the long-term sales commitment.
  • The Production Tax Credit is crucial.
  • The company putting in the turbines would declare bankruptcy in 1996, leaving Enron Wind (formerly Zond Corp) as the major U.S.
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Tomlinson’s Narrative on the (Wounded) Texas Grid: More Misdirection from the Houston Chronicle

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 13, 2023 1 Comment

“First wind and solar–and now batteries. How can a business editorialist not talk about cost and opportunity cost? Does $65 billion and counting ring a bell? I guess when you are a climate alarmist, economics does not matter.”

“‘Demand response’ is more government intervention to rescue prior. ‘Virtual power plants’ are the ultimate government takeover of the grid. Wound the supply side, load it up with costs, and force demand down.”

In “Natural Gas, Coal and Nuclear Power are Failing the Texas Grid, New Tech is the Future,” Houston Chronicle business editorialist Chris Tomlinson carries the water for Green New Deal/Net Zero interests, including his wife’s business of wind/solar origination. His 750-word piece is a tissue of half-truths and misdirection that only church-going climate alarmists can like.


The Texas electric grid’s biggest failures so far this summer are coming from the supposedly most reliable generators: fossil fuels.…

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Chris Tomlinson (Houston Chronicle) Confesses Conflict of Interest

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 2, 2023 3 Comments Continue Reading

Electricity Policy: An Exchange with Lynne Kiesling (more evasion, statism from a “classical liberal”)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 11, 2023 13 Comments Continue Reading

Energy and Environmental Review: April 10, 2023

By -- April 10, 2023 No Comments Continue Reading

Chris Tomlinson: Muckraking on Texas Grid Unreliability

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 28, 2023 3 Comments Continue Reading

Woke SVB: Remembering Woke Enron

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 22, 2023 No Comments Continue Reading

Milton Howard’s Grid Cancer Projects

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 21, 2023 No Comments Continue Reading