Chris Tomlinson: Muckraking on Texas Grid Unreliability

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 28, 2023 1 Comment

“Fossil fuel-supporting Chicken Littles have done their best to spread fear of renewable energy, warning that relying on wind, solar and storage would lead to blackouts and economic devastation.”  (Tomlinson, pre-Storm Uri)

“The Republicans’ goal [with new legislation] is to keep coal plants open and burn more natural gas … [and] wreck the climate….” (Tomlinson, today) 

Chris Tomlinson rides again–bashing gas/coal-based grid reliability in favor of more wind, more solar, enormous battery reliance, and government demand-side management to ration demand to (wounded)  supply.

The latest is his editorial in the Houston Chronicle last week, “Lawmakers to Send Electric Bill Much  Higher” (March 22, 2023). Rather than admitting that the unreliables have wounded (and will further wound) the reliables because of government intervention and planning (see here, here, and here), he  fusses at fossil fuels and muckrakes (hypocritically [1]) against the rich.…

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Woke SVB: Remembering Woke Enron

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

The demise of the “Climate Bank” SVB makes a look back at ‘Woke Enron’ timely. This post is an excerpt from Robert Bradley, Jr. Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy (2009), pp. 309–310.

In the fall of 2001, Ken Lay set the tone for what would be Enron’s last Environmental, Health, and Safety Management Conference:

We believe that incorporating environmental and social considerations into the way we manage risk, govern our projects, and develop products and services will help us maintain our competitive advantage. As we move forward, we will leverage our intellectual capital and innovative capabilities to promote sustainable business practices around the world.

At this meeting, Enron’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) task force listed its “Accomplishments to Date,” which were:

  • Secured board oversight of social/environmental performance
  • Expressed support for Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Completed corporate responsibility task force
  • Developed and pilot-tested human rights audit
  • Developed security and human rights guidelines
  • Established formal partnerships with WBCSD [World Business Council on Sustainable Development], IBLF [International Business Leaders Forum], and CI [Conservation International]
  • Identified language to strengthen code of ethics
  • Providing project support—Calypso, Transredes, Dabhol and Cuiabá
  • Responding to stakeholder concerns on an ongoing basis

The goals for 2002 included:

  • Formally adopt CERES Principles
  • Complete indigenous peoples’ policy
  • Specify social/environmental expectations in formal relationships with vendors and contractors
  • Review results of stakeholder survey and develop strategy to address outcome
  • Create awareness of social/environmental trends among [Enron’s] origination and investment groups
  • Add corporate responsibility performance attribute to PRC [Performance Review Committee] process
  • Present task force recommendations to Dr.
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Milton Howard’s Grid Cancer Projects

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

“It took a decade in Texas, but the cancer grew and spread–thanks, in part, to the very projects that Mr. Howard lists on his resume. Between 3,000 and 4,000 MW of mostly wind but also solar projects are claimed, led by Los Vientos I, II, III, IV, V, and VI….

Milton R. Howard, one of the nation’s leading wind/solar developers (along with the spouse of the Houston Chronicle business editorialist, another story) sees himself as a great man, creating value for society in addition to his employer and himself.

He describes himself as a “people person” who is “making this world a better place than I found it.”

I am driven to make things better from an overall economic, social and environmental standpoint. I am passionate and a high achiever but also very much a people person.

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Texas’s Central Planning: Duplicating the Grid

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 16, 2023 2 Comments

“The answer to ensuring a reliable and affordable supply of electricity in Texas is not more subsidies, it is less subsidies. It is getting politicians out of the electricity business.” (Bill Peacock, below)

“The conundrum is that the greater the overall share of renewables in the energy mix, the more customers will have to spend on these largely redundant backups.” (Financial Times, below)

Economists have warned against central planning where a government monopoly is invoked and decisions are made from the center. Free-market analysts also long warned Texas that the government-enabled takeover of the grid with wind and solar (dilute, intermittent all) would cripple the ability of the reliables (gas-fired, coal-fired, and nuclear) to make the grid stable and secure, short of ‘Acts of God.’

But Acts of Political Man won out, and the Great Texas Blackout of February 2021 happened.…

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King Coal: India, Japan Update

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 15, 2023 1 Comment Continue Reading

“BP’s CEO Plays Down Renewables Push as Returns Lag” (‘beyond petroleum’ imaging wearing thin)

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

Duke Energy’s Rolling Blackouts: Remember Jim Rogers’ CO2 Politics

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 17, 2023 No Comments Continue Reading

“THIS AGREEMENT WILL BE GOOD FOR ENRON STOCK!!” (Enron’s Kyoto memo turns 25)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 12, 2022 2 Comments Continue Reading

“Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” at the California Energy Commission

By Tom Tanton -- August 26, 2022 1 Comment Continue Reading

“Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” Turns 25

By Jon Boone -- August 25, 2022 2 Comments Continue Reading