Electricity Markets: Contrived/Distorted vs. Real (debating the Texas Blackout)By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 8, 2021 3 Comments
“‘Unintended consequences of government intervention?’ Are you f***in’ kidding me? What just happened is a direct consequence of insufficient government intervention!” (Robert Borlick, energy consultant)
“No, with due respect. When the system loaded up on renewables, who would have known that low-to-negative marginal-cost pricing would have ruined the economics of baseload generators and natural gas peakers, existing and prospective. I was an adamant critic of windpower in the old days (1997) and just did not foresee this.” (Bradley, retort)
Many planners and regulators involved involved in the Great Texas Electricity Blackout have resigned or been fired. But their brethren, the experts behind the fallen PUCT/ERCOT model, are emotionally defending central planning and renewable energies by blaming the natural gas industry. “The CEOs of those gas companies should be criminally charged,” exclaims Robert Borlick, below).…
Texas Blackout: Costs, Blame MountBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 5, 2021 No Comments
“[Texas] energy infrastructure, overseen by agencies whose top priorities seem to be keeping the energy markets happy, gets neglected. Such neglect, deadly as we have seen, is a crime — or it ought to be.” (Houston Chronicle editorial board, April 4, 2021)
The grand failure of Texas’s power grid under legislative/regulator/expert control is a case study in political economy.
The mainstream narrative combines an Act of God (weather) with private-side failure (non-weatherization). But electricity, while mostly under private ownership, is one of the most highly regulated industries in the U.S. It does not operate in an unhampered market.
Don’t blame God or Market Man–blame the system, the regulated system. Many posts at MasterResource have laid blame, brick-by-brick, on contrived versus real free markets and, more generally, on anti-fossil-fuel planning.…
Civil Society and Natural Gas during the Great Texas BlackoutBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 24, 2021 No Comments
One of the barbs tossed around frequently on Twitter last week — more wistful than angry — was that we’d all be better off if H-E-B took over the Texas power grid. (Houston Chronicle, below)
Government grows from crises. In the wake of the Great Texas Blackout, the foregone reliability path of greater market reliance–a true free market absent state and federal regulation and regulators–deserves serious debate.
For students of crises in free societies, the Texas power debacle offers another example of civil society stepping up where government is unable or unwilling to do so. As noted in “It’s Not Getting Any Better’: Undergrads in Texas Contend with Snow, Power Outages,” The Harvard Crimson (February 19, 2021):
[Molly] Martinez [of Dallas] added that Texas residents turned to community organizers for assistance during the storm due to the government’s failures.
Numbers and the Great Texas BlackoutBy Bill Peacock -- March 4, 2021 4 Comments
“One wonders what might have happened if over the last 20 years or so investors and generators had not been chasing the $21 billion worth of subsidies and benefits they received by building renewable generation in Texas.”
“With economics being about the unseen, not only the seen, it is fair to imagine a more robust, resilient power sector without the grand distraction of integrating intermittent renewables and otherwise ‘decarbonizing.'”
Much debate has ensued since Texas’s rolling blackouts last month in the face of an historic winter storm.
Poor winterization, lack of integration with the national grid, bureaucrats, deregulation, Enron (Ken Lay), and frozen natural gas pipelines have been targeted by politicians and media pundits.
However, the mainstream does not discuss the central player, renewable energies, except to say wind and solar were not the cause.…