Atlas Shrugged in California: “Green” Electricity vs. Human Comfort and WelfareBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 7, 2022 7 Comments
“A Flex Alert urging consumers to reduce their power use in the late afternoon and evening is also in effect today and tomorrow, marking seven consecutive days the call to cut demand has been issued.” (CAISO, September 5, 2022)
“I’ve lived in California for more than 70 years and seen her go from the prettiest girl in class to a haggard washed-up starlet. She needs an intervention. My grandson deserves nothing less.” ( — California resident Tom Tanton)
It is another example of fiction-to-fact from an Ayn Rand novel. Spiraling government intervention with an essential commodity has predictably created a shortage, then calls for sacrifice and threatened rationing. The narrative is that “historic heat” from “climate change” is the culprit–and fighting climate change requires the population to reset their comfort zone … down.…Continue Reading
CPUC ‘Emergency Load Reduction Program’: Energy Statism hits HomeBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 6, 2022 3 Comments
Ed. Note: The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has issued statewide “flex alerts” (blackout alerts) for six days running. Today’s post describes the in-place demand reduction program. Part II tomorrow will update the current situation and the familiar reasons why: dilute, intermittent energies being forced on the grid by state and federal policy wounding the reliables generated from mineral energies.
A major theme of political economy is: one government intervention or program leads to another and yet another. In “green electricity” California, supply-side distortions have required demand-side management (DSM) within the central planning exercise of Integrated Resource Planning. That began in the 1980s; today, there is centralized wholesale power grid planning. And supply side mismanagement means demand-side programs and exhortation to use less energy in the peak-demand hours.
It is back to Amory Lovins’s soft energy path within his “whole-systems planning,” whereby a “negawatt” (usage forgone) is as important as a kilowatt (see the conclusion below).…Continue Reading
“Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” at the California Energy CommissionBy Tom Tanton -- August 26, 2022 1 Comment
“In my period at Cato (1990–present), “Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’“, is probably our most important Policy Analysis in the energy/environment area. Bradley’s thorough review and analysis (60 pages, 325 footnotes) was a real pushback against the viability of ‘green’ energy in theory and practice.”
– Jerry Taylor, Senior Fellow and Director, Natural Resource Studies, Cato Institute, 2012
On the fifteenth [25th] anniversary of “Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” (yesterday’s post), I recall, with pride, a lot of hard work that went into supplying the author with information about California’s wind and solar experience.
At the time I was working in the belly of the beast, the California Energy Commission (CEC) in Sacramento. The Commission was a major proponent of all things renewable, almost to the point of fanaticism.…Continue Reading
Political Economy Energy TermsBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 7, 2022 2 Comments
I am writing a new book, Energy Crisis and Leviathan, that summarizes the history of government intervention with energy during wartime and other energy emergencies. To better understand these crises, I review the intervening periods of relative normalcy.
My effort is not a treatise but an overview that relies on key political economy terms to best understand the unhampered market process versus interventionism. The terms below will be referred to in future posts here at MasterResource given the current energy emergencies and habit of government to expand rather than contract.
This is a working draft. The reader is invited to suggest, correct, or present new terms to this list of 21.
Border adjustments: Nation-to-nation tariffs to prevent some jurisdictions from disadvantaging others in the global quest to price or ration carbon dioxide.…Continue Reading