“The supply-side reliability fix offered by the Texas Senate is a direct response to the February 2021 carnage created by, yes, wind and solar taking over a once reliable grid. It is a hard-wired governmental solution to a soft-wired governmental problem. But there is an alternative. Free markets, anyone?”
The big guns of climate alarmism and forced energy transformation are out to prevent Texas from shoring up its grid from the cancer of wind and solar. Out of the blue, the Texas Energy and Power Newsletter (Substack) appears, with the message that renewables are not the problem but the solution, complemented by, in Doug Lewin’s words, “Fast-acting reciprocating engines, batteries, geothermal power, and demand response [to] help with both resource adequacy and operational flexibility.”
In denial about the wounded supply side–where the obvious solution is to demote (government-enabled) intermittent resources–the answer is “smart meters” in the home so Big Brother can oversee demand. “In fact,” states Lewin,
there are 1 million smart thermostats on Texans’ walls right now that are not being used at all! Creating incentives for Texas families to reduce their power use when supplies get tight would create a massive dispatchable resource that could help this summer.
For students of political economy, this is the process of regulation (the Mises interventionist thesis) whereby the problems of intervention lead to more intervention. And in the case of Texas (and California and other states), a wounded supply side raises the call for ever-greater demand-side intervention–all from a centrally planned wholesale market (such as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas).
Texas’s cancer is continuing to grow with wind and solar being added to the system, thanks to 1) extended government incentives in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act and 2) take rules by ERCOT based on marginal cost (wind and solar have higher total costs and very low marginal costs). And the worsening reliability of the grid from expanding intermittency is leading to (first voluntary, then mandatory) “conservation orders,” such as summer temperatures in the home or business of, say, 76 degrees.
The amount of money available to the Energy Statists is overwhelming, and the sudden entry of the Texas Energy and Power Newsletter is part that. They want central planning to reach a total government power market rather than 1) stop and reverse the cancer of spreading wind/solar and 2) work toward abolishing a centrally planned wholesale market.
The supply-side reliability fix offered by the Texas Senate is a direct response to the February 2021 carnage created by, yes, wind and solar taking over a once strong grid. It is a hard-wired governmental solution to a soft-wired governmental problem. But there is an alternative that is obvious and necessary.
Free markets anyone?