A long article, going into natural gas and power transmission issues. While a bit of pie-in-the-sky attitude is present (including some hilarious lines about regulatory government and long-term anticipation of problems, uh, didn’t the entire rest of the article prove that regulatory bureaucracy is incapable of that?) it has some good info.
Here’s the thing. I’m all for new, shiny energy generation, so long as the technology is ready for prime-time (aka able to stand in the market without massive government subsidy), but the distribution infrastructure is a huge problem. Your shiny new 2012 smartphone is being powered by technologically ancient 1950s equipment that’s operating past its retire-by date. That needs to change. Perhaps all the monies flowing from our pockets through the government could be diverted from politicians’ pet projects and to modernizing our energy distribution. (If the government were in fact capable of anticipating and meeting future problems, we wouldn’t even need to have this discussion!)
Also, the author’s “government can fix all things” attitude reminded me of some adorably moronic liberal greenie who’s a friend of a friend on Facebook, and thinks it’s a-ok for wind farms to be exempted from regulations about how many endangered birds they’re allowed to kill. Like all liberals, what passes for thought through his mind is as amorphous as a cloud and impossible to pin down, but he actually claimed that conservatives should be okay with wind farms’ unregulated killing of birds because birds are sometimes electrocuted by above-ground power transmission lines. As if the electricity produced by wind farms magically flows through the ether to people’s outlets, rather than being carried on yet more of those very same transmission lines. So somehow increasing risk to wildlife was supposed to be okay… Sigh. You just can’t talk to such people. They don’t have functioning brains; they just emote all over everything without ever stopping to think about the logical contradictions in their own beliefs. (They also have an unshakable conviction that they know what you believe better than you do – even when you tell them point-blank that it’s not true.)