Alan Caruba
Energy suicide: unplugging America
By Alan Caruba
March 4, 2010

What was that most homeowners and apartment dwellers most feared in the recent record-breaking blizzard that hit the northeast?

The answer is losing electricity and that is why the news of the event was always filled with reports of what towns had lost electricity due to downed tree limbs. This was followed by news of how quickly the utilities were making repairs.

Simply stated, when you lose electricity, you lose light and warmth, and you are instantly back to the dark ages before magical power flowed into your home through outlets throughout your house or apartment. No power leaves people searching for flashlights or, if they have planned for it, firing up a generator.

That is why energy is so critical, not just to our everyday lives, but to the future of the nation. It is, in many respects, life itself.

On March 4, yet another environmental organization, this one called Natural Capitalism Solutions, will hold a teleconference, the purpose of which is to demonstrate "how utilities can benefit financially by shifting power generation from existing coal-burning plants to a combination of efficiency and renewable energy technologies."

Let's put this in context. Currently, coal-burning plants provide just over half of all the electricity generated in the nation. Coal is abundant and cheap. Wind and solar energy is neither. It is expensive by almost comparison and, worse, it is unreliable. Unlike the other energy sources, it provides few jobs.

Under the cold conditions of recent winter events, some wind turbines simply froze and ceased to function. In more temperate conditions, there is always the likelihood that the wind will not blow, thus necessitating the constant maintenance of back-up facilities that require coal or natural gas. This raises the obvious question, why bother with wind?

Solar energy is subject to the same inconveniences if the sun is obscured by cloud cover and must constantly be monitored to remove dust on the panels that interferes with efficiency.

So-called renewable or clean energy currently represents about one percent of all the energy produced nationwide. If it weren't for massive amounts of government cash and subsidies, there would be little or no renewable energy.

The U.S. is home to huge reserves of coal. It is often called the Saudi Arabia of coal. The same applies to oil. For all the talk of "energy independence," the U.S. through its energy policies has been embarked since around the 1970s on something I call energy suicide.

If there is one thing the Greens truly hate it is the fuels we use to maintain our economy and our lifestyle. High on the list is coal, but it is essential to understand that the Greens are at war with oil and nuclear power as well. While fifty-five nuclear plants are being built worldwide, the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world thanks to the opposition of the Greens.

The purpose of cap-and-trade legislation, the next horror the Obama administration wants to foists on us, is to make the use of coal very expensive by claiming that it generates so much "greenhouse gas" that global warming is always just around the corner. This is no global warming and those greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, vital to all life on Earth as plant food.

Nevertheless, reports are seeping out of the festering wound we call Congress that thirteen U.S. Senators are urging the Majority Leader and the authors of cap-and-trade "to specifically grant the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired plants."

Without legitimate scientific justification, EPA should not be able regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but that is not likely to stop it from trying since real science or facts of any kind have rarely deterred its destructive agenda.

This is just another example of the Greens incessant and relentless attack on a major source of America's vital source of life, its electrical power, and a major fuel source to generate it.

To return to the teleconference, those charged with the management of utilities would have to be mentally impaired or stupid beyond belief to give serious consideration to wind or solar power.

It will be argued that those advocating this idiocy are naïve or just seeking energy alternatives for whatever noble notions they claim to have, but there is no such thing as "natural" capitalism. There is just capitalism and, the last time I checked, it operates on the basis of profit achieved in the most cost efficient and productive way to be competitive in the interest of its investors, its employees, and its consumers.

I think those in Congress and involved in the mind-boggling matrix of thousands of Green groups are engaged in doing as much harm as they can, as swiftly as they can, to the American economy and our future as a nation.

© Alan Caruba


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Alan Caruba

(Editor's note: Alan Caruba passed away on June 15, 2015. You can read his obituary here.)

Best known these days as a commentator on issues ranging from environmentalism to energy, immigration to Islam, Alan Caruba is the author of two recent books, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy" and "Warning Signs" -- both collections of his commentaries since 2000 and both published by Merril Press of Bellevue, Washington... (more)


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