Saturday, November 28, 2015

If ‘Renewable Energy’ Technology Has Truly ‘Proven Itself,’ Why Does the Renewable Industry Need NJ’s 80% 'Renewable' Mandate?

The New Jersey legislature is considering a major energy bill, S2444, which imposes on Jerseyans “one of the nation's most ambitious goals for renewable energy sources like solar and wind power,” reports Matt Friedman for The bill would mandate that 80% of electricity generation must come from so-called “renewables” by 2050. The mandate will be accompanied by billions of dollars in subsidies for the solar and other “renewable” energy companies, which will be funded by extra charges imposed on the bills of electricity ratepayers.

In a letter urging support for the bill to “confront what is considered humankind's greatest crisis”—an apparent reference to climate change—a New Jersey Star-Ledger correspondent wrote:

As this bill moves through the legislature, I urge New Jerseyans to please contact their district's elected officials, urge them to vote for the bill, and stand solidly behind it. . . . The technology of renewables has proven itself and has become competitive in the market. Whether or not we are determined and courageous enough to address the challenge is a matter of will, not economics.

I left these comments, slightly edited for clarity:

“The technology of renewables has proven itself and has become competitive in the market.”

If this were true, why does the solar and wind industry need laws and subsidies—i.e., government force—to survive and grow? If so-called “renewables” are capable of ever becoming a primary source of the energy our lives can depend upon—meaning energy that is reliable, plentiful, on-demand, scalable, and affordable—let the industry prove itself in a free market. If it can’t prove itself in a free market, the whims of a bunch of politicians won’t make it happen simply by voting for an arbitrary mandate. There is nothing courageous about government aggression. Courage is the province of free energy markets, where consumers make voluntary choices on a level legal playing field. The fact that the “clean” energy companies are turning to government is proof that solar and wind, as a primary source of energy, are crap.

This so-called “humankind’s greatest crisis” is a dangerous fantasy concocted by zealots harboring an irrational prejudice against fossil fuels and a fundamental bias against human well-being. The truth is the exact opposite. For most of human history, man faced a real climate crisis. Earth’s climate has always been full of dangers—droughts, storms, heat waves, cold waves, floods. Today, thanks to plentiful energy, of which 87% comes from fossil fuels, the climate crisis for man is over. Everywhere fossil fuel use is plentiful, life keeps getting better, cleaner, and safer. This is backed up by every measure of human well-being, from rising life expectancies, to steadily expanding access to clean water, to rising per-capita income, to transportation safety, to shelter from heat and cold, to a better fed world, to advanced sanitary waste disposal, to the conquering of infectious diseases like Polio and Smallpox. Weather extremes have by and large been reduced from regular life-threatening occurrences to nuisances. Tellingly, climate-related deaths have plunged 98% in the last century, the very era of fossil fuel use and global warming that’s supposed to be bad. Regardless of climate change or global warming or whatever—and so far, all of the computer model predictions of climate catastrophe have been dead wrong—one thing is certain: Without reliable energy on demand, life in any climate is miserable and deadly to man.  Everywhere in the world where fossil fuel use is on the rise, life is getting better for people. To maintain that virtuous trend, we need more, not less, fossil fuel use.

Unlike the “renewable” dogmatists, I’m not against any energy source. I simply want to stop being stuck with Solar’s corporate welfare bill. Let me and all consumers decide on a level market playing field which energy source is best. It’s time to end the crony socialism. If “renewables” really are that good, they will have no problem doing to fossil fuels what digital photography did to film photography king Eastman Kodak; what innovative communications technology did to the AT&T monopoly; what the personal computer did to mainframe computer king IBM; and what electrification did to John D. Rockefeller’s near-total dominance of kerosene-based nighttime illumination more than a century ago. Until that day comes, if it comes, stop demonizing and hampering the fossil fuel industry and its customers.

Related Reading:

“Forcing” Investment Away from Fossil Fuels Will Only Cripple Life-Giving Energy Production

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