Thursday, September 1, 2016

Energy Regressives Attack Proposed Hillsborough NJ NatGas Power Plant, and Win

The Energy Regressives are everywhere. As New Jersey Advance Media’s Dave Hutchinson reports for, N.J. mayor has concerns about $1B power plant plan. The power company proposing the plant is Genesis Power, LLC. The mayor is Frank DelCore, and his township is Hillsborough, my neighboring central New Jersey township. He had help from a reliable energy enemy, as Hutchinson reports:

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released a statement on Tuesday blasting the project. He called it "unnecessary" and claims it will have a negative environment impact on the area.

I left these comments:

Tittel is helping to spearhead a dangerous and growing movement that seeks to stifle reliable energy production, especially fossil fuel energy, at all human costs. This highly vocal minority allegedly favors a switch to so-called “renewable” or “green” energy, but does nothing to actually develop, prove it, and market it. Their focus is on government-imposed energy deprivation, in the quasi-religious hope that someone, somehow will make it technologically and economically feasible for unreliables like solar and wind to replace reliables like natural gas.

Will it? Maybe some day. But nowhere on Earth is any stand-alone renewable energy plant operative, planned, or contemplated. All need fossil, nuclear, or hydro to keep energy available on demand. There’s no evidence that solar and wind can be anything more than an overpriced supplemental energy source any time in the foreseeable future. Yet the Tittels of America forge ahead today with their unrelenting efforts to deprive Americans of the reliable energy their lives and growth depend upon. The anti-energy movement pops up wherever power plants and pipelines are proposed. They offer nothing, beyond yelling STOP to energy progress.

But some day, if we don’t wake up to what’s going on, we’ll be dealing with increasingly severe and dangerous disruptions to our lives brought on by growing energy deprivation. The pipelines and power plants we allow them to shut down or stop from being built today will have a steep future price for our comfort, health, and safety.

A reply to my comment stated, in part:

Renewable energy will never become "stand-alone" until investment is made in building enough generation for it to reach that point. Your argument is essentially "we shouldn't build solar until we have enough solar."

I happen to live less than a mile from this site and I am more concerned about the idea of building the "same old" power plants we've been building for three generations than I am with the idea of building any plant there. The logistics of it - open area, pipelines, and high voltage lines - make sense for the short term gain of "our comfort, health, and safety" but the same logistics make it a good site for investing in renewable energy.

I responded:

I never claimed to be against real investment; i.e., private entrepreneurs using their own money to develop “renewable” technologies. I never said solar shouldn’t be built. “Investment in solar,” which usually means government subsidies, is not the problem. The problem is the heretofore massive and intractable disadvantages in so-called “renewables,” such as dilutedness, intermittency, and the economic inferiority relative to reliables like natural gas. Building a lot of solar plants will not solve these problems. That’s why the solar industry relies so heavily on subsidies.

The whole history of industrial progress under free markets is of entrenched technologies being overtaken by the new; e.g., the electric light bulb over kerosene lamps, autos over the horse-and-buggy, digital photography over film photography, the personal computer over mainframes—the list goes on and on. None of these new technologies built first-proved later. They won in the market because they were first proved superior. If solar is a superior energy technology, it will win out. What if it doesn’t? You’ll still need reliable power plants like natgas to keep the juice on, unless your willing to bring on an energy catastrophe. Solar will never become “stand-alone” by using government force to stifle the competition.


In the end, simple hypocrisy won out. As Dave Hutchinson reported for the NJ Star-Ledger, Genesis Power withdrew plans for its proposed power plant due to Township Committee opposition. Atlas, in effect, shrugged. “Today is a great day for Hillsborough,” said Mayor Frank DelCore. “The Amwell Energy Center had the potential to significantly alter Hillsborough’s bucolic nature and rural appeal while providing minimal ratables and long-term job growth,” he said, forgetting that job-creating businesses run on electricity and “rural” is not so appealing without electricity.

Your Environmentalist/NIMBY coalition at work. If more energy Atlases begin to shrug in the face of this opposition, we’re in big trouble.

Related Reading:

My Letter Rebutting Sierra Club Opposition to N.J. PennEast Gas Pipeline

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

In this real life episode, Atlas shrugged when those with power meant for government wanted him to not do what he wanted. In ATLAS SHRUGGED, Atlas shrugged when those with power meant for government wanted him to do what he didn't want to do. In both cases, those with power meant for government want Atlas to do what he doesn't want to do, and to not do what he does want to do. So there's no difference between the real life episode and the ATLAS SHRUGGED fictional episode.

Yes, it'll get us in big trouble. But, in real life it'll take longer, because Atlas will keep coming back to try again and will occasionally succeed, with progressively growing rarity until he's rendered miles underground. But he won't go on strike, like in ATLAS SHRUGGED. The writing is on the wall and we see it. But the real life, bootlicking Atlas gives us time to prepare if we start now.