Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No More Energy Pyramids

As a followup to my last post regarding the pressure that anti-pipeline environmentalists jihadist are putting on the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC), the agency charged with the responsibility of approving pipelines, I post my reply to a correspondent who commented under the NJ.com article I referenced, Federal energy commissioner concerned about gas pipeline critics.

Teal Strat commented, in part:

Unless you're a major investor in this pipeline, why in the world would you want [The PennEast Pipeline Company’s proposed natural gas pipeline through Western Hunterdon County in New Jersey] to be built? It does not solve our country's energy problems. That can only be done through a concerted R&D effort by our country's best scientists. We have the ability to develop clean energy sources just as we had the ability to send astronauts to the Moon. What we need is a national will to do great things.

I left this rebuttal reply:

What “energy problems?” Our country is awash in cheap energy, thanks to the “concerted R&D effort” of private scientists working in the fossil fuel industry. Have you not heard of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the amazing cutting edge technologies that unlocked vast new quantities of previously unreachable shale oil and gas, and that made America the world’s #1 oil and natgas producing country? This energy revolution didn’t come from any “national will “—i.e., government boondoggle. It came because of the will of private producers and investors to make money.

There is no “We” as you mean it. “We” don’t have ability. There is no “national will.” Only individuals possess ability and will, who requires only one political need to flourish and do great things—liberty. Nations never achieve greatness. Only human beings do. Any “national effort” amounts to a government takeover, paid for by seizing money from taxpayers, and proceeding by freezing out all but the politically connected from the process—a virtual moratorium on private sector brains and ability.

For decades, governments around the world have poured hundreds of $billions in taxpayer subsidies chasing the holy grail of “clean energy.” Yet nowhere on Earth have solar, wind, et al proven to be capable of being a primary source of reliable, economical, plentiful, on-demand energy. That’s why fossil fuels are the fuel of choice for developing and developed nations alike, supplying 87% of the world’s energy. It’s simply the best, most human life-advancing energy technology of all time, by far.

We don’t need another armchair “expert” with another master plan for other people’s money. We don’t need chest-beating politicians commandeering our resources in order to build useless “clean energy” monuments equivalent to those “great things” on the other side of the world, the pyramids of Egypt. We need a free market in energy, where the best energy solutions are actually determined by the best minds voluntarily funded by private capital—as, morally, it should be. The final arbiter, ultimately, will be the voluntary choices of consumers—as, morally, it should be—rather than government bureaucrats. As the history of free market capitalism has shown, no market-entrenched technology can withstand better ideas—unless it is frozen in place by backward-looking government coercion, a la Ma Bell. If solar, wind, or any other energy technology can supplant fossil fuels as the best technology, they will as long as people are free to innovate, produce, and trade freely, and consumers are free to “vote with their wallets.” Until then, keep the politicians’ grubby hands out of our pockets and out of our energy choices.

Related Reading:

"Clean" Energy Companies, not "Fossil Fuel Bosses," Need Political Favors to Compete

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