The Peak (whatever) hypothesis: Grid edition

Chris Martin et al at Bloomberg think the U.S. power grid’s days are numbered. The article provides a good example of author bias and wishful thinking. A key for their scenario is that they note that “After subsidies, solar power is competitive with grid power costs in large parts of those markets.” The ‘after subsidies’ is critical because it says that all of their calculations and expectations are not based on real world actual costs. This is typical of those advocating, anticipating, or wishing for ‘green energy’ taking over the world.

The real world works in real costs. Sometimes the real costs can be hidden for a while but eventually they will show. Many businesses fail because the entrepreneurs missed something that ended up making the business not being as profitable as imagined. When it comes to government, all one has to do is to look at the history of socialist or communist run countries. It took the Soviet Union something like 70 years for reality to show. Soviet Union puppets may be lasting a bit longer – they are being subsidized and that moves the impact.

The fact is that the grid may indeed change. Currently the easiest (most cost effective) means to distribute energy is via electricity. The other common ‘grid’ is that for natural gas. A third option is containerized energy like gasoline and propane, fuels that depend upon transport in tankers. Whether by wire or by pipe or by other transport system, an energy market will continue to exist and a ‘grid’ will be behind it.

Perhaps the most significant change will be if natural gas fuel cells sufficient to power homes can be developed. These have been promised for more than fifty years and power companies have had incentives in place for them for almost that long. A fuel cell like that would shift delivery from wire to pipe.

Peak whatever, the demise of the existing whatnot, dreams are often poorly based and use innappropriate analogies. Bloomberg provides an example. Meanwhile, reality happens. If allowed, growth and change can happen, too. The problem, as seen in the war on fracking, is that “allowed” part as their are some very vocal and insistent groups who want their dreams, want it now, and cannot tolerate anything else no matter what.

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