King Coal and Freezing in the Dark

michaelbaume_specaus-08-october_postWe talked about the South Australia blackout the other day, but I want to say a bit more. The Spectator AU tells us this:

State governments are sheltered workshops for mediocre politicians rarely good enough to make it in the Canberra big league. They have just one basic task in the Australian federation: to maintain basic public infrastructure that keeps communities going. Roads, rail, schools, hospitals, police, fire, emergency services. And electricity networks.

Last week, the South Australian Labor government of Jay Weatherill delivered an unenviable energy efficiency target: a 100 per cent reduction in the state’s electricity supply. The catastrophic failure of his state’s power grid forced Crow-Eater Mr Weatherill to eat a huge helping of crow.

To be sure, South Australia was hit by a huge weather event. Extremely high winds twisted steel electricity towers like flimsy tinfoil, bringing down key power lines interconnecting the South Australian grid with the Victorian network supplying the majority of its power, especially when demand surges.

True enough, but Andrew Bolt tells us the winds never exceeded 100 km/hr (about 62 mph for Americans). A distribution line that fails to stand up to sixty mph winds is defective, either in design, execution, or maintenance. I note that I once helped replace about 10 miles of heavy distribution after an ice storm because one clamp either wasn’t tightened properly or had vibrated loose. Details matter, and so does competence and honesty. Crony built infrastructure lacks both of the latter.

But South Australia’s internal power generation capacity failed to take the strain for one simple reason: its utter dependence on renewable energy. The irony of wind power is those landscape-dominating wind turbines have to be shut down for safety in high winds. And when there’s no sun and insufficient storage of solar energy, rooftop solar panels and newfangled solar farms are as useful as a tit on a bull.

Bizarrely, just this May the Weatherill government proudly shut down (and blew up) South Australia’s last coal-fired power station, making the state’s dependence on wind and solar for its home-grown energy almost absolute. Adelaide’s basket-weavers deliriously welcomed a new Green Age of progressive power generation and the banishment of Old King Coal.

Oops!

via Stormy Weatherill | The Spectator

The Spectator also tells us that the Australian coal industry has a pretty good future, mostly in exporting to China and India, if the greenies don’t kill it, and several million Asians along the way.

I believe in progress devoutly, but I also believe in reality. And carbon-free energy is a drug induced dream. It can happen if government forces it, but it will force us back at least a century, more likely to the age before electricity, and if we can’t burn wood or coal, well, there always one option. Freezing in the dark.


I hear many of you saying, “So what, that’s Australia, nothing to do with us.” But it does, we’re the people that have bankrolled any number of pie-in-the-sky ideas without a hope in hell of them working, except, of course, to put taxpayers money into the the scammer’s pocket. Anybody remember Solyndra? I have no problem with renewable energy, as long as it is developed by private capital, and can compete on a level field with coal, and gas. It can’t, and I doubt it ever will.

Then there is this from The Weekly Standard:

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The Clean Power Plan, as it is called, is central to President Barack Obama’s overall Climate Action Plan. West Virginia and Texas are leading the 27 states and state agencies now in opposition to the CPP regulations, and some 120 companies and organizations have filed in support of the coalition’s complaint.

CPP is designed to bring about what the EPA calls an “aggressive transformation” of electricity generation throughout the country. It would do this by systematically “decarboniz[ing]” power generation and ushering in a new “clean energy” economy less reliant on carbon. CPP requires that, by 2030, power-plant carbon emissions be reduced by a third from what they were in 2005.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the plan would drive up electricity costs for businesses, consumers, and families, impose tens of billions of dollars in annual compliance costs, and reduce America’s global competitiveness—without any significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

But whatever you might think of the rule as energy policy, the biggest problem with it is this: The rule is illegal, indeed unconstitutional.

Under the Constitution, Congress makes law, and the executive enforces it. Unfortunately, over the past 80 years Congress has delegated to executive agencies the power to regulate in many areas. But that is not a blank check to the executive: If Congress has not made a specific delegation, then regulations in that area created by the executive branch are not valid. And that is what has happened here.

As Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent in City of Arlington v. FCC (2013), “Agencies are creatures of Congress.” He then quoted what the Court said in an earlier case, Louisiana Public Service Commission v. FCC (1986): “an agency literally has no power to act .  .  . unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”

True enough, and hopefully The Court will recognize that it is so. But my read of it as energy policy is that it will put the United States in exactly the same place as South Australia visited last week. Given the other things that so-called environmentalists support (and oppose) these days, I’m not too sure that is not the goal.

Advertisements

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

8 Responses to King Coal and Freezing in the Dark

  1. the unit says:

    Yes, details matter and competence & honesty. In your example maybe clamp wasn’t tightened properly. In my case the reverse was true. For four days after hip replacement my wife suffered immense pain. Nurses remarked how much Roxicodone she was needing. And as well she was hooked up right after the surgery to some I.V anesthetic drip. On discharge day a tech who took out all the medical paraphernalia said the clamp wasn’t loosened to allow the drip to flow. How nobody noticed during the time, I’ll never know.
    When I told our regular doctor about this, he laughed and said maybe that’s why his wife complained so after her hip replacement.
    P.S. The hospital was freezing cold, but well lit. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Jeez, what an experience! Wonder why they didn’t notice the level wasn’t going down?

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yeah, I’ve wondered that as well. I suppose the bottle could have been a new one nurse brought in and never used toward near time for dismissal. And as I think back I think instead of I.V. it maybe was a spinal administered anesthetic solution. But the tech seemed dismayed about it being clamped. Probably unusual for unused medications to be left about. Then maybe we got charged for it anyway if so.
        It is said to be watchful of the goings on in the hospital with your loved one, but one doesn’t always know what to look for.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Ain’t that the truth, always, everywhere!

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          CCW too? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          You Betcha 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing

  3. Pingback: Clamps For My Greenhouse | Purathrive

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s