“It’s not how you play the game, it’s how you place the blame.” – Don Simpson
On Saturday, the world was treated to a most incredible article in The New York Times. Ominously titled “Backup Power: A Growing Need, if You Can Afford It,” the piece tells a somber tale of those struggling with power outages, a phenomenon on the rise across the US. It goes on to describe how the affluent have taken rational but costly steps to insulate themselves from our newly unreliable power providers, remedies far out of reach for those struggling to make ends meet. Although the people profiled in the piece are undoubtedly legitimate victims of the current state of the US energy grid, the authors’ worldview as to how we got here is, well, a tad gaslight-y. See if you can spot the logical sleight-of-hand:
“As climate change increases the severity of heat waves, cold spells and other extreme weather, blackouts are becoming more common. In the 11 years to 2021, there were 986 weather-related power outages in the United States, nearly twice as many as in the previous 11 years, according to government data analyzed by Climate Central, a nonprofit group of scientists. The average U.S. electric utility customer lost power for nearly eight hours in 2021, according to the Energy Information Administration, more than twice as long as in 2013, the earliest year for which that data is available.”
According to the authors, the grid is an amorphous “thing” that was working just fine until the weather changed. Absent from the analysis is any consideration of how recent changes to the grid—the introduction of intermittent sources of energy, like wind and solar, and overloading it with new demand from the green electrification agenda—may be playing an originating role in these early signs of crisis. The one thing the Times does get right here is that the worst is yet to come (emphasis added throughout):
“Energy experts warn that power outages will become more common because of extreme weather linked to climate change. And those blackouts will hurt more people as Americans buy electric heat pumps and battery-powered cars to replace furnaces and vehicles that burn fossil fuels — a shift essential to limiting climate change.
‘The grids will be more vulnerable,’ said Najmedin Meshkati, an engineering professor at the University of Southern California and an expert in disaster response. ‘That furthers the divide between the haves and the have-nots.’”
To aspiring central planners and their enablers in the media, empirical evidence that their policies are backfiring is merely proof of the need to double down. From this, a horde of otherwise intelligent people earnestly believes that proactively destabilizing the grid is not the cause of grid instability. Nowhere is this more pointed than in Germany, a country several years ahead of the US in its journey toward national energy suicide. Having invested untold billions in solar and wind energy, the country is now aggressively electrifying its transportation and residential heating sectors. Despite the resulting obvious need for more electricity, German Greens celebrated the closure of the country’s last three nuclear power plants in April, bringing to an end a decades-long obsession with severing their toes in the name of saving their feet:
“Anti-nuclear campaigners in Germany celebrated in Munich on Saturday as the country began winding down its three remaining nuclear power plants as part of a long-planned transition toward renewable energy….
Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reite, supported the delay but admitted on Saturday that he was pleased with this weekend’s shutdown.
‘The future isn’t named nuclear power. The future is named renewable energies. That will be our future. Since 2008, we in Munich have actually only focused on the expansion of renewable energies,’ he said.”
Given Germany’s multi-year lead in the race to the energy bottom, how events unfold as the implementation of Energiewende enters its final stages will be an instructive case study in the disastrous consequences of pursuing green utopian fantasies. What would Germany look like with full implementation of electric vehicle and heat pump mandates? How much electricity would be needed and where will it come from? What will be the impact on the German industrial base? The numbers are freely available, so let’s have a look at them.