Two years ago I pointed out at this blog that all of the non-nuclear green energy Obama and the left were pushing as substitutes for coal and oil were not merely economically uncompetitive, but that they were untested at scale. Shannon Love, in a brilliant essay at Chicago Boyz not long ago expounded on why alternative forms of energy could not be relied upon to substitute for coal and oil at scale.
None of that has mattered thus far to the radical greens. Obama is deconstructing our energy infrastructure and warring on both coal and oil. Obama and the far left have legislated that increasing amounts of highly subsidized green energy must be used in our energy production. All well and good - until reality strikes. This from Alex Salkever writing at Daily Finance:
Boy, that was fast. Only five years into the world's renewable energy push, many utility companies are so concerned about grid instability that they're saying they can't accept any more electricity from intermittent sources of power. Translation: Solar power only runs in the day time and can't re relied on for so called "baseload" capacity. Wind power primarily produces current at night and, likewise, can't be relied upon for baseload capacity. Geothermal, meanwhile, is perfect for providing baseload. But geothermal projects take an excruciatingly long time to build out. And then there have been the recent spate of earthquake scares around geothermal sites.
The upshot: Utilities such as Hawaiian Electric in President Obama's home state are voicing concerns about plans to integrate more solar and wind power into the grid until they develop methods to more effectively absorb intermittent sources of power without destabilizing the whole shebang. In Europe, Czech utility companies are concerned that "feed-in tariffs," which require power companies to repurchase all home- and business-generated renewable power at elevated rates, might wreak havoc on the Central European grid.
This growing push-back from utilities could prove to be shock to energy project developers, lawmakers and homeowners. In the U.S., project developers and state lawmakers have assumed that the ambitious laws mandating as much as 40% of some states' power come from renewable sources within the next few decades would ensure huge demand for green power as utilities scaled up their use of such resources from low single-digit levels. Likewise, homeowners have tended to assume that if they could put a panel on their roof (or a windmill on their property), they would be guaranteed a market for the extra power produced. . . .
This is only a shock if you haven't been paying any attention to the issue beyond listening to the green propaganda machine. But expect the left to do absolutely nothing about this while our existing coal and fossil fuel infrastructure declines, leading to much higher energy prices in the medium term.
So now lets pivot to something else in the news - the revolution in Kyrgyzstan that occurred the other day. Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked Islamic majority nation that sits on the border of China and to the north of Afghanistan. It was annexed by the Soviet Union around 1920, then gained its independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union fell. It became a democracy, but the government has been unable to stem rampant corruption. Given that short history and its location, one could well imagine a host of reasons for the violent coup that occurred the other day, from Islamic radicalism to Russian or Chinese involvement. Nope, none of that. The reason for the violent overthrow of the government - rising energy prices attibutable to government intervention. This from Dr. North at EU Referendum:
Covered widely by the media, the reports of the rioting in Kyrgyzstan yesterday vary widely in tone and content. But, even if you have to drill down into the piece, not even The Guardian can conceal the reason for the unrest, which has seen protestors beat a Cabinet minister to death.
"The violent rolling protests appeared to be largely spontaneous rather than a premeditated coup," it says, eventually telling us that a "leading expert" has said the government had triggered the protests by imposing punitive increases on tariffs for water and gas. . . .
There is much more to it than that, as The Daily Mail indicates, but even on 23 February the Institute for War & Peace Reporting had Timur Toktonaliev in Bishkek writing: "Soaring energy costs anger Kyrgyz", with prices for electricity having risen 100 percent and the cost of central heating shooting up by 500 percent. Clearly, energy prices have been the primary trigger of current events.
And therein is a lesson. For a country with a violent past, not too much can be read into it, but every society has its limits of tolerance and, where we have our own government determined to drive up energy costs, this could become a factor in triggering open dissent in this country as well.
Here, the crucial issue in Kyrgyzstan was that the prices were driven up by government fiat, albeit following a decision to remove subsidies which had enabled energy to be sold at less than the cost of production. It can be assumed, from this, that where government action is directly responsible for price hikes, governments will take the flak.
It is far too extreme to suppose that we will any time soon see a Cabinet minister beaten to death on the streets of London, although there are not a few who would leap at such an opportunity if it was presented. But it is not a happy or a stable government which relies only on constant police protection to keep its members alive and safe.
Ministers, therefore, would do well to note the events in Kyrgyzstan. Even remote possibilities are still possibilities and, the way our politicians are behaving, they could yet become probabilities and then certainties.
As I pointed out here, we are not quite a decade behind Britain in the mad push into alternative energy. Britain has already seen vast spikes in energy prices and is expecting much more. We are set on the same path now with Obama's war on our fossil fuel powered energy infrastructure and our own mad push towards alternative energy to replace them. For us, the real economic effects of this madness are several years out, when our own costs spike. And while I don't expect blood in the streets over it at this point, I do expect very substantial unrest indeed.