Thursday, February 28, 2013

California Facing Blackouts Due to Renewable Energy

Walter Russell Mead notes that California's investment in "green" energy is leading to the entirely predictable result of possible blackouts. (H/t Instapundit). He writes:
The epidemic of power outages and “rolling blackouts” which nearly shut down California in the early 2000s may be returning. Back then, the culprits were unscrupulous energy providers like Enron and a poorly-thought out process of deregulation. This time, renewable energy would be to blame, as the state has pushed to increase the use of solar and wind energy without ensuring that there is enough traditional power generation to keep the grid stable on cloudy, windless days.
Although Mead notes problems with solar and wind energy in other states, it has also been a problem in the U.K. and Germany.  (See also here and here).

When I read this, I thought of something I read some time ago (but unfortunately can't find) that suggested that one of the reasons we see fewer riots now than in the 1960's and 70's is the spread of air conditioning. In any event, there is a correlation between higher temperatures and crime--that is, crime rates such as assaults increase as it gets warmer until temperatures reach 85 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (See here, here, and here). So, blackouts in California could lead to people not having air conditioning, not being able to stay inside during hot weather, and a resulting increase in crime.

No matter how you cut it, when you wind up with something less--whether less reliable, less efficient, less inexpensive--it is a decline. The focus on wind and solar power represents a decline in our civilization, not an advance.

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