3 thoughts on “A Fit Of Sanity In CA”

  1. My power company was for the longest time offering wind power indulgences in the form of, pay (a small, nominal monthly surcharge, of course) and be able to claim that you are receiving zero-carbon power.

    I have long held the position, sure, I will sign up for renewable power when it offers me some financial benefit. It is not purely a mercenary-who-cares-about-the-planet position, rather, a dollar sent to the power company to get CO2 mitigation bragging rights is a dollar that cannot be applied to purchase of a more energy efficient appliance.

    I guess it is put-up-or-shut-up time. The current offering is to pay money up front to get a slice/tranche/zap of electricity from a new solar farm nearby. In exchange, not only is your electric rate reduces from 13 cents to 10 cents per kWHr, the 10 cent rate is locked in for the next 25 years.

    The amount of the up-front money amounts to break-even on the lower electric rate before 5 years. Yeah, I could purchase a solar panel for my roof, but you know what Donald Trump said about contractors and taking on the risk of roof leaks and storm damage and all of that.

    My question to Rand and company is, Deal? Or No Deal? Do you think that solar power from the electric company is a pure economic proposition, or are their some hidden subsidies? If a certain percentage of grid power is mandated to be “green”, that is a hidden subsidy in terms of the non-renewable electric rate being jacked up? Will I be a free rider on fellow grid users for making the grid less reliable, California style?

    There is a certain “buy now” sales gimmick here because the solar farm is only so big, and the “shares” are by subscription only. On the other hand, if solar is a Thing, there will be probably more such deals offered later on?

    It is why I am not rushing out and buying a Tesla. The Prius was once hotter than the Pet Rock, but these days they are lined up on dealer lots. Once the full-electric car becomes thing, every dealership along the Main Drag will be trying to sell you one of those things?

  2. What I need to know about the recent hot blast in California is, yes, “they” are on the tee-vee nagging people to turn their thermostats up after 3 PM so the grid hangs together without the need to impose blackouts.

    Why are they not asking people to “crank up the ice” before 3 PM when the Sun is shining and those solar panels are cranking out the juice? If people have to sweat at night, they could at least cool off midday? This would also be like a truck or an underpowered car “running a hill” — speed up before you get to the hill and rely on momentum to keep some speed when you get to the top?

    Is this too obvious? Would this not be in the spirit of suffering-as-a-spiritual virtue? Am I missing something?

  3. Yes, Paul, there are hidden subsidies. Do you think they store this electricity for your use after sundown? Do you think there are peaking plants idling all day waiting for the wind to die down or clouds to spoil solar production on their own dime just hoping for a chance to earn a few cents per kilowatt hour? Redundant generating capacity is not free. Yes, you would be a free rider on a grid paid for by others, and you. In my home state of Minnesota, the subsidy comes from fees levied on our nuclear plant operators for storing spent fuel in the state. They just jacked up everyone’s cost per kilowatt hour to cover this free green power they tell you is competitive. Enjoy.

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