The Power Farm

First in a Series

 

Let’s create a thought exercise:

You own a very large farm. It’s so large you call it Mammoth Farm. You bought the land for Mammoth Farm. You cleared it of trees and tilled it. You installed irrigation so that it grows food regardless of rain. You installed greenhouses, so it grows food all year. You even own the entire distribution network – all of the trucks that take your product to market. Your farm is so productive and consistent and efficient, no one can economically compete with it. So, you accept regulation, a fixed rate structure and profit, and provide all the food to the local community. Everyone is happy.

Well, not quite. The government comes along and declares Mammoth Farm a polluting menace. To reduce the impact of Mammoth Farms, government encourages smaller, “alternative” food producers and offers subsidies to encourage them. Furthermore, the government mandates that a growing percentage of all food musty come from the alternative producers. Even Mammoth Farms is required to purchase 20% of their product from the smaller providers at costs of 3-4 times their own costs of growing food.

But the smaller providers have issues. Some only operate half the time. Others operate somewhat randomly – they match Mammoth’s capacity one day and stand idle the next. The lack of consistent production means that sometimes the community has to import expensive food from elsewhere at costs 10,20 or even 100 times the local rate. Even when the alternative producers meet the demand, its not without cost as their food costs 200%, 300% or more of what it costs Mammoth. Even with subsidies, prices begin to necessarily skyrocket, as one government leader promised.

By now billions have been spent propping up the alternative providers – many of them well-heeled individuals and corporations. Yet the same problems remain: Their food is expensive and requires subsidies. Food is intermittently produced, requiring Mammoth to always be on “standby” to fill in demand. Mammoth is now struggling to survive because they only sell when the smaller producers cannot. Such a business model cannot survive, and it’s becoming likely that Mammoth will go out of business, leaving the smaller, much more expensive and much less reliable producers as the only suppliers of food.

If you haven’t figured it out, this is not-exactly-a-parable of our electricity system. “Mammoth” is the existing power grid, with large power stations and transmission grids. The smaller, “alternative” producers are wind and solar, for decades massively subsidized with no end in sight. No matter how many billions, if not trillions, we sink into these boondoggles, they never match the performance of the base grid. They never can. They never will.

Part 2 of this series will show why “green” wind and solar are anything but good for the environment.

 

 

Wind 1

Rainbows and sunshine? Not so much. Behold the true cost of wind.

 

(Author’s note: I know this is not an exact analogy. Food, unlike power, can effectively be stored. But general knowledge of how electricity is produced and consumed is lacking. I work in this field; I could bore my readers with engineering geekspeak. I’d prefer to try examples that more readers may understand.)

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johnkbates2017

Colorado transplant currently residing in Indiana. I am endlessly curious about the weather, human nature, history, gardening, and cooking. I have a wonderful family of 2 dogs and 3 cats, all of whom are rescues.

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