by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
From Carolina Journal this morning, a truly obtuse quotation from a Republican:
“We talk about mandates. We talk about subsidies. We talk about all these other things. But polio vaccines are mandates. Anybody here think that’s a bad idea?” state Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, said during the news conference.
“We have to understand that just because it’s a mandate, just because it’s a subsidy, just because it’s a tax credit doesn’t mean it’s bad,” Jeter said.
I’m curious. What is the “polio” in the analogy? (The question assumes the comment wasn’t as ill-thought as it sounds.) If renewable energy is the vaccine, then what is the disease?
Is least-cost energy? No. Not at all. Remember that the renewable-energy lobby argued earlier this year to keep electricity rates higher because declining prices of natural gas and coal are putting downward pressure on rates — which put solar in an even worse place, competitively speaking. That this lobby hypocritically claims renewable energy is “saving” people money is on par with the credibility of its whole strategy of saying anything, no matter how transparently false, to keep the special favoritism gravy train going for its particular industry.
Is it sustainable, efficient energy? No. Not even close. Given that the press conference was to make a case for a lifetime of subsidies, it’s clearly unsustainable. Meanwhile, the fearsome foursome of nature, economics, simple math, and physics stand in the way of renewable energy being efficient.
Is it readily dispatchable energy? No. See “nature” above. (Readily dispatchable means it can be harnessed to match consumer demand at any moment in time, which sunshine-dependent or wind-dependent sources can never be.)
It can’t be any of those things, empirically. So what exactly is the viral danger that we are trying to eradicate here?
While I’m posing puzzlers, how ’bout this one: If ongoing cronyism is the answer, what on earth is the question?