Fixing California – Part Two, The Electric Age

If energy were abundant, clean, and sustainable, nearly every other daunting challenge facing humanity would be much easier to solve. Insufficient water? No problem. Pump more water around via inter-basin transfers and build more desalination plants. Can’t convert the transportation sector to all-electric vehicles? You can if energy is abundant. Generate all the electricity you need.

Energy solves almost every other resource-related challenge facing humanity. The more energy the better. As with water, energy abundance brings with it not only more practical options in almost every economic sector, and at a lower price, but it brings resilience as well.

On the other hand, pushing all excess out of the system via conservation mandates that amount to increasingly severe rationing leaves the system—and everything that depends on it—vulnerable to catastrophe under what might otherwise be a minor disruption.

The strategic goal of California’s energy planners is for the state to become “carbon neutral” as soon as possible. They view this both as an existential necessity and an achievable utopian dream. To accomplish this, California’s determination to be the first developed economy in the world to go fully electric is well established. Governor Gavin Newsom has decreed via executive order that new passenger car and truck sales have to be all-electric by 2035. In this he has the enthusiastic support of the state legislature. At the same time, the legislature is making it nearly impossible to install gas appliances in new homes. Expect that effort to only intensify in the […] Read More