It’s all about timing and scientific truth
Very few Americans are opposed to protecting the environment and gradually encouraging business, industry and mankind in general to be “greener” and tread more lightly upon our planet. We owe no less to succeeding generations—however many there may be. There also probably is a large majority of Americans, including me, who are willing to pay a small amount more for electricity and other commodities/essentials to accomplish these goals over time.
As a writer/analyst/consultant about technology for many years, I also am excited about the new technological marvels we come up with all the time that make life better and can make it greener. I work constantly with utilities and their vendors around software and hardware and am very encouraged about the new systems available to make electric distribution more efficient and effective. The tools to install an ever smarter grid (it’s already smart and has been getting smarter every year since I’ve been in the industry) already either are available or are under rapid development and deployment. There is absolutely no technical or scientific reason why Americans and our economy cannot continue to enjoy abundant, low-cost, ever greener electricity for many generations to come.
The reason “Climategate”, the apparent distortion and obfuscation of scientific results in the very new field of climate science, is so disconcerting to many of us are the issues of timing and political manipulation. A substantial body of scientists, beholden to political entities and the politicians who fund their studies, have provided one polarity of those politicians with a casus belli in the threat of rapid Global Warming. Politicians, notably Al Gore but there are many others, seized upon this cause to promote their political agendas—which generally tend in the direction of more governmental control over all our lives. That political tendency generally is called socialism, a political movement that has caused untold human suffering and enslavement in the world for many generations now and continues to do so in China, Venezuela and other places.
When the Copenhagen climate change conference opens in a few days, there will be a major political movement to impose more government control over our economies and our lives worldwide. It is that political movement that is determined to call climate science “settled” when, in fact, there are many scientists who dispute that characterization and climategate shows clearly there is very good reason for disputing it.
The reason all this is important to the utility industry and those of us who work in it is this: The smart grid will be built, but it will take time. The generation of electricity will become greener, but it will take time. The evolution of utilities from the central-generation, one-way distribution of electricity to more inter-active, more choice-enabling electricity will continue, but it will take time.
However, if the Global Warming alarmists succeed in imposing unrealistic timetables on all this, it not only will be far more expensive than it should be over time, but it also is likely to impose major disruption to the economies of developed nations and emerging ones as well. And, it also likely will slow or disrupt the development of the smart grid as well. Forcing “green energy” into the mix before it’s time—before it becomes economical—also will slow its development. In fact, rushing everything in fear of a dubious climate catastrophe likely will result in costly mistakes, economic distortions and political upheavals. We don’t need all that on top of a worldwide recession. It could force us into depression and political unrest in many places.
Forcing everything before its time is not scientific, not economic, not realistic. That leaves only one conclusion which I as, a writer/analyst/consultant am always reluctant to draw, but can hardly avoid—it’s political. If it is indeed political, then many of us are justified in questioning the motives of the political movement and its scientific cause. And from a historical perspective, they don’t look very pure. From a historical perspective, socialism is a discredited, dangerous, ever more oppressive, form of government inimical to democracy, freedom and human welfare. It also apparently isn’t above “cooking” the science to justify its goals and means.
I'd rather be writing about all the fascinating new technology coming on line, and will again soon. But until politicians with apparent motives that frighten me and many others quit trying to rush the development of science and technology before its time, to the detriment of the industry we serve, and the customers we also serve, I can see no other option. All of this is coming to a head very soon and it's good to at least some spare parts flying off the Global Warming juggernaut in climategate. We can only hope and pray it runs off the tracks entirely.