Thursday, January 12, 2017

Holding back the breeze?

King Canute proving that he couldn't hold back the tide.

Last week I had a couple of posts on coal and its prospects.

One of them related that the Tribune was reporting that coal was up to 75% of its pre bust production, an impressive recovery.  As that article noted this level of production might be market reasonable, rather than market overheated, and reflect the actual level of ongoing demand for the time being. That's really good news for coal.

The other article discussed the long history of coal's decline as an energy source.  The two articles aren't really inconsistent with each other and reflect, I suspect, the truth of coal's situation.  Long term, it's been in decline for market share for over a century.  Short term, it captures new markets from time to time and its still around right now, and will be for a long time.

Well, not if a handful of Wyoming's legislators have their say.

It's really unlikely to pass but some of our state's lawmakers want to pass a bill that requires power generators to stop supplying power via wind energy and which will financially penalize them if they do.  The idea is that this forces the power companies to stick to hydroelectric and coal in Wyoming.

This is really silly.

It may also be unconstitutional as an act in restraint of legitimate legislative power in restraint of trade, including trade across state lines, and "special legislation" favoring one type of company over another.

But beyond that, it's just flat out silly.  

Wyoming is such a small domestic electric market that, at best, all this would do is harm domestic industry, such as wind farms and power companies with wind generators, while benefiting nobody.  How much electricity do these fellows think we consume?  Power generation is on a big grid, gentlemen, and those power plants are generating power for people in California, not you, really.

And Wyomingites benefit from the wind generation industry, just like they do the coal industry.  Jobs constructing and maintaining wind farms, etc., all play their part in our employment picture.

It's odd how in Wyoming everyone routinely claims that we're radically in favor of the free market. . . right up until it impacts our pocket books and then some of us aren't so keen on it anymore.

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