These truths to be self-evident, that all men are created over the years, a member of Congress, I get to have a lot of really interesting people in the experts on what they're talking about. This is the podcast for insights into the issues. China, bioterrorism, Medicare for all in depth discussions, breaking it down into simple terms. We we hope we hold these truths. We hold these truths with Dan Crenshaw and Gloria Borger. Everybody, welcome back.
A special episode today give you a quick update on what's been going on in Texas this week. And for those of you without power and water, I'm one of them had to go to our apartment common pool today and fill up water to get some things working.
So we're all in this together. We will get through this and we need resources. Go to Crenshaw House dot gov and you can find the resources that you might need there, as well as updates on power, availability and water availability. Just rest assured, authorities are working as fast as possible to get that back on recent updates from Ellacott spoke to them late last night, giving updates all day. They're hoping to have energy back very soon within the next couple of days and no more than an hour or so of of powerless time anywhere in the state that will that'll be the goal here in the next day or two.
Hopefully we actually get to that.
Stay warm, stay safe, so the rest of this podcast want to talk about why this happened, it's it's not as simple as as some people would like you to believe. There's a there's a number of factors here. In summary, it got really, really cold, colder than it ever does. And our infrastructure isn't really built for that. That infrastructure, meaning, you know, say on the oil and gas side, there was no electricity to power compressors or pumps to keep these wellheads going.
Some pipelines didn't function properly in this kind of deep freeze. They're just not designed to we never need them to. So, you know, if you build that same pipeline up north, it would be built differently than it is down here. So there was, of course, a question of should we be weatherizing things to that extent? Well, it'd be very expensive and it's not clear that we should. So there's that one nuclear plant went down, for instance, because a specific sensor froze, kind of like a like an end check engine light in your car.
And in this particular case, because nuclear plants have a lot of safety precautions, that check engine light doesn't allow you to turn the car on. So so that's another example of what happened. And, of course, you know, renewables just don't really work in this kind of weather. And wind turbines fros, they're not designed for this weather. And also, sometimes the wind isn't blowing, which is which is an issue that we'll get into quite a bit throughout the conversations that we're going to have today.
Demand went up by probably around 50 percent extra. All right. Because everybody is turning on the heat in their homes. This is a side note. Your neighbors will get their power back quicker if you if you use less power, because the biggest problem right now is excess demand and not enough supply. So you had some supplies go down, which made it impossible to meet the excess, excessive demand that we haven't seen really ever in Texas, that that's why power went out.
That's why it had to be basically rationed throughout the state. That's why you see rolling blackouts happening. So use less and the neighbors who don't have power will hopefully get their power back quicker as a result. That's that's the long and short of it. So some people were pointing to frozen wind turbines and saying, see, this is why you don't use this. So this is partly true. You know, if all of wind just disappears in Texas on a normal day, that's not that big of a deal.
We the rest of the power sources in Texas can make up for it. And that's mostly natural gas. It's some coal and it's some nuclear, but mostly natural gas. The thing about it is wind power gets first dibs. It's the first electron that gets bought and then sold to the customer. So this is this is because it's it's it's favored, you know, in order to reduce carbon emissions. Right. To to to to favor more of a green energy solution.
So what happens is there's a divestment over time and in baseload energy, more reliable energy sources like gas and nuclear. That's bad in times like this, because we already know renewables just aren't going to work when we really need them, when it gets really, really hot and really, really cold, when there's any kind of externality or wind or in a normal day when the wind just isn't blowing and it's cloudy out.
So you're always going to need that baseload energy. The question is, how do you get it? And over time, investment has been skyrocketing towards renewables and basically divesting in these other sources of baseload energy. So it's not so much that the reason we had blackouts is because wind turbines froze.
It's more of the long term implications. It's the overall energy mix on the grid, as is more of the reason why we didn't have the baseload energy necessary to to meet the extraordinary demand that we're just not used to. That's the long and short of it. Everybody, I will say some of the gas plants were also down because they were just under scheduled maintenance, because this is the time of year where you would schedule that maintenance because, you know, not everybody's turning the air-Conditioning on.
So you generally think this time of year in Texas that that's that's when you don't need as many as much power generation online. So that was another reason people don't quite realize. And really quickly, some some critics would say, well, this is why energy needs or Texas needs to be connected to the rest of the United States and its grid because we do have our own grid here that that has been debunked as well by anybody knows what they're talking about.
Because the reality is, is an extraordinary events like this. Our neighbors also have power outages. This is happening in Oklahoma, Louisiana as well. So it is not the case that if we were connected, we were able to import their energy because they having the same problems. But I want to bring on my friend, Alex. Alex, you're an expert on this. He's been listening patiently as I as I as I can sum all of this up before we where we talk.
So appreciate you being on. And thanks for having me so so, Alex, I mean, what's what's your take? You've been listening to everything I said. I mean, what would you add to the to the mix there? Yeah, I think it's good to look at this in the broader context of what's been happening during this cold spell throughout the United States. One thing I've been posting repeatedly to Twitter is the electricity mix in everywhere around the US.
So not just in Texas, but in the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic and New York and New England, Southwest and every single place you see the exact same thing, which is that what I call the unreliably. So wind and solar, during this crucial portion, they go to near zero and then fossil fuels and nuclear are handling everything. The baseload, as you mentioned, but also the flexibility of gas is accommodating. So in every single place you see this this thing where the wind and solar go to near zero.
Now, why is this so important? Well, one reason is the dominant policy idea in America right now is that we should rely almost 100 percent on wind and solar. So what this incident should be teaching us is, no, these are actually unreliable. If you actually look at reality, there is no conceivable way it could be cost effective to use this kind of thing because it just completely disappears when you need it the most. And if we can talk about things like battery storage, but I don't know the exact numbers, but it's way under like five minutes of battery storage with all the batteries we have planned.
Do you even in twenty, twenty one like of the grid. So that's a joke. Nobody is using batteries to any significant extent because they're so expensive. So just the reality is wind and solar are unreliable. You can't actually power grid on them, let alone the industrial heat infrastructure, let alone transportation. But it's it's important to stress because we're totally oblivious to this. In our political conversation, we act as if wind and solar are these viable things that can actually support an economy, whereas in reality they are parasitical things.
And we can talk about why they're parasitical, but it's clear at least that they're dependent. So I think that's the number one lesson. And if you look at what if you look at all these charts, there's only one difference between Texas and the rest, which is in Texas. The fossil fuel use goes down for a period of time, and that's why Texas is experiencing a disaster. But the way this is framed is so dishonest, even with people who are pretty decent academics like this guy, Jesse Jenkins, who's become kind of a star on Twitter.
They promoted his tweets to me as though this is the truth. He's been talking about this narrative of fossil fuels failed. So I just want to be very clear. There is nothing about fossil fuels that failed. Fossil fuels are succeeding around the world and in the US under more difficult conditions than Texas all the time. So it's not about the fuel. The only thing that can happen is it might be the misuse of fossil fuels. And that's what how I integrate what I'm saying with what you're saying.
In effect, if the grid is not properly weatherized, you can think of that as the misuse of fossil fuels. I think there are still a lot of ambiguity about what exactly happened, what are the leading causes. But we can rule out that there's anything inherent in fossil fuels that is causing this situation. By contrast, there is everything inherent in wind and solar that would cause a 100 times worse situation, because as you can see around the country, they are completely out to lunch when you need them the most.
So for me, the number one lesson of this is wind and solar cannot keep us warm and empowered when we need it the most. And we should be terrified of what the Biden plan, et cetera, are bringing us, because that would make what you're describing in Texas, which is so horrific to hear about the pool. I mean, that just really disturbed me just to hear that. I mean, that is nothing compared to what we're going to get if we do something like a green new deal or a Biden plan.
Yeah, you know, there's a deep ignorance by many on the left. And there was the joyful and the ignorance of of what is true and what is not with respect to what kind of power we use and what works and what doesn't. Chris Hayes from MSNBC, he you can always rely on Chris Hayes for the stupidest possible. He was. He was. This is 17 minutes ago. The guys who were dogging my staff to send it to me and he's responding to this this tweet from somebody else say, is, more than four million barrels of day of output, almost 40 percent of the nation's crude production is now offline.
Yeah, which is that sounds about right. Just because people are going in to refineries, people are going to war. There's a lot of reasons output is down. It's a there's a big kind of natural disaster, of course. And Chris Hayes, this this this this tweet is so perfect and it's so perfect because it happened while you were speaking, while we were both just talking here. And it just demonstrates the ignorance of people, because what I was told by Dan Grinchy that we should all be grateful that fossil fuel power was there to keep humming merrily along during the freeze.
You know, he's like he's so happy that Texas is in pain, by the way, I mean, AOK is the same thing. We'll get to some of her disgusting tweets.
I mean, what I mean, I did obviously it kept right. I mean, it did keep everyone warm. Right. So the criticism is the reliable thing didn't work. Nobody's pointing out the unreliable thing couldn't work. The reason you're complaining about a reliable thing is because it's actually reliable and it didn't work. And just one thing, we don't have to get to this now. But just one overarching thing I want to talk about. I wrote a tweet yesterday is by far the most popular thing I'd ever written.
It's gotten something like two million impressions, which I'm sure for you is nothing. But for me is is a very big thing.
And the core point that I made that I think resonated with people is that whatever else is going on, the root cause, the reason why these reliability problems are happening everywhere now in twenty, twenty one around the country, including in California where I live, is that our policy punishes reliability and rewards unreliability. So we can go into the details of that. But that is my basic thesis, that the of the cause of this, the policy punishes reliability and rewards on reliability.
And you got to some of it in terms of how like the wind production tax credit, the solar investment tax credit, how that work. But if we go into some more detail about, for instance, the grids, just the whole auction system is a pseudo market and the Texas is not a free market, nor is any market in the U.S. for electricity. Those are deliberately designed to promote unreliable. They're a completely rigged payment policy. It's not competition is a payment policy.
That's the equivalent of rewarding unreliable workers and punishing reliable workers. And that that is one of two things that needs to be drastically reformed if we're to get more nuclear, which I think we should. The other thing is we need to I would call decriminalize it because it's so demonized. It's basically criminalized. But and that's another thing I hope we talk about is nuclear, because it is a crime that people say they want to lower CO2 and then they support all of these anti-nuclear policies.
Yeah, that's exactly right. And to kind of build on what you're saying about, you know, rewarding the unreliably and punishing the reliables, that that is basically how Ellacott works here in Texas. And so everybody's giving me a lot of help because I was pointing out that when you let Democrats control energy policy in California, you get rolling blackouts.
Now, I stand by that and everybody's like, oh, was this you like it's kind of it's almost comical what people think is a gotcha, but it's not.
And in fact, because the underlying reasoning for why California is failing and why and why Texas had these issues is basically the same now. Not quite. California has rolling blackouts when it shouldn't. You know, Texas has to have a once in a lifetime freeze for for this to happen. So not quite the same guys, just as far as infrastructure goes. But let's let's get to it. Let's take another layer down here.
The thing about Texas and what we do, which we have learned from the left, which we have learned from the pseudo environmentalists, is this you prioritize the electrons from wind. And so if you look at some of these graphs and I've seen you share these things, it shows on a on a daily basis where we're getting our power generation from. And it's interesting.
So you'll see coal and nuclear look very consistent, I guess, because you can't ramp up energy production very well. And nuclear and coal, you just got to keep the power plants on so you get a set amount from them. But it's it's a declining amount. The vast majority comes from natural gas that you can ramp up and down or at least you can design a plant to do so. It's more it's more cost efficient for those plants.
It does come at a cost, though. It does. Yeah.
It's not energy efficient, but it is cost efficient that you wouldn't do that normally. Right. But we do do that normally.
Like you're doing that to accommodate solar. And when it still is like stopping traffic and it causes a lot of cost and that's what I'm getting at.
They're literally only designing plants that way to accommodate went because wind is the favorite it's the favorite child, right? It's the first child advocate. And so all electrons from wind get used and they get bought. And now the money is important, too, because what also happens is if there's a lot of wind blowing, nuclear is just operating that day at a loss, which is, again, why we might not be getting more investment in nuclear plants or more natural gas plants.
And the renewable space is bragging about this. I mean, I could point to an article where they're bragging about the fact that they're getting more and more investors to invest in more and more wind turbines, hook those up more and more to the grid so that we're relying on these, as you call them, unreliable.
And then it's deeply frustrated that somebody like Chris Hayes basically cheering this on again, how stupid can you be? And and the implication of them saying these things like, oh, see, guys, fossil fuel isn't reliable. The implication is obviously you need a green new deal so that you can have power. But that's, of course, not true. I mean, it's a. And it's it's a. Dangerous untruth, because people will die if you if you make if you make this grid more reliant on renewable energy.
And I mean, they're dying now, like there are a hundred percent dying now because we've had this prioritization of unreliable over reliable. So take where I live in California, which, as you mentioned, it's it's more I mean, we're farther down this road.
It's a road that everybody is going down where they're basically playing chicken with how much unreliable electricity can you accommodate and get away with? You know, can you get away with it price wise? Can you get away with it reliability wise? And one thing to realize about on reliables that's implied and what we've talked about, but I haven't said it explicitly, is that because they're unreliable and because they can always go to near zero, as we're seeing during this cold spell where they went to near zero and we needed the most, you need nearly one hundred percent reliable backup.
So when you're talking about the cost of the unreliable, you have to always look at the cost of the unreliable plus the cost of the reliable infrastructure. And that's why despite all these crazy claims that their low cost, they always add cost, the more of the unreliable you have, the higher costs you have. Now, grids generally get pushed back when they have higher costs. So what do they do? They play this game of chicken where they try to say, well, I can shut down a reliable plant, I can shut down San Onofre in California, I can shut down four gas plants.
I can get away with it, I think. And particularly because I have Nevada, I have Arizona, I have Utah, I have all these different people that can bail me out in a pinch.
But they're playing this game where they're jacking up the cost of electricity and they're they're decreasing the reliability of electricity. And so this this is happening everywhere. And it's it's a travesty. There's no reason for it. Again, if you care about CO2, we can talk about that whole issue. But nuclear, if you look at here's the key metric, I think long term system cost analysis. If you do a long term system cost analysis of something like the the Pallava, a reactor in Arizona, which is this amazing reactor, it's been around since the 80s, it's super cheap over time to do that.
But if you have this crazy Paul payment policy where you're paying the person who offers you the lowest price in a five minute interval and you everything around that, that is just a completely arbitrary thing. So Republicans, any free market people need to totally distance themselves from the so-called market in electricity. The market and electricity is actually worse than the old regulated utility system. There's a really good book called Shorting the Grid by someone named Meredith Angwin, whom I interviewed recently.
And it is the point she makes is the so-called unregulated grid has more regulations and costs more money. So my view is it would be much better if we just acknowledge, OK, this is a monopoly. You have to do long term system cost analysis on your options. We'll talk to me about nuclear.
I know you wanted to talk about that. And, you know, I think the basic lesson is this. If people truly believe that climate change is an existential threat and you want zero carbon emissions power, but you also want to baseload power when you know you have extreme events like we have now, then seems like nuclear is the only option. And, yeah, you've got to pay for it. It's more expensive. But I thought it was an existential threat, so I thought any cost was OK.
I mean, what's your take on how you would.
Yeah, so, I mean, I would question that it's actually more expensive long term if you take away the government apparatus on it. So we have nuclear. The thing that that the fundamental thing going on with nuclear besides this pro unreliable pricing policy that affects nuclear and coal. And to some extent, yes, we have what I call the criminalization of nuclear. And that basically means that the government treats nuclear as an inordinately dangerous form of energy, even though the actual technology is an inordinately safe form of energy.
So that's I mean, we could go into detail about that, but it's essentially the safest form of energy ever devised, and it's treated as a difference in kind. So there's sort of a parallel with how covid is viewed, like if you vukovich if you try to view it like proportionally, OK, how much more dangerous is this than the flu? Like if you try to view it quantitatively, you can think about things rationally, but if you just treat it as, oh, this is a total difference in kind, this is the plague, this is going to kill everyone, then you're home in time to shut everything down.
You can't do anything. And basically, nuclear is treated like the most extreme covid people treat covid they treated us like this is going to end the world. You can't do anything with it, et cetera, et cetera. And if you look into the facts of how it works, it's just it's just not true. So my basic view is we need to decriminalize nuclear. We have to actually had to have safety standards based on the actual risks, based on science, not based on this pseudoscientific hysteria.
And then we need to have fair pricing policies. That said, you're absolutely right. If there is an existential threat, even nuclear, with what it costs now under the crazy regime that it's under, that it shouldn't be it can actually provide reliable electricity at scale, which solar and wind cannot. Now, I should say, if you there is no way to provide cost effective energy for the world in the next 30 years without fossil fuels, it's just not even remotely possible.
So if you do like depending on what you mean by existential threat, which is a term that's thrown around very haphazardly, like if you actually need to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions, then you basically need to make the whole world Venezuela or worse like that, I believe is the reality of energy going forward. But if you want to if you want to think of it in terms of I want to minimize emissions in the most humane way possible, you would immediately be going for nuclear.
And very revealingly, the anti CO2 movement, it largely overlaps with the anti-nuclear movement there, usually even more hostile to nuclear than they are to other things. So you have people like Bill McKibben, Paul Erlich, Amory Lovins, they're they're like rabidly anti-nuclear on principle, like any kind of nuclear. And they do by demonizing and criminalizing it for five decades. They've set it back. In the 70s, it was producing relatively cheap power. It was expected to grow and they've stopped it.
Imaginative had grown back then. It could have then moved into industrial heat. It could have potentially moved it to transportation, nuclear, so dense. So you could have innovators, you know, coming up with transportation machines in their garage. But instead it was demonized and criminalized by I think you called them the pseudo environmentalists. And I think of them as the anti impact movement. What they're really about is human impact on the earth is immoral and it's inevitably going to kill us.
And what I'm about is human flourishing and productive impact on the Earth. I think we should care about humans living to their fullest potential. And that means we have to impact the Earth a lot, but intelligently and productively. And I think that what you raise with nuclear raises the fundamental divide. The people who are against nuclear and claim to care about CO2, they don't care about CO2 because they really think it's going to hurt human beings so badly. They just think it's inherently wrong for us to put more CO2 in the atmosphere.
But they also think it's wrong to build buildings and drive cars and impact the world in those ways. That's why they're against everything, right?
It's very religious. And I was I almost mean that literally, because there's sort of this worship of Mother Earth.
I mean it literally. Yeah. I mean, I guess it really is. It's like Gaia and Mother Earth. I mean, it's like I'm not just saying that, you know, flippantly, it's it has become a strange religion. And look and I think you and I both and a lot of people who support the fossil fuel industry also see a great benefit to reducing carbon emissions. And it's painfully obvious that nuclear has to be a big part of that.
You know, on the Energy and Commerce Committee. And last week we were debating this and I was very surprised by the hostility towards nuclear, even though the Democrat Party has moved a little bit more towards nuclear. They put it on their platform. You know, I can find some Democrats to get on bipartisan legislation that's pro nuclear for the most part. Their immediate question is, oh, well, you know what, then raise your hand if you're willing to store nuclear waste in your state.
I mean, that was literally what the what the chairwoman of the subcommittee on Environment said. And I was like, okay, I feel like it's a football field.
Like, what are you talking about? This isn't a big deal. Some metal rods that you put underground like this isn't this is not some green. Coming out of the out of the ground, like it's just you have you have this totally the Hollywood esque idea of what of what a nuclear waste is. It's just it's perfectly safe. But it's got it's it's it's frustrating and ridiculous. I want to play just because, again, we're doing hot takes on.
And I don't want and I know you responded in kind of fact check the AOC. So we'll talk about her in just a second. I want to talk I want to play this from Jen Psaki. And it just goes to show the kind of straw man argument being built here and the implications of what she's saying. Jested that renewables caused failures in Texas power grid and actually numerous reports have actually shown the country that it was failures in coal and natural gas that contributed to the state's power shortages.
And officials at Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's power grid, have gone so far as to say that failures in wind and solar were the least significant.
So, again, the implication being that and this is what's troubling and actually dangerous about her, her ignorance and implications here. It's in I think some conservatives also fell into this trap of like, oh, which NRG Energy source do we blame? And again, it's like it's not so much that wind turbines freezing caused an energy shortage because the truth is on a normal day, if wind stops blowing completely on a normal day of demand, we can we can ramp up fossil fuels to meet that demand on a day, another week like this week when demand needs to increase by like 50 percent and the cold screws up some some gas production.
And there's a lot of interesting reasons for that, you know, that are that are very minor. Right. And just because we're not used to the weather, you know, you just you just can't totally you can't totally meet the demand with fossil fuels. But the but the clear implication is that if we just had more renewables, we wouldn't be in a bad spot right now. But that's just a dangerous that's a dangerous lie. Yeah, and that's why I've been really pushing to the extent I have a voice at all telling reporters like ask Biden, what would you do if we just had wind and solar?
Look at the data. Look at what's happened over the past week. These things were totally out to lunch when they were needed most. How could you possibly power a country? How could you heat it? How could you power it? There is no answer. And they're trying to evade that. So, again, there is no possibility this is a failure of fossil fuels. It could only be a failed application of fossil fuels. Again, you know, and I don't think we know fully what happened.
So I want to just keep saying that. But again, we know that fossil fuels can handle much more difficult situations than the sort of call this. A failure of fossil fuels is very deeply, dangerously dishonest. And I want to emphasize what you said. It is so dangerous because we're we're talking about going off this cliff as a national policy. Larry Fink, the most influential man in the financial world, is saying that every company has to be financially responsible.
Explain how it's going to net zero, which is this religious, impossible and genocidal goal that the environmental movement somehow foisted on the financial world. Like we're headed in such a dangerous way and people are. So what we need to learn from this is wind and solar cannot keep us warm and powered when we need them. That is the big lesson. And that's the lesson that is true everywhere. So stop focusing on the failure of certain power plants in one place to demonize the fuels that are keeping everyone warm, including to the extent people are warm and powered in Texas.
You've got to learn the right lessons from this. And that means having the right facts because I mean as to why some of the the the power went down. I mean, we're constantly getting little updates like this. And I'll say from the operator perspective, look, they use electric power to run pumps and compressors to even get the gas out of the ground. And so the electricity went out. And so they don't they don't have it. Some pipelines just aren't rated for these deep freeze conditions.
And so you couldn't move some of the gas.
And in some cases, so there's there's these little reasons every single time. And they basically boil down to we're not used to operating in deep freeze weather. You know, that's really what it comes down to. And, you know, should we be investing to weatherize our our equipment here in Texas to to operate like we're in Canada?
I don't know. It seems like a lot of money to spend on that. AOC said this this one was really infuriating and again, gets to the deep ignorance that these people have.
She told Governor Abbott, Abbott, that he needs to read a book on his own state's energy supplies. She says I'll be prepping Texas relief emails if he needs help. I mean, the snootiness there, the narcissism, the ignorance, it's it's it's appalling. She said in an earlier tweet that you responded to that, that this is why we need a green new deal. The opportunism of people to to jump to conclusions for their own political gain is bad enough.
It happens all the time in politics, though. It's really dangerous here when it when people's lives are at stake. And you would you would actually be running in completely the wrong direction. Because, I mean, the real lesson to learn here is, hey, guys, we might have maxed out how much we should be relying on renewables here in Texas, that that might actually be the lesson. Yeah, I mean, the lesson is we maxed out when we started subsidizing and mandating them under Perry and everyone else should never have done this at all.
And again, if you if you're interested in reliability, then you can pursue nuclear. But just this unreliable. It's just a game that people are playing that every extent you play it as bad and then you just get caught with a Aoki's look. Another perspective is we did see that the Green New Deal, ah, we saw 50 percent of the way there. So let's say 50 percent of the capacity went off.
I don't think it was quite that much. But OK, they want one hundred percent reduction in fossil fuels. So they want to leave us with the wind and the solar as all that we have. And the point is, even if we had 10 times as much, everyone would still be cold and in the dark. So this is the green new deal, she said. This is what happens when you don't have a green new deal. No, everywhere else that was warm and powered did not have a greener deal.
Texas normally doesn't have a green new deal, but they had half a green new deal.
And there, as you said, I think, as you said before, like people are going to their freaking pool to get water to do God knows what with what we're putting in our toilets.
That's that's what I was doing with it.
Just to be clear that it was OK. But I thought people were kind of filter it somehow or boil it or.
Yeah, well, close with it ourselves. We could get to that point. I think. I'm hoping electricity will be back soon and water will be back on soon. We won't have to do that. That's, you know, hey, you don't realize how much you need it until until you don't have it.
Hey. So I don't want to. So I think we've beaten that dead horse pretty pretty well, which was the goal here, people. And I want people to understand the details of this stuff. A one thing I want to add, one of the reasons a lot of natural gas plants were down was because they were scheduled to be down. This is the time of year that we don't think we need a whole lot of energy because we're not running air conditioning units.
Usually, I wouldn't have anything on in this time of year because it's like in the 60s or 70s. So that was another reason. But I did want to ask you, you know, the title of your book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. So, you know, generally speaking, what is the moral case for fossil fuels?
So, I mean, the moral case for fossil fuels is that if you care about human flourishing, so that means eight billion people around the world being able to live and thrive to their highest potential, then the world needs more fossil fuels, not less. Now, actually, as we're going through this whole thing, I'm actually completing the manuscript of the new book, which is tentatively called Fossil Future Why Human Flourishing Requires More Fossil Fuels, Not less. And that's more about the future.
And just looking at the next couple of generations, what's the evidence? And I conclude even more so actually, that we still need way more fossil fuels in the world.
And so the methodology behind the book is two things, basically. One is we're looking at the world from a human flourishing perspective. So I disagree with the green religion that says that the best earth is the one that humans have no impact on. I disagree with that. I think the best earth is the one that human beings can flourish on. And that means we intelligently, productively impact it so that we can enjoy the rest of nature. But we have a good relationship with it where it actually benefits us.
And that means building lots of things and producing lots of things. And so I think of all of that as good, good for human beings, good for our human environment. And so that's one thing as I look at the planet from in the world from human perspective, and I think we're taught to look at it from an anti impact, anti human impact perspective, which is a really anti human perspective. And then the other thing is I'm very big on looking at benefits and side effects very carefully.
So if you're looking at an antibiotic, you need to look at both the benefits and the side effects and you need to weigh them with precision. What I noticed about fossil fuels is people only look for negative side effects and they tend to wildly overstate them and they ignore the enormous unique benefits. And with solar and wind, it's the opposite. They only look for benefits and they ignore negative side effects. And so my methodology is to look at now what's the full impact of all of these different options?
And I think if you look at the full impact, you come to two conclusions. One is that the uniquely cost effective energy, so that means low cost, reliable, versatile global scale for billions of people and thousands of places. One is that the value of that is so much greater than you think. Energy basically allows us to go from a manual labor civilization where we're poor and in danger all the time to a machine labor civilization where we have abundance and safety.
So that's one thing. And the other thing is when you look at the climate issue of rising CO2 levels, when you really look at that with precision from a pro human perspective, what I think you find is that we are having a warming impact on climate, but it is nothing resembling catastrophic, in part because it's smaller than people think, but more importantly, because the energy we get from fossil fuels allows us to master climate. And one statistic I've I've popularized or publicized is that climate related deaths are down by 98 percent over the last century.
You have people like John Holdren, President Obama's science adviser, who who predicted a billion climate related death by 2020. But in fact, we've had plummeting climate related deaths to the thousands or tens of thousands of a year. So we're at the point where climate disasters are a trivial cause of death, whereas in the 30s, you had years where adjusted for population, they'd kill 10 million people in the world. So I think of it as climate is actually something that fossil fuels are making better.
It's not that they have no impact on it, but their overall impact on how safe we are from climate is positive. And so that means there's no reason whatsoever to stop using fossil fuels. You can and should look for lower emissions alternatives, but there is no moral justification for holding us back or holding back the billions of people who have very little energy.
Yeah. And, you know, like we're going to Robert Bryce on here in a few minutes and he talks about energy, justice, because the left likes to talk about environmental justice. But you also have to talk about energy, justice. And, you know, people just don't know.
The reality is that people do not know why they have stuff. And we need to teach that kind of thing in school a little bit more like what? I always love it with North Face and Patagonia or Virtue signalling against oil and gas. And I'm like, you guys literally make synthetic materials from petrochemical processes, like you need oil for everything, everything that is plastic. The fact that we the fact that we're surviving water outages is because we can put water in plastic jugs and go buy it at the supermarket.
And the fact that it's even in abundant supply at the supermarket is because of the capitalist society that so many people hate. You know, it doesn't mean everything is perfect. It doesn't mean that we always do really, really well every time there's an extreme event, you know, but we are doing a hell of a lot better than than humans did a hundred years ago, like you said. I mean, climate related deaths down 98 percent. That's crazy.
That's a lot. The other I always like to not everybody listens to every single podcast I do. You should if you're listening now, I don't know why you wouldn't. And give them five stars. But one one can of debunk. I always myth bust. I always like to throw out their. Is the the costs of climate change now there is costs again, climate change is real, there are costs to it, humans cause it got it.
But we have to be more honest about those costs.
And it turns out that when you when you really look at the data and how they how they measure this out there, most of the cost is human cost, meaning human deaths from weather, which is certainly a cost.
Now, economists attach a certain monetary unit to that cost or they attach a financial cost to every human life. It's the statistical cost of a human life.
The thing is, is what they're assuming is that, say, in one hundred years, Philadelphia will be hotter and look like Houston, OK? And then they'll be 50 times more heat deaths in Philadelphia than there otherwise would be.
But of course, this isn't true because we don't even have those heat deaths in Houston. So you can't convince me that in 100 years, Philadelphia will all of a sudden have heat deaths that they cannot adapt to with simple air conditioning and, you know, modern lifestyles the way we already do in a place like Houston or even Africa. So, like, once you once you realize how they're analyzing this, you realize that it's completely bonkers and that the costs are just nowhere near what they what they say they are.
There are costs, but it's not what they say they're. Yeah, the way the way I think of that, it actually if if people are interested in the data center, we're throwing around statistics. Recently, I put up a website called Energy Talking Points dot com. And there's all this data about climate and everything else there, including the Texas stuff. So if you want to just check everything out, I'm saying go to energy talking points dot com.
I agree totally about it's often called the adaptation point. I think of it as the mastery point because I think it's actually too mild to talk about us adapting to climate. We mask your climate. And one fun perspective is even what form of climate is dangerous depends on your level of mastery. So you take like a normal snowstorm. A hundred years ago, 200 years ago, certainly that would be really bad everywhere.
Now it's like, oh, I get to go to Utah. Oh, I got to go to Mammoth. I got to go to Big Bear. Right. So you actually turn a liability into an asset and the greater your level of mastery, the more you can work with the forces of nature that were once negative and make them positive. So the truth is, and I've been doing this research and thinking about fossil future like it is really hard to think of a climate related consequence that would actually be a problem for human beings.
I've only been able to think of three and they're both they're all far fetched. One would be just a continuous acceleration in temperatures. Now, we have really low temperatures now in terms of the history of life on this earth. We're twenty five degrees Fahrenheit below the high that existed for a long time. And it had different levels of CO2, including more than ten times as much CO2. So we have no idea how to get where we used to be in terms of CO2.
So we have no idea how to get even if CO2 drove temperature in order to get there. But even that like over 100, 200 years like that wouldn't actually. But if we if you just increase the actual earth as a fireball. Sure. But if you look at the greenhouse effect, no climate scientist claims this is even possible. Again, we've had ten times the CO2, which is more than we know how to create ourselves. And the Earth was, you know, it was warmer or not so warm.
So there's that whole thing. And then you think about storms, like if storms get five times more frequent, I mean, there's no evidence of this whatsoever. We don't have any storm trend at all. But even if they're five times more frequent, that wouldn't be that big a problem for a more capable population. What would be a problem maybe is the storms are two or three times more powerful, like they're all these devil storms. But this is all fantasy.
There's nothing like that. And the other thing would be sea level rises of multiple feet per decade. Like if you had that.
Yeah, you have a lot of infrastructure near the coast. That would be a real problem. And Al Gore makes you think, oh, yeah, twenty feet. It's going to happen in a couple of decades. But if you look at UN projections, what they'll say is, yeah, if you keep using fossil fuels, it's going to be three feet by twenty one hundred. And if you don't, it's going to be one and a half feet.
And like one, Bjorn Lomborg points out, one hundred million people in the world already live underwater as if they live below sea level. So the fact is, if you don't have this primitive religion of anti impacter what they call environmentalism, but it's really anti the human. And if you don't have that, you realize in an advanced society, we are masters of climate and we should look at our different climate impacts, we should deal with them. But it just there is no reality to the idea that if we're having an impact on climate, it must be a disaster.
That is a health narrative. It's basically saying you violated the commandment, thou shalt not impact the planet. Thou shalt not put CO2 in the atmosphere, and then the Mother Nature is going to punish you. But this is not there's just no reality. What's actually happening is we're putting CO2 in the atmosphere, probably has some good consequences, some bad consequences. But the main thing is the energy is making our lives good. And you asked about what you didn't ask.
We said we don't know where things come from. In one word, they come from machines. Things come from machines. The reason we have a lot of stuff is because we have machines producing value for us. They can produce way more than we can and they can produce a lot of stuff. We can't like providing an environment for a baby in an incubator. The reason we have a good life is because machines produce way more value than we can ourselves.
And the only reason we have machines is because we have machine food and machine food is energy. And the lower cost the machine food is, the more machine labor you can have, the better life. So that's the simple formula for a good world. Low cost energy, low cost machine labor, prosperity globally.
It's a good place to end and it's a good reason that there is a moral case for for reliable energy, which just happens to be fossil fuels, whether we like it or not. Nuclear. I know again, like, you know, guys like us, we're like we're pro cleaner emissions, pro cleaner emissions. I think it's a good, good thing to aspire to. But I'm also pro human flesh and human development and I'm anti-poverty. So, you know, everything is a balance.
Well, I appreciate you being on helping us kind of correct the record on what's going on and, you know, wish us well here in Texas. Yeah, well, I'm glad you're doing this and please take the lead and drawing the right lessons from this and moving us toward a future where there's more real energy freedom, not this ridiculous phony market that rewards unreliability and punishes reliability, which is the root cause, rewarding unreliability, punishing reliability. If we didn't have that, we'd go back to having a stable, reliable, low cost grid.
Thanks a lot.
Thanks, Alex. All right. All right.
So that was Alex Epstein, everyone. And now we have Robert Bryce, another expert on electrical grids and everything, energy. Robert, thanks for being back on because you were just on like five minutes ago, my last podcast that we just published. I think it was yes, it was Valentine's Day, I'm just getting me here, adjusting my audio here so we can hear you. I can hear you there. We. And now I'm better off.
OK, thank you. I just had to tweak my settings here. OK, thank you.
Yes, I was on a few well we recorded a couple weeks ago and I think it aired three days ago. And now we're in the middle of a blackout. You know, blizzard. Blackout. It's a mess, right? A genuine mess.
And I listen to our conversation, too, because I don't want to repeat anything that we already did. I also, in the meantime, watched your documentary Juice. It was really good. It was really good. I think everybody should watch it. You'll you'll learn a lot, understand where energy comes from, what works and what doesn't, why we have energy problems around the world. And the reason I'm doing this podcast and I just had this conversation with Alex and, you know, we've gotten to do a fair amount of detail on why this happened.
And it's important to note that because the first thing everybody does is rush to blame their political enemies and, you know, use this as an opportunity to push an agenda. You've got AOC saying this is why you need a green new deal. You've got all everybody on the left saying something similar. And these are very stupid takes. And I'm used to those stupid takes. But this is dangerous because it's it's frankly, the opposite is true. You know, we've been subsidizing unreliable source of sources of energy for a long time, which has caused a divestment in, say, natural gas and nuclear.
And this is this is why we are where we are. And one thing I wanted to really talk to you about was, you know, again, we will, of course, start with your general take on, you know, explaining what's going on here. But also, you know, help us understand how earth works, how electrons flow. Sherpa's, the cost of these of these policies and you know what's really going on here.
But I'll let you take it. To the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is actually based in Taylor, I've been to their operations center, they you know, it's pretty impressive, but they manage almost all of Texas is within our court. And then it is a regional transmission organization like the Southwest Power Pool or Michaux or PJM or the New York ISO or ISO New England. So each of these regional transmission organizations have a mark of they they set policy for those for those regions, but they're not required.
They're part of their portfolio isn't to assure reliability.
So let me a couple of just the electric reliability.
And I know the Electric Reliability Council of Texas hasn't been able to assure reliability and why? Well, I just did a podcast and just put it out with Meredith Angwin, who's just brilliant woman, who's written a great book called Shorting the Grid. And she said, well, why did it happen? It is because it's grid mismanagement. That was her exact words. I just put this on Twitter a few minutes ago. Grid mismanagement. And why? Because the rules under which the grid is operating aren't set up to assure reliability.
So that, in short, is what happened.
The broader point, Dan and I know everybody was saying, do an autopsy and the autopsy on this is going to be bloody. It's going to be gruesome. It's going to show some of the points that you made, which is we're overinvesting in wind and under investing and things that are reliable. OK, full stop, including power plants that have fuel on site, which is one of Meredith's key points, which we can talk about later.
So nuclear power plants like. Well, and nuclear don't make that point, too, because what we see already in the results now and part of the post-mortem, the blackout isn't over yet. Nuclear perform better than anything else. Well, duh. Tylo And yet here nationwide, we're going to close two nuclear plants in Illinois this year. Excellent. And Entergy is going to close Indian Point Unit three. Makes no sense at all. None whatsoever. If we're serious about decarbonisation or grid stability.
Anyway, zoom out for just a second to two days ago, I put a piece on Forbes. It's now had over three hundred thousand hits, far more than any I've ever published. And the headline is, this is the blizzard.
This blizzard exposes the perils of the the electrify everything movement. Now, that's happening now.
I mean, just the other day was two or three weeks ago, de Blasio and the mayor of New York said we're going to completely quit using all fossil fuels. My point is this. What this blizzard shows is the essentiality, the I'm sorry, the absolutely critical importance for resilience of the natural gas grid in America. The gas grid is the difference between people freezing to death truly and surviving the winter. And the gas grid during these times of extreme cold is supplying three times as much energy to people in their homes as it supplied during the peaks in the summer for air conditioning.
So this ability to provide heating is absolutely essential and it's being overlooked and in fact completely discarded in terms of the broad concept of energy security. My last point, what's the most fundamental point about energy security?
It's making sure we don't freeze to death in the winter. And gas is a key part of that. And this idea that is the in the vanguard of all the environmental groups and climate activist in America, we're going to completely shut down the hydrocarbon networks and only rely on electricity.
It's a very dangerous and this blizzard shows that it's a dangerous idea that undermines our energy security at a very basic level.
I want to talk about it. And that was I up my soapbox. I just went off on that one there. That started me just out of it.
It is it is all hot and bothered because we haven't had water or heat for a few days now. So I got it. You got to do it.
You got to do so. And we definitely hit a lot of those points. I want to talk to you, too, about the specifics about air in particular. You know, it was a good call with air court yesterday. And the question was, a lot of people are saying this proves that entered that Texas can't be independent. You can have your own energy grid. A lot of people don't realize air means we have our own energy grid. This is this is unique in America.
And there might be pros and cons associated with that. But this but this certainly isn't proof that it doesn't work, because the reality is, is those power failures were happening at energy grids next to us as well. So it's not like we could have imported more energy like like some people or so.
I mean, we're right. The same crisis is happening in Oklahoma. In fact, it's ongoing now at this hour even that there's not enough gas. And some of the you know, the gas fields in Oklahoma just froze. I mean, there's no there's no getting around that. So this idea oh, if we just had an interconnect with other grids, it'd be it'd be better.
It's kind of funny because it just occurs to me, well, now California is saying, oh, we have to tighten their grids because our greatest is messed up.
Now, the Texas grid does it. It's imbalanced. And the idea that overall only we could connect. Other good, subtlely, it could all be solved. No, just not that doesn't that doesn't to mix my electric and water metaphors doesn't carry water.
So when you when you visited Ellacott, one of the questions I'll have for them as we as we do the the after action report on this is why are we prioritizing buying electrons from wind at the expense of is sometimes making nuclear energy actually unprofitable. So sometimes these nuclear plants operate at a loss. Natural gas plants don't operate as much of a loss because they do have the ability to ramp up and down. But that also makes them less energy efficient and less able to give that real hard baseload energy that we need in times like this.
So, again, when I tell people is it's it's not everybody was like pointing to pictures of frozen wind turbines and saying, like, see, it was the wind and it was like kind of true, right?
Because if we lost all wind on a normal day, it's not that big of a deal. We we we we have other sources to make up for. And that happens all the time. By the way. Now, on average, you might get about 18 percent from wind, but sometimes you get nothing and sometimes you get more than 18 percent. So but that's you know, you're designing an entire grid around that. And it's like why you made that and this and this and this.
And this is one of the key points that and I'm going to cite Meredith Angwin on this because she's written a book on it. It's really we were just discussing this very thing. But you look at it. Sixty three percent. Twenty three percent of our electricity in Texas comes from wind, 40 percent from natural gas. Sixty three percent comes from two sources that are having inherent limitations in terms of their intermittency. We're relying on just in time natural gas and of course, just in time or intermittent solar and wind.
So the combination of those two things and then only the shrinking portion from coal, when a shrinking portion from nuclear, Meredith is saying, look, remember just a few years ago, Rick Perry was saying we need to incentivize plants that have fuel on site.
And that was one of the points that she made. If we're going to be serious about energy security, that ability to store fuel is critical. And, you know, I think she makes a really valid point. And further that the idea of we'll just build batteries and therefore we'll have solar and wind and storage will you can't build batteries that are long enough to last for now, in my case. Forty five hours for, you know, 60 hours for 72 hours.
I mean, the material in which the copper, all these other things, it just makes it impractical. And batteries don't like the cold. So that gets us back down to this ideal idea about combustion and the use of natural gas directly in homes. And I'm going to stay on this for just one more minute. In Seattle, just recently passed a ban on new natural gas in new in new buildings. There are 12 communities in Massachusetts that are now pushing for bans on natural gas.
In California, over 40 communities have banned natural gas.
This is this this move to to shut down the natural gas grid undermines energy security at a personal level. And yet this is the vanguard of the climate action on the left. And I mean, it's just it's just the facts of the matter. And nobody wants to talk about that part of it. But I think it's critical.
Yeah, it's as Alec I like the way he puts it. He says, you know, we're we're punishing reliables and rewarding unreliably. And that's exactly what's happening. And this has this has effects.
And and they sort of the left is really good at at presenting this narrative of how these renewable energy sources are now so good at competing with oil and gas. But it's just not true, you know, that they leave out that they get massive subsidies. I mean, I think that I think it can I think wind can operate it like negative twenty three dollars per per megawatt hour or something like that and and still break even when they can.
They can they can bid negative pricing into the market because they're getting that federal tax incentive. And I think one other point that's clear here is that will you get what you pay for?
So a few weeks ago in Forbes, I published a piece in which I just looked at federal tax incentives using a Congressional Research Service report and normalize it got the same common denominator broken down into exigence produced per year. This federal tax incentives today for solar. Two hundred and fifty times those for nuclear, the wind subsidies, the wind tax incentives, federal tax incentives for wind are 160 times roughly greater than those given for nuclear. So that the punch line is here.
We've been tinkering around the edges of the electric grid, which is our most important network. It's the mother network. It's the network upon which all of our modern networks depend GPS, our lights, our navigation, our traffic lights, all of them depend on the grid. And we've been tinkering with it with these intermittent sources without understanding what that means for the overall system and the stability and the security of it and and building in resilience and thinking about that from the beginning instead of just lavishing.
Subsidies and carve outs and transmission for favored classes of energy. OK, so maybe I'm trying to get into too much detail, but I really want to figure this out for Furkat.
Like, again, do you have an idea who makes the decision on what we're going to design our electrical electrical grid literally around wind input.
And in fact, it's not exactly it's not it's not exactly the way it works or works in an energy only market. So some other autos have what's called a capacity market. So they average load is a thousand. Well, let's just say a thousand gigawatt. Maybe a gigawatt. You have a gigawatt of load. Will you need at least a gigawatt of generation to cover that. But you also need reserve. You need about a 15 percent buffer on top of that for wind plants go down when scheduled maintenance, all these other things, you need 15 percent.
On top of that, her account was running on a much lower reserve in the single digits. And further, they were running an energy only market in which they weren't paying generators to just have capacity available. In other words, ready. And that are the RTA will make sure that there's essentially given a subsidy. It's a capacity payment to make sure that generation is available well, or doesn't have that. They have this they have this energy only market in which they'll allow then peaking plants to come in when times of during times of high demand and make very large numbers in terms of be rewarded with very high prices of up to nine thousand dollars a megawatt hour.
The problem is you can't finance new gas plants to come in in such a market that doesn't allow the lender to understand it, to be sure that they're going to get a return on their capital. So it's too much risk for the lenders and too much risk for the for the gas fired generators because they don't want to buy firm capacity on pipelines if they don't aren't assured that they're going to use it.
So it's it's a it's a it's a flawed way the market is working and that it's not it's not, as Meredith points out, not built for resilience. Instead, it's energy only. Well, that can lead to chaos. And we're seeing that now.
Yeah. And so the reason they don't they're not they're not guaranteed to use it is because. But but wind is guaranteed to use it like that.
When you first dispatch, they get first dispatch in the market. So it's a priority in terms of tax policy and also in terms of how the market works, in terms of accepting those electrons. So it's a multifaceted, incredibly complex system. And I think that's the other part to understand your is, again, if you don't mind, I know you want to drill down on Urca. I know a little you know, I'm conversant in it. I'm not going to profess to be an expert, but I think if we zoom back and say, OK, what's the Biden administration saying?
They're saying we want to decarbonise the entire electric grid in America in 15 years. Well, that's especially impactful in Texas because we have America as one of the most diffused ownership systems of any grid in the world. We have over 3000 different electricity providers in America, government sponsored entities, TVA, you know, Bonneville Power, we have the investor owned utilities. Excellent. Do you have the public power, at least Austin Energy and New Braunfels unit utilities.
And then you have co-ops. Nine hundred. And there I'm pretty sure they're more electric cooperatives in Texas than any other state. So the ramifications of trying to make this grid in the United States work together want it so smart that it does. But second, that Biden wants to mandate the end to all coal and all gas in the U.S. electric grid to do so. And for 15 years now after the blizzard, I mean, the rubber is really hitting the road here when it comes to the grid very early in the by the administration to see or are they serious about this?
Because if they are electric, prices are going to go crazy. It's not going to be reliable. I mean, I just don't see how it can possibly be done in the wake of this what it is a catastrophe.
So, yeah, it's interesting, I want to read some of going to let you react to this as it's sort of happening. Marianne Williamson, I'm not sure why anyone cares what she thinks.
I mean, I know she ran for president, but she knows nothing about Texas energy. She goes Texas energy grid has been a quintessential example of privatization and deregulation at the expense of public investment and concern for the common good. Now that it's caused calamity, the good ol boys behind it are deflecting, lying and spinning to avoid responsibility. You know, so this is there's been a couple of takes here. Go ahead. I think I think she makes a good point.
And it's something and in fact, I've heard from several people in the last few days is that, well, who benefited from deregulation? And that's one of the issues that Meredith, again, to refer to Meredith's work on this, we'll remember in the old integrated utility days, if the lights went out, you know, who was responsible now in the deregulated area? Not so much so that the idea of the grid as the common good, as the common network that we all have to make sure we support that that responsibility was lost in the deregulation.
So I think she I think she has a different intention then. But but I like where you're going to keep the. Well, I mean, you look at some of these, you have it in your districts in Houston, I'm in Austin, I can't pick electric provider, I have Austin Energy. But you and other people in your in your neighborhood, you can say, oh, well, I'll go with this one, this electric provider. Well, they don't actually own any assets.
They're just going to you know, it's it's there's a system that's been created that's become super complicated with no chain of accountability for the ultimately for the customer about reliability. And I think that that is one of the things that's going to emerge in the wake of this blackout is will, how do we make sure why do we fumbled the ball so badly on reliability? Second, why are we spending? I think and I think this is a key question.
I'm sure Alex was stressing this. Why are we spending tens of billions of dollars to accommodate wind when it can't deliver power, when power is dear run? That's one of the key points.
So these other gas generators are expected to provide that power when power is dear, but they may simply not be able to do it because they haven't been given the financial incentives to do so.
Yeah, it's like, what do you mean by deregulation? It's not like we have a deregulated market. It's not like we have a free market in Texas.
And the electrical grid, I mean, it's not we don't have we don't have furch federal control over it because it's on it. We deliberately have our own grid. But, you know, it's not clear to me that we have this sort of runaway profiteering, deregulation going on, which is what Marianne Williamson was implying. You're saying something different, but.
Well, I'm not sure that I am I can look at what's happening in Texas, where you have wind developers can come in and say, well, I'm going to do this project and their private power, you know, independent power producers, well, they can set up a wind project and then get a power purchase agreement from Amazon and put it out there and everything. Wait a minute. That is Amazon's not using that electricity there. So actually, Texas is in many anomalous in terms of the rest of the United States with regard we have our own grid.
We don't we don't have any interstate transmission to speak of. So that allowed the cruise lines to be built, which, again, if we want to talk about subsidies, remember, those were implemented about five years, eight years ago, something like that.
Will every ratepayer in the state pays for those cruise lines. That's a direct subsidy to the wind companies. So, again, the system has been skewed toward, frankly, I think, decarbonisation at the expense of reliability. Yeah, well, that's definitely true. Yeah, that's an interesting take. I still think she means something totally different than you mean. We'd have to get more details from her.
But because just because I keep seeing that on the I keep seeing that narrative. Right. Play out all the time.
I like the way you you interpret that. And that's that that's interesting. I mean, a lot of people just don't understand where their energy comes.
Any other any other takes you have there besides Marianne Williamson? I mean, it's there is there there's not nothing against her. But but I think one of the things that I'll just bring up one other point, if you don't mind.
It's the people who are the you know, the renewable promoters saying, well, it's not the fault of wind and solar. OK, well, but there's a lot of money behind those that sector, a lot of money. And and the reality is that wind in fact, it provides a lot of electrons when power is not when power demand is low, but when it's power, demand is high. It doesn't. So therein lies one of the key problems to say, oh, well, it's not us, blame them.
Well, it's the buck has to stop somewhere. And all the money and focus has been on the decarbonisation part and not the reliability part.
So do you have any stats or just ballpark figures on, you know, investment in these unreliable in Texas versus going to divestment and more reliable energy sources like gas and nuclear? And have you studied that now?
I can't quote those numbers. I, I wouldn't take a dare. I've seen some and I know that the numbers are quite large. I can say that the the the extension of the production tax credit and investment tax credit, which we talked about when I was on your show before, that this is you know, we're talking tens of billions of dollars by the end of the decade. I think the total is going to be for the production tax credit between two thousand nine and I'm sorry, twenty, twenty and twenty twenty nine.
Something on the order of twenty five billion dollars. These are big numbers.
How you know, one thing, as I listen to our last podcast, one thing I wanted to dive into more and get get your take on because I don't think we quite hit. It was, you know, the look, we we subsidize renewables to an extraordinary degree via tax credits, but also, you know, to put solar panels on your house. And and, you know, that's fine if you can afford the thousands of dollars it takes to put them on your house.
But you are being subsidized. And certainly a low income person couldn't afford it even if it was subsidized. How does this affect the the the overall pricing on a grid? You know, why is California have electricity prices that are growing six times faster than the rest of the country? OK, those are two separate questions and it's fairly complicated, but I'll dive into the rooftop thing first because I have rooftop solar. OK, I'm in I'm in central Austin.
I have eight and a half kilowatts. And in fact, I put something on Twitter a little bit ago that they're now producing. I take 30 watts out of eighty five hundred watts of capacity there. They're still covered with snow. Right. So they're not much value at the moment.
But I then pay I buy fewer watt hours because I don't get a bill six months of the year from Austin Energy for my electricity use. I'm buying fewer watt hours per year per month from Austin Energy. Therefore, Austin Energy has to spread the cost of all its poles and wires, all of its generators, over fewer watt hours that it is getting paid for from other customers. So in other words, the barista at Starbucks or the teacher across the street from my house, they're slightly subsidizing my solar panels.
Well, the problem in California that's emerging and I wrote a piece about a lot of the regressive policies in California, but this is a key one. And and one of the officials from the public advocate's office, when I talk to them about about what was going on up there, said, yeah, this is a real problem because California has electric rates are skyrocketing. They're going to go yet higher because of the fires and because of reliability issues and the closure of Diablo Canyon, by the way, which is supposed to happen in four years.
But if the higher their rates go, the more people are going to put solar panels on their roofs because they realize they can get a quick return on their money. And it makes good economic sense. And the more people put solar panels, the more they have to socialize the costs. And the more you socialize the costs, more people put on. So it's become a vicious cycle in California. Their utility system out there is I mean, it's it's it's a catastrophic mess.
I mean, just unbelievable how how how the number of problems the utilities in California are facing now.
Yeah. And I think that's accurate. I've been talking for a while and I think we've hit a lot of the points. Anything any anything else that Robert. I just think, again, this what is going to happen, I think in the next few weeks after the grid stabilizes and people are going to look back and realize, I think, a lot of things, which is one that that this idea of America's let's let's lay it out. Low carbon, low cost, abundant, even super abundant, domestically produced natural gas is now fully integrated into the US economy.
We can't do without this fuel. I mean, that's just the reality. Yes, climate change is a concern. It's not the only concern. But I think that, second, the role of natural gas in the electric sector, it's going to be it's going to be here for a very long time that 40 percent of our roughly of our electricity now comes from gas. In fact, what we're what we've seen and this is my final thought, is what we see now is the electric grid in America has become dependent on the domestic oil and gas industry.
So the more the oil and gas industry has crept higher, the price of gas, the higher the price of electricity.
I think a lot of sense. Robert, thanks for being on again, appreciate it. And hopefully stay warm out there and we'll all survive this together. A couple more days now. We're back in the saddle.
Appreciate it. All right.