The purpose of energy

Michael Smith:

Pretty much every invention has been brought to life because it made the human condition better in some way. It is simply impossible to think of all the innovations just since we landed on the moon and not think, “Dang. What would we do without stuff like that?”

Each one of those innovations has been a response from the free market to some demand, some need. No collective mind sitting in a concrete walled office said, “You know what would make life easier for people? Little pieces of colored paper with a light, reusable adhesive strip on them. We’ll just order the Federal Department of Sticky Paper to invent something.”


Post-It notes came about in 1968 when Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, attempted to develop a super-strong adhesive and failed. Miserably. What he did develop was a low strength, reusable adhesive he then tried to get 3M product managers interested in, but couldn’t. Long story short, a colleague named Art Fry picked up on the idea to create a reusable bookmark using Silver’s glue. Still didn’t catch on. It wasn’t until 3M gave free samples to consumers in Boise, Idaho, and 94 percent of those who tried them indicating they would buy the product, the picture changed. Post-It notes then went national after people stuck them to everything and soon, everybody in the US had them in their desks at work and at home.

Silver and 3M didn’t force people to use the products, eventually people figured out they would work better than any current solution – and the products took off.

Their time had come. There was a market for them.

If there had already been something better suited for use, nobody alive today would know what a Post-It note is.

So why hasn’t that same philosophy worked with “green” energy?

The answer to that question is that there already is something better suited to the problem at hand.

They are called fossil fuels. There is nothing that has the high energy density, the lifetime of safety, the abundant and constant supply, the portability, the ease of use, and the relatively low cost of fossil fuels.

The main issue is portability, which gives rise to the question, just what energy need are we trying to solve?

Transportation use of fossil fuels only accounts for 33% of all usage of fossil fuels (data from Statista dot com), the rest goes to residential, commercial, industrial and the rest for generating electricity (over 60% of all electricity is generated using coal or natural gas). The issue for the electricity zealots is the fossil fuels are not only fuels, but they are also the feed stocks, the raw material, for thousands and thousands of products necessary for modern life. From fertilizer to plastics to medicine, things are made from fossil fuels.

Electricity cannot match that usefulness.

Electricity is not a prime resource, unlike fossil fuels, it must be manufactured.

But beyond the inability to compete, no matter how many of the technical issues that exist today are improved, the transportation economy based on electricity will always carry significant limitations a fossil fueled economy never will.

So-called “renewable” energy sources simply cannot compete with all the advantages of fossil fuels, so rather than the people discovering a need for them (thereby creating a demand), government is forcing the market to accept them through a variety of carrot and stick approaches. Forcing Obamacare into the insurance market did not meet any of its stated goals, just the opposite – while it did subsidize people in the lower brackets, it disrupted the insurance industry, raised premiums and deductibles, and generally made insurance more expensive for everyone.

The real story of Obamacare is that there are just as many uninsured today (adjusted for population increases) as there were when Obamacare was fully implemented, only now it is more expensive.

That is what happens when something the market doesn’t want or need is forced on it by government.

If the so-called “Greens” truly wanted a win, nuclear power could eliminate every coal and natural gas fired power plant – but they don’t want a win, they just want to fight.

The “climate wars” are now a moral crusade. The environment has taken a back seat.

The reason Post-It notes succeeded is that there was a market for them. The reason so much of the “green economy” isn’t successful is the opposite – there is no market for a product that only works part of the time, can be shut off at will and cannot be used as a raw material.
The Green economy is just the next Obamacare.

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