Energy (in)Dependence

How does one achieve energy independence? The same way we achieve, say, gold independence?

If we produce all the gold we use, does that mean we’re independent? Does that mean we can set the price of energy we want (and not fund bad guys in the ME), vice what the worldwide market decides?

Energy is fungible. There’s absolutely no way, short of taxes and subsidies that grinding corn into gasoline can compete with the marginal cost of delivering the next barrel of oil or coal-produced kilowatt hour – which for those who haven’t looked at the numbers is roughly $2 a barrel in a supertanker and under a penny for the coal-based KWH delivered to the meter at your home. Consider that a buggy-whip was never less expensive than when the automobile entered the mass-market. This is why there is no independent market in alternative energy yet (save if burning neutrons is deregulated allowing it to compete at its native (marginal) cost v. pay-off-everyone cost). Someday we’ll treat nuclear power with the same (lack of) respect that we treat the gasoline in our cars – which, pound for pound yields twice as much energy as our best high-explosive.

And to make these alternatives competitive with fossil fuels, taxes must be collected and regulations enforced world-wide, by military force. We’ll see more babies starved to death on the nightly news because governments could not avoid the temptation corrupt the market in the name of a science that wouldn’t pass the first FDA sniff-test for a new drug’s effectiveness (where double-blind statistics only need apply). The AGW folks would be laughed out of the office.

I was in Egypt after the food riots. The army there is still baking bread and suppressing unrest the countryside. Again, this is because food is fungible just like energy.

If the proponents believe there’s been no effect on prices then suppliers won’t object to removing their subsidy since they expect prices to remain stable (granted they should return to a historical longterm decline that tracks productivity gains and increasing competition).

Well, I do dream.

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