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Expensive Electricity and Blackouts

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What raises electric rates and causes blackouts?  Too many windmills and solar panels.  What causes too many windmills and solar panels?  Federal subsidies.  What’s the latest and biggest perverse federal subsidy?  The “Inflation Reduction Act.”  Why did a Democrat Congress appropriate money for perverse projects?  Aw come on, man.

Did Republicans vote for the perverse projects?  Come on, man.  Seventeen Republican Senators (including one of Mississippi’s) voted for the Inflation Reduction Act.  Does Democrat funding for perverse projects end up in Republican states?  Does one hand wash the other?  Does political water run downhill?  Do energy lobbyists just court Democrats?

What’s the difference between Democrat and Republican subsidies?  Who said: “Tax and tax.  Spend and spend.  Elect and elect.” (Answer: Harry Hopkins, advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt and one of his New Deal architects.)  It was winning politics then.  Still is.  For Democrats and Republicans.  And lobbyists – including lobbyists for wind and solar.  Note there are no energy lobbyists for customers.

What do windmills and solar plants have to do with Mississippi?  Windmills, not so much.  They’re for Texas and Kansas (and Oklahoma) where the wind comes whistling down the plain.  They generate electricity sometimes (intermittently) when the wind whistles just right.  Their intermittency makes electricity more expensive.  And causes blackouts. Why?  How?  That’s what this article is about.

Solar plants have to do with Mississippi.  They generate electricity sometimes too – when the sun shines.  Entergy Mississippi plans to charge customers for over a billion dollars of intermittent solar generating capacity it builds or has others build for it.  The solar plants are a good deal for Entergy because it gets paid for their cost plus a markup.  The more it spends (and third parties spend on its behalf), the more its stockholders make.  But perversely, the more its shareholders make, the higher its customers cost of electricity and the less reliable their service (more interruptions and blackouts).

Does the Mississippi Public Service Commission care?  It’s supposed to protect customers who are subject to Entergy’s service monopoly.  However, two of the three commissioners seem to care more about solar energy promoters.  One used to be one.  Another one is running for Governor.  He opposed Kemper, but not solar although it’s also bad for customers.  Campaign contributions?

Entergy’s solar plants are like Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Lignite Plant.  Kemper’s investment was driven by perverse tax incentives from a Democrat Department of Energy.  It was promoted by a popular Republican Governor.  Its starting price tag was $1.4 billion.  It was finally abandoned when the cost exceeded $7 billion.  Its experimental gasifier didn’t work at all.  The PSC stuck Mississippi Power customers for $800 million of unneeded generating capacity from its remnants anyway.  Customers paid twice – for more capacity than they needed in the first place.

Solar plants don’t work at all most of the time either.  The sun doesn’t shine most of the time.  A recent article by Isaac Orr explained that subsidies incentivize bad energy

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