Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) wanted regulatory reform, in part to reverse some of the Biden Administration’s reversals of Trump-era reforms intended to expedite permits for fossil fuel projects.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) needed Manchin’s vote in the 50-50 Senate to enact his latest spending extravaganza, the Inflation Reduction Act, which was primarily a massive climate and “green” energy subsidy arrangement. It gives Schumer allies some $370 billion in wind, solar, battery, and other funding, tax credits, and subsidies. In exchange, Schumer would offer a path for Manchin’s reform bill.
Related: The Thinnest Veneer of Civilization.
“We talk grandly about the globalized Great Reset. We blindly accept the faddish Green New Deal. We virtue signal about defunding the police. We merely shrug at open borders. And we brag about banning fertilizers and pesticides, outlawing the internal combustion engine, and discounting Armageddon in the nuclear age — as if on autopilot we have already reached utopia. But meanwhile, Westerners are systematically destroying the very elements of our civilization that permitted such fantasies in the first place.”
IT’S GOING TO GET BAD: EU Announces “Emergency Measures” to Ration Energy Across Europe.
EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Expensive New England winter is coming.
New England is approaching what grid officials and utility executives expect to be a very pricey winter for energy consumers and one that risks a shortage of energy during extended periods of extreme cold.
It’s not an unfamiliar forecast for the region, where cold temperatures and natural gas pipeline constraints have a record of driving supply tightness, and thereby driving prices up, during cold winter months. But this year, those pipeline constraints are overlaid by extremely competitive energy markets globally and fuel commodity prices that are already higher than normal going into winter.
That’s led to warnings that $1,000 monthly utility bills could be in order.
At the heart of the challenge are New England’s power generation and residential heating profile. Natural gas accounted for 53% of the region’s power in 2021, while gas is widely used for home heating. In Massachusetts, more than half of households used gas to heat their homes in 2020.
At the same time, interstate pipeline infrastructure “has only expanded incrementally over the last several decades” to supply gas to New England, said ISO New England, the region’s grid operator. “Even as reliance on natural gas for home heating and for power generation has grown significantly.”
As Moe Lane wrote in 2015: New England to Shiver from the Lack of Those Natural Gas Pipelines the Democrats So Hate:
Political stances have consequences: “Natural gas is so abundant and cheap in much of the U.S. that producers want to export it overseas. Except in New England, where gas is so hard to get that companies are importing it from as far away as Yemen.” In this particular case, the stance was we do not want any of those dirty, dirty fossil fuel pipelines in our backyards; and the consequences are soaring natural gas prices (2/3rds higher than the rest of the country) according to the WSJ, with the price probably continuing to skyrocket because of increased demand from consumers and what may be a really, really cold winter*. There’s also apparently the consequence that New England air pollution levels have been rising in the last year due to the need to burn stuff that’s less efficient than natural gas, but that’s a whole different issue**.
…Well. Loathe as I am to see a bunch of Americans pay through the nose for electric – and more importantly, heat – many, many people are going to not-really-nicely note that New Englanders have largely brought this fate down upon themselves by voting in Democrats. And it’s true! New Englanders did, and they have.
But who could have seen this coming? Actually lots of people – including Nick Schulz, my editor back in the day at Tech Central Station, who warned:
For example, energy market analysts predict this winter will see steep rises in home heating bills as the demand for natural gas grows and supply remains tight. And yet, for years politicians have known of the need to bolster supply and yet obstructed efforts to help do so.
Consider the Bay State, where politicians are considering energy price controls. Massachusetts Sens. Kerry and Kennedy have opposed siting LNG terminals in their region. They also recently voted against an energy bill that would help get more natural gas to market. The Bay State political class has been blocking the surest way to decrease energy costs for their constituents by opposing measures to ease supply. And now it wants price controls? This makes no sense.
In the past 30 years, most people have learned critical lessons. The knee-jerk reaction of capping prices is seen as deeply imprudent by nearly every serious economist and by most political leaders. The basics of free-market dynamics are now pretty well engrained in the culture… but there are holdouts in bell bottoms.
Nick wrote that over 15 years ago — but then, time always stands still on the “Progressive” left.