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Musings>The False Religion of Energy Efficiency

This is the High Altar of some people: Everything needs to be ever-more energy-efficient, and anything less is sacrilege. The Greens are big on this and are probably behind the Biden adminstration's current proposals to require heat-pump electric water heaters, condensing gas water heaters, and more stringent standards for several types of appliances.

There is nothing wrong with being efficient except when the cost is so high and the gain is so low that it forces the whole country to spend a fortune on new appliances. And remember the definitions of conservatives and progressives. A conservative is someone who is satisfied with how things are. A progressive is always looking for change and they never say "we've arrived."

Efficiency would have more currency if energy were in short supply, but there is still plenty of gasoline, plenty of coal and natural gas, a fair amount of hydro and nuclear electric power. So why spend oodles to save just a tiny bit? And why not put that energy, if you'll pardon the term, into finding real replacements to fossil fuels? If all the people who are working tirelessly to eliminate fossil fuel worked tirelessly on new, clean energy sources, we might arrive pretty quickly.

But if it all just HAS to be electric, then they should be thinking about how to fortify the grid or decentralize it. When there is just one power source for a whole country, that country is very vulnerable. Anything that takes down the grid, be it sabotage, cyber or military attack, would put the U.S. back in the Stone Age and kill an enormous number of people.

Hydrogen is still out there as a source, but there are issues. But if somebody went whole-hog into solving them, they would get solved. Likewise the EMP issue. And decentralization. What if every house stood alone with a generation source? Or if someone figured out a solution to EMP?

Unfortunately, the age when the country was united behind something like the space program is long past and right now it's divided so badly that if one side says white, the other automatically answers black and vice versa. I've told liberal friends about major stories, and their media never had a word. Likely they could do the same with me.

That leaves it to individuals to solve. See the essay on American Exceptionalism, and hope someone steps up to the plate. -- Randy Schuyler