There’s no Utopia. There’s no Utopian energy.
I have an article I’d like to share with you. The author is Brian Gitt and his article is titled, “Chasing Utopian Energy: How I Wasted 20 Years of My Life.” You’ll find the article here.
Mr. Gitt self-describes as an energy entrepreneur, investor and writer. In his piece he details his career as a clean energy activist and later as CEO of a consulting firm that “commercialized clean energy technologies.”
For the purpose of his article he defines “utopian energy” as energy that is, “abundant, reliable, inexpensive, and also clean, renewable, and life-sustaining.” He details in the article his personal journey that led him to conclude that utopian energy is the same as utopian society – which is to say, a fantasy.
I’m sure Mr. Gitt is a very bright man but I’m going to be so bold as to say that I could have saved him those 20 years. That’s because I came to understand at an early age that there is no energy source anywhere that is environmentally benign.
Let’s take so-called “zero emission” electric vehicles as an example. EVs require very large batteries and those batteries require lithium, a strategic mineral, the market for which is controlled almost totally by China. Lithium requires copious amounts of water to mine in a process that creates enormous environmental damage – not that the Chinese have ever been particularly fastidious when it comes to the environment.
The electricity to charge those batteries comes mostly from burning natural gas or coal to generate heat to boil water to create steam to turn electric generating turbines. Zero emissions? Hardly.
The greenies therefore tout wind and solar power. But they never mention the massive amount of land that must be commandeered for wind farms and the wholesale slaughter of migratory birds that wind farms cause. They never talk about the rare earth materials (again, largely controlled by China) that must be mined and processed to make solar panels. (Never mind that while the need for energy is constant, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.)
Gitt’s article does a good job of deconstructing the mythology of the green energy movement. It concludes with a list of eight principles by which we should evaluate energy policy, the most important of which he lists first.
“Does an energy source enable a country to maintain its autonomy? Controlling access to critical minerals and natural resources to make affordable, reliable energy is a precondition for liberty and self-determination. Relying on energy imports or minerals from other countries puts a nation at risk.”
The Carter administration was apparently of the same mind and thus created the U.S Department of Energy in 19770 for the purpose of achieving “energy independence” following the 1973 Arab oil embargo.
What an irony it is that 45 years later, that same department makes no mention of energy independence at all, and is now promoting policy that merely substitutes batteries from China over oil from the Middle East.