The Answer is Blowin in the Wind
image credit: https://www.nobelprize.org/images/dylan-13656-portrait-mini-2x.jpg
- Sep 20, 2019 4:44 pm GMT
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The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 was awarded to the author of this very famous song, Mr. Bob Dylan. It’s an introspective song that asks people to consider their own part in the world around us by pointing to some very obvious items that seem to go unnoticed, like the very sky above us. I share Bob’s admiration for another famous Irish folk singer, Liam Clancy, who also admired Bob Dylan’s early accomplishments. Here’s Liam in his own words: ““People who were trying to escape repressed backgrounds, like mine and Bob Dylan’s, were congregating in Greenwich Village,” he said. “It was a place you could be yourself, where you could get away from the directives of the people who went before you, people who you loved but who you knew had blinkers on.”
You’re probably wondering, what does this have to do with Energy, Brooks? Well, a whole lot, in my opinion. Well, the latest FERC NOPR on “PURPA” related changes and the Climate Change Walkout reminded me of some of those passionate positions from the 1960’s and this song came to mind.
Today’s Renewable Energy movement is a bit like the folks in Greenwich Village in the 1960’s, which Liam referred to. They represent a new breed of thinkers with a passionate interest in our planet, as expressed in their concerns over climate change and other important factors. The mainstream Energy industry, after years of “looking the other way” at this growing population is now beginning to accept their growing influence. These “Renewers”, as I like to call them, are taking matters into their own hands by securing long-term energy contracts for renewable power as a means to offset the effect of carbon producing fossil fuel generators. Their growing influence is having a profound effect on the status quo, especially with regard to future capacity plans by the Energy establishment. Capacity markets are floundering and system planners are trying to determine what the future energy demand will be, as it pertains to the need for “Grid services” needed to balance the system and ensure a reliable electric supply, as more and more of these “fuel less” (weather dependent) resources come online.
I’ve worked in the Energy industry since 1990, and I have many friends and people I respect that are the very core of the industry. These are good people who have devoted their lives to making sure the United States has a reliable electric system. I’m guessing the sentiments that Liam Clancy shared are the same ones I’m feeling about my friends and colleagues the energy industry people who you loved but who you knew had blinkers on. But I certainly can appreciate and support the positions of Renewers, like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many others, such as REBA. Reliable electric energy is an imperative that we all depend on and we need to acknowledge that it’s too valuable/important to risk. The only real question that remains is “what will it take”?