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The Answer is Blowin in the Wind

https://www.nobelprize.org/images/dylan-13656-portrait-mini-2x.jpg

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”?

Richard Brooks's picture

Thank Richard for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 20, 2019 9:37 pm GMT

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.

No doubt there are lots of 'converts' who were at first resistant but are now leading in efforts to decarbonize, but I wonder how much of the corporate-level shift has also come via new blood coming into the fray? With people coming into the energy industry anew and having an understanding of the climate situation, are they also responsible for the moving of the needle, whereas legacy thinkers might have been less likely to react?

Bob Wallace's picture
Bob Wallace on Sep 21, 2019 10:16 pm GMT

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 

Is it safe to assume that the people at the core (head?) of the energy industry are rational, data driven people and not Tea Party types?

If data driven then they must realize that climate change is a real and an extremely dangerous problem facing every person on the planet.  They must realize that they are in position to help limit the amount of pain we are going to suffer.

I'm assuming that by "good" you mean people who will do the right thing, especially when they have so very much power to protect others and those who follow us.  In your opinion are they that "good" and are they working to rid us of fossil fuels?

 

 

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Sep 22, 2019 3:25 pm GMT

I'm sorry, but I do not engage in discussions with anonymous postings using pseudonames.

Bob Wallace's picture
Bob Wallace on Sep 24, 2019 6:14 pm GMT

Bob Wallace is a pseudoname for Robert Wallace, the name I've had for over 75 years.

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Sep 24, 2019 6:31 pm GMT

Bob, you may want to consider updating your profile so that people will know a bit about you. A blank profile negatively impacts credibility. I would be happy to engage in a professional discussion with you, but I prefer to know a little background of the people I engage with, so that I'm not wasting time with trolls and phatoms.

Bob Wallace's picture
Bob Wallace on Sep 25, 2019 6:29 pm GMT

My backgroud nor lack of filling out personal information has nothing to do with carrying on a conversation.

If you don't want to answer a question, that's on you.

 

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Sep 25, 2019 10:33 pm GMT

Fair enough. I only engage in discussions with people courageous enough to disclose their identity and take ownership for their positions. I understand your desire to remain anonymous.

Stuart McCafferty's picture
Stuart McCafferty on Sep 23, 2019 7:25 pm GMT

That is a hilarious metaphor!  I wish I had thought of it - but I'll certainly start using it.  :)

Nice post, Dick.  It is hard to deny that the Renewers see the opportunity and are quickly creating new business models that are appealing to customers looking for renewable options or stable/lower energy prices.  I know several people that have created or joined companies chasing C&I customers to provide renewable/battery/microgrid options with long-term PPAs.  Crowded space. 

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Sep 24, 2019 5:02 pm GMT

Thanks, Stu. I had fun writing this one. I had to choose the image carefully. At first I thought of having windmills, but in the end I had to go with that intensely serious look of Dylan. Cheers, brother!

Bob Wallace's picture
Bob Wallace on Sep 25, 2019 6:31 pm GMT

Do you realize that windmills do work like grinding grain?

The machines that generate electricity are called wind turbines.

 

 

 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 25, 2019 9:48 pm GMT

Of course, but windmills can be considered a much more historical form of 'renewable energy' as those clever people who came before us had first figured out how to harness that natural resource to do physical work for them. Maybe even more appropriate-- how long had we known windmills existed productively before realizing they could be harnessed for electricity as well? 

Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Sources of energy-- they've always been blowing in the wind!

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Sep 25, 2019 10:46 pm GMT

Amen, Matt!

Bob Wallace's picture
Bob Wallace on Sep 26, 2019 8:04 pm GMT

If you've read much from the anti-renewable energy folks you'd recognize the use of "windmills" as a common slur-attempt for talking down about renewable energy.

 

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