Paris, Exxon & Energy Innovation

A libertarian friend of mine recently told me not to worry about President Trump’s rejection of the Paris Agreement, and disdain for environmental policy in general.

“If innovation in renewables can survive competition in a free market, then it’s far likelier to be successful,” she said. “The government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners, anyway.”

I agree, sort of.

Renewable energy’s replacement of fossil and nuclear fuels is a question of when, not if. Solar and wind are often already price competitive with traditional sources, and such power stations can be built faster, and operated more economically, too.

An Internet of Energy is emerging, linking energy production with both users and storage, enabled by cloud connectivity and informed by data that erases many of the inefficiencies that were once inherent in generating electricity.

Energy innovation is a subset of a broader trend toward sustainable business practices, which are not only more efficient than the wasteful practices they replace, but less vulnerable to disruption or unforeseen costs. This evolution is is unstoppable too, if only because it makes economic sense.

Every power plant (or device) dependent on fossil fuels is at risk of political upheaval, market and currency swings, and assorted explosions and spills.

A cloudy day over the solar power plant? There’s an app for that, and electricity from a nearby wind farm is ready to recharge those smartphones.

I see two places where libertarian theology doesn’t work when it comes to energy, though…

Read the entire essay at Medium