Republican Idiots at Work… Again!
The last thing America needs is a $1.2 trillion Washington infrastructure boondoggle, festooned with pork, waste and the usurpation of virtually every other institution’s proper function. That is, capital expenditures that properly are the business of the private sector, utilities, train passengers, airport users, motorists, state and local taxpayers and everyone else except the Federal government.
For instance, the bill contains $77 billion for renewing the electric power grid, including thousands of miles of new high efficiency transmission lines. But why can’t utilities and their rate payers handle those investments rather than future taxpayers who will have to service the Federal debt?
As it happens, annual constant dollar spending by major U.S. electric utilities on the power transmission system has increased from $9.1 billion (2019 dollars) in 2000 to $40.0 billion in 2019. That’s a not too shabby 8.1% annual growth rate – or approximately 4X the actual growth of real GDP during the period
Of course, the above is only for the high voltage long-distance transmission, connecting power plants to the local distribution grid. The latter, in turn, carries the electricity to homes and businesses and includes station equipment that lowers the voltage, neighborhood power lines, poles and towers, line transformers, meters that measure customer electricity use etc.
Constant dollar spending for the capital and O&M costs of the distribution system was $57.4 billion in 2019, which, again, was no starvation budget as it represented a 2.5% real growth rate since the year 2000.
All told, major US utilities are now spending $100 billion per year on transmission and distribution systems. Since the 4.2% real growth rate for these purposes over the past two decades represents more than twice the growth rate of real GDP, it might be wondered what’s not to like?
Why do the taxpayers need to top-up what the ratepayers are already properly absorbing as the actual users of these systems?
Indeed, when you look at total capital spending by US electric utilities including for power plants, annual spending now stands at about $132 billion, up from just $60 billion in 2006. So what’s at issue is not investment neglect by the utilities and their customers or claims of dilapidated power lines and plants, but the wrong kind of investment in the eyes of the Green New Deal socialists who rule the roost in the Washington Dem party.
That is to say, these folks insist the current CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere of 0.040% are too high and demand that they be rolled-back to what they claim to be the pre-industrial level of 0.027%.
Never mind, of course, that scientist estimate that CO2 levels were 10 times higher than today during the Cambrian era 500 million years ago when today’s fossil fuels were being grown above ground, only to be buried and transformed into hydrocarbons by time, pressure and heat; nor, apparently, should any weight be given to the views of scientist who are not on government grants or payrolls, who believe that atmospheric carbon dioxide level fluctuations over long stretches of time are a consequence of underlying natural cycles of earth temperature change and ice pack levels, not their cause.
In any event, the reason there is $73 billion for the electric grid is because owing to Ohm’s Law and other physical properties of electrical power about 69 trillion BTUs are lost each year in power transmission and distribution. And this loss can be reduced marginally if you throw enough capital and technology at the problem in the form of super-conducting transmission lin
Article from LewRockwell