The Electric Utopians

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2024
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
A hand holding a tablet with virtual Smart City on it, night scene. The city is equipped with smart service and all kinds of online activity icons.

Electricity and water do not mix, or put differently, fatal outcomes occur when they do. This reality is age-old, but apparently only now sweeping all-electric advocates, the Electric Utopians. What comes next? Bankruptcy as they push electric everything, China chopping America’s power, electric bathtubs?

In recent months, the vast, federally subsidized flood of enthusiasm for converting everything to electric power, pushing fossil fuels to extinction and literally forcing Americans to drive electric vehicles by 2030 or 2035, is hitting not just roadblocks, but brick walls.

Increasingly, red, purple, and even blue states – that is, all political parties – are rethinking this headlong rush to centralize the nation’s energy use on the three aging (almost at life’s end), stressed, and vulnerable power grids (east, west, and Texas).

What even progressives, who see the world entering a climactic black hole, understand is this:  There is no infrastructure – nor any affordable, near-term way to create it, to realistically support their utopian vision, an “all-electric, all the time” world for vehicles, heat, cooling, cooking, and everything else.

The cost of such a sci-fi system, like the cost of covering the whole country with solar cells and wind turbines, would be tens of times our nation’s gross national product (GDP), at a time when the national debt is already 253 percent of our annual GDP, sitting at 34 trillion dollars, now accruing a trillion dollars in interest annually.

These are not made-up numbers, they are real. The notion of coast-to-coast, north-to-south, reliable, ready, fast electric energy, like the notion of our nation’s power grids being more than 20 percent solar and wind, is pure fantasy, a staircase to the moon, breathing water, flapping your wings to work each day, anti-gravity, cold fusion, Puff the Magic Dragon.

The second big realization hitting the Electric Utopians: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and non-state actors, terrorists, anarchists, and advocates of lawlessness everywhere are drooling to see America concentrate all homes, cars, and life on a vulnerable power grid, one easily hit, taken down, not to mention stripping citizens of the individual decisions they have always had on cars, heat, gas, life.

Undiscussed by most national commentators is what really happened in late February and early March, the shutdown of cell service, and access to various life needs, from communication to pharmaceuticals. What really happened? Likely…more than meets the eye.

A reasonable guess is that, with most of the power grid tied to switching done by cell towers, some “bad guy” – China, Russia, Iran, or a terror group – decided to do a “beta test,” to see if they could shut down communications, imperil something as fundamental as medicine access, to set up and future hit.

If this is worrisome, think about the wider impact: If we put all things on the power grid, given that access to the grid depends on cell service, we open the door to a nationwide blackout, loss of power for everything. What does that look like at below zero, mid-hot summer, after a natural disaster?

We need to think harder about the second, third, and fourth-order effects of “electric everything,” all this Utopian enthusiasm for something that could end life as we know it, and invite chaos, overnight. This too is real stuff, and you will find it – in the open domain – if you look hard, think, and work to understand it.

Last, the entire notion of giving up energy diversity and self-sufficiency, plus the established supply chains for gas and oil, in favor of one centralized system is nonsense. When is not diversifying your stocks, savings, and life support options smarter than all eggs in one (flawed) basket? Never.

Other issues that are now creeping, or perhaps reverse flooding, the discussion include the reality that the power grid will always be fossil-driven (at least 80 percent of it), the grid (down to transformers and wires) is too old to carry all the extra load, and the safety of electric power is also a growing concern.

This last flaw, often understated, is getting real. Many electric vehicles are now being questioned, safety questioned, recalled, and returned to manufacturers for reasons tied to safety, including school busses –in places like Maine – that leak, making electrocution a risk for school kids.

Remember, water and electricity are not friends, not when electrocution is a possibility, and not when the issue seems recurrent. So far, we have been told that our cars, trucks, trains, stoves, mowers, household appliances, and everything we power with gas, oil, and coal must be abandoned, in favor of electrifying all things, full throttle, worry not about the consequences.

That psychology seems at last to be shifting, states and feds, even the Biden administration, starting to back away from the headlong rush to embrace fantasy, and call it fact, or mandate it no matter what.

All this seems a bit odd, an eleventh-hour epiphany. One wonders if this is not just a head fake, change for the 2024 election – after which a second Biden crowd would welcome the Electric Utopians back, and keep pushing their fantasy. If so, just watch out for electric bathtubs, a different sort of shock and awe.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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