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"What are you talking about? We've had electricity blackouts for decades across the U.S. grid..."
- The White House, 2027
Prepare yourselves, non-citizens of the Florida Republic. I've traveled across our border into the strange and dangerous American body politic.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) warned that two-thirds of the U.S. energy grid could face blackouts during the Summer of 2023. Read the articles, and the headlines will tell you that it's a "heat wave" that will cause a blackout. As if we've never had heatwaves in the United States. I hate to break it to writers at MSN and CNN: Heat waves don't cause blackouts.
What's the real issue? The Energy Information Administration (EIA) explained the problem with the grid in a statement Monday.
EIA Analysts: "The intermittent nature of wind power (wind turbines only generate electricity if the wind is blowing, and how much electricity they generate depends on how windy it is) presents operational challenges for grid operators. Low wind and high demand periods could result in energy emergencies."
We'll need a physical copy of this regulator's statement.
Frame it. Get 11 copies. Put one in a bank vault. Because, at some point in the near future, this EIA warning will be memory-holed.
The media, the experts, and the bureaucrats will tell you that we've always had blackouts. This is the most predictable lie in decades. Jon Sanders at the American Institute for Economic Research wrote a remarkable column in December outlining the coming "normalization of energy blackouts" across America.
In summary, even though we don't have a history of blackouts, the new grid will make them a reality. And instead of admitting that the Green Transition is causing the problem, experts will start by denying the problem and calling it a conspiracy theory.
The experts will try to silence anyone warning about blackouts. They'll claim those warning about blackouts are fearmongers.
But, over time, the message will change. They'll then admit that blackouts are happening. But they will be glad for it. Why? These coming blackouts will push us toward the solution of converting our grid from reliable coal and natural gas to cleaner sources like solar and wind. (Even though they can't provide the necessary baseload energy.) You should thank them.
Then, the message will admit that blackouts are happening and that people should embrace that they're happening. Why? Because the solution's working. Just "embrace an undesirable outcome."
Finally, they'll say that we never had a reliable grid. They'll say whoever told you blackouts were not happening is a liar.
It's like the people who denied they called for school closings during COVID or denied saying that inflation was transitory. Or that taking four shots and wearing five masks would stop COVID.
The way the message develops is fantastically Soviet.
Here's the Scale of the Problem
Simply put, these "experts" don't understand the scale needed to overhaul our energy grid. We're not talking about a handful of solar panels and windmills scattered across the landscape.
Take this very simple visualization example.
You need about 1,000 megawatts to power about 800,000 homes in the United States.
For a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant to generate electricity... you need about 1.3 square miles of land. That's exactly the size of Central Park in Manhattan.
So, you can see on the island to the left that it would cover the green area on the island of Manhattan. That would be the size of the nuclear power plant necessary to provide electricity to 800,000 homes in the surrounding areas. Okay... so we have that scale in our mind's eye.
Next, let's talk about solar panels. To generate that same amount of electricity, you'd need somewhere between 45 to 75 square miles of solar panels (and untold numbers of batteries) for that power.
So, close your eyes and picture a land mass that is two times the size of Manhattan Island (22.8 square miles). See that island to the right? You're going to need two or even three of these depending on the reliability of sunny weather.
That's two or three of those islands in land mass. That is a whole lot of solar panels...
Now, let's get completely ridiculous.
To generate the same capacity from wind, it could be anywhere from 260 to 360 square miles, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. To put that land mass into perspective, look at this map of all of New York City.
New York City, including its five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx) is roughly 304 square miles.
You'd need to cover all that land in windmills.
That's the difference between wind power, solar power, and nuclear power in terms of how much land one needs to generate the same amount of electricity from each source. I'm not even digging into the battery needs to store all that electricity over time.
It's incredible. Now, one more mind-bender...
Take a guess how much land you need to power the same number of homes with natural gas?
Do you think it's bigger than all of New York City? Could it fit in Staten Island?
It's a trick question. You only need somewhere between six to ten square blocks of space in New York City. See that little green quitrent (1/5) of Central Park that houses the Central Park Zoo? You'd only need about half of that land for natgas.
So, a sliver of New York City (natural gas)... versus all five boroughs in land mass (wind). These maps prove that not all "renewable energy" is the same.
I'm not saying that it's not doable.
I'm simply pointing out that most of the advocates don't understand the scale of the challenge.
I think JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon does understand the massive land needs. Maybe that's one reason why Dimon (who would benefit from all the bank lending) has advocated that the U.S. government just start seizing land under the principle of eminent domain. Naturally, I didn't react very well to the idea.
Meanwhile, remember that scale isn't just land. It will be a massive challenge to bring all the metals we need to meet the demand for the entire world, and this magical transition.
If there ever was a case for an inflationary, commodity bull market, this ongoing saga is it. We're going to be long the metals... long the diesel to dig the metals... and long the equipment. Technically, the metals won't be getting more expensive... it'll just be the dollar that is getting weaker...
Postcards from the Florida Grid
I'm not at all worried about Florida's grid, especially after Hurricane Ian. They rebuilt it in two weeks in Lee County and hardened it even further with deeper lines and more storm-resistant levels.
Plus, we have a nice blend of nuclear power. Our energy grid runs largely on natural gas, but nuclear runs second thanks to three plants and five reactors that keep the lights running.
We also used less energy in 2020 per capita than all but six states. It helps that our winters are mild. More important, I live in USDA Zone 10, which provides for year-round planting.
Blackouts aren't the threat. Just the Atlantic's weather patterns... and perhaps that bald eagle that keeps circling my property whenever the dogs go outside to chase rabbits...
I'll be in Baltimore all day today talking about the future of the Florida Republic and how I hope you will join us soon.
To your wealth,
Florida Republic Capital (Available on Substack)