Dan Molinski of Dow Jones Institutional News reported this morning:
Gas prices in Europe have spiraled to unprecedented highs partly due to carbon-pricing, a relatively new financial instrument that makes it more expensive for power plants to use coal, even when coal is essentially the only reliable option.
In October this column noted that even some greener-than-green European polities were beginning to recognize the error of their ways and to reconsider politically incorrect nuclear power. The problem is that Germany long ago decided to reduce nuclear capacity and now safety concerns are taking some French reactors off-line. Todd Gillespie, Isis Almeida and Jesper Starn report for Bloomberg:
European power climbed to a fresh record as France faces a winter crunch, spurring the region’s top aluminum smelter to curb output.
Electricity for delivery next year surged as much as 6.4% to an all-time high in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market. France, which usually exports power, will need to suck up supplies from neighboring countries to keep the lights on as severe nuclear outages curb generation in the coldest months of the year.
The crunch is so severe that it’s forcing factories to curb output or shut down altogether.
Perhaps this entirely man-made crisis will encourage more voters to demand reliable and plentiful energy sources.
The people who work for U.S. voters haven’t stopped trying to enact another half a trillion dollars of spending to discourage the use of fossil fuels, but they are now signaling they understand how much we still need such fuels. The problem is that one cannot create a host of incentives not to invest in energy production and then expect investors to fund it anyway.
The Journal’s Christopher M. Matthews , Timothy Puko and Collin Eaton report:
Oil company executives have become openly frustrated with a Biden administration that spent months shunning the industry, only to start urging in recent weeks that it produce more oil to alleviate rising gasoline prices.
In closed-door meetings with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm over recent weeks, oil executives have made few promises about raising output, say people familiar with the matter, and explained that it may be months before higher oil prices lead to resurgent U.S. production.
At a time when Wall Street is telling oil companies to tamp down spending and deliver profits after years of poor returns, oil company leaders say Mr. Biden’s positions on oil make it even harder for them to justify new spending to grow.
“The administration’s energy policy has not been very coherent,” said Mike Wirth, Chevron Corp.’s chief executive. “The signals from the administration have been very conflicting and that can just chill decision making.”