My Point of View: The tyranny of extremes on the political spectrum

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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My Point of View by Joe Pacovsky

Joe Pacovsky

We have become victims of the extreme elements of both ends of the political spectrum. While their beliefs may add new perspectives to our political debate, unfortunately we are experiencing the consequences of their beliefs.

We are moving to renewable supplies of electricity. While this transition is happening the power supply system must remain reliable. Interruptions of power have a catastrophic impact on our economy and in the Minnesota climate can be deadly.

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Coal-fired power plants are being retired to reduce our emissions of carbon. Renewable electric generation like wind and solar is providing replacement energy but wind is not reliable and must be backed up with dispatchable generation when the wind is not blowing. The generation of choice is natural gas fired combustion turbines. Natural gas combustion emits much less carbon than coal.

Objections from extremist environmentalists are delaying approvals for this necessary backup generation. These delays are putting the reliability of our electric supply system at risk. The blackouts experienced by the Texas electric system in 2011 and 2021 were predictable. Texas has a market-based electric supply system. Market forces do not work with electric supply. When high market prices signal a shortage of supply it is too late. It takes years or even decades to permit and construct new electric generation. That is why utility theory was used for the last hundred years before the recent market mania in some regions. Utility theory treats utility service as a natural monopoly and grants a defined service territory in exchange for strict regulation of investments, rate of return and rates.

Paradoxically the delay of natural gas fired generation is delaying the retirement of coal fired generation resulting in higher carbon emissions. Rolling blackouts are not an option.

Republicans set up the Dobbs decision at the Supreme Court, which stripped women of the right to make their own medical and reproductive decisions. Republican positions on education essentially defund public schools and promote private schools.

My definition of liberty is less government involvement in our lives, and liberty includes a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions. People are free to live their own beliefs, but they are not free to impose those beliefs on the rest of us.

Joe Pacovsky is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.