Crisis in Electricity Supply

By Albert Bartlett
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 12, Number 4 (Summer 2002)
Issue theme: "People, energy, food production: studies by David and Marcia Pimentel"

INTRODUCTION It is simply outrageous to read that the U.S. Secretary of Energy has come to Colorado (December 2000) to ask western states to sell electric energy to California to help bail out Californians from a big utility problem that appears to have been created by California's officials. WHAT HAPPENED IN CALIFORNIA Here is what seems to have happened in California 1) The population of California has been growing rapidly for decades. 2) Population growth causes growth in the demand for electricity. 3) It is apparent that the utility companies in California seem to have failed to construct new electrical generating capacity sufficient to keep up with the growth in demand. 4) If these statements are correct, it can't come as a surprise to learn that there is an electrical energy crisis in California. 5) The surprise is that Californians are surprised by the shortage of electricity. WHY DIDN'T THEY BUILD SUFFICIENT ELECTRICAL SUPPLY?

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