Hawaii Is Replacing Its Last Coal Plant With A ‘Giant Battery’ - Powered By Oil

Now, shuttering a coal plant to instead charge a giant battery with oil is not exactly like “going from cigarettes to crack,” but it is “less desirable than the previous state of affairs” (to borrow Mises’s language).

After all, there’s a reason a tiny percentage of US electricity comes from petroleum. It’s not an efficient way to produce electricity, and it’s very expensive—which is why less than 1 percent of electricity generated in the US in 2020 came from oil.

None of this is to say renewable energy cannot be an integral part of America’s energy future. Evidence suggests it can and already is. Renewable energy accounted for 20 percent of the electricity generated in the US in 2020, many technologies are rapidly improving.

But we should be skeptical of attempts to force the transition to renewable energies through government fiat. As Mises saw, clumsy attempts to ignore market realities in lieu of government force often result in effects that are the opposite of what was intended.

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