Many across the state of Texas are in a panic right now. Due to record cold temperatures and a blanket of snow which has kept everyone indoors, people are consuming more energy than normal. This has issued in a number of rolling blackouts across the state, resulting in consumer power losses of up to 45 minutes. And the estimated restoration times are getting longer. The electric companies have hinted that the supply of natural gas for power use is being restricted, and hence the blackouts. What they are really telling us, however, is that they are being green-capped.
No need to explore the inside mechanics of it all. We are not insiders, and don’t pretend to be. But we know the signs of the times when we see them. Basically, a green-cap is when an energy provider is unable or unwilling to meet the demand for energy due to ‘negative sanctions’ imposed on them by restrictive legislation, much of which is still evolving. The negative sanctions may include stiffer taxes, loss of incentives, and other economic penalties. But their function is to create an environment of financial risk should providers choose to ignore certain directives. It thus behooves companies to remain compliant.
It is clear that we are now entering the age of energy rationing: in particular that generated by fossil fuels. Anyone who uses too much of it will be bound to pay a penalty. As we replace fossil fuel energy with clean energy, we must expect a transition to take place. Green-capping is part of that transition. It resets expectations and weans us away from dependence on fossil fuels, so that we can extend the lifetime of our planet.
Whether it be right or wrong to impose energy rationing is a totally different discussion, and one on which I shall not venture an opinion. But regardless of where you stand on the issue, it is plain that it could ultimately hurt businesses, especially if green-capping becomes a common trend. Businesses unable to function because of energy green-caps will quickly gather their marbles and move operations elsewhere: most likely to a country that is more blasé regarding energy expenditure.
Granted, one uses just as much energy during a heat wave as one does during such record cold temps as we are going through now. But that’s just the point. If it’s happening now, then we can expect it to stick around for awhile, at least until existing energy sources are replaced with clean energy alternatives. For green-capping goes hand in hand with a green economy. If something is hurting our environment, it makes sense to impose restrictions on its use. So consider green-capping as the new kid on the block. You may not like his clothes, and maybe his hair is goofy. But he’s here to stay. You may as well stop and say hello.