CEO’s Message – September 2022

Hard-Hitting Plans for Energy Resources

Headshot of Clay FitchWe’ve always heard, “You need a plan to get anything done.” That principle is taught in all business schools and is widely recognized.

My favorite quote about plans is from the noted philosopher and past world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.” In following our plans, most of us have found that to be true. We start with a plan, something goes sideways and then we work on a new strategy.

Climate movement plans—whether the Paris Accord, Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, elimination of all fossil fuels, mandates for electric vehicles or others—are different concepts promoted by people and groups with various motives.

For instance, some people, myself included, believe nuclear power is a great substitute for fossil fuels because it is carbon-free. Other groups reject nuclear power as too dangerous, too expensive or are concerned about nuclear waste.

In addition to disjointed directions and inconsistency of climate plans, the climate movement was punched in the mouth by Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That punch drew two opposite reactions: developing more diverse supplies of fossil fuels and accelerating climate plans.

A successful plan to reduce carbon emissions must meet certain parameters and have specific economic attributes to succeed against hard hits from Russia, the weather and the economy. Current plans often demand curtailment of fossil fuels by a certain date not too far into the future and a switch to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Unlike hydroelectric dams, fossil-fuel-fired or nuclear-powered generators, solar and wind do not have the rotating mass needed to support the stability of the electric grid.

Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC) supports the need for a serious plan to ensure a successful transition. Any viable path to a carbon constrained future will require technology that attracts investment. Such investments require long horizons to recover research, development and building costs and capital.

Successful plans also must bridge and be accepted across political lines. WREC strongly supports the development of all energy sources but specifically hydro and nuclear because these resources are workable, reliable, affordable and practical compromises.

How plans are developed will dictate the direction and success of global energy policy.

Clay R. Fitch, CEO