I'm attending an all-day conference called "Taking Charge: Towards an Integratred Energy Policy for Saskatchewan." My priors are that "energy policy" means several things:
- Politicians and bureaucrats make investments with taxpayer funds, thus trying to pick winners. They aren't risking their own money (albeit they are to some extent risking their reputations), and so they have a tendency to take on other issues as well
- Energy policy too frequently devolves into "crony capitalism". Individuals and firms, with specific agendas or specific products and services to sell, use an abundance of scarce resources to try to convince bureaucrats to "invest" in their products. One glaring example: bio-fuels, nominally justified by the argument that they reduce carbon dioxide output when, in fact, they increase carbon dioxide output AND they amount to little more than a convoluted way to increase the demand for the output from farmers (much to the distress of poor people around the world facing rising food prices).
- I'm in awe of the hubris and arrogance when "planners" think they can plan better than private investors in the marketplace. E.g., in the opening remarks, we're told that energy is the most important policy issue facing us today. Hmph.
My observations and comments will follow as the day progresses.