Alternating currents

Obama makes a stronger commitment to a national electricity grid, but goes off the rails on hybrid cars.

Ever since the Socialist International assigned the RBC the special task of promoting a public-sector national electricity grid in the USA, we’ve been watching developments closely. So it was good to see Agents 1 and 72 on Thursday staying on message:

About minute 4:50 into the interview with Rachel Maddows, Obama says:

One of the most important infrastructure projects that are needed is a whole new electricity grid, because if we’re going to be serious about renewable energy, I want to be able to get wind power from North Dakota to population centres like Chicago.

This is a much clearer commitment to our plan than any on his website. And both agents follow intructions to keep mum about the intention to build the grid with stylish French-designed pylons. So far so good.

But then Agent 1 skids completely off the track at 5:10:

If we want to use plug-in hybrids, then we want to be able to have ordinary citizens sell back the electricity that’s generated by their car batteries back into the grid.

Will junior agents J153 (“Malia”) and J154 (“Sasha”) please take Agent 1 aside and explain to him slowly that the idea of plug-in hybrid cars is to take renewable electricity off the grid, not to put it in? It would be technically possible to reverse the flow and feed the grid with current from the car engines – but also quite crazy. (Update: Except after a natural disaster.)

Agent 1 may have been confused by the old debate in the Politburo on the scheme to build a fleet of nuclear-powered Batmobiles doubling as power generators when in their batcaves. This was turned down on the grounds that the masses can’t be trusted with loose reactors.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web