Super Stupid

What The Hell is Rick Perry Talking About?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The world still needs fossil fuels, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says, because it will prevent sexual assault in Africa.

Or something.

Perry participated in an energy policy discussion hosted by Axios and NBC News in which he said more than one incredibly stupid thing.

"And it's going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl said to my face, 'One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I'm not going to have to try and read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally kill people," Perry said.

He continued: "But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts."

I am not an energy economist, however I do know coal will do exactly nothing for "those villages in Africa" because they don't even have an electrical power grid.

The girl Perry allegedly spoke to did not look him in the eye and ask for lumps of coal as far as we know, but she did ask for electricity. And you don't need an established grid to deliver electricity to remote villages, you only need solar panels and batteries that are now being produced at scale.

Puerto Rico's power grid was obliterated by Hurricane Maria and it could take up to a year or longer to rebuild it, but companies like Tesla have already restored power to critical locations such as children's hospitals by deploying solar panels in the parking lot.

In many cases, it may not even make sense for developing nations to build power grids in remote locations, but that doesn't mean they can't deliver electricity.

As for the idea that electricity prevents sexual assault, well, that's so fucking stupid I don't even know what to say. We have an enormous problem with sexual assault right here in the United States with all the advanced technology money can buy.

  • Christopher Foxx

    a young girl said to my face, ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I’m not going to have to try and read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally kill people,” Perry said.

    Riiight. The (non-existent) little girl’s main concern was the fumes from a campfire.

    • ninjaf

      Actually, fumes from kerosene lamps is a problem from my limited understanding of obstacles in developing nations, derived from various news and documentary reports over the years.

      Look at that…I seem to be more informed about developing nations than our top official in charge of energy issues. *sigh*

  • muselet

    Perry and the rest of the Trump administration have been outspoken proponents of expanding energy production from fossil fuels.

    No kidding.

    Electricity is vitally important in the developing world—one rather unenthusiastic cheer for Rick Perry for recognizing that blindingly obvious fact—but his comments show he and the administration are incapable of looking beyond what the US did in the past.

    The model of large fossil-fuel power plants and a sprawling transmission grid makes no sense in the developing world: the construction costs would be prohibitive and the price of fossil fuels will almost certainly rise. Distributed solar plus either Tesla Powerwalls or microturbine generators (assuming a reliable supply of fuel) for baseline power makes more financial sense.

    Rick Perry was simply shilling, somewhat incoherently, for extraction companies and construction companies.

    –alopecia

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  • 1933john

    Plus a president that says he can
    perform in light and darkness.

  • ninjaf

    Even if I am willing to give him that street lights might curtail some sexual assaults, fossil fuels are not the way to turn on those street lights. Renewable energy is the way to go. Period.

    • Georgie

      Yep, we are just trying to saddle them with our past.