One day, a house in your neighborhood caught on fire.
The firemen came down, cleaned it up as they are meant too.
Now, I'm sure this is the part where you'd think the rest would be left between the homeowner, his insurers, and any liability claims specific to his case.
Imagine however, that I take offense to that.
"We need a full investigation into the homes of each and every home," I declare."And regulations to ensure that such an accident never, ever happens again. A house burned down in YOUR neighborhood after all. That makes everyone suspect!"
Applauded for my magnificence, we proceed to launch warrant-less searchs of everyone's home for whatever we may perceive to be a fire hazard. Throw some fines around if we find anything we deem "hazardous" and make everyone - even and especially those who already take exemplary care of their homes - pay for expensive new safety devices that we feel would make you "ultra safe." Finally, we heavily restrict the construction new neighborhoods entirely. Why build today if a small few might - a big might -burn on us later?
All as punishment because one of your neighbors had an accident. All because I, your benevolent
Such is the analogy of successful energy companies. Energy is a volatile thing. As in neighborhoods, its a truly rare event when a catastrophic accident occurs within an energy sector. Yet they will occur. In both cases, emergency workers justifiably show up to clean up the immediate hazard. In both cases, aftermath involves liability insurance claims for any further damages in the interest of proper justice.
Unlike in the aftermath of a burned down house, it will not be left alone at that point once a successful energy industry has but a accident to their history. The media will use the burning of an oil rig or the malfunction of a nuclear plant to demonize its entire sector. Guilt by association, that one case will be used to justify the constriction of every energy plant in the sector.
Moratoriums will be imposed whilst we conduct our "investigation." Mandates for expensive new "safety" devices shalt be declared, even such protocols fail to make well-managed plants any safer, and extremely frugal permit laws will outright ban the expansion of new energy infrastructure to meet the demands of new generations.
The key is that this always seems to be the case for "successful" energy industries. If solar power or windmills actually began to compete as a marketable efficient source of energy, we will not be surprised to see them suddenly villianized.
Why, one could discover the existence of genies and leprechauns and benevolently dedicate pure magic itself as our new source of "hazard free" energy! Still, it seems unsurprising that such a source will become onerously regulated once it begins to prove itself in the market.
Perhaps its not about preventing accidents or environmental harzards. More later.