But if they can just tap the energy of a star, why would they need to conserve energy in the first place? We've seen other ships operate for months without having the need for saving energy.
Of course there are 1000 trexplanations for anything, and Ron Moore knows that very well (and says so in the interview). But he's kinda right, having adventures in the holodeck and having to conserve replicator power/eat weird stuff in the galley doesn't really fit together.
*Especially* when they could just tap a star and replicate a month's worth of premium food.
If B&B really thought "well, we have replicators and we can get energy everywhere off-screen, so having supply issues would be inconceivable," then why
- would they have problems with replicator energy? The couple from TNG "the survivors" had a household fusion reactor and they supposedly could power the replicator Picard handed them.
- did they not invent a technobabble reason to make them needy? they had 1000 technobabble solutions to save the day.
The answer is: B&B didn't want that and Moore sees this as wasted potential, and so do I.
Voyager would need a power supply that would last for years, not months. There is no guarantee that they'd find the same type of energy every time, which is why during the first seasons they kept looking for new sources.
Ron Moore is an idiot. He never takes into account stress. Lost and far away from home in hostile uncharted spece is stressful. Having to worry about being under attack by every unknown species in the Delta Q. is equal to what troops in Iraq are facing now. The holodecks are the equavilant of Bob Hope and the USO going to entertain them. It's one of the few chances at stress relief they get. Without it, the higher percentage of mental stress disorder. The holodecks are required because they help keep the crew sane.
Besides, you shouldn't have supply issues after the first few years anyway. You'd be very bad at survival if you still can't figure out a plan to power the ship & feed your crew after 2 years.