The Unmentioned Cost Of Green Energy

On April 25th, a website called phys.org posted an article titled, “Analyzing bird population declines due to renewable power sources in California.”

The article notes:

A team of researchers affiliated with a large number of institutions in the U.S. has attempted to determine the vulnerability of bird populations to alternative energy production. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes studying the impact on bird populations in California.

While touted as , are not always Earth friendly. Production of solar panels, for example, results in pollution emitted into the environment. More widely known are the adverse impacts of wind and solar farms on animals, particularly birds. Birds can be killed when they try to fly through the rotating blades of wind turbines and they can die from overheating when they fly over large solar farms. They can also die due to displacement from their natural environment. In this new effort, the researchers veered from simply counting the number of birds that are killed by alternative power sources and looked instead to gauge the impact of the combined toll that alternative power plants are taking on populations of vulnerable bird species in California.

The article concludes:

The researchers found that of the 23 species they studied, 11 experienced declines of at least 20% due to exposure to alternative plants. They also found evidence of dangers to several populations due to harm done to migration networks, threats that go far beyond the location of plants.

As I have said many times before, more research is needed before we totally buy into the concept of green energy. It would also be helpful if the government got uninvolved in the quest for green energy and let the free market run free. In a sense, we are in a search for the perpetual motion machine. It may actually exist if fueled by wind or sunlight, but we haven’t found it yet, and the government should not push us into unproven technology.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

“Green energy is the answer to all of our environmental problems,” cries the Biden administration. Never mind the toxic waste created when the solar panels or windmill blades outlive their usefulness. Never mind the toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of solar panels. Never mind the bald eagles being shredded by the windmills. We can overlook those details. However, there is one detail that cannot be overlooked.

On Sunday, The Daily Caller posted an article about a current problem with green energy.

The article reports:

  • Wind and solar companies have reported massive profit declines over the last year as clean energy prices have risen and new installations have been delayed thanks to supply chain shortfalls, market uncertainty and the Ukraine crisis.
  • “One of the problems with this industry as a whole is that, since at its very foundation it is based on government subsidies and government mandates, its market value is never truly known,” said Daniel Turner, the executive director of Power the Future.
  • “90% to 95% of the supply chain does not exist,” RJ Scaringe, CEO of electric vehicle maker Rivian, told reporters in April, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This is what happens when the government interferes in the free market.

The article reports:

The average price for renewable energy technology in North America increased an “astounding” 28.5% between early 2021 and early 2022, according to an April 13 report from renewable industry marketplace LevelTen Energy. Development costs, supply chain issues and market uncertainty are to blame for the setback even as demand for green energy climbed, the report added.

In addition, wind and solar project completions in the U.S. have plummeted over the last two years with the total investment value of such projects falling from $46.2 billion in 2019 to $7.5 billion in 2021, an Industrial Info Resources report published on April 21 showed. In that same time span, the number of wind and solar project completions has decreased from 240 to just 66, a 73% decline.

“Difficulty in obtaining financing, regulatory challenges, or a shortage of available capacity on the transmission grid are three longstanding challenges to getting renewable generation built,” Industrial Info Resources Vice President of Research for the Global Power Industry Britt Burt said in a statement.

“As long as these myriad headwinds persist, we can expect elevated [prices] across North America,” Gia Clark, a senior director at LevelTen Energy, said earlier in April.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, the head of leading electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian warned that building out the battery supply chain — which includes mining and refining minerals, and assembling costly battery packs — remains a massive hurdle for the industry as governments push increasingly aggressive transition policies, The Wall Street Journal reported. For instance, Biden has promised to craft policies to ensure 50% of new vehicle sales in the U.S. are emissions-free by 2030 and every addition to the federal government’s 600,000-vehicle fleet is electric by 2035.

“Put very simply, all the world’s cell production combined represents well under 10% of what we will need in 10 years,” RJ Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO, told reporters in April, according to the WSJ. “Meaning, 90% to 95% of the supply chain does not exist.”

Kish noted that the price of lithium has risen 1,000% over the last two years.

The green energy market is not yet ready for prime time. It will never be unless the government gets out of the way. Government subsidies do not help an industry–they skew the growth curve by not weeding out the inferior products. When the market place allows companies with superior products to grow because they have a superior product, an industry progresses. When the government is paying the bills, there is no incentive to progress.

The Perils Of Green Energy

On Thursday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about ESI Energy, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

The article reports:

A renewable energy firm that conspired with former president Barack Obama to maim and murder hundreds of majestic bald eagles has finally been brought to justice.

ESI Energy, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to three criminal counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company will serve five years probation and was ordered to pay more than $8 million in fines and restitution for its role in the deaths of at least 150 eagles that were slashed to pieces by its wind turbines.

The article notes:

NextEra, which operates more than 100 wind farms in the United States and Canada, received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax credits as part of Obama’s efforts to promote renewable energy. The Obama administration typically granted permits to operators of wind and solar farms that exempted them from federal laws prohibiting the killing of bald eagles and other protected species. NextEra didn’t even bother to apply for these permits, which prosecutors said gave the company an advantage over its competitors that did seek Obama’s permission to commit bird genocide.

Wind farms during the Obama administration were responsible for the murder of more than 573,000 birds each year, including 83,000 hawks, falcons, and eagles, according to the Associated Press. Weaponized solar farms, which also benefited from taxpayer subsidies, were another key component of Obama’s genocide campaign. Sunlight reflected from the massive arrays of solar panels creates a “kill zone” where temperatures can reach up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Bloomberg, some birds are “incinerated in flight,” while others fall to their deaths after having their feathers singed. Birds that survive the fall are often “too injured to fly and are killed on the ground by predators.”

When discussing green energy, shouldn’t the impact on bird life in America be considered?

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

I am not a scientist, and I don’t claim to be one. However, I do possess a certain amount of common sense. That common sense makes me wonder if the fact that an electric car uses electricity that has to be generated from somewhere else negates the ‘green’ quality of the electric car. Doesn’t it make more sense to use a combustible fuel that directly powers the car without a middle man than to use fuel that has to be generated somewhere else? And what are the sources of the electricity for electric cars? Again, I don’t claim to be a scientist. However, I am not the only one wondering if electric cars are really green.

On Wednesday, The Federalist posted an article about electric cars.

The article reports:

Instead of investing in American energy, Democrats are actively suppressing the American energy industry and then telling Americans to spend their savings on overpriced electric cars to solve their problems. But the left isn’t being honest about the environmental and financial costs of those trendy electric vehicles.

…To advance their climate agenda and deflect backlash about rising gas prices, Democrats are telling Americans that driving electric cars is for the greater good of the environment, fully knowing the charging stations for these cars are not fossil fuel free. 

In reality, one of Tesla’s Supercharger stations was reported to get 13 percent of their energy from natural gas and 27 percent from coal. Power plants burn coal to generate electricity to power electric cars and emit a higher fossil fuel footprint than the left would care to admit. 

While these vehicles may be falsely advertised, many who invest in these overpriced cars are able to avoid paying the currently outrageous gas prices. Still, Americans’ growing reliance on electric cars and the batteries they require will increase our dependence on countries such as China for materials. 

“Chinese companies, particularly CATL, have secured vast supplies of the raw materials that go inside the batteries,” The New York Times reported in December. “That dominance has stirred fears in Washington that Detroit could someday be rendered obsolete, and that Beijing could control American driving in the 21st century the way that oil-producing nations sometimes could in the 20th.” 

By increasing our use of electric cars, the United States will require more lithium batteries and will further rely on China to sustain our supply. While the current energy crisis could be an opportunity for America to increase our energy independence, the current administration refuses to take advantage. 

Americans buying electric cars is not a winning strategy for America.

Priorities?

On Thursday, The Daily Caller posted an article by Victor Davis Hanson that provides some perspective on the current war in Ukraine.

The article notes:

Thousands are dying from Russian missiles and bombs in the suburbs of Ukraine.

In response, the Biden administration’s climate change envoy, multimillionaire and private-jet-owning John Kerry, laments that Russian President Vladimir Putin might no longer remain his partner in reducing global warming.

“You’re going to lose people’s focus,” Kerry frets. “You’re going to lose big-country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact.”

“Impact”?

Did the global moralist Kerry mean by “impact” the over 650 Russian missiles that impacted Ukrainian buildings and tore apart children?

The article also asks the obvious question:

But how will the Biden administration square the circle of its own ideological war against oil and natural gas versus handing the advantage to our oil- and gas-producing enemies, as Russia invades Ukraine?

Or put another way, when selfish theory hits deadly reality, who loses? Answer: the American people.

President Joe Biden lifted U.S. sanctions on the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline designed to provide green Germany with loathsome, but life-saving, natural gas.

But first Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States. He has no problem with pipelines per se, just American ones.

While Biden doesn’t like the idea of Germany burning carbon fuel, or Putin reaping enormous profits from Berlin’s self-created dependency, or Germans importing liquified natural gas from America, Biden also does not like the idea of forcing German families to turn off their thermostats in mid-winter when there is Russian-fed war not far from Germany’s borders.

Here at home, Biden gets even crazier. As our enemies around the world reap huge profits from record high oil and gas prices, did Biden ask Alaska, North Dakota or Texas to ramp up production?

In other words, did he ask Americans to save fellow cash-strapped Americans from a self-created energy crisis, in the way he assured the Germans that during war reality trumps theory?

The article concludes:

Biden also has beseeched the once sanctioned, terrorist Iranian government. He wants Tehran to help us out by upping the very oil and gas production that America has tried to curtail for years. In return, Iran is demanding a new “Iran Deal” that will soon ensure the now petro-rich theocracy the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

On the eve of the Russian invasion, Biden begged Putin to pump even more oil to supplement its current Russian imports to the United States.

Did Putin see that surreal request as yet another sign of American appeasement that might greenlight his upcoming planned invasion? In Russian eyes, was it more proof of American weakness and craziness after the humiliating flight from Afghanistan?

Biden has blasted the human rights record of Saudi Arabia’s royal family. Now he is begging the monarchy to pump more of its despised carbon-spewing oil to make up for what his administration shut down at home. Is that why the Saudi royals refused to take his call?

The moral of Biden’s oil madness?

Elite ideology divorced from reality impoverishes people and can get them killed.

Because we have given up American energy independence (and the ability to supply Europe with energy), we are funding Russia’s war on Ukraine. Until our leaders are willing to acknowledge that fact, I don’t see the war in Ukraine ending or the war on American energy ending.

Some Perspective On Gasoline Prices

Issues & Insights recently posted an article about some of the behind the scenes aspects of the rapidly rising gas prices.

The article notes:

That gasoline prices are becoming unaffordable to many Americans is becoming old news. What got us here, though, is a story unheard by much of the public. It starts and ends with green politics.

As gasoline reaches prices that made it a luxury good during President Joe Biden’s year in office, the White House is considering asking the Saudis to produce more oil. At the same time, the administration apparently wants more oil from Venezuela, which is languishing under a dictatorship that’s squarely aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Iran, a member in good standing with the axis of evil.

“Joe Biden is frantically searching the globe to see if anyone but Texas might have some spare oil,” says a tweet from Bryan Dean Wright, a former CIA officer and Oregon Democrat, that sums up well the comical blundering as well as the corrupt decision-making of the current White House.

The article concludes:

But green politics won’t allow the U.S. to take advantage of its bounty of crude and natural gas. Oddly, though, the environmentalists who hold energy policy hostage when Democrats are in power have no problem with this country importing oil from nations where the drilling and transportation processes are dirtier than they are in the U.S., and the regimes are not democratically elected.

This is the California model. Officials and activists’ rush to create an all-renewables electricity grid has forced the state to import energy from producers in Arizona, Baja California, Colorado, Mexico, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah that rely on natural gas, nuclear energy, and coal, three sources that California wants to eliminate from its portfolio. But this is acceptable, because it’s happening somewhere else, outside the view sheds of the wealthy enclaves on the coast.

It’s the same with the mining of the natural resources that are needed to build batteries for electric cars, cell phones, and other modern conveniences. The political left is happy to use these items as long as the extraction for material used in their manufacture is done away from their myopic gazes in countries where environmental protections hardly exist.

Yes, this not-in-my-back yard attitude is hypocritical, but worse than that, it produces poor public policy. We hope some day a majority of voters consistently figures this out in election after election.

Green energy destroyed the Spanish economy and did not lower carbon emissions (article here). Let’s not do that in America.

Ignoring The Solution To High Energy Prices

On February 28th, BizPacReview posted an article illustrating the Biden administration’s plan to deal with the current high energy prices.

The article reports:

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called for furthering green energy initiatives in the face of foreign oil dependence that could see Americans burdened by $150/barrel prices.

In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Psaki dismissed calls for President Biden to restart the Keystone XL oil pipeline and instead harkened back to the executive order that canceled the project which stated, the U.S. “must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy.”

“What this actually justifies in President Biden’s view is the fact that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, on oil in general,” Psaki claimed, “and we need to look at other ways of having energy in our country and others.

In 1948, Winston Churchill made a speech to the House of Commons in which he said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” The actual quote is “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana-1905). Regardless of the origin or the wording, the concept is valid. Unfortunately we have an administration in Washington that is ignoring those words.

In September 2014, I posted an article about Spain’s attempt to convert from fossil fuel to green energy. I quoted a Daily Caller article detailing the results:

The IER study also notes that Spain’s green agenda was not able to keep its carbon footprint from rising. Between 1994 and 2011, Spain’s carbon dioxide emissions grew 34.5 percent, despite the country’s green push which began in the 1990s.

“While the renewable policies themselves were likely not the cause of the emissions increase, the upward trend does prove that renewable energy policies were insufficient to reduce CO2 emissions over a roughly twenty-year period,” according to IER.

“is anything but the model for American energy policy,” reads the IER study. “The country’s expensive feed-in tariff system, subsidies, and renewable energy quotas have plunged a sizable portion of Spaniards into fuel poverty, raised electricity bills, all while having almost no meaningful impact on curtailing carbon dioxide emissions.”

The article at BizPacReview states:

Contrary to Psaki, Bartiromo pointed out, “The only move for the United States at this point to protect itself is to become energy independent again.”

Bartiromo (Maria Bartiromo) further stated that Biden is partially responsible for the looming energy crisis as he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and all drilling on federal land on his first day in office. Biden continued the assault on domestic energy production last week when the administration delayed decisions on permitting new oil and gas leases, Fox Business reported.

The delay is in direct response to an injunction that prevents these new leases from paying more than $50/ton on their carbon emissions that Biden also demanded on his first day in office. The judge’s temporary injunction allows the rate to remain at the $7/ton that President Trump had instituted following the initial $50+/ton under President Obama.

Biden had also proposed banning all crude oil exports from the United States in December, a consideration which was highly panned amidst an already suffering economy. Republican pushback against such devastating measures was led in part by Rep. August Pfluger (TX) who has once again stepped up to promote American energy security.

The war over Ukraine has further proven that America needs to be not only energy independent, but a major exporter of fossil fuel. That is the only way to remain a world power. If the Biden administration continues its race toward green energy, we can count on being a third-world country by the end of the Biden administration.

Bowing To Reality

On Sunday, The Epoch Times posted an article that might indicate that Europe is waking up the pitfalls of ‘green energy.’

The article reports:

The European Union has drafted a proposal that allows consideration for natural gas and nuclear energy to be included within the scope of “green” investments as countries and environmentalists battle over the complicated classification system.

Later this month, the European Commission is expected to suggest recommendations on the environmental criteria needed in order to classify an energy source as “green” and whether projects can be included within the EU’s “sustainable finance taxonomy.” According to draft conclusions viewed by multiple media outlets, the commission has suggested adding gas and nuclear energy to the green mix, resulting in immediate criticism from some governing political parties and environmental activists.

Gas projects would be temporarily labeled green if they were utilized in place of coal and emitted less than 270 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (e/kWh), receive a construction permit before the end of 2030, and plan to switch to a renewable energy source by 2035.

There are a lot of problems with ‘green energy.’ Although solar energy and wind energy seem like a wonderful idea, the chemicals that go into making solar panels and the problem of disposing of wind turbine blades after they are no longer useful need to be considered. Natural gas is extremely clean burning and abundant. Nuclear energy with good safety measures is also reliable and safe. At some point we are going to have to admit that green energy alone will not provide the power needed to run our civilization.

The article concludes:

“Taking account of scientific advice and current technological progress as well as varying transition challenges across member states, the Commission considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition toward a predominantly renewable-based future,” the European Commission said in a Jan. 1 statement.

EU advisers have contended that gas projects shouldn’t be given green labels unless the amount of emitted carbon dioxide is less than 100 grams per e/kWh, failing which there could be disastrous consequences for the climate. Nuclear power, likewise, can have adverse effects on the environment, especially when it comes to the disposal of radioactive waste.

“By including them … the commission risks jeopardizing the credibility of the EU’s role as a leading marketplace for sustainable finance,” European Greens President Philippe Lamberts said, Reuters reported.

Several European countries that operate nuclear plants, such as France, want the bloc to consider the nuclear option to be included in the so-called taxonomy to make it eligible for green financing.

In September 2014, I posted an article detailing what happened when Spain decided to  convert to green energy. What happened in Spain should have been enough to encourage the EU to include natural gas and nuclear energy in their future energy plans.

The Price We Are Paying At The Gas Pump

The year 2020 was a good year for American drivers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the price of a gallon of gasoline at the pump was $2.64 in January 2020, dropped to $1.94 in April, and ended the year at $2.29. The website lists the current cost of a gallon of gasoline at $3.50. That’s a $12 increase in cost every time I put 10 gallons of gasoline in my car. If you are commuting to work, that adds up fast. So how does the Biden administration feel about this significant increase in the cost of gasoline? The Epoch Times posted an article today that answers that question.

The article reports:

When he announced last week that he would release more oil from the American Strategic Petroleum Reserve, President Joe Biden told the American people he is doing everything possible to bring down gas prices at the pump.

That’s a lie. This administration and the climate change crazies have declared war on American energy.

They want high oil and gas prices. The Biden master plan is for American oil and gas production and consumption to go to zero over the next 15 to 20 years. How do you achieve that goal? By making oil and gas so expensive and so unavailable that Americans are forced to use alternatives.

In other words, the fact that gasoline is roughly $1.25 more expensive per gallon today under Biden than it was a year ago under former President Donald Trump didn’t happen by accident. This was not a result of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, that could knock out our oil facilities. This was by design.

The left believes that they can change the temperature of the planet by forcing American energy companies to produce less oil and to force Americans to use less of it. How do you get people to buy less of something? You raise its price. This is basic high-school introductory economics.

The article concludes:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said it well in August that Texas “can easily produce that oil” if Biden “will just stay out of the way.”

He won’t.

The Biden administration strategy is to force-feed the American economy expensive, unreliable, and made-in-China wind and solar energy. His $3 trillion Build Back Better bill would dole out more than $500 billion of taxpayer dollars to the wind, solar, and electric vehicle industry to break the back of oil and gas production. If this energy source is so efficient, why does it need a half trillion dollars of your and my money?

Meanwhile, nearly every Biden policy has been deliberately aimed at killing U.S. oil and gas production—from killing the Keystone XL pipeline to trying to shut down other existing natural gas pipelines in the Midwest (Home heating costs are going way up this winter.) to shutting down much of Alaska oil production to new Environmental Protection Agency rules making it very difficult and expensive to drill here in America. He is also preventing the mining of American coal, which is still one of the dominant sources of electric power around the world. He also wants to raise taxes on the oil and gas industry.

Now, let’s be honest. Do any of these policies suggest that Biden and his liberal friends in the green-energy movement want to keep oil and gas prices low? If you answer yes to that, you probably believe that Al Gore invented the internet.

Elections have consequences.

The Harm Caused By Good Intentions

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog today about the harm done by environmentalists.

The article reports:

The damage done by contemporary environmentalism is a big topic. For now I want to note two important instances that are on my mind because they are fronts on which my organization, Center of the American Experiment, is battling self-interested or misguided environmentalists.

Environmentalists cause great damage by blocking needed development, including exploitation of mineral resources. This is grossly hypocritical, since the principal goal of today’s environmental movement is to replace fossil fuels by electrifying everything, while getting the bulk of our electricity from wind and solar power. Apart from being impossible, the amount of mining that would need to be done to supply the necessary electrical hardware and batteries would dwarf anything in human history. At the same time, however, environmentalists refuse to allow mining of the needed materials–copper, nickel, cobalt and others–here in the United States. In effect, they insist on massive environmental degradation, only not in their back yards.

…At GreenEnergyFails.com, you can watch videos that explain the Texas blackouts, and the site includes a lengthy and utterly definitive explanation of why those blackouts were, contrary to the desperate assertions of the environmental lobby, caused by Texas’s excessive reliance on unreliable wind and solar energy.

Like other organs of the Left, the environmental lobby is backed by an extraordinary amount of money. This is understandable, as enormous profits are being made on the “green” energy chimera by utilities and by wind and solar companies (many foreign-owned) that feed at the government trough.

Perhaps more significant is that the environmental movement, in its early stage, actually did some good. As Steve Hayward documented over a period of years, it contributed to a remarkable improvement in air and water quality across the U.S. That cleanup was a great achievement for which the environmental movement can take partial credit. Unfortunately, the good will that was created decades ago continues to boost environmentalism, even though in its current manifestations the movement is actually hurting not only public safety and our peoples’ livelihoods, but also our environment.

The search for the perpetual motion machine was alive and well during the Middle Ages. It looks like it is back with us again.

The Dangers Of Moving To Green Energy Before The Technology Is Perfected

On February 10th, The John Locke Foundation posted an article about the proposed energy policies of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

The article reports:

  • Last summer California suffered two days of rolling blackouts
  • California’s Utility Commission recently published their findings of what happened to cause the massive loss in power
  • Years of misguided policies led to a shortage of dispatchable energy — the same policies Gov. Roy Cooper is advocating for North Carolina

Last summer California suffered two days of rolling blackouts because the customers’ needs for electricity exceeded the California power system’s ability to generate electricity. Such a thing should never happen. The California Utilities Commission recently published a report explaining what happened and why.

North Carolinians should know that many of the energy policies Gov. Roy Cooper has advocated for here in North Carolina follow the mistakes identified as the cause of California’s blackouts. As in California, these missteps will leave North Carolina unprepared for our energy future and will ultimately lead to blackouts here. North Carolina should not repeat California’s mistakes.

The job of providing stable electricity to the consumer can be complicated, but this much is pretty simple: enough electricity must always be generated to meet the demand. The United States has developed one of the world’s finest electricity systems. Its costs are among the lowest, and its reliability is among the highest. What happened to California? What bad energy decisions were made over the years in California resulting in rolling blackouts?

According to the “Root Cause Analysis” published by California Independent System Operator, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission, here are the factors that led to the outages:

  1. Climate change–induced extreme weather caused the demand to exceed the generating capability of the California system.
  2. In transitioning to “clean” energy, the State’s dispatchable generating capacity had “not kept pace” with the state’s needs.
  3. The State’s “Resource Adequacy” program failed to predict the needs of the heat wave.

The article concludes:

Cooper is steering North Carolina in the same direction. He opposes building new natural gas pipelines while pushing for more solar plants, which need natural gas backup. Is this where we want North Carolina to go? Do we want more poverty? Do we want the poorest having to pay more of their monthly income for electricity? Do we want rolling blackouts?

Shouldn’t we learn from California’s mistakes instead and keep natural gas plants supplied with gas while we build more nuclear power?

There are a few things those promoting green energy (including electric cars) fail to mention when promoting their agenda. The disposal of the blades on windmills and the disposal of solar panels are creating an environmental hazard. The mining of lithium for electric car batteries involves the use of slave labor in Africa. (articles here, here, here, and here). Rolling blackouts are not acceptable in a country as prosperous as America. We have cut our carbon footprint significantly with the use of natural gas. It is folly to believe we can run a successful economy without the careful use of fossil fuel to keep the economy going. Spain learned that lesson in the early 2000’s (article here).

Hopefully the legislature can put Governor Cooper on the right track.

 

What Failed?

The snow and cold in Texas has been a disaster. That part of the country is simply not prepared for that kind of weather. I’m not even sure that New England, where I spent 45 years, would handle this situation well. Now it’s time to look at why the power went out, the water went out, etc. Admittedly, this was a hundred-year storm, but as those of us who live in hurricane zones know, you have to prepare for the hundred-year storm, regardless of what form it arrives in.

Just the News posted an article today citing some of the statistics that led to the epic failure of the power grid in Texas. There was failure in all areas of energy generation, but some were greater than others. Please follow the link to read the entire article.

The article reports:

A statewide blame game has accompanied the crisis, with numerous industries and commentators alleging that, variously, wind, solar, natural gas and coal failed to meet the surge in heating demand accompanying the cold snap. Yet federal data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate that, of the state’s major energy sources, wind experienced the sharpest drop-off in energy production

The plunge in temperatures led to both a surge in heating demand and the concomitant power outages. Data from the EIA show that at nearly the exact same time demand was surging and energy grids were buckling, wind energy experienced a catastrophic drop-off: In the evening of Feb. 14, wind in the state was producing just over 9,000 MWh of energy, while 24 hours later it was putting out less than 800 MWh, a roughly 91% decrease in output.

Virtually every other energy industry in the state also saw decreased output over the same time period amid record demand, yet none saw as steep a decrease as did wind power. Natural gas, the state’s largest source of energy, saw a 23% decline in output, as did coal, the second-largest source. Nuclear, which competes with wind for third place, dropped 26%.

Texas has come to rely increasingly on wind power in recent years. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts said last August that the state’s usage of wind power has “more than quadrupled” since 2009, with wind rising to supply 20% of the state’s total energy needs in 2019. Coal power, meanwhile, declined from 37% of the state’s electricity generation in 2009 to 20% in 2019. 

The article concludes:

The natural gas losses could also be partly explained by wind production having plummeted so steeply in the initial cold snap and remained at low levels in subsequent days while natural gas rates remained relatively elevated. With natural gas producing so much more KWh relative to other fuels, it stands to reason that its role now in ongoing outages would likewise be disproportionately large.

A 30-day review of energy production in Texas shows that, while natural gas and wind energy were at times neck-and-neck in production rates throughout January and into mid-February, natural gas production skyrocketed following the cold snap while wind plummeted. 

Natural gas energy output in Texas hit a high on Feb. 15 before declining sharply in the following days, yet it still remained over 400% higher than it was on Feb. 7, compared to an overall 83% decrease in wind output.

The lesson here is that green energy always needs good back-up.

Has Anyone Actually Thought This Through?

On January 30, 2021, a website called Deseret News posted an article about the ‘solar waste’ involved in green energy.

The article notes:

Although countries are feverishly looking to install wind and solar farms to wean themselves off carbon-based, or so-called “dirty” energy, few countries, operators and the industry itself have yet to fully tackle the long-term consequences of how to dispose of these systems, which have their own environmental hazards like toxic metals, oil, fiberglass and other material.

A briefing paper released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency predicts these startling global numbers for countries by 2050 just for solar waste:

    • United States, 10 million tons.
    • Germany, 3 million tons.
    • China, 20 million tons.
    • Japan, 7.5 million tons.
    • India, 7.5 million tons.

Solar arrays have a life cycle of about 30 years, but the rapid adoption of solar in the United States and elsewhere has the problem of disposal creeping up in the rearview mirror — faster rather than later.

The article also notes the problem with wind power:

Wind power also is taking off as a clean energy resource, but the EPA notes that windmills are the least energy producing and most physically difficult renewable energy waste stream to address.

The sheer size of the windmills and the difficulty of disposing of them at recycling stations led the agency to conclude that each new wind farm is a “towering promise of future wreckage.”

While there is a market for second-hand windmills in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, the tactic of shifting used windmill components to other countries simply delays the waste disposal problem and puts it on the shoulders of countries less equipped to deal with the challenge, it noted.

Like coal mining or other natural resource extraction, certain entities in Utah and elsewhere have addressed the afterlife issues of wind and solar farms by requiring environmental remediation or the posting of a reclamation bond to ensure proper cleanup and disposal.

The article concludes:

There is some innovation playing out, however, with Japan’s Nissan repurposing batteries to power streetlights. In the United States, General Motors is backing up its data center in Michigan with used Chevy Volt batteries.

The EPA notes, however, that these sort of “adaptive reuses” still only delay the time for final disposal of the batteries and the need to deal with materials in the batteries that can cause fires or leach hazardous chemicals.

On the wind power front, GE announced last year it had reached a multiyear agreement with Veolia North America to launch the United States’ first wind blade recycling program, according to an article in Utility Dive.

Nearly 90 % of the blade material, consisting of fiberglass, would be repurposed for cement production, cutting carbon dioxide emissions from that source by 27%.

With the release of its paper, the EPA is calling on researchers, states, industry and other federal agencies to ensure green waste is sustainable from end to end and that gaps in renewable energy waste management are addressed.

“While consumers may purchase renewable energy or renewable energy-based products with good intentions, that does not prevent the unintended adverse environmental consequences of these products,” it said.

It seems that we have not yet solved the problems of green energy. Those problems will be solved in the future, but as of yet green energy is not quite ready for prime time.

At Least Someone Is Fighting This Policy

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner posted an article about the Western Energy Alliance. This group sued the Biden administration Wednesday alleging that the pause on oil and gas leases on federal land and waters exceeds presidential authority.

The article reports:

As part of President Biden’s ultimate goal of eliminating fossil fuel as a power source by 2035, and from the entire U.S. economy entirely by 2050, Wednesday’s executive orders direct agencies to end federal subsidies for fossil fuels, to pause new oil and gas leases on federal lands and water. It aims to conserve 30% of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years and requires federal agencies to move to all-electric vehicle fleets.

It carries significant risks and opposition.

Michael Shellenberger, the author of Apocalypse Never, said: “Climate change is not the most important environmental problem. Most of the trends are going in the right direction: Deaths from natural disasters are at an all-time low. Carbon emissions in the United States peaked over a decade ago; they’ve been going down ever since. They’ve been going down in wealthy countries for almost 40 years. We should continue to do what’s been working, replacing coal with natural gas and nuclear, but this is not the apocalyptic trend that people have been led to believe it is.”

Shellenberger, an environmentalist, a Democrat, and Biden voter, maintains that wind and solar produce their own environmental damage, adding, “They just gave permission, the federal government, to industrial wind farms to kill condors. This is, for people that are environmentalists, true conservationists — that’s bonkers.”

The article concludes:

Republicans will no doubt attack what they see as Democratic hypocrisy on the issue. Climate czar Kerry is known to fly on the Heinz Family Foundation’s private Gulfstream jet. Private jets consume roughly 40 times the carbon per passenger as commercial jets.

I support using the cleanest energy possible. However, the idea of running an economy entirely on green energy reminds me of the search for the perpetual motion machine. There are laws of physics that come into play when you are dealing with energy, the creation of energy, and motion.

We need to learn from the experience of Spain, as detailed in The Daily Caller on August 28, 2014.

Please follow the link to read the entire article in The Daily Caller, but this is the bottom line:

Spain has actually been scaling back its costly green energy agenda the past year or two in the face of high debt and unemployment. The country cut wind subsidies to major wind farms back in February and, in June, Spanish officials announced a new electricity rate schedule that effectively ended green energy feed-in tariffs.

The IER study also notes that Spain’s green agenda was not able to keep its carbon footprint from rising. Between 1994 and 2011, Spain’s carbon dioxide emissions grew 34.5 percent, despite the country’s green push which began in the 1990s.

“While the renewable policies themselves were likely not the cause of the emissions increase, the upward trend does prove that renewable energy policies were insufficient to reduce CO2 emissions over a roughly twenty-year period,” according to IER.

“is anything but the model for American energy policy,” reads the IER study. “The country’s expensive feed-in tariff system, subsidies, and renewable energy quotas have plunged a sizable portion of Spaniards into fuel poverty, raised electricity bills, all while having almost no meaningful impact on curtailing carbon dioxide emissions.”

We shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. We need to learn the lessons of those who already reinvented the wheel and discovered it needed to be round. To attempt to go down the same road as Spain, ignoring the lessons they learned, is folly.

Changing The Rules

The Federalist posted an article today about some of the rules that are being put in place in the House of Representatives. These rules will damage America. They will also result in major Democrat losses in the House of Representatives in 2022. The question is how much damage can the Democrats do in two years.

The article reports:

House Democrats blocked a Republican measure Monday to cut a provision in the Democrats’ rules package for the 117th Congress exempting favored legislation from PAYGO requirements such as the socialist Green New Deal.

PAYGO requirements stipulate that any legislation spending money must include a “payfor” component that could come in the form of additional legislation analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offering members insight into the true cost of any new spending bill. Under the proposed Democratic rules, however, proposals such as the Green New Deal are exempt from the requirement, protecting its supporters from having to answer how to cover its initial estimated $93 trillion price tag.

Are there any fiscally responsible Democrats that could have stopped this?

The article continues:

“On only day two of the 117th Congress, House Democrats are already attempting to strip Americans of the transparency they deserve in order to push through an expensive progressive wish-list,” House Budget Committee Republican Ranking Member Jason Smith of Missouri admonished lawmakers. “This exemption is irresponsible since arguably it could apply to any radical, progressive, out-of-touch legislation dreamed up next by House Democrats.”

Democrats blocked the Republicans’ Motion to Commit, striking the exemption by a margin of 217 to the GOP’s 203 voting in favor. The radical proposals Smith prophesied are certainly in the pipeline.

The article concludes:

With few votes to spare on major legislation, Pelosi will need to keep her caucus’s farthest-left members on board. The final check on two years of Democrats passing every item on their wish list with an incoming Democratic president then falls to the Senate, control of which will be decided in the Georgia Senate runoffs Tuesday.

Hang on to your wallets. This is going to get very ugly and very expensive.

The Part Of The Story Rarely Told

Issues & Insights posted an article today detailing the environmental problems with green energy. Yes, you read that right.

The article reports:

Left out of the often mistaken, never in doubt assertions of renewables’ unalloyed goodness is the fact that the hardware used is hardly renewable. It wears out and needs to be replaced. Then what?

“The problem of solar panel disposal ‘will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment’ because it ‘is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle,’” writes energy analyst Michael Shellenberger, quoting a Chinese recycling official.

In his 2018 Forbes column headlined “If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?” Shellenberger also quotes a four-decade veteran of America’s solar industry, who said “the reality is that there is a problem now, and it’s only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago”; and researchers from the Institute for Photovoltaics in Stuttgart, Germany, who found that “contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

More recently, Hazardous Waste Experts reported worn-out solar panels are “a potent source of hazardous waste,” producing a “dilemma” that “is especially virulent in California, Oregon, and Washington, as those states started adopting solar energy earliest in the game – suggesting that eco-virtue mightn’t necessarily be its own reward.”

And just as solar and wind chew up immense tracts of real estate, so, too, will the retirement of solar energy’s constituent parts.

I was not the world’s greatest student of physics (that is an understatement), but I do remember learning that it is impossible to make a perpetual motion machine because of friction. The quest for clean energy reminds me of the search for a perpetual motion machine. America has cut its carbon emissions in recent years by using more natural gas, which is a relatively clean source of energy. That change makes much more sense and is much less disruptive than some of the radical ideas being proposed by the political left in America.

The Myth Of Green Energy

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the feasibility of achieving 100 percent green energy.

The article notes:

High on the Left’s agenda is mandating 100% “green” generation of electricity–if not 100% of energy, period. I believe Joe Biden, among others, has now come out for 100% “green” energy, meaning wind and solar. But for now, let’s stick with energy generation. Would it be feasible to get 100% of our electricity from wind and solar?

Basic problems with these energy sources include inefficiency and intermittency. Wind turbines produce energy around 40% of the time, and solar panels do much worse than that in many parts of the country. So how does a utility ensure that the lights will go on, even at night when the wind isn’t blowing?

The liberals’ favorite answer is “batteries.” Produce electricity when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, and store the energy in batteries for use when electricity is not being generated. Batteries exist, of course; we use them all the time. But where is the battery that can store the entire output of a power plant or a wind farm? That battery does not exist. Further, battery storage is ruinously expensive. The cost of storing the entire electricity needs of the U.S. for even a day would be prohibitive.

But there are also other problems in terms of the materials required.

The article notes:

But that isn’t the worst of it. Wind and solar are low-intensity energy sources. It takes many acres of wind turbines to produce, on a best-case scenario, what a single power plant can produce. And solar panels are even worse. A single 3 mw wind turbine uses 335 tons of steel, 4.7 tons of copper, 3 tons of aluminum, 2 tons of rare earth elements, and 1,200 tons (2.4 million pounds!) of concrete. If we take seriously the idea of getting all of our electricity from wind and solar, where will all of those materials come from?

The article links to another article at Center of the American Experiment that explains how much metal would required in just Minnesota to implement the Green New Deal. Please follow the links above to read both articles. They are enlightening.

The article at Power Line Blog concludes:

The Democrats’ “green” agenda does not represent a set of meaningful policy proposals. Taken seriously, and objectively evaluated, they immediately crumble. It is literally true that the Democrats could propose to harness the energy of unicorns running on treadmills, and it would make as much sense as reliance on wind, solar and batteries. “Green” energy is driven by two closely related things: 1) politics, and 2) enormous quantities of money being made by politically-connected wind and solar entrepreneurs.

We need to use energy wisely and we need to do what we can to prevent pollution. But we also need to remember that as cultures become more advanced, those advancements tend to result in cleaner air and cleaner water. Many of the rivers and lakes in America are cleaner than they were 100 years ago because of scientific advancements in sewage treatment and manufacturing. We are capable of protecting the environment and also enjoying the fruits of civilization.

Blacklisting In The Scientific Community

Climate change seems to be an issue that will not die. Even when science refutes it, the call for crippling our economy in the name of the environment continues. Climate change enthusiasts seem to overlook the fact that America has reduced its carbon footprint significantly in the past few years. Meanwhile, the march toward green energy that so far is unworkable continues.

Today Issues and Answers reported the following:

“A climate advocacy group called Skeptical Science hosts a list of academics that it has labeled ‘climate misinformers,’” Pielke recently wrote in Forbes. “The list includes 17 academics and is intended as a blacklist.” 

Pielke says we know this through a Skeptical Science blogger “named Dana Nuccitelli.” According to Pielke, Nuccitelli believes that Judith Curry should be “unhirable in academia” based on her statements about global warming.

Nuccitelli tweeted that “Curry’s words, as documented … are what make her ‘unhirable.’” Both the blog and Nuccitelli of course deny there’s a blacklist.

The “unhirable” Curry is no crank. She is the former chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and is a fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society. She stepped down from her position at Georgia Tech at the insistence of an administrator, she told Pielke. The Earth and Atmospheric Sciences dean had heard from “several activist climate scientists who had a very direct pipeline to” the dean’s office, and had expressed their “extreme displeasure” over Curry’s presence at the school, she said.

Curry looked into positions at other universities, interviewed for two, but was never hired. According to her headhunter, “the show stopper was my public profile in the climate debate.”

Follow the link to the article to see more examples of this blacklisting.

This is even more concerning when you consider the following the following comments about the true agenda of the climate-change movement:

Have doubts? Then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

This quote is posted in an article at rightwinggranny on March 30, 2016. The quote was from Investor’s Business Daily.

 

Real-life Stories About Green Energy

Massachusetts is generally a pretty liberal state. Green energy is popular there. However, recently there have been some events that have caused some state residents to question the wisdom of ‘going green.’

On February 13th (updated February 14th) The Cape Cod Times reported:

After years of running into roadblocks, residents who live near Future Generation Wind made some headway Wednesday night when the Plymouth Board of Health unanimously voted to declare the four turbines along Route 25 a nuisance.

“We want to do justice to this and to all the parties involved,” board Chairwoman Birgitta Kuehn said.

The board also unanimously voted to take action on the turbines within a reasonable time.

Up to 30 residents from Bourne and Plymouth crowded into the meeting room to complain again about how the turbines negatively affect their lives on a daily basis.

“It is amazing to me that these turbines were built in a residential area,” board Vice Chairman Barry Potvin said. “This is clearly something the Board of Health has to take up, because we are sworn to protect the health and safety of the people who live in this area.”

The article explains some of the difficulties in removing the turbines:

The four 500-foot ConEdison Solutions wind turbines were installed in June 2016. They sit close to the Bourne border, but because they are located in Plymouth, it has been difficult for Bourne residents to fight through their own town government.

Since their installation, the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserve and protect Buzzards Bay, has collected approximately 360 complaints from residents in the area. Complaints include shadow flicker, nausea, vertigo, sleep disturbance, headaches, anxiety and sound disturbances.

The article concludes:

In October 2018, the Bourne Board of Health found the turbines were a nuisance and sent a letter to the Plymouth Board of Health, Planning Board, Board of Selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals, which is responsible for licensing the turbines. No action had been taken since.

If the turbines are removed it would mirror what happened to the two turbines that were at the Falmouth wastewater treatment plant.

After residents in that town complained of the negative impacts from the turbines, a Barnstable Superior Court judge ordered in 2013 that neither turbine could spin again. The November town meeting voted to spend $2.5 million to dismantle the turbines.

The Falmouth turbines, however, were town-owned on town property. The Plymouth turbines are on private property and are owned by a private company.

Moving forward, members of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee plan to attend the Plymouth selectmen’s meeting Feb. 25 to further discuss the issue and possible next steps.

So let’s look at some of the consequences of this particular rush to ‘green energy.’ The residents whose electricity comes from the company that put up the windmills have paid for the installation of the windmills in the form of higher electric rates. Since Massachusetts’ electric customers have an option to choose their electric provider, I suspect the company has lost customers. Meanwhile, I would guess that the rates for the remaining customers have increased. The residents of the towns involved are also expected to use their tax money to dismantle the windmills. This adventure into ‘green energy’ which relied on government subsidies rather than the free market has been a lose-lose for the residents of the towns involved.

The only reasonable path to ‘green energy’ is the free market. Even at that, it may be that the search for ‘green energy’ is similar to the never-ending search for a perpetual motion machine, a concept that totally ignores the basic principles of physics.

Spin vs. Reality

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the latest events in the climate change debate.

The article reports:

Speaking at the United Nations in December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew cheers by saying the United States was “still in” the Paris Climate Agreement. Green activists applauded Pelosi’s defense of the international climate accord, which President Trump had vowed to exit. These activists claim that remaining in the Paris Agreement will help reduce global emissions.

They are wrong.

European leaders have spent years trying and pointedly failing to solve the climate crisis with regulation. Whether intentionally or not, U.S. policymakers have mostly avoided top-down solutions. And counterintuitively, or perhaps it should have been intuitive, the U.S. now leads the developed world in reducing carbon emissions.

America didn’t need a treaty–we just needed a President who understood how to balance environmental policy and the freedom and interests of the American people.

The article explains why the American approach has worked:

…instead of banning fossil fuels outright, the U.S. embraced natural gas amid a boom in its production. Thanks to a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” we’ve managed to tap new reserves of natural gas. In 2015, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s top producer of natural gas. By 2018, energy companies produced over 60% more natural gas than they had two decades earlier. This newfound abundance of natural gas has helped our nation transition away from coal, which emits twice as much carbon dioxide.

Thanks to this shift, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have hit 30-year lows, even as global emissions have increased by 50% during the same period. And since 2005, natural gas has done more to reduce power sector dioxide emissions than all renewable energy sources combined, according to the Energy Information Administration.

By eschewing regulation, America has also spurred additional emissions-reducing innovations in the private sector. Freed from red tape, U.S. energy firms have been able to devise and implement a host of groundbreaking green technologies. For example, a new technology called CleanWave strips chemicals from fracking wastewater using positively charged ions and bubbles. The Texas-based energy firm Apache reduces greenhouse gas emissions by powering fracking engines with natural gas instead of diesel.

The article concludes:

While the rest of the world fumbles with green energy policies, the U.S. continues to reduce emissions. We don’t need regulation to guarantee future success. American firms will continue to combat climate change, as long as we let them.

The free market works any time you let it.

A New Twist On Environmentalism

There is a lot of questionable science behind the push for ‘green energy.’ In some ways the quest is reminiscent of the quest for the elusive perpetual motion machine. One of the main reasons we have the wind and solar farms we have is that they are heavily subsidized by the government. Because the government has gotten involved, the free market has not invented the technology to make green energy truly effective. Why should they when competition is not a factor? Less than perfect technology has its challenges.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article with the following headline, “Wind Energy Collapsing In Germany.’

The article reports:

The expansion of wind power in the first half of this year collapsed to its lowest level since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000. All in all, just 35 wind turbines were build with an output of 231 megawatts. “This corresponds to a decline of 82 percent compared to the already weak period of the previous year”, according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) in Berlin.

“This makes one nearly speechless,” said Matthias Zelinger at the presentation of the data. The managing director of the Power Systems division of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) spoke of a “blow to the guts of the energy turnaround”. This actual development doesn’t match “at all to the current climate protection debate”.

The article notes the cause of the decline:

The most important cause lies in the legal resistance of wildlife and forest conservationists fighting new wind farms. The BWE President referred to an industry survey of the onshore wind agency. According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats.

The article concludes:

The conservationists have a point. One of the worst features of both wind and solar energy is that they are terrible for the environment. They use up an enormous amount of land that otherwise would be available for agriculture, development or recreation. They are eyesores. And they kill huge quantities of wildlife.

It isn’t the most important reason to oppose corrupt subsidies and mandates for “green” energy, but the fact that these energy sources are bad for the environment is one more nail in the coffin.

Somehow I don’t expect to see this news in the mainstream media.

Following The Money On Renewable Energy

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the cost of the a green energy proposal in Minnesota. The article illustrates what will happen if this sort of program is attempted on a national scale.

The article reports:

Today Center of the American Experiment released a groundbreaking paper that addresses a relatively mild “green” proposal: legislation that would raise the renewable energy standard in Minnesota from 25% to 50%. Two of my staffers have been working on the paper for months, drawing on publicly available (but rarely consulted) sources to understand what would be necessary to achieve that 50% goal, what it would cost, how it would impact the state’s economy, and what effect it would have on global temperatures.

The paper is titled “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” With appendices, it runs to 75 pages. I am not aware of a similarly comprehensive analysis that has been done of any “green” proposal at either the state or the federal level. The paper is fully transparent: all assumptions, data and calculations are clearly set forth. The appendices are largely spread sheets. If anyone disagrees with the report’s conclusions, it should be easy to identify where and why those disagreements arise. You can read the paper here.

The article cites a few highlights from the report:

* Building and maintaining “green” wind and solar facilities, along with transmission lines and necessary natural gas complementary plants (to provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. 60% of the time), would cost $80.2 billion through 2050. For a state like Minnesota, that number is out of the question.

* Every household in Minnesota would pay an average of $1,200 per year, in 2016 dollars, through higher electricity rates and otherwise.

* Electricity prices would rise by 40.2%.

* Electricity-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, manufacturing and health care would be hurt the most. Once again, urban greenies are hammering rural, and physically productive, America. [That last is my commentary, not found in the executive summary.]

* Higher electricity prices are a dead loss that will reduce spending in other areas as household budgets are squeezed. Therefore, according to economist John Phelan, using the generally accepted IMPLAN software, achieving the 50% renewable goal would cost Minnesota 21,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s GDP by $3.1 billion annually. It is one small step on the road to Venezuela.

This really does not sound like a good idea. The push for green energy has always been about government power–whether at the state or federal level. It is interesting that the political left has chosen to attack fossil fuels just at the time when America has achieved energy independence because of fossil fuels and fossil fuels are driving our economic success. Economic success is the enemy of those who espouse socialism–if people are become prosperous, why would they want something different?

The Need For A Reality Check

Green energy is a wonderful concept. Energy in Iceland is almost entirely green because the country sits on a number of volcanoes that supply it with thermal energy. I’m not sure that I am willing to live on a volcano to get thermal energy, but that is one way to go green. However, the quest for green energy where there is not such an obvious energy source has not been particularly successful.

CNS News posted an article yesterday about the statement put out by Speaker Pelosi to recognize Black History Month.

The article has the entire statement, but I think the focus is interesting:

Democrats will be pushing a “For the People” agenda that will include raising wages by building green infrastructure.

“And we are pushing forward a bold, ambitious agenda For The People to make good on the promise of the American Dream for everyone by lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, raising wages by rebuilding America with green, modern infrastructure, and strengthening our democracy by ensuring that our government works for the public interest, not the special interests,” Pelosi said.

Let’s talk about rebuilding America with green, modern infrastructure. Green energy is one of the major special interest groups in America.

In 2015, The Washington Times reported:

Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised.

Nearly $1 billion in loans have already defaulted under the Energy Department program, which included the infamous Solyndra stimulus project and dozens of other green technology programs the Obama administration has approved, totaling nearly about $30 billion in taxpayer backing, the Government Accountability Office reported in its audit.

The hefty $2.2 billion price tag is actually an improvement over initial estimates, which found the government was poised to face $4 billion in losses from the loan guarantees. But as the projects have come to fruition, they’ve performed better, leaving taxpayers with a shrinking — though still sizable — liability.

It’s a good thing Speaker Pelosi didn’t say anything about lowering taxes–maybe the increased wages with increased taxes will pay for the green energy.

This green energy idea has not been successful when tried before.

In August 2014 The Daily Caller posted an article about Spain’s attempt to convert to green energy:

According to a new report by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, Spain’s green energy policies have resulted in skyrocketing electricity prices, billions of euros in debt and rising carbon dioxide emissions.

“For years, President Obama has pointed to Europe’s energy policies as an example that the United States should follow,” said IER in a statement on their new study. “However, those policies have been disastrous for countries like Spain, where electricity prices have skyrocketed, unemployment is over 25 percent, and youth unemployment is over 50 percent.”

Spain began heavily subsidizing green energy sources, like wind and solar, in the early 2000s with its“Promotion Plan for Renewable Energies. The country used a combination of generous feed-in tariffs, green energy generation quotas and green power subsidies to boost renewable energy development in the country and lower its carbon dioxide emissions.

…But what seemed like a booming green energy economy on the surface was really becoming a costly way to help drive Spain into economic recession. By 2011, Spain’s electricity prices stood at 29.46 U.S. ¢/kilowatt-hour — two and a half times what electricity cost in the U.S. at the time.

President Trump has helped all Americans. We have the lowest unemployment among minorities that we have had in a very long time. Wages are going up, taxes are going down, and the workforce participation rate is climbing. I suggest that if Speaker Pelosi truly wants to help minorities during Black History Month she should support President Trump’s economic agenda.

The Things They Never Told Us About Wind Power

An article at the Center of the American Experiment website tells us some of the things the media might not have mentioned about wind power:

An industrial wind facility in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin has been decommissioned after just 20 years of service because the turbines are no longer cost effective to maintain and operate. The decommissioning of the 14 turbines took many people by surprise, even local government officials and the farmer who had five of the turbines on his property.

What’s really surprising about these wind turbines being decommissioned after 20 years is the is the fact that people were surprised by it. You’d be astonished at how many people I talk to that have no idea that wind turbines only last for 20 years, maybe 25. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says the useful life of a wind turbine is only 20 years.

The following chart appears in the article:

So what do we do with these things after they have lived their useful life span? Can we dispose of them in a way that is environmentally safe?

The article notes:

The short usable lifespan of a wind turbine is one of the most important, but least-talked about subjects in energy policy.

In contrast to wind, coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants can run for a very long time. Coal and natural gas plants can easily run for 50 years, and nuclear plants can be updated and retrofitted to run for 60 years. This has profound implications for the cost of electricity on a per megawatt hour basis that seemingly no one is talking about.

When the federal government puts out their cost projections for energy, the numbers they produce are called the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE. These numbers are supposed to act as a measuring stick that allows policymakers to determine which energy sources will best serve their needs, but these numbers are wrong because they assume all power plants, whether they are wind, coal, natural gas, or nuclear will have a 30-year payback period.

This does two things, it artificially reduces the cost of wind power by allowing them to spread their costs over 30 years, when 20 would be much more appropriate, and it artificially inflates the cost of coal, natural gas, and nuclear by not calculating the cost over the entirety of their reasonable lifetimes.

The search for totally green energy is not unlike science’s search for a perpetual motion machine. Scientists and engineers may come close, but the perpetual motion machine cannot exist because it contradicts the laws of physics.

The Economic Problem With Green Energy

Townhall posted an article today about the impact of green energy on the middle and lower class.

The article reports:

Liberals love to talk about helping the poor and the middle class, and they are obsessed with reducing income inequality. So why is it that across the country they are pushing one of the most regressive taxes in modern times?

I am talking about the fad “green” initiative in states such as California, Arizona and New Jersey that require local utilities to buy expensive renewable energy. These renewable energy standards require that utilities to buy expensive wind and solar power. They then pass these costs onto the poor and working class who get stuck paying the tab.

In Sacramento, California, the legislature is speeding ahead with one of the most absurd proposals of modern times by mandating 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. This would mean no coal, no natural gas and no nuclear power.

Meanwhile in Arizona, voters will decide on a ballot initiative funded by billionaire Tom Steyer that would increase renewable mandates to 50 percent over the next decade or so.

The article concludes:

Low-income households spend at least four to five times more out of their incomes in energy costs than do millionaires. For a family with an income of $40,000 or $50,000, an extra $500 a year in costs means less money for school supplies, day care, a family vacation or health insurance.

All of this is so unnecessary. If wind and solar are truly the energy sources of the future — with reliability and low costs — let the market determine that. Why do they need mandates and billions of dollars of federal subsidies to make them work? This is an experiment of imposing high costs on American small businesses, farms and families to pay off wealthy green energy investors. Could anything be more illiberal than this?

One of the benefits of the economic growth the Trump administration has created is the resurgence of the middle class–it is growing instead of shrinking (as it did under President Obama). The middle class is the strength of our republic–it is the only bulwark we have against the misguided proponents of socialism. When the middle class realizes the impact socialism will have on them, they oppose it. Unfortunately the students in our high schools and colleges are not getting that message. Using green energy as an excuse to increase the poverty levels is not a good idea. It is not a surprise that the people proposing the increase of green energy are the people least likely to be impacted by it.