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.

 

Benign-Sounding Policies Often Have Negative Consequences

North Carolina is a battleground state in this election. After a responsible State Treasurer and a responsible State Legislature brought us into fiscal solvency, we are in danger of forgetting where we have been and what it took to get where we are. Because of an influx of people fleeing high tax states with bad weather (guilty as charged), it is possible that North Carolina will become a purple state instead of a red state. Many of those people coming into the state are attempting to implement the very expensive state policies that they fled. That would mean that the hard-fought income tax decreases passed by the legislators would be undone and spending would increase drastically as it had under previous Democrat legislatures. One of these items currently being mentioned in the gubernatorial campaign is Medicaid Expansion. Governor Cooper supports it and Dan Forest does not.

On September 22, 2020, The John Locke Foundation posted an article explaining what Medicaid Expansion would mean to North Carolina.

The article reports:

Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina is a misguided and costly plan for our state, and would not be free to state taxpayers, as Gov. Roy Cooper claims. New economic analysis released by the John Locke Foundation reveals that expansion would leave the state with a funding gap estimated between $119.3 million and $171.3 million in the first year alone.

The expansion funding gap would continue every year and could increase based on enrollment in the program and cost of the enrollees in the future. Multiple North Carolina expansion scenarios are detailed by JLF Health Care Policy Analyst Jordan Roberts in the report, Big Government, Big Price Tag: Medicaid Expansion = Funding Gap For State Government.

…Nearly 2.4 million people are currently enrolled in North Carolina’s program. Gov. Cooper and state Democrats have fiercely advocated for overloading Medicaid with 500,000 to 600,000 additional people. Nearly eight of 10 of the proposed expansion population are able-bodied, working-age adults with no children, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Gov. Cooper claims that adding this massive new group would not require any state money and that the state’s portion of costs would be paid for via taxes on hospitals and providers.

“The governor’s statement is wrong,” said Roberts. “Our modeling is rigorous and uses varying enrollment numbers and expenditure data from respected sources. The most likely modeled scenarios result in the need for state appropriations. That means taxpayers.”

Beyond the fiscal implications for the state, Roberts worries about the fate of those currently enrolled. “If massive numbers of new people are added, it will be harder to access care. Many current Medicaid patients have multiple health issues; they’re our most vulnerable. The worst thing we could do is to push their needs aside.”

We need to provide a way for all Americans to get the healthcare they need. However, we need to do it carefully–providing what is needed to the people who need it. The welfare state has grown so large that there is no concept of individual responsibility included in allocating resources. There is also no incentive for the overgrown bureaucracy to decrease the number of people getting assistance. It is time to encourage all Americans to take responsibility for their own economic welfare. That may mean providing a path out of government dependence rather than bringing them deeper into it.