Ask Californians About Going ‘Green’ on Energy
Here we go again. President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to name former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate change czar may be a signal that a brownout new deal is coming to America.
While campaigning, Biden insisted he wouldn’t go along with the “green new deal” plan. The question now is whether placing Kerry in a top energy-policy decision is merely a sop to the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crowd or a real signal on Biden’s agenda.
Either way, the outlook isn’t good for West Virginia and East Ohio. Our four-year break, courtesy of President Donald Trump, is over.
You will recall that Trump pledged to reverse the war on coal. Through executive orders, he was able to help; West Virginia coal production was about 79.7 million tons in 2016 but by last year had increased to 93 million tons.
Trouble is, Biden can use executive orders, too. And he can appoint anti-coal people to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Should he put the war on coal back into overdrive? Ask Californians.
Golden State policy makers are among the most “progressive” in the nation. In their state, it’s the law that at least one-third of electricity has to be generated by “renewables.” They’re nearly there; renewables account for 31.7% of California’s power. Coal is less than 3%.
Perhaps you heard about California in August. Remember how the radical environmentalists ridiculed you the last time you asked what happens to solar power when the sun doesn’t shine and how much electricity is generated from windmills when the wind doesn’t blow? The Golden State folks found out. They had rolling brownouts because their power grid couldn’t produce enough electricity to meet peak demands.
Fortunately for them, their power companies have invested heavily in natural gas-fired generating stations. California gets more than 34% of its power from them. That’s not far from the national average of 38.4%.
What happens, then, when the AOC types go after natural gas — as they hope Biden will allow?
It wasn’t long ago that the climate change crowd was touting gas as a replacement for coal. If you read my columns back then, you may recall I warned that once the coal industry was wrecked, gas would be next on the agenda. It is.
Here’s the thing: As Californians are (maybe) starting to figure out, transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy will take decades. We simply can’t switch off all the coal- and gas-fired power plants. If AOC and her supporters get their way, we’ll have long-lasting blackouts, not just rolling brownouts.
Which way will Biden go? Some electric company executives already have announced plans to shut down more coal-fired power plants.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, I have to share one more example of the environmental radicals’ hypocrisy that, I confess, I didn’t know about until a couple of days ago:
Federal agencies monitor how much electricity is generated from various fuels. Their list of “renewables” includes solar, wind, hydropower, biomass — and wood.
Yes, wood, which can be burned in power plant boilers. Wood accounts for 0.9% of the nation’s electricity — well over half what solar panels (1.7%) provide.
And what happens when we burn wood? Smoke.
Well, it is renewable …
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.