This exchange became interesting to me since Google somehow blocked my access to the twitchy.com page where the tweet thread was published. This, even though I was using DuckDuckGo in Dissenter browser, supposedly independent of Google. TorBrowser saved the day, and here are Shellenberger’s tweets offered to NYT for them to salvage an embarrassing badly warped article.
EIA explains the news today New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant closes after 59 years of operation. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The Indian Point Energy Center (Indian Point) permanently stopped generating electricity on April 30, 2021, when it retired its last operating nuclear reactor, Unit 3, earlier than originally planned. The Indian Point nuclear power plant began operations in 1962 and produced over 565 terawatthours (TWh) of electricity in the 59 years it was open. The Unit 3 retirement removes almost 1,040 megawatts (MW) of nuclear generating capacity from New York State, leaving about 3,200 MW of remaining nuclear capacity at three plants in upstate New York.
Background from previous post
“New York Nukes Itself” refers not to the disastrous decisions in managing WuHanFlu, but about New York’s insane decision to close nuclear power plants in favor of wind farms. Robert Bryce writes at Forbes New York Has 1,300 Reasons Not To Close Indian Point. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
At the end of this month, the Unit 2 reactor at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York will be permanently shut down. Next April, the final reactor at the site, Unit 3, will also be shuttered.But the premature closure of the 2,069-megawatt nuclear plant is even worse land-use policy. Here’s why: replacing the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity that is now being produced by the twin-reactor plant with wind turbines will require 1,300 times as much territory as what is now covered by Indian Point.
Here are the facts: Indian Point covers 239 acres, or about 1 square kilometer. To put Indian Point’s footprint into context, think of it this way: you could fit three Indian Points inside Central Park in Manhattan.
Based on projected output from offshore wind projects (which have higher capacity factors than onshore wind projects), producing that same amount of electricity as is now generated by Indian Point – about 16 terawatt-hours per year – would require installing about 4,000 megawatts of wind turbines. That estimate is based on the proposed South Fork offshore wind project, a 90-megawatt facility that is expected to produce 370 gigawatt-hours per year. (Note that these output figures are substantially higher than what can be expected from onshore wind capacity.) Using the numbers from South Fork, a bit of simple division shows that each megawatt of wind capacity will produce about 4.1 gigawatt-hours per year. Thus, matching the energy output of Indian Point will require about 4,000 megawatts of wind capacity.
That’s a lot of wind turbines. According to the American Wind Energy Association, existing wind-energy capacity in New York state now totals about 1,987 megawatts. That capacity will require enormous amounts of land. Numerous studies, including ones by the Department of Energy have found that the footprint, or capacity density, of wind energy projects is about 3 watts per square meter. Thus, 4,000 megawatts (four billion watts) divided by 3 watts per square meter = 1.33 billion square meters or 1,333 square kilometers. (Or roughly 515 square miles.)Those numbers are almost too big to imagine. Therefore, let’s look again at Central Park. Recall that three Indian Points could fit inside the confines of the famed park. Thus, replacing the energy production from Indian Point would require paving a land area equal to 400 Central Parks with forests of wind turbines.
Put another way, the 1,300 square kilometers of wind turbines needed to replace the electricity output of Indian Point is nearly equal to the size of Albany County. Would New York legislators who convene in the capitol in Albany consent to having the entire county covered in wind turbines? I can’t be sure, but I am guessing that they might oppose such plan. (See yellow area in Google Earth image at top).
These basic calculations prove some undeniable facts. Among them: Indian Point represents the apogee of densification. The massive amount of energy being produced by the two reactors on such a small footprint provides a perfect illustration of what may be nuclear energy’s single greatest virtue: its unsurpassed power density. (Power density is a measure of energy flow from a given area, volume, or mass.) High power density sources, like nuclear, allow us to spare land for nature. Density is green.
Alas, the environmental groups that are influencing policymakers in New York and in other states are strident in their belief that nuclear energy is bad and that renewables are good. But that theology ignores the greenness of density and the essential role that nuclear energy must play if we are to have any hope of making significant reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions.
In short, the premature closure of Indian Point – and the raging land-use battles over renewable energy siting in New York – should lead environmental groups to rethink their definition of what qualifies as “green.” Just because wind and solar are renewable doesn’t mean they are green. In fact, the land-use problems with renewables show the exact opposite.
And there is much more wrong about this. For a complete discussion see Forbes article The Indian Point Closure Means More Emissions — And More Cynicism About Climate Action
John Constable writes at Civitas The Green Mirage: Why a Low-Carbon Economy May be Further Off Than We Think. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images. h/t Real Clear Public Affairs
- The prospects for a sustainable, low-carbon economy as the result of current UK national and EU-wide policies are poor.
- Empirical experience in Spain and Germany shows that the costs of supporting renewable energy generation are too high.
- Rising employment in the renewable energy sector compared to the wider UK economy stems from unsustainably high subsidies.
- Renewables are naturally less productive, so as they are relentlessly pursued, a painful rebalancing of the economy will occur, with fewer jobs and less economic growth.
Bottom Line: The current prospects for a sustainable low-carbon economy are poor in both the UK and across the European Union (EU). Germany and Spain have already clearly shown what happens when state coercion forces such a dramatic shift to less reliable and more costly renewable energy systems: unsustainably high subsidies, fewer jobs, and reduced economic growth.
Whatever the longer-term potential for a viable and prosperous global economy with a low-emissions profile, the present study demonstrates that the prospects for a self-sustaining low-carbon economy as the result of current UK national and EU-wide policies are poor.
The problem is that these policies for such a shift to renewable energy systems demand high levels of state coercion. This has the risk of stagnating economic growth and leading to lower levels of invention and innovation, thus appearing to be a weak preparation for reduced usage of fossil fuels.
In addition, empirical experience in Spain and Germany shows that the costs of supporting renewable energy generation is overly high, compared to low-carbon alternatives, and almost certainly has, over time, net economic effects that are negative both in terms of gross domestic product and employment.
An age of subsistence energy generation appears to be dawning. Overly high subsidies to force renewable energy into the system erode jobs in other sectors of the economy.
Finally, analysis for the EU suggests that the net effects of such policies would only be marginally positive if the EU retains a high share of the world export market in renewable energy technologies – something that appears rather unlikely.
Read the full study here.
Footnote: Excerpt from the full study:
In an interview with an environmental journalist for Ecoseed in early 2011, a spokesman for the industry body ASIF (Asociación de la Industria Fotovoltaica) remarked ‘The government cheated the solar investors by changing the law after it has lured them to invest their money in PV power plants… If you know that the government would change the law, you will never have invested in that technology and never have put your money in that market’.22 This implicitly concedes that the sector was from the outset likely to be a long-term client of the state, unable to survive without support, and should serve as a warning to other governments hoping to create independent renewables industries through subsidy.
David Wojick explains how maintaining electricity supply is simple in his CFACT article It takes big energy to back up wind and solar. Excerpts in italics with my bolds. (H/T John Ray)
Power system design can be extremely complex but there is one simple number that is painfully obvious. At least it is painful to the advocates of wind and solar power, which may be why we never hear about it. It is a big, bad number.
To my knowledge this big number has no name, but it should. Let’s call it the “minimum backup requirement” for wind and solar, or MBR. The minimum backup requirement is how much generating capacity a system must have to reliably produce power when wind and solar don’t.
For most places the magnitude of MBR is very simple. It is all of the juice needed on the hottest or coldest low wind night. It is night so there is no solar. Sustained wind is less than eight miles per hour, so there is no wind power. It is very hot or cold so the need for power is very high.
In many places MBR will be close to the maximum power the system ever needs, because heat waves and cold spells are often low wind events. In heat waves it may be a bit hotter during the day but not that much. In cold spells it is often coldest at night.
Thus what is called “peak demand” is a good approximation for the maximum backup requirement. In other words, there has to be enough reliable generating capacity to provide all of the maximum power the system will ever need. For any public power system that is a very big number, as big as it gets in fact.
Actually it gets a bit bigger, because there also has to be margin of safety or what is called “reserve capacity”. This is to allow for something not working as it should. Fifteen percent is a typical reserve in American systems. This makes MBR something like 115% of peak demand.
We often read about wind and solar being cheaper than coal, gas and nuclear power, but that does not include the MBR for wind and solar.
What is relatively cheap for wind and solar is the cost to produce a unit of electricity. This is often called LCOE or the “levelized cost of energy”. But adding the reliable backup required to give people the power they need makes wind and solar very expensive.
In short the true cost of wind and solar is LCOE + MBR. This is the big cost you never hear about. But if every state goes to wind and solar then each one will have to have MBR for roughly its entire peak demand. That is an enormous amount of generating capacity.
Of course the cost of MBR depends on the generating technology. Storage is out because the cost is astronomical. Gas fired generation might be best but it is fossil fueled, as is coal. If one insists on zero fossil fuel then nuclear is probably the only option. Operating nuclear plants as intermittent backup is stupid and expensive, but so is no fossil fuel generation.
What is clearly ruled out is 100% renewables, because there would frequently be no electricity at all. That is unless geothermal could be made to work on an enormous scale, which would take many decades to develop.
It is clear that the Biden Administration’s goal of zero fossil fueled electricity by 2035 (without nuclear) is economically impossible because of the minimum backup requirements for wind and solar. You can’t get there from here.
One wonders why we have never heard of this obvious huge cost with wind and solar. The utilities I have looked at avoid it with a trick.
Dominion Energy, which supplies most of Virginia’s juice, is a good example. The Virginia Legislature passed a law saying that Dominion’s power generation had to be zero fossil fueled by 2045. Dominion developed a Plan saying how they would do this. Tucked away in passing on page 119 they say they will expand their capacity for importing power purchased from other utilities. This increase happens to be to an amount equal to their peak demand.
The plan is to buy all the MBR juice from the neighbors! But if everyone is going wind and solar then no one will have juice to sell. In fact they will all be buying, which does not work. Note that the high pressure systems which cause low wind can be huge, covering a dozen or more states. For that matter, no one has that kind of excess generating capacity today.
To summarize, for every utility there will be times when there is zero wind and solar power combined with near peak demand. Meeting this huge need is the minimum backup requirement. The huge cost of meeting this requirement is part of the cost of wind and solar power. MBR makes wind and solar extremely expensive.
The simple question to ask the Biden Administration, the States and their power utilities is this: How will you provide power on hot or cold low wind nights?
Background information on grid stability is at Beware Deep Electrification Policies
More Technical discussion is On Stable Electric Power: What You Need to Know
Yes, with hindsight you can blame Texas for not winter weather proofing fossil fuel supplies as places do in more northern latitudes. But it was over-reliance on wind power that caused the problem and made it intractable. John Peterson explains in his TalkMarkets article How Wind Power Caused The Great Texas Blackout Of 2021. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
- The State of Texas is suffering from a catastrophic power grid failure that’s left 4.3 million homes without electricity, including 1.3 million homes in Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city.
- While talking heads, politicians, and the press are blaming fossil fuels and claiming that more renewables are the solution, hard data from the Energy Information Administration paints a very different picture.
- The generation failures that led to The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 began at 6 pm on Sunday. Wind power fell from 36% of nameplate capacity to 22% before midnight and plummeted to 3% of nameplate capacity by 8 pm on Monday.
- While power producers quickly ramped production to almost 90% of dedicated natural gas capacity, a combination of factors including shutdowns for scheduled maintenance and a statewide increase in natural gas demand began to overload safety systems and set-off a cascade of shutdowns.
- While similar overload-induced shutdowns followed suit in coal and nuclear plants, the domino effect began with ERCOT’s reckless reliance on unreliable wind power.
The ERCOT grid has 85,281 MW of operational generating capacity if no plants are offline for scheduled maintenance. Under the “Winter Fuel Types” tab of its Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report dated December 16, 2020, ERCOT described its operational generating capacity by fuel source as follows:
Since power producers frequently take gas-fired plants offline for scheduled maintenance in February and March when power demand is typically low, ERCOT’s systemwide generating capacity was less than 85 GW and its total power load was 59.6 GW at 9:00 am on Valentines Day. By 8:00 pm, power demand has surged to 68 GW (14%). Then hell froze over. Over the next 24 hours, statewide power production collapsed to 43.5 GW (36%) and millions of households were plunged into darkness in freezing weather conditions.
I went to the US Energy Information Administration’s website and searched for hourly data on electricity production by fuel source in the State of Texas. The first treasure I found was this line graph that shows electricity generation by fuel source from 12:01 am on February 10th through 11:59 pm on February 16th.
The second and more important treasure was a downloadable spreadsheet file that contained the hourly data used to build the graph. An analysis of the hourly data shows:
- Wind power collapsing from 9 GW to 5.45 GW between 6 pm and 11:59 pm on the 14th with natural gas ramping from 41 GW to 43 GW during the same period.
- Wind power falling from 5.45 GW to 0.65 GW between 12:01 am and 8:00 pm on the 15th with natural gas spiking down from 40.4 GW to 33 GW between 2 am and 3 am as excess demand caused a cascade of safety events that took gas-fired plants offline.
- Coal power falling from 11.1 GW to 7.65 GW between 2:00 am and 3:00 pm on the 15th as storm-related demand overwhelmed generating capacity.
- Nuclear power falling from 5.1 GW to 3.8 GW at 7:00 am on the 15th as storm-related demand overwhelmed generating capacity.
The following table summarizes the capacity losses of each class of generating assets.
The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 was a classic domino-effect chain reaction where unreliable wind power experienced a 40% failure before gas-fired power plants began to buckle under the strain of an unprecedented winter storm. There were plenty of failures by the time the dust settled, but ERCOT’s reckless reliance on unreliable wind power set up the chain of dominoes that brought untold suffering and death to Texas residents.
The graph clearly shows that during their worst-performing hours:
- Natural gas power plants produced at least 60.2% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 97% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day;
- Coal-fired power plants produced at least 15.6% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 95% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day;
- Nuclear power plants produced at least 7.5% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 97% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day; and
- Wind power plants produced 1.5% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 11% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day; and
- Solar power plants did what solar power plants do and had no meaningful impact.
Now that temperatures have moderated, things are getting back to normal, and The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 is little more than an unpleasant memory. While some Texas consumers are up in arms over blackout-related injuries, the State has rebounded, and many of us believe a few days of inconvenience is a fair price to pay for decades of cheap electric power. I think the inevitable investigations and public hearings will be immensely entertaining. I hope they lead to modest reforms of the free-wheeling ERCOT market that prevent irresponsible action from low-cost but wildly unreliable electricity producers from wind turbines.
Over the last year, wind stocks like Vestas Wind Systems (VWDRY) TPI Composites (TPIC) Northland Power (NPIFF), American Superconductor (AMSC), and NextEra Energy (NEE) have soared on market expectations of unlimited future growth. As formal investigations into the root cause of The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 proceed to an inescapable conclusion that unreliable wind power is not suitable for use in advanced economies, I think market expectations are likely to turn and turn quickly. I won’t be surprised if the blowback from The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 rapidly bleeds over to other overvalued sectors that rely on renewables as the heart of their raison d’etre, including vehicle electrification.
What’s the Problem with Electricity Rates?
This new Prager video explains (H/T Mark Krebs)
Background from Previous Post:
Norman Rogers writes at American Thinker What It Will Take for the Wind and Solar Industries to Collapse. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The solar electricity industry is dependent on federal government subsidies for building new capacity. The subsidy consists of a 30% tax credit and the use of a tax scheme called tax equity finance. These subsidies are delivered during the first five years.
For wind, there is subsidy during the first five to ten years resulting from tax equity finance. There is also a production subsidy that lasts for the first ten years.
The other subsidy for wind and solar, not often characterized as a subsidy, is state renewable portfolio laws, or quotas, that require that an increasing portion of a state’s electricity come from renewable sources. Those state mandates result in wind and solar electricity being sold via profitable 25-year power purchase contracts. The buyer is generally a utility with good credit. The utilities are forced to offer these terms in order to cause sufficient supply to emerge to satisfy the renewable energy quotas.
The rate of return from a wind or solar investment can be low and credit terms favorable because the investors see the 25-year contract by a creditworthy utility as a guarantee of a low risk of default. If the risk were to be perceived as higher, then a higher rate of return and a higher interest rate on loans would be demanded. That in turn would increase the price of the electricity generated.
The bankruptcy of PG&E, the largest California utility, has created some cracks in the façade. A bankruptcy judge has ruled that cancellation of up to $40 billion in long-term energy contracts is a possibility. These contracts are not essential or needed to preserve the supply of electricity because they are mostly for wind or solar electricity supply that varies with the weather and can’t be counted on. As a consequence, there has to exist and does exist the necessary infrastructure to supply the electricity needs without the wind or solar energy.
Probably the judge will be overruled for political reasons, or the state will step in with a bailout. Utilities have to keep operating, no matter what. Ditching wind and solar contracts would make California politicians look foolish because they have long touted wind and solar as the future of energy.
PG&E is in bankruptcy because California applies strict liability for damages from forest fires started by electric lines, no matter who is really at fault. Almost certainly the government is at fault for not anticipating the danger of massive fires and for not enforcing strict fire prevention and protection. Massive fire damage should be protected by insurance, not by the utility, even if the fire was started by a power line. The fire in question could just as well have been started by lightning or a homeless person. PG&E previously filed bankruptcy in 2001, also a consequence of abuse of the utility by the state government.
By far the most important subsidy is the renewable portfolio laws. Even if the federal subsidies are reduced, the quota for renewable energy will force price increases to keep the renewable energy industry in business, because it has to stay in business to supply energy to meet the quota. Other plausible methods of meeting the quota have been outlawed by the industry’s friends in the state governments. Nuclear and hydro, neither of which generates CO2 emissions, are not allowed. Hydro is not strictly prohibited — only hydro that involves dams and diversions. That is very close to all hydro. Another reason hydro is banned is that environmental groups don’t like dams.
For technical reasons, an electrical grid cannot run on wind or solar much more than 50% of the time. The fleet of backup plants must be online to provide adjustable output to compensate for erratic variations in wind or solar. Output has to be ramped up to meet early-evening peaks. Wind suffers from a cube power law, meaning that if the wind drops by 10%, the electricity drops by 30%. Solar suffers from too much generation in the middle of the day and not enough generation to meet early evening peaks in consumption.
When a “too much generation” situation happens, the wind or solar has to be curtailed. That means that the operators are told to stop delivering electricity. In many cases, they are not paid for the electricity they could have delivered. Some contracts require that they be paid according to a model that figures out how much they could have generated according to the recorded weather conditions. The more wind and solar, the more curtailments as the amount of erratic electricity approaches the allowable limits. Curtailment is an increasing threat, as quotas increase, to the financial health of wind and solar.
There is a movement to include batteries with solar installations to move excessive middle-of-the-day generation to the early evening. This is a palliative to extend the time before solar runs into the curtailment wall. The batteries are extremely expensive and wear out every five years.
Neither wind nor solar is competitive without subsidies. If the subsidies and quotas were taken away, no wind or solar operation outside very special situations would be built. Further, the existing installations would continue only as long as their contracts are honored and they are cash flow–positive. In order to be competitive, without subsidies, wind or solar would have to supply electricity for less than $20 per megawatt-hour, the marginal cost of generating the electricity with gas or coal. Only the marginal cost counts, because the fossil fuel plants have to be there whether or not there is wind or solar. Without the subsidies, quotas, and 25-year contracts, wind or solar would have to get about $100 per megawatt-hour for its electricity. That gap, between $100 and $20, is a wide chasm only bridged by subsidies and mandates.
The cost of using wind and solar for reducing CO2 emissions is very high. The most authoritative and sincere promoters of global warming loudly advocate using nuclear, a source that is not erratic, does not emit CO2 or pollution, and uses the cheapest fuel. One can buy carbon offsets for 10 or 20 times less than the cost of reducing CO2 emissions with wind or solar. A carbon offset is a scheme where the buyer pays the seller to reduce world emissions of CO2. This is done in a variety of ways by the sellers.
The special situations where wind and solar can be competitive are remote locations using imported oil to generate electricity. In those situations, the marginal cost of the electricity may be $200 per megawatt-hour or more. Newfoundland comes to mind — for wind, not solar.
Maintenance costs for solar are low. For wind, maintenance costs are high, and major components, such as propeller blades and gearboxes, may fail, especially as the turbines age. These heavy and awkward objects are located hundreds of feet above ground. There exists a danger that wind farms will fail once the inflation-protected subsidy of $24 per megawatt-hour runs out after ten years. At that point, turbines that need expensive repairs may be abandoned. Wind turbine graveyards from the first wind fad in the 1970s can be seen near Palm Springs, California. Wind farms can’t receive the production subsidy unless they can sell the electricity. That has resulted paying customers to “buy” the electricity.
A significant financial risk is that the global warming narrative may collapse. If belief in the reality of the global warming threat collapses, then the major intellectual support for renewable energy will collapse. It is ironic that the promoters of global warming are campaigning to require companies to take into account the threat of global warming in their financial projections. If the companies do this in an honest manner, they also have to take into account the possibility that the threat will evaporate. My own best guess, after considerable technical study, is that it is near a sure thing that the threat of global warming is imaginary and largely invented by the people who benefit. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere has well understood positive effects for the growth of crops and the greening of deserts.
The conservative investors who make long-term investments in wind or solar may be underestimating the risks involved. For example, an article in Chief Investment Officer magazine stated that CalPERS, the giant California public employees retirement fund, is planning to expand investments in renewable energy, characterized as “stable cash flowing assets.” That article was written before the bankruptcy of PG&E. The article also stated that competition among institutional investors for top yielding investments in the alternative energy space is fierce.
Wind and solar are not competitive and never will be. They have been pumped up into supposedly solid investments by means of ill advised subsidies and mandates. At some point, the governments will wake up to the waste and foolishness involved. At that point, the value of these investments will collapse. It won’t be the first time that investment experts made bad investments because they don’t really understand what is going on.
Footnote: There is also a report from GWPF on environmental degradation from industrial scale wind and solar:
Wikipedia: The third rail of a nation’s politics is a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is “charged” and “untouchable” to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically. The metaphor comes from the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems.
On his first day in office Biden canceled the Keystone energy pipeline, and the backlash is immediate from the unions who supported him and now will suffer a punishing loss of middle-class jobs.
“Insulting”- Labor Unions That Endorsed Biden Now Lashing Out At Him is an article at Gateway Pundit. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Joe Biden has already made labor unions regret their support for him.
He’s only been in office three days.
Several unions that eagerly endorsed President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election are now learning the hard way what it means to support Democrat policies.
During his first day in office, the newly-inaugurated president revoked the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, thus destroying thousands of jobs. And not just any jobs — but union jobs.
The Laborer’s International Union Of North America issued this statement:
“The Biden Administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on day one of his presidency is both insulting and disappointing to the thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle-class family-supporting jobs,”
“By blocking this 100-percent union project, and pandering to environmental extremists, a thousand union jobs will immediately vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will be foregone.”
This comes after LIUNA bragged about pushing Biden “over the top” in 2020.
The North American Building Trades Union said this:
“North America’s Building Trades Unions are deeply disappointed in the decision to cancel the Keystone XL permit on the President’s first official day in office. Environmental ideologues have now prevailed, and over a thousand union men and women have been terminated from employment on the project.
On a historic day that is filled with hope and optimism for so many Americans and people around the world, tens of thousands of workers are left to wonder what the future holds for them. In the midst of a pandemic that has claimed 400 thousand American lives and has wreaked havoc on the economic security and standard of living of tens of millions more, we must all stand in their shoes and acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety this government action has caused.”
The United Association Of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters released this statement about Biden canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit
“In revoking this permit, the Biden Administration has chosen to listen to the voices of fringe activists instead of union members and the American consumer on Day 1.”
Unions that backed Biden are finding out Biden works for radical Democrats, not labor unions.
Clarice Feldman writes at Climate Change Dispatch How Biden’s Deadly Plan For American Energy Can Be Stopped. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.
It’s perfectly understandable for anyone concerned about energy production in the U.S. to be uneasy that Joe Biden appears to be winning this year’s contest for the White House.
Whether he makes it to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. remains in doubt, but what is not in doubt is that, should that happen, he would have no substantial mandate.
The climate change part of the platform–like much of his party’s platform–seems to have little purchase other than the coastal bien pensants and the left-wing corporatists dreaming of yet another boondoggle financed by the taxpayers on the same pie-in-the-sky swindle as was Solyndra and California’s train to nowhere.
Of course, my ability to read the future is limited, but let me explain why I think much of what Biden has promised the far Left of his party to secure the nomination and their support, is unlikely to take shape.
At the moment the election in six states is still either still being counted, being challenged in court, or subject to a recount. Excluding those states, President Trump leads Biden 232 to 227 in the Electoral Vote totals. (270 electoral votes of 538 are needed to win the electoral college vote in January).
It is impossible in this fast-changing circumstance to keep track of all the litigation challenges in the various state-run elections. So far this compendium by OSU seems the most accurate.
I’ve seen some of the complaints filed or about to be in Michigan and Pennsylvania and they include numerous credible affidavits documenting substantial illegality. [See The Trapdoor US Election]
If the Supreme Court meant it when they said this twenty years ago in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 105 (2000), I have to believe that the counts in both those states simply do not meet the constitutional standard in Gore.
It must be remembered that “the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U. S. 533, 555 (1964).
If these recounts and challenges are not resolved by the December 14 cut-off date, the House of Representatives can choose the interim president and the Senate the interim vice president until the results are certified by the states.
In the House, the vote is by state and the Republicans hold the majority there, as they do in the Senate. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the state legislatures, they may under the constitution select their own slate of electors.
Republicans hold the majority in the legislatures of Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan, the three states with the most electoral votes among the still disputed contests.
Given the uncertain outcomes, at this time it is preposterous to call Biden “president-elect.”
Nevertheless, there certainly is a reason for concern in the Democratic platform Biden ran on.
The platform reads like a prose version of the Russian film “Battleship Potemkin” substituting only the film’s motif of all forces of the population joining hands in revolution with everyone joining hands to keep the climate from changing. (It misses only scenes of fracking and gas rigs shooting at wounded veterans and orphans.)
Among the specifics are these:
- A pledge to achieve “zero-net greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.”
- Eliminating “carbon pollution from power plants through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency.
- “Dramatically” expanding solar and wind energy deployment.”
The program specifics are even more sophomoric and fanciful, involving retrofitting buildings, setting even higher emissions standards for cars and trucks, including 500,000 school buses, and more in a program “to ensure racial and socioeconomic equity in federal climate, energy, and infrastructure programs.”
(My guess is this was written somewhere else besides California which the document says should again be allowed to set its own vehicle emission standards. I say that because rolling blackouts related to a similar set of juvenile energy policies in that state’s programs would seem to put something of a leash on these overweening goals.)
Biden also has pledged to kill the Keystone pipeline. On that score, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney indicates confidence he can change Biden’s mind, and perhaps he would be successful — pledges from Biden do seem to have a short life span.
He promised during the debates that he would not claim victory until all the state contests were certified. He already has done so when we are far from that point.
He’s also promised to crack down on “climate cheats” whoever they are; push the world on climate change, and invest $1.7 trillion to reduce global warming. At the same time, his team is advocating further coronavirus lockdowns and payouts to those unemployed because of them.
Now I could be wrong. He could have a secret invention to generate trillions of new dollars and is keeping it a secret along with a never-revealed way to fuel this economy without fossil fuels, but I’m suspicious of the ability to fund these grandiose plans or carry the platform’s promises out.
Even if he were crazy enough to try it, he will do so without a great deal of support. At the moment, the Democrats are hanging on to an even thinner majority in the House, having lost a number of seats they expected to win, and jeopardized more who in these weird times are labeled “moderates”.
The party is splintered and recriminations against the left are legion. It seems increasingly likely that the Blue Wave the media promised didn’t materialize and in fact, a Red Wave washed a lot of the Democrats out to sea.
There will be at least 50 Republican senators in the Senate with the likely prospect of two more once the Georgia runoffs are complete in January.
Without a majority in the Senate, Biden can’t revoke the industry-friendly fuel tax; he can’t restore or expand the federal tax credit for purchases of electric vehicles, he can’t repeal the Halliburton provision permitting fracking in the Safe Drinking Water Act, he can’t amend the renewable fuel standard post-2022, he can’t alter the Jones Act, and he can’t change the carbon price, etc.
Some have suggested he can achieve these goals simply through executive orders, and there are a few things he can achieve via this route, beginning with an area in which he has the freest hand — rejoining the Paris climate agreement.
Some of the others, more troublesome to be sure, are regulatory actions like blocking oil and gas drilling on federal lands, allowing California to set independent standards for auto emissions and fuel economy, restricting access to low-cost capital for the fossil fuel industry, and setting fuel economy standards.
For these, judicial and public resistance are greater checks on his authority.
Chief Justice Roberts has displayed a penchant for fine-tooth-combing executive orders and rejecting them. The public — reeling from the devastation of the lockdowns, pleased with lower gas prices and anticipating a continued v-shaped recovery — are likely to find Biden’s extremism unwanted and make their opposition known.
Biden may squeak out an election victory. If so, it will have been a Pyrrhic one.
See also US Conflicted over Green Energy
Joel Kotkin writes at Real Clear Energy Democrats’ Energy Dilemma. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The biggest challenge facing a putative first-term Joe Biden administration and the Democratic Party may lie with energy policy, where gentry and green wishful thinking confront the daily realities of millions of middle- and working-class Americans.
Democrats could choose a climate policy that allows for gradual change – for example, transitioning from coal to natural gas – and consider the feasibility of smaller and safer nuclear plants, while keeping the productive economy afloat. But Biden, despite some wriggling about fracking on private land, just last week committed himself to the gradual eradication of the fossil fuel industry. His running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, is beloved by California’s extremist greens.
Already, in anticipation of a Democratic sweep, utilities are putting some natural gas projects on hold – threatening a powerful growth engine in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio. If Biden continues to embrace the basic thrust of the Green New Deal, if not its full-bore socialist program, the impact could be devastating for manufacturing areas that compete with China, which depend largely on natural gas, coal, and nuclear power to keep costs down. These state economies cannot fantasize, as some do in California, that the resulting social costs will be paid for by the wealthy digerati; lacking sufficient numbers of the rich and famous, these states will be hit hard, and fast.
If, as seems likely, victorious Democrats enact legislation broadly derived from the Green New Deal, major blowback – and economic disruption – seems inevitable. Biden and Harris have been almost comically inconsistent in their statements about fracking, but they’re certainly hostile to it: if they win the White House and pursue a ban, it would likely drive higher prices for energy, reduce national energy self-sufficiency, and cause massive job loss among a large number of Americans, particularly in key states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The critical gentry-green alliance
Energy effects so many other things – our daily bills, whether an employer locates in our town, our already-frayed economic mobility – and is thus a far broader issue, in terms of its consequences, than, say, abortion or race reparations, which often appeal to limited, albeit passionate, constituencies. Energy policy is certain to fracture the Democrats along ideological, class, and geographic lines.
In the past, Democrats tried to appeal to workers and communities connected to the oil and gas industries. Over the past decade or so, these constituencies have generally expanded; they tend to be unionized and well-paid. Yet today, organizations like the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, once a militantly left union, have far less influence on Democratic politics, while the Sierra Club and its allies among the tech oligarchs and, increasingly on Wall Street, have much more.
You don’t have to be Karl Marx to see the reasons why financial and tech moguls support a restrictive energy regime despite the challenges posed by the high cost and intermittent nature of renewable energy. Being “green” is great if you make such stupendous profits that a few million more dollars in energy costs won’t make much difference to your bottom line. And besides, both Wall Street and the tech moguls have become heavy investors in “green” energy schemes that, due to subsidies and tax breaks, guarantee virtually assured profits.
The “Brahmin left” – as economist Thomas Picketty puts it – benefits politically and economically from centrally imposed scarcity, under the pretext of “human survival.” These interests – notably the tech elites – have lined up massively behind Biden’s exceedingly well-funded campaign. Long before they settled on Biden, Kamala Harris, as California attorney general, was an aggressive enforcer of California’s often-draconian climate and planning laws.
Class warfare by other means
In adopting an ultra-green perspective, Democrats have made a choice to favor their backers among the fantastically rich and on Wall Street, who can use green investments to correct their increasingly low standing among the masses. Get rich, go green – and preen. Tech elites and their Wall Street allies – as opposed to populists like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – were clear winners of the Democratic primaries.
Whatever its derivation, the green energy agenda doesn’t harmonize easily with the notion of Democrats as the “party of the people.” It represents a direct threat to the party’s once-vital working-class base. In the past, Democratic voters came in large part from the working class. Today, Democrats do better among well-educated “knowledge workers” and the prestigious companies that employ them. This leads some progressives to believe that white working-class voters are no longer critical to the party’s chances.
This voting bloc is shrinking, true, but it still constitutes as much as 44 percent of the electorate, Democratic strategist Ruy Teixeira points out. These voters provided a critical boost to President Obama’s electoral success and later to Donald Trump’s. Teixeira argues that the Democratic focus on cultural and green issues, as opposed to more lunch-bucket concerns, has limited appeal to the working class. Certainly extreme environmental policies, as seen in California, hurt poor and minority populations – and electric-car production and solar plants pose their own, though rarely reported, environmental problems.
Middle- and working-class voters may say that they want a cleaner climate – and most do want something done about climate change – but generally, they consider environmental issues low priority, and they tend to be skeptical of the costs associated with ambitious programs like the Green New Deal. Democrats may feel that minorities will support anything the party proposes as long as racism is invoked, but “people of color” are also people with their own economic interests and families to support.
Today, barely 58% of all working-class Americans are white. According to a 2016 Economic Policy Institute study, nonwhites will become the majority of the working class by 2032. In Green New Deal states like California, policies have increased “energy poverty” and taken away good blue-collar jobs, particularly for the heavily Latino working class.
Energy policy is unlikely to turn California and most coastal states red (unless you’re using the traditional political meaning of that color). The potential havoc is clearer, though, in parts of the country where low energy prices and production are primary elements of the economy. One can only imagine the damage to the Democratic Party when, despite promises to the contrary, Biden and his presumed heir Harris eventually find a way to “ban” through regulations fracking in places like Texas, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In Texas alone, by some estimates, 1 million jobs would be lost. Overall, according to a Chamber of Commerce report, a full ban would cost 14 million jobs, far more than the 8 million lost in the Great Recession.
The effects will be particularly severe in the Rust Belt, still the fulcrum of American politics. Trump may be underperforming in high-end suburbs, but he’s still doing well in once-Democratic parts of the Midwest, such as Minnesota’s mining country. Beyond the extractive industries, far bigger sectors – logistics, agriculture, and manufacturing – would face serious problems with intermittent and expensive “green energy,” as a recent MIT report suggests. These policies have already been tied to persistent blackouts in California that forced the Golden State to depend on imported energy and delayed its planned decommissioning of gas plants.
These realities may not be enough to save Donald Trump at the polls, but over time, they could further alienate voters in a broad swath of states that generally determine the country’s political future. Ultimately, the test for Joe Biden, and his party, lies in the old union slogan: “Which side are you on?” If Democrats adhere blindly to California’s Ecotopian absolutism, glasses may clink at Davos, on Wall Street, and in San Francisco, but “the party of the people” will surrender its historic legacy – perhaps permanently.
The federal government is raising legal and practical questions about a recent California executive order attempting to end sales of gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. Source Microsoft News: Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday, saying he believes California would need to request a waiver from his agency for the order to be implemented and implying that the state’s electricity infrastructure is insufficient for a shift toward electric vehicles.
“While the [executive order] seems to be mostly aspirational and on its own would accomplish very little, any attempt by the California Air Resources Board to implement sections of it may require California to request a waiver to U.S. EPA,” Wheeler wrote.
The EPA last year revoked a waiver that allowed California to set its own vehicle tailpipe emissions standards, so it appears unlikely that the agency would grant one on car sales under the current administration.
California, alongside 22 other states, has sued the agency over that decision, arguing that its standards were achievable and that the EPA’s decision is bad for climate change.
The executive order also comes as California has recently faced rolling blackouts, Wheeler noted.
“California’s record of rolling blackouts – unprecedented in size and scope – coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today,” the country’s top environmental official wrote.
“The truth is that if the state were driving 100 percent electric vehicles today, the state would be dealing with even worse power shortages than the ones that have already caused a series of otherwise preventable environmental and public health consequences,” he added.
The Wheeler letter is here.