The Will to (Imaginary) Electric Power

Tom Finnerty09 Aug, 2023 3 Min Read
Damn the economic torpedoes, full speed ahead.

So-called "renewable" energy isn't up to the task of powering a modern, first-world nation. This is a fact that only the most hardened of ideologues could miss. Unfortunately, we happen to be governed by among the most hardened of ideologues. Which is why the Biden administration continues to plough ahead with its insane and contradictory plans for mandating electrification -- E.V.s for all! -- while at the same time insisting that they be powered by electricity from inferior and expensive methods of generation.

Since entering the White House, Biden's woke activist hangers-on have been used to getting their way on this file. They objected to the Keystone XL pipeline, and it was gone. They wanted back in on the Paris Climate Accords, and it was so. They wanted to kill off fracking, prompting the Department of the Interior to ban oil-and-gas leases (a policy which they partially back-tracked on when it hit up against resistance, only to pick up again when the press had turned their attention to the latest Trump indictment). But eventually, as so often happens, reality was bound to catch up with their utopian vision. And there are indications that they is beginning to happen.

Last week several regional electrical providers called on the Biden Administration to tap the breaks on its campaign against conventional energy sources, particularly oil, gas, and coal. According to The Washington Times, the utilities "warned the Biden administration [that it] must delay the retirement of fossil fuel power plants to give renewables time to catch up — or else risk major energy shortfalls. They said grid reliability would be jeopardized by quickly transitioning electricity use from coal and natural gas to green alternatives such as wind and solar."

Not ready for prime time.

Representatives of these concerns were extremely conciliatory in their language, perhaps overly so, since they were dealing with fanatical bureaucrats whose ultimate goal is to put them out of business. Their official position is that renewables are great, that they are the way of the future, that "You do need wind, you do need solar" in your energy mix, but that they're not quite ready for prime time. “As long as all options are on the table, certainly, I think [net-zero emissions] goals for 2050 or 2045 are achievable. We’ve got plenty of time to get there,” said Southwest Power Pool C.O.O. Lanny Nickell.  “I’m more worried about the goals being set by 2030.”

Now, when Nickell says that the goals for 2045 or 2050 are "achievable," he's probably fibbing. He knows that the EPA's goal of mandating power plants cut their carbon emissions by 90 percent by that time are essentially plans to end to the conventional energy industry. But he also knows that 2030 is just around the corner, and plans to continue phasing out fossil fuels -- the article mentions that the Biden White House has set a federal goal of 100 percent "clean" electricity in the 2030s -- are going to prove disastrous unless they change course, and soon.

Nickell even spelled out why this is the case, in terms that will sound quite familiar to regular readers of The Pipeline: "Natural gas and coal can provide power around the clock, but solar and wind can do so only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, without battery storage." Moreover, "far more renewable power capacity is needed to serve the same number of homes," he said, "because the usability of fossil fuel power’s capacity is 90 percent. Wind energy produces 15 percent to 20 percent of its capacity."

Which is all to say, wind-and-solar aren't going to be able to replace fossil fuels anytime soon. Not by 2030 or 2035 or even 2050. All of the tax dollars and mandates and confident proclamations of the activist class won't make it so. There just isn't the power. Not that they'll ever admit it.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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4 comments on “The Will to (Imaginary) Electric Power”

  1. Lets put all of Washington D.C.(District of Crooks)and the whole UN on Wind and SolarPower Only letssee how they can cope with it

  2. The only solar/wind project that makes economic sense is a clothesline. That is only true if the government stays out of it.

  3. Nickell is worried about 2030 goals because he's going to still be in the game at that point. 2045, 2050, those are someone else's problem.

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