So, maybe some of you seriously imagine that America is really going to successfully implement a Green New Dementia model of switching from recently achieved fossil-fueled energy independence (80% of U.S. supply) to planet-climate-saving windmills and sunbeams (that intermittently produce 3% or less)?
Then, in addition, we’re going to replace 98% of current petro-fueled vehicles by adding millions of electric vehicle (EV) plug-in marvels to our overloaded power grid that can be recharged during hot, high power-demand windless and sunless evenings which depend upon rare earth materials obtained from China that controls 80% of the world supply?
But first, how’s that working out so far in California?
The California Independent System Operator (California ISO) anticipates that the state will experience substantial risks of rolling blackouts during July and August as it did last summer if it can’t get some electricity bailouts from neighboring states that will encounter the same needs.
A severe drought has reduced hydroelectric generation by about 1,000 megawatts. On top of that, about 300 megawatts of gas-fired generation is expected to be offline this summer.
California ISO, which covers about 80% of the state, estimates that the grid will run about 2,000 megawatts short of an adequate margin throughout special air conditioning demands during a regional Pacific Northwest heat wave. One megawatt can power roughly 750 homes.
California plans to ban sales of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. Since power demands will be most acute in the evening and nighttime hours when the sun is down, future requirements will be greatly exacerbated during periods when millions of replacement EVs are to be recharged.
This present shortage is occurring as surges in air conditioning usage in neighboring states leave them with little or no electricity to spare. Nevertheless, they likely won’t have any choice.
It just so happens that California ISO manages critical interconnections between utilities and power providers across the West. Arizona utilities, for instance, contract with hydropower plants in the Northwest that is transmitted through California.
And after all, deep blue California has powerful friends in Washington, D.C.
So late last month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a request by California ISO to prioritize electricity moving through California to meet its own demands during emergencies. This will allow California ISO to override utility contracts and expropriate power destined for other states.
Unsurprisingly, California’s FERC end-run caper wasn’t appreciated by utilities and their regulators in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon who have protested California’s power grab.
Arizona Corporation Commission Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson noted, ''Our electric utilities did the right thing and planned ahead, securing pre-negotiated contracts with utilities in the Pacific Northwest to ensure that critical hydropower would be available to Arizonans when it is needed the most.'' California didn’t.
FERC’s reward to loyal California Biden administration fossil energy cancel culture cohorts will come at the expense of businesses and residents in those other Western states who, along with electricity shortages, will also wind up paying more for power on the spot market.
Ironically, these states have also been saddled with pressures to address climate goals with increased reliance on intermittent and unreliable wind and solar systems. Even if states like Arizona and Nevada were to import wind power from the Midwest, they’d still be vulnerable to weather vagaries.
And despite rampant climate lunacy, they know it.
As more states lean on old, reliable, and abundant fossils this summer to keep the power on, even uber-woke California Gov. Gavin Newsom has waived air quality regulations to allow gas-fired and diesel generators to keep his office and his political constituency cool.
And yes, unpredictable weather does indeed present extreme conditions. For example, lack of preparation caused a devastating Texas power outage in February after our wind turbines here froze and not enough natural gas plants could ramp up to compensate.
Then there’s Illinois, where Democrat-proposed legislation, if passed, will dramatically hike electricity prices and kill jobs in heavily Republican southern counties.
An 800-page ''climate bill'' that a Democrat supermajority is contriving to ram through the Springfield Statehouse would force shutdowns of all downstate coal plants by 2035, and natural gas generators by 2045.
Given that coal plants typically have a useful life of 50 to 60 years, and gas plants of 30 to 40 years, this means that many of the most recently constructed generators — which are cleaner-burning than the older ones — will be retired decades early.
One of these costly casualties would be southwestern Illinois’ giant Prairie State Energy Campus, a plant using coal from a nearby mine built only a decade ago which serves 2.5 million customers across the Midwest.
Some 300 municipalities and rural electric cooperatives that borrowed $5 billion to finance Prairie State’s development will be left on the hook for bond payments years after the plant is forced to shut down ... essentially foreclosed by the state.
It gets worse.
Ratepayers — meaning Illinois businesses and residents — will also get stuck with paying for Prairie State’s decommissioning costs along with subsidies for a myriad of speculative Obama-era future non-shovel-ready green energy programs to help workers who lose their jobs.
Forcing fossil fuel plants to close will give downstate Illinois residents two options: either import coal and gas from other Midwest states, or be plunged into darkness.
As with conditions everywhere, solar and wind simply don’t provide reliable ''baseload'' power — i.e., electricity that can be generated around the clock.
Conveniently, predominantly Democrat upstate residents in Chicago and surrounding counties who control Springfield politics don’t face the same dilemma because they connect to a separate regional grid known as PJM.
PJM has abundant baseload power provided by nuclear plants. Little wonder then, why the proposed Democrat bill includes $700 million in subsidies for three struggling Exelon nuclear plants in northern Illinois.
In 2016 the state bailed out two Exelon nuclear generators, but the company is threatening to close two others this year if it doesn’t get another round of financing.
So although electricity rates would increase across the state, downstate would get slammed the hardest.
Democrats are expected to buy off unions to pass the bill, sending costs even higher.
Nevertheless, we can pretty much bet that it will happen.
It’s the Democrat California and Chicago way.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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