Energy Part 5:
Thoughts on The New Green Deal and (so-called) Renewable Energy
Energy and economic prosperity go together. In part 4 I posted some facts on the growth of American industry over the last 140 years since electricity became commercialized. China has managed to expand their primary metals and manufacturing production to exceed that of America’s in about 20 years. How? By central planning and using enormous amounts of electricity mostly generated by coal power, just as America did over the 130 years 1882-2012. Reasonable cost electricity is important to power manufacturing and especially primary metals such as steel, aluminum and copper. A large aluminum smelter or Steel Mill will use as much power as a medium sized city. Electric power and economic power are inter-related. Where there is abundant and reasonable cost electricity, so is vibrant manufacturing and of course, jobs. Conversely, where electricity costs are high and electricity supplies unreliable, industry does not thrive. The preceding part 4 was intended to show how China replicated America’s success in expanding electrical production to power manufacturing and their economy. This part focuses on the high cost of renewable power and why a “Balanced Portfolio of All Fuels is Important” All sources of energy are important, including: Natural gas, Coal, Nuclear, Biomass, Hydropower, wind, geothermal and solar.
So, what is “The Green New Deal”?
Most if not all of the Democrats in Congress have been pushing for legislation to change America from being dependent on fossil fuels to changing to renewable fuels and eliminating carbon-based fuels in the near future. Here is an excerpt from the Democrat Party Platform, I deliberately selected red font for a reason:
“To reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible, Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency. We will dramatically expand solar and wind energy deployment through community-based and utility-scale systems, including in rural areas. Within five years, we will install 500 million solar panels, including eight million solar roofs and community solar energy systems, and 60,000 wind turbines, and turn American ingenuity into American jobs by leveraging federal policy to manufacture renewable energy solutions in America. Recognizing the urgent need to decarbonize the power sector, our technology-neutral approach is inclusive of all zero-carbon technologies, including hydroelectric power, geothermal, existing and advanced nuclear, and carbon capture and storage.”
The Democrat Platform excerpt copied above 1 ( and it has many more pages) and the Biden-Sanders agreement 2 basically lean toward eliminating Hydraulic Fracturing and conventional energy production by the U.S.A. America has become the world’s #1 energy producer during the past four years and we have surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia in oil and gas production. Does anyone remember the Solyndra debacle from the Obama years? An excellent review is provided by the CATO publication, “Solyndra: A Case Study in Green Energy, Cronyism and The Failure of Central Planning”
Recent legislation by the House of Representatives confirms the path toward the Green New Deal if Biden is elected President. The new legislation is, H.R.4447 – Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act also known as the “Green House Gases Bill” Donn Dears has written a summary of this in his Blog4 I share Mr. Dears concern for this anti-American energy legislation.
Non-Dispatchable renewable power causes problems with electric grid reliability as we have seen with recent California Blackouts 6 . In addition to forcing solar and wind power onto the California grid, the San Onofre nuclear plant was prematurely shut down and regulations for conventional power plants increased. Worse yet, the one remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon is scheduled to be shut down in 2025. So like Hawaii, California also has some foolish energy policies that are causing increased costs and reduced reliability. These two states are early indicators of what the “Green New Deal” could mean for the entire U.S.A. if Biden and Harris are elected and Democrats also control Congress.
Then there is the skepticism that solar can make a good difference with slowing down climate change. There are studies by some well respected organizations such as Carnegie University and Stanford 5 that solar panels will require huge amounts of Real Estate and can increase the surrounding ambient air temperature just from the solar collectors themselves. Just how much Real Estate you may ask? According to the 2015 study by Carnegie and Stanford, here is the quote in blue font from the Climate Central5 article:
“We see that ‘big solar’ is competing for space with natural areas,” she said. “We were surprised to find that solar energy development is a potential driver of the loss of California’s natural ecosystems and reductions in the integrity of our state and national park system.”
Finding ways to resolve conflicts between renewable energy development and ecosystem protection may be critical if the U.S. is to rely on more solar power to displace fossil energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Assuming that 500 gigawatts of solar power may be needed to meet a future climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, Hernandez’s team found that a region of California roughly equal to the land area of South Carolina may be needed to accommodate all the new solar power plant development.
There are caveats to that, however: Though a 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goal has been adopted in California, the Obama administration’s current goal for the U.S. is to cut emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels within 10 years. The study also does not account for increasing solar panel efficiency over time, something that is likely to reduce the amount of land needed to generate a megawatt of solar electricity.”
Yes, you read that right, an area the size of the state of South Carolina. Two points, one, I don’t think we will actually do this and two, the solar panels only provide electricity during periods of sunshine.
So, now lets move on to the real world experiment in Hawaii, which by the way, has the highest electricity costs of all 50 states.
My post on this blog in June 2020, showed the example of Hawaii which has pretty much accepted the “Green New Deal” and they are shutting down their most reliable and most reasonable production cost coal power plant at Barber’s Point 3 . Ironically, as Hawaii has regulated to eliminate fossil fuels, their power costs are the highest in the nation and most of the electric power generated comes from oil fuel. Why? Because Hawaii is an island and is not connected to the mainland electric grid. Thus, for reliability the power at night and when the sun is not shining, requires proven conventional forms of energy such as natural gas, coal or nuclear power. Because Hawaii does not have natural gas or nuclear and they are shutting down their one remaining coal plant, the choice for keeping the lights and air conditioners humming depends on oil fueled power plants. The most expensive of all the choices for fuel.
If you wish to check real time power generation for the island of Oahu here is the link: https://www.islandpulse.org In my opinion, because of Hawaii being an energy island and not connected to the grid, it is an excellent living laboratory to show what the “Green New Deal” could mean for America. They are graced with ample wind and sunshine, but depend on fossil fuels for much of their reliable power. Thus, the highest cost electricity7 in America.
For the rest of America, (not including Hawaii and California) a balanced portfolio of generation has helped keep energy costs reasonable and helped fuel our economy. America’s economy was doing very well until the Pandemic.
In the previous Part 4, the rise of China during the last twenty years is highlighted. China, by utilizing fossil fuels has greatly surpassed America’s use of coal. The high cost of electricity in Hawaii is discussed above. This may not be a problem for Hawaii because the power is used by government facilities, by hotels, restaurants, commercial and residential customers. But, the high cost electricity definitely rules out heavy manufacturing and primary metals production.
As a Patriotic American, I would like to see us mine, manufacture and produce most of the products needed for our lifestyles from within our borders. Including aluminum, copper and steel production. Doing so and remaining competitive in the world requires low cost electricity. I have mentioned this before, it takes about 5kWh of electricity to smelt one pound of aluminum metal. If the aluminum is selling for about $0.80/pound and if electricity was to cost at the wholesale rate, about $0.10/kWh then over 62% of the production cost of aluminum would be in electric power. Of course, this does not include the electricity and energy costs for mining the Bauxite, shipping, and for forging, rolling and forming aluminum sheet or bars. Reasonable Electricity costs are necessary to create competitive manufacturing costs.
National Security has to be considered too. International tensions and Wars have been fought over control of energy resources. Think back to before WWl when Winston Churchill converted the British Navy from coal to oil fuel. Then following WWll the Father of the American Nuclear Navy, Hyman Rickover saw the need for a better fuel for the US Navy. Now, America’s aircraft carriers and submarines are fueled by nuclear and can stay operational without refueling for decades. The American and world fleet of nuclear power plants owe their existence to Admiral Rickover and with some political help from President Eisenhower. So, for National Defense some major ships and submarines are powered by nuclear. However, helicopters, F-22’s, F-35’s, FA-18’s and Army tanks are fueled by Jet Fuel or Diesel. Keeping the abundant fuel supplies within our borders and secure is a part of our promoting Peace from a position of strength. Being against Fracking, against exploring and Drilling is a path that has a very distinct downside. In America we have found a balance of protecting the environment while still producing coal, oil and natural gas. Keeping the balance is important. Kindly scroll up to the EIA chart of energy used in the year 2019. Note that 89% of our energy is from conventional sources. Let’s not elect leaders that will cause harm and unnecessary risk to our country.
The foregoing are some of the reasons why I believe the “Green New Deal” is bad for America.
Another well researched document on why the Green New Deal will not work is authored by Mark P. Mills of the Manhatten Institute 8. Check his article for more details, link below.
Dick Storm October 10, 2020
- Democrat Party Platform: https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/party-platform/combating-the-climate-crisis-and-pursuing-environmental-justice/
- Wall Street Journal Opinion, July 30, 2020 on the Biden-Sanders Manifesto: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-biden-sanders-manifesto-11596131322
- “Hawaii, A Glimpse into the Future of the Green New Deal”: dickstormprobizblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/hawaii-a-gimpse-into-the-future-of-the-green-new-deal/
- Donn Dears Blog on the Greenhouse-Gas Bill: https://ddears.com/2020/10/09/new-greenhouse-gas-bill-a-hidden-value-added-tax-on-carbon/
- Climate Central, Carnegie and Stanford study of impact on surrounding ambient temperature from solar panels: https://www.climatecentral.org/news/solar-study-sees-ecological-risks-19568
- Forbes article on California Blackouts caused by Climate and anti-nuclear Policies: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2020/08/15/why-californias-climate-policies-are-causing-electricity-black-outs/#7ccd014d1591
- Energy Information Administration Electricity costs: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34932
- Manhatten Institute, Mark P. Mills, “Magical Thinking” : https://www.manhattan-institute.org/green-energy-revolution-near-impossible
- EIA (Energy Information Administration) Monthly Energy Review, April 2020
- CATO 2015 publication, by David Boaz, “Solyndra: A Case Study in Green Energy, Cronyism and the Failure of Central Planning”
2 thoughts on “Part 5: Dick Storm’s Thoughts on the “Green New Deal””
Got your Blog! This looks really great… thanks I may cut and paste and put on our web or social media…
Have a great day!
On Sat, Oct 10, 2020 at 5:27 PM dickstormprobizblog’s Blog wrote:
> dickstormprobizblog posted: ” Energy Part 5: Thoughts on The New Green > Deal and (so-called) Renewable Energy Introduction Energy and economic > prosperity go together. In part 4 I posted some facts on the growth of > American industry over the last 140 years since electricit” >
Thanks Dan! You are welcome to use anything I post and of course if I can help in any way to expand on this or other parts, glad to do it. I am worried about the harm the Democrat’s are likely to cause if they take Congress and Heaven forbid,,, the Presidency.