Mark Krebs on Energy Efficiency under Biden’s DOE (Part III of IV: Biden’s Bias)

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — January 26, 2022

“Personally, I don’t see any interest on the other side to debate anything. Rather, they seem to think their environmental nirvana can only be achieved by replacing our free-market system. For that, they want a ‘green’ form of command-and-control socialism.” (Mark Krebs, below)

Q. Yesterday, you explained how DOE’s Office of Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy employs “garbage-in, garbage-out” (GIGO) to justify more stringent gas-appliance regulation. But step back: specifically, when and how did electrification become official energy policy?

A. Electrification, aka “deep decarbonization,” was in the background through at least the Obama and Trump Administrations. But it had come out of the woodwork with a vengeance under Biden. This started with an unprecedented gush of Executive Orders starting on day one. This implementation is now well underway.

 Q. Please identify the primary Biden Administration regulatory chain of events that empowered this present “transition” to electrification through refocusing its mission on “carbon efficiency.”

A. This expedited transition towards carbon efficiency was initiated by Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.”’ 86 FR 7037 (Jan. 25, 2021). Section 1 of that Order lists several policies related to the protection of public health and the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and bolstering the Nation’s resilience to climate change. Id. at 86 FR 7037, 7041.

Section 2 of the Order also instructs all agencies to review existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions promulgated, issued, or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, that are or may be inconsistent with, or present obstacles to these policies.

Agencies were directed, “as appropriate and consistent with applicable law,” to consider suspending, revising, or rescinding these [Trump Administration] agency actions and to immediately commence work to confront the “climate crisis.”

Q. And then?

A. In addition to EO 13990, the Biden Administration environmental policies include a “FACT SHEET ” titled President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies.  Excerpt: “[This is] a new target for the United States to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030.”

As part of re-entering the Paris Agreement, Biden also launched a “whole-of-government” process, organized through his National Climate Task Force, to establish this new 2030 emissions target—known as the “nationally determined contribution” or “NDC,” a formal submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The present NDC is titled “The United States of America Nationally Determined Contribution. Of particular importance is the following excerpt regarding building decarbonization:

  • “Building sector emissions come from electricity use, as well as fossil fuels burned on site for heating air and water and for cooking. There are many options to avoid these emissions while reducing energy cost burden for families and improving health and resilience in communities. The emissions reduction pathways for buildings consider ongoing government support for energy efficiency and efficient electric heating and cooking in buildings via funding for retrofit programs, wider use of heat pumps and induction stoves, and adoption of modern energy codes for new buildings. The United States will also invest in new technologies to reduce emissions associated with construction, including for high-performance electrified buildings.”

On December 8, 2021, Biden signed Executive Order 14057 titled Catalyzing Clean Energy and Jobs through Federal SustainabilityThis EO is focused on mandating Federal building compliance for deep decarbonization through fuel switching to electricity ostensibly powered from renewable sources. This is evidenced by the following excerpt:

  • “It is therefore the policy of my Administration for the Federal Government to lead by example in order to achieve a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050.”

And, once again, unsuspecting taxpayers are required to fund all of it. For additional information, Alex Epstein published a series of tweets about this EO on twitter.

Q. So a whole new thrust behind deep-decarbonization …

A. Yes. But note that Biden’s NDC closely followed President Obama’s “deep decarbonization” plan for buildings that you, Rob, wrote about in 2017, ‘Deep Decarbonization’ vs. Direct-Use Natural Gas.

Q. Did EERE’s longstanding pro-electric biases get reformed at all during the Trump years?

A. Yes, but temporarily, as it is now turning out. But to give credit where credit is due, there was a brief (but partial) respite in EERE’s biased behavior under the Trump administration and EERE’s (then) Assistant Secretary Daniel Simmons. We could discuss some specific dockets later.

Regardless, throughout the Trump Administration, EERE retained the “clean energy” mission of the Obama Administration. Consequently, the direct use of natural gas was never considered “clean” at least by EERE’s “award winning” staff (even though gas-fueled combustion turbines were considered “clean”).

The legislative stage was set before Trump with a lot of help from the “usual suspects” in writing the language.  From the beginning of EERE, energy efficiency and renewable energy were “joined at the hip. Read 42 U.S. Code § 16191 – Energy efficiency to see the result.

 The strong relationships between EERE and its “energy efficiency advocates” runs deep; you wrote a good review of this in November of 2020: Waste? Speak for Yourself (energy appliance mandates anti-consumer, pro-bureaucrat) where I posted comments to it that elaborated on the subject.

Trump Reversed

 Q. What are the economic harms to the American economy and energy consumers by all of this? What are other ill-effects? and what can be realistically done to start rectifying it?

A. This gets to the macro-policy associated with climate alarmism/forced energy transformation. President Trump was right in pulling out of the Paris Agreement because it devastates consumer choice and our economy by vastly escalating energy costs. That is why I twice voted for him.

Biden’s reentering the Paris Agreement—and his NDC plan to achieve it—is non-binding and has yet to be ratified by Congress. Accordingly, the Paris Agreement and the NDC are not “applicable law.” However, it remains to be seen who is willing to legally challenge these policies.

This “transition”—which directly conflicts with the EPCA’s (the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975’s) intent to protect consumers against regulatory overreach—also strengthens the economic and strategic hands of “bad” international actors, while weakening international “social justice” and increasing adverse environmental impacts associated with growing the market share of “renewable” wind and solar energy.

Q. The “clean energy” ruse plays into all of this.

A. I could go on about the numerous and devastating ill-effects about so-called “clean energy” but that would take too much time to cover now. In addition to Paris Lives! “Deep Decarbonization” at DOE), the following articles are recent and thorough:

As far as what over-reliance on “clean” energy is likely to cost consumers, it varies regionally and depends on what you want to include or ignore. For example, one usually overlooked cost category is what Ed Reid calls “deadweight losses” (the costs of leaving fossil fuels in the ground, stranded investments, etc.).

Q. This has been a major area of research for you.

A. I reviewed and reported upon most of the costing studies available up to 2019 in Costing the Green New Deal and “Deep Decarbonization”: Some Clarifications. I collaborated with Tom Tanton who recently published some “do-it-yourself” estimating tools and users guide available from the Energy & Environmental Legal Institute. And Minnesota’s Center of the American Experiment has an outstanding  series on “clean” energy costs as well. Overall, excluding deadweight losses, total cost for the “clean energy transition” appear to be around $30 Trillion (± $10 Trillion). If deadweight losses are included, costs could triple.

For every free-market study looking at the costs of transitioning to all-electric economy, the AGW environmentalists have dozens, with the usual theme that “clean” energy will cost much less than continuing to use fossil fuels.  Personally, I don’t see any interest on the other side to debate anything.  Rather, they seem to think their environmental nirvana can only be achieved by replacing our free-market system. For that, they want a “green” form of socialism. In which case, Pol Pot would be proud.

Q. “Green” energy can kill, too.

A. The ultimate cost to consumers is that over-reliance on inherently unreliable “clean” energy can and does kills people. Take Texas for example. During last February’s “Winter Storm Uri, 210 people officially died because of prolonged electricity outages.  While many died of hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning, many also died because they were dependent upon various sorts of electric powered medical equipment.

Even if people had gas furnaces and boilers, those appliances require electric blowers and/or pumps to operate, However, if people also had gas stoves they could (and did) use them to keep themselves (and their water pipes) from freezing.

And it looks like history in Texas is poised to repeat itself, as Donn Dears point out here: Texas Remains in Peril.

Q. And with this comes unintended consequences.

A. This inherent unreliability of renewables could lead to a thriving market for small emergency generators to serve select critical electric loads.  However, regulators are trying to prevent that; as seems to be the case in California: Why California’s Move to Ban Gas-Powered Generators (and Lawn Equipment) Could Leave Californians in the Dark.

—————————————

Mark Krebs, a mechanical engineer and energy policy analyst, has been involved with energy efficiency design and program evaluation for more than thirty years.  He has served as an expert witness in dozens of State energy efficiency proceedings, has been an advisor to DOE and has submitted scores of Federal energy-efficiency filings. Mark’s first article was in the Public Utilities Fortnightly and was titled “It’s a War Out There: A Gas Man Questions Electric Efficiency” (December 1996).

For more about Mark, see his MasterResource archive.

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Brad
January 26, 2022 10:58 pm

Has any major city undertaken a study on what it would take in electrical upgrades to eliminate natural gas as a fuel source? What about the electrical upgrades to have EV charging stations in every home?
What about all the rural residences that utilize propane?
We have a 1,000gal tank for heating and hot water, plus our 22KW EG for when we lose electricity from our local utility. Our local utility is currently replacing a large portion of our power poles due to age, there is no mention of increasing capacity to accommodate increased usage.

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Brad
January 26, 2022 11:32 pm

I’m curious, where is all this copper going to come from? That is just one of the multitude of natural resources that they are going to need to accomplish this boondoggle.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Brad-DXT
January 27, 2022 12:41 am

As I understand and UK-wise, transmission lines are Aluminium, multiple thin strands wrapped around a single high-tensile steel strand to carry the weight. Impregnated with ‘grease’ to keep the water/weather out.
What high voltage inter-connector are made of is another matter, can only be high purity Copper really.

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 27, 2022 10:10 am

Aluminum is used for high voltage transmission by utility companies. This is cheaper and suitable for high voltage. For high amperage, like at the service entrance, aluminum is not as desirable because of the size has to be increased to safely carry the current. That would mean larger components throughout. Some authorities having jurisdiction in local codes don’t allow aluminum beyond the utility equipment.

Aluminum has to be mined as well as copper. The increase in mining necessary to provide the raw materials for this boondoggle would devastate large areas at the same time giving little time for remediation efforts. For a supposedly environmentally purposed movement, this fails at every turn.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Brad-DXT
January 27, 2022 12:40 pm

Almost all new homes in the U.S. use cheaper aluminum at the service entrance, then use required copper for branch circuits.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Mike McMillan
January 27, 2022 5:28 pm

Aluminum was used for awhile in homes, but because of the tendency for aluminum to oxidize, high resistance connections often developed over time, causing excessive heating, and home fires in the walls. Consequently, aluminum was universally banned by ordinance for use in homes.

However, I have never heard of step-down transformers being wound with aluminum. Therefore, accommodating residential charging stations will require increased use of copper.

In the subdivision I live in, all the electrical wiring is underground. So, upgrading will be time-consuming, expensive, and inconvenient if the lines have to be excavated.

Redge
Reply to  Brad
January 27, 2022 4:22 am

Has any major city undertaken a study on what it would take in electrical upgrades to eliminate natural gas as a fuel source?

I can answer that:

Nuclear or a miracle.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Brad
January 27, 2022 6:21 am

No! The folks making the rules have NO IDEA of what it is going to take. Here is a document describing splicing and making end connections of high voltage cables.
https://media.distributordatasolutions.com/3M/2018q1/5a9ec41a8b4865eb70059fe3670116e4d63a4078.pdf

There is tremendous amount of cabling that is going to need upgrading as the current capacities of existing lines just won’t cut it. Imagine doing this nationwide from generating locations all the way to your house. Just manufacturing the new cables will take years. How many years to install them? Think how many years we’ve been at creating the current grid!

Is it any wonder so many suppliers don’t see this as a problem?

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Jim Gorman
January 27, 2022 1:00 pm

Thanks for the link. Didn’t know it was that complicated.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Gorman
January 27, 2022 5:47 pm

CAUTION

Working around energized medium- and high-voltage systems may cause

serious injury or death. Installation should be performed by personnel

familiar with good safety practice in handling medium- and high-voltage

electrical equipment. De-energize and ground all electrical systems before

installing product.

It looks like besides obtaining the necessary materials, a lot of people are going to need to be trained to perform proper splicing and connecting of upgrades.

Brad-DXT
January 26, 2022 11:20 pm

This is all for show. First they intend on authoritarian control of every aspect of life. Then they will “discover” that we still need fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, thousands if not millions of people will die of hypothermia and starvation due to no energy to heat their homes and no fertilizer to grow crops.
Many of the farmers surrounding my woods are going to grow turnips to refurbish the soil instead of corn and soybeans. Think we have empty shelves now, just wait.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Brad-DXT
January 27, 2022 12:58 am

Good on the farmers. Epic fantastic news. If only oil compamies could follw that lead and bang a few heads together in Parliaments and Senates around the western world.
Vladimir is doing his best but the message has not sunk in.
Not surprising when the ‘head’ concerned is constantly drunk and thanks to its chav girlfriend imagines that throwing money at the problem will make it go away

Full shelves in supermarkets are an illusion, created by legions of staff within supermarkets whose job it is to shuffle stuff around and keep the illusion afloat.
UK supermarkets only carry 3 days stock at most and depend on just-in-time delivery networks.
The most beautiful and most recent example of that being how toilet rolls disappear so fast

Some of us really are left wondering what sort of muppets we actually do have for our ‘leaders’
How can they not have learned from countless times in all of human history when leaders have uttered the words “Don’t panic” – panic is exactly what happens. Every Single Time.
Yet still they do it…..
And these geniuses imagine they know what trapped heat is and how its created

Reply to  Brad-DXT
January 27, 2022 5:54 am

God post Brad.

More global warming…

RARE SNOW HITS JERUSALEM; RECORD ACCUMULATIONS SWEEP KANSAS; + EASTERN U.S. WEEKEND SNOWSTORM UPDATE, WITH EARLY-FEB LOOKING HISTORIC
January 27, 2022 Cap Allon
Winter is just beginning, North Americans. I actually choked on my English tea when I saw what February could have in store for you.

Sahara Sees Rare Snow; Thousands Stranded On Turkish Highways; Record Cold Grips Middle East; Record Snow To Continue In U.S.; + Hunga Tonga Eruption Revised Up To 39km (128,000ft)… – Electroverse
[excerpt]

Told you so – two decades ago. People will die from the cold and the green energy disaster. I tried…
I accurately predicted the current British energy crisis in 2002 and in greater detail in 2013. January and February 2022 will be worse.
 
To understand the big picture, understand this:
If you live in the developed world and you suddenly lose access to cheap reliable energy, you and your family will probably not survive. When idiot politicians fool around with energy policy and try to pick winners and losers, they are playing a very dangerous game. When they base their energy policy decisions on fraudulent global warming “settled science”, they are playing a fool’s game. Either way, you lose.
– Allan MacRae, 19March2012
 

observa
January 27, 2022 12:35 am

And all that political fiat just as the era of their ‘cheap’ renewables has ended and the costs begin to climb rapidly-
The Era of Cheap Renewables Grinds To A Halt | OilPrice.com

Doonman
January 27, 2022 12:51 am

I have no problem with electrification to provide society’s power. It just needs to be inexpensive and abundant to maintain our standard of living.

So when are those nuclear power plants going to be built? There is no other non carbon fuel solution that can provide the amount of electrical power necessary. And that is the bottom line.

Unless of course, you want your standard of living to go down.

Rah
Reply to  Doonman
January 27, 2022 2:33 am

I’ll stick with my NG furnace thank you! Electrical transmission infrastructure is above ground and more susceptible to disruption by severe weather.

NG transport infrastructure is mostly underground. A residential gas Furnace only requires 110 To operate that can easily be hooked up to a small gas generator as I did a few years back when an ice storm left us without electrical service for over three days.

Coeur de Lion
January 27, 2022 1:04 am

I’m reminded of the film “Bridge Over the River Kwai” when Jack Hawkins’ special force blows up Colonel Alec Guinesse’s bridge, crashing a Japanese troop train. The regimental doctor, the only sane man there, shouts “Madness! Madness! Madness!

Rah
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
January 27, 2022 2:45 am

War IS madness! That scenario was played out many times during the war in the CBI except the bridges were almost always taken out by air power.

BTW a bunch of US POWs that were slave laborers in the CBI got together and filed suit against the big Japanese Corporations that were actually responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure they were forced to work on. The US government was against them and the exPOWs lost.

Rah
January 27, 2022 2:20 am

Yesterday morning I was driving East along I-72/US 36 in Illinois. West of Springfield at the 76 mm or 90 deg latitude there is a wind farm.

It was sunny and 9 deg. F after a sub zero night. Not a single one of the bird choppers were turning.

Further on closer to Springfield is a coal fired plant and it was taking care of the vital business so people didn’t have to burn their furniture to keep warm as some Texans did last winter.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Rah
January 27, 2022 2:57 am

hopefully everyone in that area and all those on the highway passing through noticed what you noticed- it should have been mentioned in the local/state media but probably wasn’t

big storm coming to New England this weekend- lots of snow- I’ll photograph the solar “farm” next to my ‘hood buried under the snow…

RMoore
Reply to  Rah
January 27, 2022 9:32 am

‘Lat lies Flat’ so you were at 90’ degrees west longitude.
90’ Latitude either way north or south is not paved and not a big spot.

Rah
Reply to  RMoore
January 27, 2022 11:45 am

Your right. In a hurry. It is 90 deg west longitude.

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Rah
January 27, 2022 10:33 am

I drive down I-57 several times a year going past what I think is the same wind farm. Over the past dozen years, or however long that wind farm existed, I have only seen all the bird choppers spinning once. Typically, only half of them spin at all.

Joseph Zorzin
January 27, 2022 3:00 am

so, when the Republicans take over government in the next election cycle(s), will they be able to stop this “clean and green” disaster?

Rah
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 27, 2022 3:37 am

Past history would indicate that the answer to that question is an unqualified NO!

Spetzer86
Reply to  Rah
January 27, 2022 4:42 am

I’d agree. Seems like the Ds can drop rules right and left that can’t be overcome in any way shape or form. Rs have never figured that trick out, apparently.

bluecat57
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 27, 2022 5:01 am

The R’s know the trick but their morals, ethics, and values prevent them from using it.

MarkW
Reply to  bluecat57
January 27, 2022 8:26 am

One of the reasons why prize fighters are of no use in a street fight.
When there are no rules, the guy who follows the rules will always lose.

bluecat57
Reply to  MarkW
January 27, 2022 3:04 pm

Too right.

Malcolm Chapman
Reply to  Rah
January 27, 2022 5:04 am

Okay, but why not? From the UK, we have a ‘Climate Change Committee’ that seems to be impervious to good data, common sense, and independent scrutiny. I don’t know why it is so. Maybe the emerging Net Zero Watch group in the Parliamentary Conservative Party will be able to make something happen. Of course we have a Prime Minister who is not a fool, but who is currently living under the cat’s foot. How this will play out politically, eventually, is still a mystery. No amount of pious environmentalism changes the laws of physics, as we are beginning to see.

What is the problem in the USA? Is it just that there are too many people with government jobs who are deep in this environmental and political movement? Couldn’t they all be identified and re-distributed? Who can think about these things in the USA, with good information, and a possibility of acting after the next round of elections? You lot need to think about this hard, so that no time is wasted, and no political capital is wasted either. Get going, from day one (first Senate, then White House). And please excuse me if this sounds naive – I ask as a friendly observer, not an expert.

Rah
Reply to  Malcolm Chapman
January 27, 2022 5:35 am

About of the Republicans are in on the scam. We call them RINOS among other less publishable names.

MarkW
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 27, 2022 8:25 am

If they can find a collective backbone, they might be able to stop any new madness but since they don’t have enough votes to override a veto, they can’t peal back any of the already installed madness, nor prevent Biden from abusing executive orders.

bluecat57
January 27, 2022 4:59 am

Is having NO electricity the most efficient state?
Or extremely high costs?
Or consumers with no money to pay for it?

Ewin Barnett
January 27, 2022 5:08 am

It takes in excess of ten years and a billion dollars to develop a suspected deposit of copper into economically sustainable production. For an example, just glance at the long history of the Pebble mining project in Alaska.

There is not enough copper or silver mining capacity at present to enable the centrally planned socialist Utopia to proceed.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ewin Barnett
January 27, 2022 5:57 pm

Surely you aren’t saying that when a bureaucrat says “Make it so!” that it might not happen. 🙂

H.R.
January 27, 2022 7:19 am

I live in a 4-season climate, and I like the LEDs for the savings on my electric bill. But I also like and have some incandescent bulbs for Winter use. Those 100-watt bulbs do put out some heat!

I mostly use those in Winter in my ‘office’ – a small spare bedroom up in a far corner of the house – and in my basement workshop, which can be a bit dark and dank.

One size does not fit all, even in my house.

(The bureaucrats can stick those curly bulbs where the sun don’t shine and turn them on. That should be illuminating.)

Carlo, Monte
January 27, 2022 7:43 am

Attack of the Watermelons.

J Mac
January 27, 2022 10:48 am

Informative! Thank you, Mark Krebs!

Rich Lentz(@usurbrain)
January 27, 2022 12:54 pm

10 years ago my public utility closed down the nuclear power plant and went “Whole Hog” on Green Energy in an effort to help the community to keep/lure in Google, FB and PayPal. About 6 years ago the neighbor behind me got an automatic start generator. Two years ago the utility announced 1/3 of our electricity can come from Wind and Solar. Last year the problem with random outages had gotten so frequent and lengthy that I can now stand on my back deck and see three generators and hear at least one more when they are running. And I do not live in CA.

marlene
January 27, 2022 4:04 pm

When political leaders do things that make no sense, they’re deceiving us. When they speak things that make no sense, they’re lying to us. Makes me wonder if the people really voted for them…

Clyde Spencer
January 27, 2022 6:22 pm

… to justify more stringent gas-appliance regulation.

Perhaps it is just coincidence, but today there was an article in SciTechDaily about all the bad things that happen from people using gas stoves to cook.

https://scitechdaily.com/climate-and-health-impacts-of-natural-gas-stoves-are-much-greater-than-previously-thought/

It’s always worse than we thought!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 28, 2022 10:27 am

It looks like there is a coordinated effort to convince the public that gas stoves are evil:

https://news.yahoo.com/the-campaign-to-ban-gas-stoves-is-heating-up-215656354.html

Pat from kerbob
January 27, 2022 6:39 pm

Mining companies are 100% behind the green new deal and why wouldn’t they, they know it means increasing mining by orders of magnitudes.
We saw where they supported some of the onerous legislation aimed at fossil fuel extraction here in canada and are only now beginning to understand it will limit them as well

glenn holdcroft
January 27, 2022 7:02 pm

The butcher , the baker , the candlestick maker .
Biden would be incapable of any of those positions but sure likes the idea of candles for everyone .

TonyG
Reply to  glenn holdcroft
January 28, 2022 8:26 am

Thanks for the idea. I’m going to start gearing up to mass produce candles 🙂

January 28, 2022 8:57 am

It’s ironic that democracy worshipers want a democratically elected dictator.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Sam Grove
January 29, 2022 6:15 pm

Not just any dictator, but one who agrees with their philosophy and goals in life. I don’t think that they have considered the possibility that their potential dictator might be lying, or change their mind after being in power for awhile.

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