Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
The Wall Street Journal in its lead editorial on September 8, 2022 exposes California’s long standing high energy cost and poor energy reliability debacle created by its governments leadership under Governor Newsom (a debacle not created by climate change) as presented in the article headline shown below.
The article addresses the state’s usual climate change hyped and inaccurate excuses for its lack of reliable power and high energy cost failures noting:
“Democrats blame climate change for the state’s week-long warnings to conserve power, but California’s climate hasn’t suddenly changed. Triple digit temperatures aren’t unprecedented even in early September, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s claims. What has dramatically changed in recent years is California’s electric generation.”
The article summarizes the energy and reliability debacle faced by the state noting:
“California’s summer electric generation capacity increased by about 10,700 megawatts (MW) between 2010 and 2020—potentially enough to power eight to 10 million homes. The problem is that gas-fired capacity during this time declined by 4,390 MW and nuclear by 2,150 MW. Solar and wind surged 17,000 MW, but those sources can’t be commanded to run when people need them.”
“The state must therefore rely on imports from other states in the evenings, especially during heat waves. But these imports are becoming less dependable since California’s neighbors are also losing base-load generators owing to their own renewable buildouts. Arizona lost about half of its summer coal-generating capacity between 2015 and 2020.”
The impact that California’s energy debacle has on the entire western U.S. energy availability and pricing market because of its politically driven climate alarmist schemes are noted as:
“Meantime, power shortages are causing prices to spike in the Golden State as they are in Europe. Electricity prices in California’s wholesale market surged Tuesday evening to about $1,700 per MWh compared to the normal $100 and $67 a year ago. All of this explains why residential electric rates in California have risen by 50% in the past two years—three times more than they have nationwide.”
The hard-hitting article concludes noting:
“The grid problems that Californians are enduring will grow and spread as supersized green-energy subsidies and mandates spread their harmful incentives throughput the U.S. economy in coming years. The culprit is the left’s climate policies, not climate change.”
California started its climate alarmist campaign in 2006 with the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) that triggered commitments to reduce its CO2 emissions back to 1990 levels by year 2020. It further escalated these reduction commitments in additional state legislation over the coming decades to a “net zero” mandate by 2045.These schemes are incredibly costly, unreliable and real world irrelevant.
In year 2006 the global total CO2 emissions were about 29 billion tons of CO2. In year 2021 global total CO2 emissions have risen to about 34 billion tons and increase of 5 billion tons. During this period the U.S., UK and EU spent trillions of dollars mandating higher cost unreliable renewable energy use schemes while shutting down dispatchable, reliable and lower cost natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants to reduce CO2 emissions by about 2.3 billion tons while the world’s developing nations increased CO2 emissions by over 7 billion tons during this period by increased use of all forms of fossil fuels.
The world’s developing nations now account for nearly 70% of total global CO2 emissions with these nations committed to continued expansion and use of reliable low-cost fossil fuels. Some of these nations including Russia and China now control energy markets that the rest of the world must access under high cost and unreliable delivery schemes to try and meet their energy needs because of the nondispatchable unreliable performance of their inadequate “as available energy only” renewable schemes that these nations have created.
The Wall Street Journal’s article addressing the real-world energy and reliability debacle in California is a milestone event in the U.S. regarding a major media publication presenting an honest and accurate assessment of the debacle of Democrat climate alarmist driven mandated renewable energy use in the U.S.