Washington, DC’s Energy Colonialism

DC’s climate virtue signaling will hammer DC residents – and neighboring states even more

Paul Driessen

The District of Columbia is about to inflict an enormous new set of roosting-chicken realities on its residents – and even more on its neighbors: Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

Led by Councilwoman Mary Cheh, DC’s City Council recently passed two laws banning fossil fuels for heating, cooking, and city-owned vehicles. Together, they position their city as a top virtue signaler on manmade climate change, which Ms. Cheh calls “the single most important environmental issue of our time.” Mayor Bowser enthusiastically endorsed the efforts.

The “Clean Energy DC Building Code Amendment Act” prohibits fossil fuels for home and water heating in new commercial buildings (including residential buildings four stories and higher), starting in 2027. It also requires that restaurants and families cook with electricity instead of natural gas. Only buildings deemed “essential to protecting public health and safety” may use gas for backup electricity generation.

The “Climate Commitment Act” forbids fossil fuel heat for new district-owned buildings, including schools, by 2025. It requires that all DC vehicles be “zero-emission” by 2026; all District operations be “carbon-free” by 2040; and the entire city be “carbon-neutral” by 2045.

Every successive fossil fuel reduction will require expanded electricity use – and generation. With DC-based nuclear almost certainly a nonstarter, power generation will presumably be via “renewable energy,” mostly wind and solar. But these technologies are intermittent, unreliable and weather-dependent. They must be backed up by batteries that must be recharged constantly, by more wind and solar power.

Let me say it yet again. Wind and sunshine are renewable and sustainable. However, the materials needed to harness this energy to power modern civilization absolutely are not. This DC Green New Deal alone would require millions of tons of metals, minerals, concrete and plastics; billions of tons of ores, and hundreds of new mines and factories – in the United States, China, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. 

With China, India and other countries burning more fossil fuels to improve people’s living standards – and supply all those “green energy” needs – global greenhouse gas emissions will continue rising. Even assuming fossil fuel emissions actually do drive climate change, DC’s “historic” laws might therefore reduce average global temperatures by 0.0002 degrees by 2100.

Washington already imports 100% of its electricity from neighboring states. So can virtue-signaling DC government officials answer just a few of many fundamental questions?

Exactly how many wind turbines, solar panels and backup-power battery modules will DC need by 2025, 2026, 2040 and 2045, as your electricity requirements skyrocket? (Please factor in the size and type of “renewable” energy equipment you plan to install each year – and how many hours per day, week and year the sun will shine and wind will blow in the decades after the systems are installed.)

Exactly how many tons of lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, copper, iron, magnesium, aluminum, concrete, petroleum, fiberglass, and other metals, minerals and materials will be needed to manufacture all these turbines, panels, batteries, transmission lines, transformers, and electric vehicles and appliances?

Exactly how much coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power will be required to operate all those mostly overseas mines, processing facilities and factories? How much carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and toxic air and water pollutants will they emit?

Will DC require “responsible sourcing” for the massive amounts of metals and minerals needed to honor its “climate commitment” – regardless of how this will increase your costs? Will you demand more mines and quarries in the United States – and opening more US onshore and offshore areas to mineral exploration – so that America is not more dependent on China, child and slave labor, and environmental desecration in foreign lands, for your “green energy” raw materials?

Where exactly do you intend to locate the hundreds of wind turbines and millions of solar panels this “transition” will require? On DC city rooftops? In Rock Creek Park and the Potomac River?

Or do you plan to install them in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean – and connect them to DC with hundreds of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines through your neighbors’ back yards? Don’t their scenic areas, habitats and wildlife have value?

Where do you plan to warehouse your electric vehicles and a half-million half-ton battery modules for just one week of backup power? Those batteries pose significant fire hazards, and therefore must be located far from residences, offices, garages and parking lots. Electric cars and buses must be parked far from buildings and one another, to avoid chemical-fueled infernos.  

Will the federal government also have to get by on this zero-carbon energy? What happens when electricity generation doesn’t meet DC needs, and inevitable blackouts hit? Whose electricity gets cut off first? Ms. Cheh, Mayor Bowser, Greenies, President Biden, Democrats and Deep State bureaucrats? 

We assume you think DC taxpayers should not be expected to “pick up the tab” for trying to “save the planet” from “climate cataclysms.” But why should your neighbors be forced to pick up the tab for your meaningless zero-emission virtue-signaling? Why should the rest of the world do so?

What “say” will residents of these states have in these decisions – especially those who’ll be expected to live next to vast wind and solar “farms,” and suffer the infrasound, light flicker and other tranquility-disrupting and health-impairing effects of your “clean, renewable” energy facilities in their backyards?

How will you respond when Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland vote or sue to reject DC’s energy imperialist facilities – or when some really upset citizens engage in “mostly peaceful” protests in downtown DC, the way Antifa types rejected fracking, pipelines, mining, inequality and police brutality?

One has to wonder whether DC’s real objective is sustainability, sustained moralizing – or energy colonialism and totalitarian control over people’s lives, livelihoods and living standards. Why doesn’t DC just buy carbon credits and pretend it’s becoming a virtuous shade of green, the way Al Gore does?

In any event, not many DC neighbors are excited about becoming energy colonies for our nation’s capital, as it asserts itself as an arbiter of climate, energy, environmental, social and government ethics.

For that matter, we’re definitely not thrilled about Democrat and Biden Administration actions on these issues. Maybe they can start answering these same questions – on statewide and national scales, where the amounts of “clean, green, renewable” energy installations, raw materials, mining, manufacturing, pollution, and slave and child labor are truly monumental and mind-boggling.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, environmental and human rights issues. He lives in Virginia.

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September 13, 2022 3:05 am

“Not many DC neighbors are excited about becoming energy colonies for our nation’s capital as it asserts itself as an arbiter of climate, energy, environmental, social & government ethics” Our government should get back to their real job for which we pay them & for which they swore an oath of office & stop interfering in our lives in ways & places they don’t belong. “A wise & frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry & improvement & shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government”-Thomas Jefferson

Reply to  marlene
September 13, 2022 10:09 am

Thomas Jefferson would not recognize the present government which has been neither wise or frugal for at least 100 years. Our freedoms have been denigrated and government have used our taxes and monetary policy to subjugate us.

I’ve been politically aware for over fifty years and have never experienced a more fascist administration than now. The legions of media, government department bureaucrats, and politicians have mostly gone to the dark authoritarian side.
This winter and next year will be “interesting”.

Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 3:06 am

As it is a physical impossibility to do it – it consequently cannot, will not, happen. It will only be an awfully expensive and completely useless exercise in tyrannical rule.

And who is to blame? The citizens who voted in this crowd.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 5:03 am

Maybe it’s better to blame the climate emergency propagandists- since the public, too often, just ain’t that smart. They tend to vote for what sounds wonderful- like “clean energy” and “saving the Earth”.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 13, 2022 6:16 am

No, they vote for pork.

Reply to  R Taylor
September 13, 2022 2:34 pm

Please, we call that “free stuff”.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 13, 2022 5:51 pm

Please. As electricity prices rise the poor will be most impacted. The good politicians will offer subsidies to the poor and claim credit. The middle class will end up paying for the subsidies. Unfortunately, most middle income citizens indoctrinated in our colleges and universities will be willing to sacrifice for a good cause. Win-win for our left wing politicians.

Reply to  Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 5:13 am

Or, rather, the MSM and the politicians who hid the truth about what these politicians offer. We who have enquiring minds have been aware of all this for a very long time, but the sheeple who need to be spoon-fed have been spoon-poisoned instead.

Reply to  Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 5:31 am

To be fair, almost certainly the Biden regime was not voted in but instead installed via fraud.

Reply to  Independent
September 13, 2022 2:40 pm

No single law suit bought by the Trump campaign or its supporters in over 50 jursidisctions found for the allegations of fraud. Remember each county runs the nuts and bolts of each election, mostly controlled by Republicans where the cases were heard.
Neither did any recount find fraudulent votes that would affect the result , either official or the one in Arizona.
In the ‘swing’ states that Trump lost the result wasnt even close ( compared to Florida in 2000)

Its certain that Trump lost , according to due process. Doesnt stop confabulators from inventing a different reality

Reply to  Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 5:48 am

And who is to blame?

The Misleadia for being activists not true journalists

John Garrett
Reply to  Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 5:58 am

You can start with the Rockefellers and continue on to the Packards, John D. MacArthur, the Park Foundation, Michael Bloomberg, Jeremy Grantham, Tom Steyer, Eric Schmidt (Goggle “Don’t be evil”), et al. They and their associated foundations write the checks that fund Bill McKibben, the Associated Press, NPR, PBS, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, et al.

Here’s a rogue’s gallery:

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Andy Espersen
September 13, 2022 8:04 am

They were to blame at one time, but now Dear Leaders have outsourced their constituency. We vote them in to take up the tasks decided for us in Davos. This is in transition though, until voting is no longer needed. Then an old fashioned revolution becomes the only way to be heard.

September 13, 2022 3:21 am

DC…. Comics?

Reading of the sheer lunacy they’re passing off as an energy policy reminds me how fortunate we are now that Boris has gone

It’s painful…

“”If the UK would just introduce a robust windfall tax – one without loopholes that encourage fossil fuel companies to keep digging up more oil and gas in the North Sea – this could raise an extra £6 billion to fund a nationwide programme for insulating our homes. Instead, the government’s obsession with digging up every last drop of UK oil and gas has seen climate-wrecking new projects like Jackdaw and Rosebank progress in recent months.””


In an ideal world Truss will open up new fields and shale. And others might follow

Reply to  fretslider
September 13, 2022 5:48 am

£6 billion to fund a nationwide programme for insulating our homes.

The problem isn’t the money (well it is) it’s the physical labour required to insulate every home in the UK, we just don’t have it. We are at least one third short of what’s needed.

Then there’s insulating Victorian and older housing stock, of which there is lot’s in the UK. How is that achieved without completely destroying our architectural heritage? Sealing up a Victorian building is just an invitation for dampness and mould. We might save a few quid on energy but it would be more than compensated for in respiratory conditions overwhelming the NHS.

Then there’s the time this would all take. We are talking of a project that would take 50 years, probably more, and we have been through this before with cavity wall insulation which was a dismal failure.

One of the other problems is the process gets infested by rogue builders, much of that £6bn would simply be wasted by them.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  HotScot
September 13, 2022 9:05 am

Cavity wall insulation. Now over 10 years since that debacle ended and I believe there are still well over a million active legal cases ongoing.

Reply to  fretslider
September 13, 2022 5:49 am

DC…. Comics?

They don’t make me laugh

Old Man Winter
Reply to  fretslider
September 13, 2022 6:44 am

“the U.N. has warned Europe a return to fossil fuels in response to soaring
prices and winter shortages must not be considered under any circumstances.”

“”There is no room for backtracking in the face of the ongoing climate
crisis,” deputy U.N. rights chief Nada Al Nashif”

“Energy Crisis: Homes Left without Heating will Kill British Children,
Experts Warn”

It’s weird that Nada, a human rights deputy, doesn’t think Europeans have
the right to keep from freezing to death just cuz of flooding in Pakistan,
which she claims is a sign of GW catastrophes ahead. Since the Jordanian
“public servant” went to both Harvard & Oxford, maybe we
should include them with UN HQ as being experiments on how
well people both live @ home & work @ 50F (10C). Fire everyone who doesn’t comply. That would exceed her standards for Europe!


Coach Springer
September 13, 2022 3:47 am

All vehicles? 2026? That would be a very expensive stream of catastrophe.

Reply to  Coach Springer
September 13, 2022 4:51 am

Imagine that petroleum derived lubricants and greases, and of course all plastic components, were forbidden. Modern life would grind to a halt.

joe x
Reply to  Scissor
September 13, 2022 5:17 am

what you say in your post reply to coach, is a note found in the leftist blue print to destroy the west.

Reply to  joe x
September 13, 2022 5:49 am

The left aren’t bright enough to plan to destroy the west. They really are stupid enough to believe their own PR.

Reply to  HotScot
September 13, 2022 6:45 am

If they were bright, they wouldn’t be leftists.

John Garrett
September 13, 2022 4:35 am

Nothing is more explanatory of the environmental degradation of the Chesapeake Bay region than the cancerous growth of Big Government that has occurred over the last seventy years.

The horde of people who immigrated to the area in order to feed off the Big Government teat has resulted in a vast urban sprawl and a gigantic concrete pad of never-ending pavement and development.

It was once a nice place to live. It’s now a hellhole.

Reply to  John Garrett
September 13, 2022 8:13 am

Have a friend who lived in Chantilly VA. His house, in a major development with 1/2 acre lots, backed up to a small ravine with a stream. A beaver took up residence and dammed the stream, threatening downstream housing in the even of heavy rains and dam failure.

Imagine the consternation of his wife (leftist) and neighbors on what to do.

He now lives in NC, divorced and doing well.

Bob B.
September 13, 2022 4:49 am

It must be wonderful to be a politician able to declare that a fantasy is a reality then go off and celebrate their “accomplishment”.

Reply to  Bob B.
September 13, 2022 7:27 am

I’m sure some politician will have another go at legislating π = 3 because 3.14159 is
r-a-a-a-y-cist or something.

Michael in Dublin
September 13, 2022 5:06 am

Why not say to Cheh and Bowser: “Show us that this can work in your own home and life – for a year – and then we will consider the practicality in our homes and lives.”

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
September 13, 2022 5:14 am

Um – because they would laugh in your face and call the cops?

John Garrett
September 13, 2022 5:11 am

Who wrote this article? Did Craig Rucker write this piece or did Paul Driessen write it?


September 13, 2022 5:37 am

As a West Virginia resident, I can say it’s unlikely we’ll agree to be an energy colony of D.C. Destroying our beautiful mountains and fields with nearly useless windmills and solar panels would be a tragedy. Instead, we can put in windmills on K Street, Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill, and all around the richest areas of D.C. I’m sure they won’t mind as it’s for the greater good, right?

Reply to  Independent
September 13, 2022 1:51 pm

As though you residents would be asked.

Reply to  AndyHce
September 13, 2022 2:21 pm

Fair comment, although not being under the thumb of wackos like those in D.C. for our state and local governments hopefully will increase the chances.

Reply to  Independent
September 13, 2022 2:43 pm

And the Mall.

September 13, 2022 6:58 am

assuming fossil fuel emissions actually do drive climate change,

well they don’t – just take a look @ Climate Science 101 posted on this web site – and even if they did the amount from man’s industrial and transportation activities is so miniscule (something like 1 one hundredth of 1%) it couldn’t possibly have any effect on the earth’s temperature or its climate – the biggest hoax in the history of mankind

Frank from NoVA
September 13, 2022 7:25 am

DC Council has been run like a rum shop for ages. Cheh, of course, represents the climate-oppressed residents of Ward 3, which is by far the wealthiest, but least diverse, of DC’s wards. However, as much fun as it would be to watch DC implode, I don’t see how DC’s restrictions on fossil fuels will affect its neighbors.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
September 13, 2022 10:36 am

Since DC doesn’t produce bulk electric supplies, it depends on what their wholesale power contracts look like and the rules of the regional grid managers. Since getting rid of FFs requires large increases in electricity consumption, it is a must that any wholesale contracts and grid management rules provide DC with unlimited capacity and energy supplies.

The rub is that DC will require, by law, all its power supplies to be FF free. Contracting for, permitting, construction and integration of sufficient ruinable supplies for DC, however, is not even remotely a given. The region is all gung ho for Nut Zero. Such efforts will inevitably greatly strain the regional power supply system and sufficient ruinable resources and necessary integration, backup and control of DC’s portion may not be available.

Oh, well, there is always Federal laws that can be passed to repeal technical and economic rules: “Just make it so” has always worked.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Dave Fair
September 13, 2022 11:30 am

‘The rub is that DC will require, by law, all its power supplies to be FF free.’

To paraphrase Murray Rothbard, DC could require, by law, that all of its citizens be able to fly by flapping their arms, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. Kirchoff’s law applies even to DC, so the energy mix available to the locals is strictly limited to what is generated within PJM or imported into PJM. If DC wants to push being fossil free, they’ll have to cut their connections to PJM and develop and tie into their own resources. Or, they can maintain their current supply arrangements with PJM and take gobs of their rate-payers’ money to develop fossil fuel free resources elsewhere that they can point to as carbon ‘offsets’. Either way, it will be fun to watch DC implode.

Gary Pearse
September 13, 2022 7:48 am

“Exactly how many tons of lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, copper, iron, magnesium, aluminum, concrete,…?

“Exactly how much coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power will be required…?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. They never feel the need to answer such questions. Pass the rose colored glasses and make Qwerty Genders a core subject at MIT.

Kevin kilty
September 13, 2022 8:06 am

Only buildings deemed “essential to protecting public health and safety” may use gas for backup electricity generation.

How does this not include homes?

Reply to  Kevin kilty
September 13, 2022 10:38 am

By government fiat, Kevin.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
September 14, 2022 4:39 am

Homes can potentially contain trump voters, which makes them all nests and gives of insurrectionists and therefore dangerous.

Steve E.
September 13, 2022 8:28 am

So, did any of these politicians volunteer to pony up the money the electric company is going to need to overhaul the local grid?

September 13, 2022 9:23 am

Have all electrical utilities segregate Washington DC from the power grid and let the city live or die by it’s demand for carbon free energy

September 13, 2022 10:17 am

“…how many hours per day, week and year the sun will shine and wind will blow in the decades after the systems are installed.”

Wind turbines and solar panels last no longer that 20 years – 2 decades. No more. With this information the calculation becomes easier. Glad to help.

September 13, 2022 10:25 am

I am tired of these morons and their senseless virtue signaling. The only public money spent for climate/energy must be used to safely isolate these cities/states from the power grid. The less energy sent to these do gooders the more available for the rest of us. It shouldn’t be that hard since we have planned blackouts/brownouts now. I want to see them suffer, it is only when their constituents are hurt that these blind morons will see the light.

Robert Cherba
Reply to  Bob
September 13, 2022 1:47 pm

Edit: ” I want to see them suffer, it is only when the voters are hurt that they will see the light and stop electing these morons.”

Reply to  Robert Cherba
September 13, 2022 4:05 pm

I can live with your edit.

lee riffee
September 13, 2022 4:48 pm

I guess if these laws go unchallenged, eventually there will be very few restaurants in DC…And unlike the Covid lockdowns and vax mandates, ordering takeout won’t be an option as there will be no food to be had, for dining in or out!
I’m guessing existing establishments can (maybe) keep their gas hookups, but there will be no new restaurants opening in the future.

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