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Biden Is Sleepwalking Into A Summer Energy Crisis

nyc blackout

For a president whose chief of staff reportedly begins each morning by checking the average price of gasoline, Joe Biden’s administration is awfully dismissive of warning signs that the nation’s electrical grid can’t handle the summer heat.

Last month, the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation, a nonprofit electrical grid watchdog, issued a new report warning that two-thirds of the United States face a heightened risk of power outages this summer. [bold, links added]

Part of the problem is adverse weather conditions. A drought in the West has diminished hydroelectric capacity, and a drought in the Missouri River basin is denying thermal generators the natural cooling they need to stay operational.

But not all of the grid’s troubles are related to weather. Government regulations and taxes designed to reduce carbon emissions have also caused a huge loss in generating capacity from power plants reliant on fossil fuels.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (covering a 15-state region extending north from the Gulf through the Midwest) alone has 3.2 gigawatts less power capacity this summer than it did last year, all due to the retirement of fossil-fuel power plants.

“We are headed for a reliability crisis,” said Mark Christie, a Republican-appointed commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, noting that utilities are being forced to move too quickly to supposedly “renewable” energy sources such as wind and solar. “We’re just not ready yet,” Christie warned.

For the Democrats on the commission, rolling blackouts may just be the price we all have to pay to meet their party’s carbon emission reduction goals.

“We are in a transitory phase on the electric side in particular of the industry, and we need to address some of the challenges that are associated with that,” Biden-appointed FERC Chairman Richard Glick said.

“I think the argument about going back to the way it used to be 30 years ago, that’s not going to happen,” Glick continued. “We’re moving forward.”

In other words, the Biden electrical grid policy basically boils down to: “Damn the blackouts — full decarbonization ahead!

From the Left’s perspective, there is a certain logic to this policy. Every ounce of pain that Democrats can inflict on working people is another step toward pushing energy consumers toward a decarbonized future.

Democrats even have polling that tells them this is exactly what voters want. Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg recently released a survey he conducted for something called the Climate Policy and Strategy Project, which he claims shows that “big majorities” support “major action on climate change despite inflation.”

“The public mostly supports the administration’s priorities and agrees with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry when he says that the war in Ukraine will indeed lead to the United States accelerating the transition to renewables,” Greenberg writes. ”That means moving with speed to clean energy.”

But does his polling really say that? Greenberg asked respondents which statement they agreed more with: “Climate change is a threat and we need major action to combat it” or “The threat of climate change is exaggerated and the high cost of fixing it may not be worth it.”

This question seems to be more about whether climate change is happening at all — not whether the cost of a quick transition away from fossil fuels is worth rolling blackouts.

Who knows? Maybe Greenberg is right. Maybe voters will happily keep their pantry stocked with food, switch to candles, and keep plenty of ice on hand so that their medications don’t go bad — as Biden’s Department of Energy cheerfully recommends.

Or maybe voters will see rolling blackouts as a problem — as yet another Biden-created crisis to go along with so many others, including illegal immigration, Afghanistan, inflation, and gas prices. We’ll find out this November.

Read more at Examiner

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