The power blackouts in California would spread to the rest of the country under Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s energy policies, according to several analyses and experts.
So far this year, 1.3 million megawatt hours of reliable power have been taken off the grid due to California’s environmental policies that require 60 percent of its electricity to come renewable sources like wind and solar power by 2030. As producers shift to meet that mandate, more reliable energy sources like coal and natural gas are shunned.
The California Independent System Operator (CISO), which manages the state’s power grid, declared electric emergencies resulting from a number of causes including high demand from a heatwave and a lack of power that could be imported to stave off the blackouts. The state’s regulators have announced they will conduct a postmortem to determine the exact causes.
Ironically, California’s wildfire season can create conditions that can reduce the reliability of solar power even more. The Wall Street Journal reports that last week’s smoke-filled skies caused statewide solar generation to fall by a third. “We are seeing reductions to behind-the-meter and large-scale solar throughout the state,” said CISO spokeswoman Anne Gonzales.
The American Energy Alliance said California was a preview of what Biden’s plan would do to the rest of country, stating that the blackout stemmed from a “severe heatwave and without the wind blowing and the sun shining.”
“Residents are asked to conserve electricity to keep the power on — something most other states do not have to endure,” the Alliance noted. “This should be a warning to America about the risks of Biden’s Clean Energy Standard that would require 62 percent of our electricity which is now produced from natural gas and coal to come from non-carbon sources, which would primarily be wind and solar power.”
While policies and political platforms are bandied about, though, consumers are the ones left holding the bill.
The Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) found in recent polling that 90 percent of Americans want reliable and affordable energy sources. A majority oppose policies that would let utilities increase monthly bills to build renewable energy.
People also do not support propping up struggling power plants, but they also do not want to pay for new plants. Just 7 percent believe that taxpayers should pay for new plants.
“Customers really want a handful of things,” Todd Snitchler, EPSA president and CEO, told InsideSources. “They want power to be reliable, they want it there when they want it, and they don’t want to pay anymore than they have to.”
This is at odds with Biden’s policies and the Green New Deal, which would cost the average family $70,000 in the first year of implementation, according to an analysis by Competitive Enterprise Institute. Biden has specifically pledged to eliminate carbon emissions from the power grid by 2035,
“The whole thing is a kind of fairytale that assumes you can run the electric grid on fairy dust,” said Myron Ebell, director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment. “What the Green New Deal and the Biden Energy Plan have not figured out is where the electricity is going to come from when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun has been down for a day.”
Voters also want to encourage competition to reduce costs and emissions, according to the EPSA poll. That’s something the Green New Deal doesn’t do.
Fossil fuels and nuclear power would cease in favor of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources that — though the technology has improved in recent years — would not be able to generate enough electricity to reliably meet America’s needs.
The head of America’s Power, a trade group formerly called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, excoriated California’s energy policies for picking winners and losers among energy sources.
“The blackouts… show what happens when electricity supplies are neither diverse nor resilient,” said Michelle Bloodworth, president and CEO of America’s Power. “Unfortunately, some nine million Californians are living with the consequences now, and we hope they remain comfortable, healthy and safe.”
A tweet from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti around 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, telling people to set their thermostats at 78 degrees and turn off major appliances was ridiculed online as tone deaf. Weekend temperatures around the city hit as high as 121 degrees.
Eric Trump, son of President Donald J. Trump, tweeted that “this is what the Democrats will do to this country.”