The Biden administration declares war on the U.S. energy sector
Shortly after taking office, President Biden joined the war on the carbon atom by opening a front against the U.S. energy sector. He cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline project permit and froze the leasing of prospective oil and gas producing properties in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Then in a further nod to the left wing of the Democrat party fixated on global warming, on December 8, 2021, he signed an Executive Order that set a goal of “100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand.” Although the Executive Order did not define “locally supplied clean energy,” one must assume that it meant solar and wind-powered electrical generation.
In 2021, 60% of the electricity produced in the U.S. came from fossil-fuel and 20% from nuclear plants and 20% from renewable energy sources. Wind and solar energy production in the U.S. in 2021 accounted for 13% of the total electrical energy output. While it may be possible to increase the capacity of wind and solar electrical production in the next 5-10 years, the big problem remains the unreliability of wind and solar energy sources. They are vulnerable to changes in weather (clouds obstruct sunshine and the wind does not blow) as well as extreme weather events, as the recent experience in Texas demonstrates. Permitting nuclear power plants remains a challenge. On Feb. 9, 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted to permit the first nuclear power plant to be built in the U.S. in over 30 years, over the objections of its chairman, who voiced safety concerns.
Whether the proponents of the global warming hypothesis like it or not, it is not possible to replace the 60% of electric power production in the U.S. by 2030 with alternative energy sources. Such a mandate would require a rapid increase in wind and solar powered electricity generation and the reconfiguration of the U.S. power grid, resulting in more unreliable energy output. Fossil-fuel plants would still be required to back up a large portion of the unreliable renewable energy sources. Remaining fossil-fuel power plants that were in operation would be required to purchase carbon credits to offset emissions to achieve 100% carbon-free operations. CO2 emissions will not be reduced by buying carbon offsets. However, operating costs will be increased and the reliability of the power grid decreased. The consumer will end up footing the bill for higher energy costs and less reliable electric grid system.
The only entities that benefit from President Biden’s policies will be firms that trade carbon credits and offsets at the expense of energy consumers. In 2004, when Al Gore formed Generational Investment Management in London with a partner from Goldman Sachs, the worldwide market for trading carbon credits was estimated to be $10 billion. In 2019, it had grown to $210 billion and is projected to reach $1 trillion within a decade. It is the height of naiveté to think that our economic competitors in the world such as China and India will wreck their economies based on a fraudulent global-warming hypothesis.
The predicted result of these actions will be less reliable, more expensive energy, increased costs to the consumer and substantial damage to the competitive ability of U.S.-based companies who depend on market-based energy costs to manufacture, distribute and export their products.
Guy K. Mitchell, Jr. is the author of a new book titled Global Warming: The Great Deception -- The Triumph of Dollars and politics Over Science and Why You Should Care.