Oregon is replacing coal power with wind. Let's see what happens

If you live in Oregon and rely on certain fancy, high tech features of the industrial revolution such as having lights in your home and refrigerated food, you might want to start stocking up on candles and non-perishable goods. The green energy warriors have pretty much taken over the state legislature in the Beaver State for more than the past decade and they’ve managed to pass all sorts of interesting laws. One of them was a rule which says that all coal fired power will be eliminated by 2020… a deadline which is pretty much right around the corner. The Boardman Coal Plant is scheduled to shut down completely in the next few years and at that point there will be little besides wind turbines in terms of in-state power generation. What could possibly go wrong? (Fox News)

The massive coal-fired plant in Boardman, Ore., is just four years away from being shut down for good – at that point, Oregon coal production will be no more, after the state became the first in the nation to completely ban coal power.

The mandate, signed into law earlier this year, was the result of an environmentalist-fueled push by the Democrat-controlled legislature. Under the plan, coal production will end once the Boardman plant shutters in 2020 – utilities would still be able to buy coal power from out of state for another 10 years, until a 2030 deadline to end coal use entirely.

But the phase-out already has groups warning that residents are headed for big rate increases and brownouts.

The first thing the residents can prepare to do is tighten their purse strings. Energy generation remains in the realm of the free market and in order to comply with these state mandates, energy is going to cost more. The utility companies don’t simply suck up those increased costs, so they get passed on to the consumer. But if the citizens of the state are willing and able to pay energy bills which may double their current rates, that’s up to them I suppose. Of course, it’s the lowest income residents who will bear the brunt of that damage as usual.

But what will be more interesting to observe is not the bottom line people are paying, but if the lights will stay on at all. Coal currently provides more than a third of Oregon’s energy needs. The total energy provided by wind turbines accounts for… eight percent. And it’s a highly unreliable eight percent because that production drops to nearly zero every time the wind stops blowing. There are nowhere near the number of new wind turbine projects under construction right now to make up that gap even if you could ensure steady breezes blowing all year long.

The green energy laws will allow Oregon to import “coal energy” for ten more years after the ban goes into effect, but that’s a complete scam which a small number of people are getting very wealthy off of. The electricity on the grid is fungible. It comes from a variety of sources, but the lights in your home neither know nor care where it originated. States use federal credits and a variety of other bookkeeping schemes to claim that some percentage of their output is “renewable” but it’s all the same in the end. This means that after 2030, Oregon will have to purchase its power from utilities which use these complex federal credit schemes to say they’re not delivering coal fired energy. The cost goes up but the actual source of the power doesn’t change.

What does change is the reliability of the energy supply when you restrict the number of sources you can draw on. All it will take is one period of high demand when the “approved” sources aren’t putting out enough and you’ve got rolling brownouts or blackouts. It shouldn’t take more than a few days of that for Oregon’s residents to wake up and question precisely what they’ve gotten themselves into.


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David Strom 12:01 PM on October 07, 2022