Get ready for more blackouts because climate change

Get ready for more blackouts because climate change
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

People across the United States and in many other countries are already experiencing sticker shock when they receive their utility bills this year. The price of energy is continuing to climb along with the price of gasoline. Unfortunately, according to the leader of one energy industry analysis group, that’s not going to be the end of the bad news. There are already places where the electrical grid is under so much strain that rolling blackouts have been enacted again and we’re only going to see more of that going forward. This issue has little or nothing to do with Russian energy supplies or the war in Ukraine. The reality is that in many parts of the United States, we’re barely producing enough electricity to meet the demand for power, and thanks to environmentalist policies put in place by the government, we’re shutting down coal-fired power plants at a rate far faster than we can replace all of that juice through other methods. (Fox Business)

While some major cities are already seeing their lights go off due to electricity use overload, grid operators and energy advocates gave a warning to states closing their coal-fired power plants even quicker than they can build new ones.

“Any plans to remove nuclear plants or coal power plants or natural gas plants that are slated to be closed, that has to be completely suspended,” Power the Future executive director Daniel Turner told FOX Business’ Jeff Flock Tuesday…

“Many coal plants and nuclear plants can come back online,” Turner pointed out. “They’ve maybe been turned off and decommissioned, but they haven’t been torn down.”

As part of the rapidly spreading push for more green energy and the desire of environmentalists to “keep it in the ground” when it comes to coal, oil, and gas, large swaths of electrical production are going away. There are 80 coal-fired plants in 14 states currently scheduled to be closed in just the next six years. Many regions are turning their backs on the construction of new nuclear power plants because of outdated “China Syndrome panic.”

What these activists apparently fail to realize is that coal and nuclear still supply more than 40% of the nation’s electricity. Much of the rest is produced using natural gas. Some coal plants have been converted to natural gas and others are scheduled to follow, but the same people trying to shut down the coal plants want to do away with natural gas as well.

If those plants close down as scheduled, rolling blackouts will become a permanent feature of American life in many places. This isn’t a question of public debates over green energy or climate change. It’s just simple math. If we lose that many plants in less than a decade and new energy sources don’t come online in advance of that, the grid will reach its trip point and the power will have to be shut down. And it’s physically impossible to put up that many new solar plants and wind farms in the amount of time being discussed.

This is correctly being described as the “next big crisis” for Americans, and it’s a completely avoidable crisis of our own making. Blackouts caused by excessive demand (rather than storms or damage to the infrastructure) have already started. They happened in California last year and there was a significant outage in Austin, Texas recently. Thousands of people were temporarily without power in the middle of a spring heatwave. The grid had been pushed to the limit and surge protection had to be invoked. There’s more of this on the way if all of these plants close as anticipated.

Everyone complains when the power goes out and that’s understandable. But rather than calling your utility company to demand action, perhaps you should be calling your elected officials. They’re the ones making these decisions.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on June 05, 2023