The Patriot Post® · California Blackouts: A Warning Against the Green New Deal

By Thomas Gallatin ·

California is in the midst of its worst heat wave in 70 years, and making matters worse are the rolling blackouts millions of residents are forced to endure as the state’s power operator shuts down portions of the power grid in an effort to prevent the system from collapsing. Imagine suffering through record heat with no power for air-conditioning.

Bloomberg reported Monday, “The outages … mark the third time in four days that the state’s utilities deliberately cut power to protect a grid that’s been pushed to the brink of failure as people blast their air conditioners and fans to keep cool. The state is facing an electricity shortfall on Monday of about 1.4 gigawatts, the California Independent System Operator said in a statement.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom lamented, “These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state. This cannot stand.” Almost humorously, Newsom wants an investigation to determine why these blackouts are occurring.

The truth is, Newsom need look no further than his own party’s anti-fossil-fuel zealotry, which has effectively ruined production of consistent and reliable electricity. Even Newsom’s predecessor recognized this, as former Governor Gray Davis acknowledged, “The bottom line is, people don’t want lights to go down. People also want a carbon-free future. Sometimes those two aspirations come into conflict.” And now is a prime example of one of those times, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for Californians who are stuck in their homes due to Newsom’s coronavirus lockdown while suffering under the worst heat wave in over a generation.

The primary culprit for these power shortages is the inconsistent nature of renewable energy. As The Wall Street Journal editorial board explains, “During peak daylight hours, California produces a surplus of solar energy, and power generators may be ordered or paid to cut back their production so the grid isn’t overloaded. On Friday and Saturday Caiso reported about 1,000 mega-watt hours (MWh) were curtailed — enough to power 30,000 homes. This year 1.3 million MWh of power have been curtailed. But this means supply shortages can occur in the evening when solar energy plunges but demand for power remains high. That’s what happened this weekend. Many natural gas and nuclear plants that can generate power 24/7 have shut down in recent years because they can’t compete with heavily subsidized green energy. A 10-year-old natural gas power plant in California’s Inland Empire is being decommissioned this year — 20 to 30 years earlier than its planned lifespan.”

This problem is entirely the fault of the state’s Democrats, who “have mandated that renewables account for 60% of state electricity by 2030, which has forced power providers to invest in renewable energy sources now to meet the deadline.” The Journal further notes, “California’s antipathy even to natural gas and nuclear power has resulted in higher energy prices and now power surpluses and shortages because renewables are intermittent energy sources.”

Let California’s energy woes serve as a warning to the rest of America against the Democrats’ Green New Deal. This anti-fossil-fuel extremism is what Joe Biden and company want to impose on the rest of the country. That is untenable.