Environmentalists burning helicopter fuel to de-ice wind turbines one at a time

Is there any downside to pursuing green energy?

I have a friend in my office who is very keen on wind and solar. He treats it like a technological problem, and he’s so excited about what discoveries scientists could make to get us off of non-renewable energy sources. In this post, I wanted to look at how the green energy project is working in different places, and then conclude by explaining why Christians should care about this issue.

So, close to home, the state of California heavily committed to developing “green” energy. How is that working out for them?

Here is a recent article from Reuters, a far-left news wire:

California, struggling to balance its clean energy push with the need to boost tight power supplies and avoid rolling blackouts, will lean more on fossil fuels in coming weeks to keep the power on if scorching heatwaves stretch its grid.

The Golden State, which has among the world’s most aggressive environmental policies, faces a potential supply shortfall of up to 3,500 megawatts during peak demand hours in the coming weeks. That is about 2.6 million households worth of electricity supply.

Governor Gavin Newsom plans to fill that gap in part by allowing industrial energy users to run on diesel generators and engines, according to a recent emergency proclamation.

California spent a lot of money on their green energy sources, and they are having to fall back on non-green sources because their plan didn’t work. This isn’t even to mention how much damage their expensive policies have caused to vulnerable bird and bat populations, as well as their constant forest fires. And their electricity prices are extremely high, which disproportionately affects the poor in their state.

Going up north, we find out how green energy is working in socialist Canada.

The Fraser Institute, a non-partisan think tank, reports:

In 2005, Ontario’s provincial government started a process to phase-out its coal-fired plants, one of the province’s least expensive and most flexible sources of generating electricity. Ontario shuttered its last coal plant in 2014 and made it illegal to build any more. In addition, the province launched its Green Energy Act in 2009, which mandated expanded production of renewable energy and encouraged energy conservation.

The result? Ontario now has the fastest-growing electricity costs in Canada and among the highest rates in North America. Furthermore, subsequent research showed that the shutdown of coal plants raised electricity rates in the province but provided few environmental benefits. Indeed, one analysis found that, had the province simply continued with retrofitting coal plants, it could have achieved similar environmental benefits at one-tenth the cost of the green energy programs.

I’ll be saying more about why Christians should care about higher electricity prices, but for now, just note that this isn’t even working in far-left countries, where there is more buy-in from the voters.

The highest electricity rates in the world are currently being paid by residents of Germany. A while back, Germany decided to transition completely off of non-renewable energy. How did that work out for them?

The far left Bloomberg News reports:

One of Germany’s biggest challenges in the fight against climate change is to keep the lights on.

As Europe’s biggest economy shuts its last nuclear reactor next year and utility RWE AG warns that coal plants may close earlier than planned, critics say green energy isn’t being added quickly enough. Germany’s ability to meet peak demand is poised to shrink rapidly over the next two years, increasing the risk of blackouts.

[…][German Chancellor Angela] Merkel admits her government got it wrong. Power demand will probably increase more than official forecasts by the end of the decade, she said in June. A month earlier she recognized that increasing local opposition and too much bureaucracy have curbed investments in green power.

So, why should Christians care about this? We should care, because higher energy prices eats up the money we use for our Christian goals. One of our Christian goals should be to educate our children in a way that preserves their Christian beliefs. It’s become abundantly clear that most public schools are not good partners for Christian parents who have this goal. The most reasonable option is to pull the kids out of public schools and go with a private school, or homeschooling. But that costs money. In fact, money is useful for all sorts of goals that Christians might have – from buying books, to giving to charity, to being able to walk away from a job that violates their consciences, etc. Money is important for Christians. And when it gets eaten up by higher electricity costs, we have fewer options to run our lives the way we want.

6 thoughts on “Is there any downside to pursuing green energy?”

  1. You should tell your friend it isn’t a “technology problem”. Wind and solar can’t get much more mature than this as technologies. There are two main factors that make “renewable” energy worthless.

    1) Intermittency – this is obvious, but the standard response to this is usually along the lines of “just build some big batteries!” You don’t have to explore that avenue long before you see how ludicrous from a cost, material resource, and environmental perspective that “solution” is. Plus the turbines and panels themselves don’t last forever, either.

    2) Low energy density – this isn’t talked about as much, but it’s the reason this technology isn’t useful. The fact that the wind doesn’t bowl you over or the sun cook you crispy when you’re outside shows you’re dealing with very little energy to start with. The only way to get much out of it is the giant farm scheme in which you blight the land with panels or turbines. City folk may not be bothered by that, but it’s more than just the issues of ugliness in pristine country. The wildlife hazards mentioned are one, the removal of arable land from better uses is another. Disaggregation of the power generators also means a lot more infrastructure to get the electricity to the grid is needed, and once the installed generators need to be decommissioned, you’re talking about a boatload of labor to manage that and install replacements. Does any of that ever get factored into the “levelized cost of energy” numbers cooked up to show how “cheap” wind/solar are? Don’t bet on it.

    If these technologies are as great as they’re touted to be, let the government cut all subsidies for them and apply the same degree of environmental scrutiny and regulation as is applied to other power generators (maybe with an “overseas pollution fee” assessed for the environmental damage caused in China from all the rare-earths and other metals needed), and see if another turbine goes up anywhere.

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  2. Oil and gas ARE renewable energies. They renew day and night, tirelessly and are products of the planet, so the assertion by greenies that we need to move TO renewable energies is laughably poor. They want a man made solution to an already natural one! And their man made solutions often cause more pollution than the natural ones! Its high time we challenge these greenies to define what makes oil and gas “not” renewable and what makes wind and solar so renewable? Without man made collection technology solar is useless. Wind is probably the most similiar to oil and gas in that with a small amount of human intervention we convert it into energy, but its proven itself not to be reliable or suitable for large applications. I had solar panels on my house, it was nice, and solar panels on houses are a nice solution to help offset some of the strain on the grid, but to see mountainsides covered in thousands of panels is a travesty and not even close to preserving nature. The same goes for windmills. A windmill on a mans property is helpful, while hundreds across the countryside is dangerous, for many reasons.

    These people are mentally ill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On our last vacation to Maui several years ago, our view of that beautiful environment was marred by the sight of windmills lined up down a mountain. There weren’t nearly as many as one sees traveling north-south down I65 in Indiana, and thus it made less sense.

      And with the push to buy un-affordable electric cars, imagine how rolling blackouts would effect one’s ability to get around a place with little public transportation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When we recently drove back from South Carolina to CA we were able to witness the number of windmills across the Texas plains during our night driving. Every few seconds, from one end of the horizon to the other, the eerie blinking red eye of a windmill. There were what appeared to be hundreds. Far more than you could see in the daylight. It was reminiscent of something from The Matrix. I wish I could have gotten video, but I don’t think you’d be able to see it as well, but I assure you it was weird.

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  3. When people talk bad about oil and gas I ask them of they beleive aliens placed it on the earth.

    They are natural products of the ground and if we don’t use them they will eventually come to the surface in many cases if any crack in higher layers permits it to come up.

    Even using oil sands in Canada is cleaning up nature’s own environmental mess.

    If they want to talk about making emissions cleaner many people have little issue with that. Let us use cheap gas and cars and scrub emissions by tech is not a problem and actually can be done by science.

    But most enviro ideas are based off some romantic idea of earth good, humans bad.

    The earth is no more than a system that observes the laws of chemistry and physics. Living things have some input to change things to a certain level but even that is limited. Given time earth cleans up its mess so our job as a good steward is to study the earth and our harm to it and fix it.

    So look at the harm to the environment by China as they exploit the country for riches, then study how you can return the earth to a proper state over time that can be sustained and you are on a better path to reality than environmental myths

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I especially love how you finish the piece, with acknowledging the usefulness of money for Christians. Some have an absurd notion of wealth and Christianity. They are not incompatible.

    Like

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