Issues & Insights

California’s Power Failure Is A Frightening Preview Of Democrats’ ‘Green New Deal’

California's Kamala Harris wants to force her state's draconian and costly green laws on the rest of us. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Among the nightmares ready to descend on America, should the Democrats win in November, is the so-called Green New Deal. It promises lots of renewable green energy at a “modest” $2 trillion cost. Just one more scary, extreme policy idea out of the all-digital 2020 Democratic National Convention.

“We agree with scientists and public health experts that the United States — and the world — must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and no later than 2050,” the Democratic Party platform states.

“To reach net-zero emissions as rapidly as possible, Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency.”

Sound good to you? If so, take a look at California, where some of the worst of these ideas are already being tried, with disastrous results.

The state, once known for its plentiful, cheap and reliable energy supplies, is now dealing with rolling blackouts as its green energy infrastructure buckles under the strain of summer heat.

This week, as the DNC holds its virtual convention, some 3 million California homes could be periodically without power as some areas experience 100-degree-plus heat. In addition to major discomfort and inconvenience, such blackouts if sustained can be dangerous to health — especially for the elderly and kids.

Sadly, all of this is inevitable. As Reuters reported, “The controlled power disruptions, with alternating blocks of utility customers losing electricity for one or two hours at a time, are designed to prevent excess demand from triggering a more widespread collapse of the grid that could last days.”

How could this happen? For nearly two decades, California’s one-party state has passed increasingly nonsensical and stringent rules for energy generators in order to reduce global warming, leading to soaring costs as energy output fails to keep up with population growth.

By 2030, California expects to get 60% of its energy from renewables such as wind, solar, water and other non-carbon based power sources. By 2045, it wants 100% carbon-free electricity.

While that sounds nice, there’s a big problem with the model.

“The wind doesn’t always blow — especially when it’s hot — and the sun doesn’t always shine,” the Federalist points out. “Therefore, California must import vast amounts of power from the 13 other states (along with Canada and Mexico) in the Western Interconnection whenever that’s required to keep the lights on and the air conditioners running.”

California’s Sacramento Bee reported that “the demand for electricity (last Friday) peaked at just 46,800 megawatts — a few thousand megawatts shy of the record 50,270 in July 2006, when Californians were literally dying in the heat but blackouts were avoided.”

Understand, California actually has 76,000 megawatts of production capacity, theoretically more than enough to satisfy soaring demand. So why should there be any blackouts at all?

Unfortunately, notes Manhattan Contrarian blogger Francis Menton, 33,000 megawatts of that production is in renewables. It’s so unreliable, it can’t be counted on for much of the day. So California has shortages.

Unreliable, inefficient sources of renewable energy, of course, cost consumers and businesses a lot.

For May of this year, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show California’s residential consumers paid 18.79 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy, 42% higher than the national average. For businesses and industry, it’s even higher, pushing Cali’s total power costs up 61% above the U.S. average.

Welcome to the Golden State.

This is a preview of what awaits the rest of the country if the Democrats’ Green New Deal ever becomes reality. Higher costs, massive inconvenience, a step backward for civilization.

Or, as the Wall Street Journal opined this week, “The rolling blackouts across California serve as a cautionary tale as states across the country increase renewable energy and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels that can generate round-the-clock power but contribute to climate change.”

Despite all this, as their radical platform clearly demonstrates, national Democrats seek California’s fate for everyone. Dependence on weather-reliant sources means that energy rationing will soon be a fact of everyday life, if the Democratic Party gets its way.

And with Sen. Kamala Harris, a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, as Joe Biden’s possible vice president, California’s radical vision will soon be extended to all.

Like it or not, you too will be Californicated.

Of course, California could always build more actual power plants, including low emission gas-powered and nuclear generators, to boost its permanent capacity. But reliance on what actually works would betray the far-left green ideology of California’s in-charge Democratic Party.

Fortunately, for the rest of America, there’s one sure way to prevent such an undesirable outcome during this political season: The ballot box. To avoid a national replay of California’s self-inflicted energy disaster, Americans should reject green socialism and vote for common sense. Or suffer the Golden State fate.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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37 comments

  • We have all seen the trial version of the biden/harris New Deal. It began in January of this year and is still running. Just like the trial subscriptions that claim you can cancel within 18 days. This one won’t go away in 18 days, 18 weeks or 18 years if biden wins and the Senate flips socialist.

    Vote on November 3 qas if your life depends on it and then be prepared to fight on November 4 as the future of America will depend on it.

  • Being a former utility engineer in Technical Services and having earned a Master of Science in this field, I want to debate all comers regarding AGW.
    Who dares discuss the science?
    Will they post this one?

    • No, of course they won’t debate you. It is a religion with them and there is no debate over their religion. Facts do not matter to them.

  • And yet they keep right on getting elected, and will have a decent chance of winning the white house.

    • Thank you for responding. Your facts are erroneous. We can do it with little or no cost since renewables are now so much cheaper than fossil fuels and nuclear units they can build a renewalble facility and operate it carrying to cost of construction and still beat old coal and nuke plants which have already paid off their costs.

      PV solar is now under 2 cents/kWh daytime and 3.3 cents/kWh at night from battery storage of that solar power. Show me a polluting plant which can match that.

      This is not opinion, it is reality.

      • “Clean” energy is cheap because we rely on foreign countries to do the mining with no environmental regulations leading to unrecoverable environmental degradations, and the use of child labor inflicting labor atrocities across the world, all in an effort to support the exotic minerals and metals needed for wind, solar and EV batteries. It’s easy to “leak” the emissions associated with clean energy to other countries and close our eyes to the environmental degradation and labor atrocities to support the clean energy that we “see” in our tunnel vision

  • This is complete garbage. You repeatedly confuse MWh with MW and MW with GW. How can anyone take this drivel seriously?

  • I live in California. We are warned that we must save electricity between 3 and 10 PM. Most of these hours are after the sun goes down when it starts to cool off. The problem is 1/3 of the generating capacity is solar and that disappears in the evening so we come up short. Wind is only about 1%. See the CA-ISO website for details. Green only help for part of the day. People live 24 hours per day.

      • So then why the need for rolling blackouts? If one state can’t meet their citizen’s energy needs, how would an entire nation?

  • An electrical engineer told me that if you add 2 electric cars charging per block in a medium sized city in the summer the grid will crash.

    • I am a former Senior Engineer for a large power company and can tell you EVs are the dream of power companies, and they will build whatever it takes to serve them.

    • Texas has very hot summers. For example, one year in Dallas we had 61 straight days in which the peak temperature was over 100 degrees. The Independent Texas Grid is sized to handle the Texas hot summers. At night the power demands drop substantially as the temperature cools off. Simultaneously, a considerable number of power plants are idled. If the EVs were encouraged to charge primarily during the night time by economic incentives, the Texas Grid could handle a significant number of additional EVs with out building additional power plants by simply continuing to operate at levels comparable to the day time power generation levels during the night. States with a more temperate climate do not have this excess capability and would require the addition of new facilities to handle the higher electrical power demands for powering a significant number of EVs.

    • In the late 1980s I was on Advanced Transportation committees of the Electric Power Research Institute as we were plowing millions of dollars into the development of electric vehicles to get where we are today.

      When I got our first EV the power company sent me a note saying they were monitoring to make sure we had all the supply we needed and would upgrade if not.

  • A good rule of thumb is to always follow the money, question who the scientists are, who funds them, same with many of the business associated and especially with the the people in power including the press.
    Don’t take their words for truth until you check them out yourself because in the end your life could depend upon it.

  • “For nearly two decades, California’s one-party state…”

    Oh, please. California has lots of Republicans. It’s the state that gave us Ronald Reagan and Devin Nunes.

    This is embarrassing. Your whole party is owned by the fossil fuel industry. Your party *is* a fossil. There’s billions to be made in clean energy, why not let yourself be owned by those industries instead? Sad.

  • What a silly GOP trope. the horrible things happening NOW are not a PREVIEW of something that might happen in the future under completely different leadership. they are a VIEW of the horrid state of affairs we have to deal with under Trump’s Polluted Old deal.

    • Does anyone here wonder why Americans are in the streets of Trump America?
      In the unemployment lines?
      In food lines?
      In hospitals?
      In the morgues?

  • I live about 15 freeway minutes south of the now mothballed San Onofre nuclear generator. This kind of mismanagement of the states phenomenal resources got California governor Gray Davis recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here’s the deal. The government of California is in a state of rebellion against the citizens. Now you know what THIS means:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”

    The purpose of the militia, which is, “the whole people except for a few public officials” is to prevent the success of petty domestic tyrants. Talk to your friends. We have seen American citizens arrested for simply defending themselves and their weapons confiscated by force. They could be coming to your street. Good news is they’re not that tough and can’t face equal odds… little boy who always got picked last syndrome.

  • I have it good authority that Newsom will do a new electricity dance on the roof of the capital, He’ll be naked with a banana hanging out of his azz. Running around in a circle while singing to the liberal electricity God and making pow-pow noises is all part of the new liberal electricity dance (meant to show inclusion to native Americans and the LBGQNBIDVVGDTIEWIWVB community)

  • Texas has its own independent power grid. The cost of electrical power to Texas residents is below the national average and is highly reliable in the summer when peak loads are drawn. The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) does the electrical power grid planning for the state in accordance with and regulations established by the Texas Government. Their latest report (59 pages) is available on the internet and can found at:

    http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/144927/2018_LTSA_Report.pdf

    In this report, ERCOT explains the modeling process for the future inclusion of solar into the Texas Grid. One of their key concerns is “The scale of solar generation additions is dependent upon transmission access to the solar-rich sites in the Far West Texas region”. For example, the distance between a solar/wind farm in El Paso and the customers in Houston is 675 miles. Building new transmission lines from Far West Texas to the Eastern part of the state where the major of the people are located is extremely expensive. Texas generates around 15 percent of its electricity from wind power. It took 2-3 decades to fund and build the transmission lines in order to provide cost effective electrical generation from wind power.

  • Wow – talk about some cherry picked histrionics. Thing+”Socialism” = Scary! I hope your readers do their own research. It’s always hilarious when things are called “far left” and “RADICAL” by the right – they are not far left, nor ‘radical’ to the rest of the world. But those phrases trigger the low information voters who read this heavily biased website.

  • This article ignores the primary issue that led to the current state of the Cali power grid. The biggest issue isn’t renewables. The issues began when the market was deregulated in the late 1980s and 1990s. Prior to that, the primary focus of the power industry was safe reliable power. After deregulation, generation, transmission, and distribution were decoupled leaving huge opportunities for market manipulation (see Enron) and a move away from the focus on reliability. This was primarily driven by Republicans and had nothing to do with renewables or the green energy movement.

    Politicians promised the benefit of deregulation would be competition that would drive prices down. At the same time they promised lower rates to retail/residential customers by forcing the local utilities to “guarantee / lock in prices”. This meant utilities had eat large swings in market driven price fluctuations. The Enrons of the world exploited the situation knowing the deep pocketed utilities would have to cover the costs of high priced power. This disconnect between end customer and supply was the downfall of the market along with a whole host of other issues.

    There is no question that balancing supply and demand is more challenging for the ISO and state utilities with increase in renewable supply, but it is far from the primary issue from our challenges.

    I’m a 20 year Energy Exec and lived through deregulation, Enron, and the birth of the green movement. This article does NOT address the origins of the California crisis. It lays blame on the newest challenge the industry faces.

  • “Understand, California actually has 76 megawatts of production capacity, theoretically more than enough to satisfy soaring demand. So why should there be any blackouts at all?

    Unfortunately, notes Manhattan Contrarian blogger Francis Menton, 33 megawatts of that production is in renewables. It’s so unreliable, it can’t be counted on for much of the day. So California has shortages.”

    Please correct the units in your article.. If California only had 76 megawatts of production capacity, more than 99.5% of the state would be without power. Units matter!!

    • You are correct. Thanks for catching the error. Due to an editing mistake, three zeros got lopped off in mentioning both California’s total output (76,000 megawatts) and the output of renewables (33,000 megawatts). The numbers have since been corrected.

      • Not all of those renewables are interrupted. Hydro, geothermal (renewable because we now sent wastewater to renew them), Solar Thermal (CSP), landfill gas, and other sources are there. It is also very rare to see no wind and no PV.

        Renewables are not the reason for outages.

  • This is not a preview because California can go outside the state and purchase additional power. If their policies were taken nationwide there would be no outside power to purchase because we’d all be inside together.

    • By trading power, the Pacific coast utilities can power all their customers without building more assets, saving customers gobs. A gob is a million lots.

      • From 2019 Summer Loads & Resources Assessment by California ISO dated May 8, 2019

        “The CAISO will be at the greatest operational risk during late summer as the availability of hydro energy wanes and potential high peak demands in neighboring balancing authority areas decrease the availability of imports into the CAISO. The continuing decline in dispatchable generation as gas units retire creates further challenges for meeting the CAISO flexible capacity requirement and the peak demand, which is now occurring later in the day when solar output is at or near zero.”

        CASIO is the California Independent System Operator

  • California’s Dysfunctional Electricity Policies may lead to more Blackouts – Shuttering of in-state power plants, “leaks” the generation and emissions to other states. As a result of California’s intermittent electricity from wind and solar being unable to provide continuous uninterruptable electricity in-state, California imports more electricity than any other state as a result of “leakage” to other states from them to generate emissions for the generated electricity needs of California. At the same time, the states “green” religion remains adamantly against in-state coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro power plants. Can you see the conundrum the state is in? https://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2020/08/californias-dysfunctional-electricity-policies-may-lead-to-more-blackouts/

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