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Hillary Clinton’s Energy Blackout America: ‘Heavy reliance on wind & solar = huge costs & frequent failures’

By Rupert Darwall — October 21, 2016
Three presidential debates in which there was only one question on the subject that, more than any other, would transform America under Hillary Clinton. “We can be the 21st-century clean-energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses,” the Democratic nominee declared during the second debate. Does she really think that? Does she even know what she really thinks?

Privately, Mrs. Clinton is as close as you can get to an energy realist in a party completely in hock to the environmental movement. She wants to defend fracking and natural gas, but daren’t in public. As the WikiLeaks hack reveals, she tells a blue-collar audience that environmentalist activists should get a life, but doesn’t tell them that to their faces. “The honeymoon won’t last ten minutes,” green activist Bill McKibben warned earlier this week, threatening to redouble the green onslaught on her from November 9.

In truth, McKibben and his allies have already won. Whatever she thinks, Clinton is a prisoner of her public positions. She promises to install half a billion solar panels by 2020, a sevenfold increase from today, and has set a target to generate one-third of America’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027. It would mean that the U.S. would beat the EU’s 27 percent target by three years and six percentage points.

This is an absurdly vast challenge. Even the Europeans have soured on the costs and immense practical difficulties of integrating unreliable wind and solar into the grid. The benefits of Mrs. Clinton’s plan would flow mostly to China — eight of the top ten manufacturers of solar photovoltaic panels last year were Chinese. Its costs would fall on Americans in the form of spiraling electricity bills, a large part of which would go to pay for grid-management tools to reduce the risk of blackouts, and even these may not work very well.