Back on December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day, appropriately enough), the Biden administration issued a declaration via the Department of Energy ordering all new or refurbished federal buildings to eliminate the use of natural gas and become fully “electrified” beginning in 2025. The order didn’t receive much attention in the press at the time, but this foolish plan needs to be checked at the door. This was, of course, yet another sop to the climate change fanatics, but the White House clearly wanted to bill it in a way that made the plan seem even “better for America.” The order declared that electrifying federal buildings in this fashion would save the taxpayers eight million dollars annually “in upfront equipment costs.” But as the Free Beacon discovered when delving into the numbers, this plan will actually do the opposite, driving up costs to the taxpayers significantly.
The Biden administration is casting its plan to phase out the use of natural gas in federal buildings in favor of clean energy as a “cost-effective” move that will save taxpayers millions each year.
That’s baloney, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of federal data, which indicates that a Biden administration statement touting the plan’s frugality excludes the administration’s own findings on the increased cost of green energy sources as compared with natural gas.
In that statement, President Joe Biden’s Energy Department says the proposed natural gas phaseout “would save taxpayers $8 million annually in upfront equipment costs,” a figure that stems from the department’s Dec. 6 estimate of the plan’s budgetary impact. That estimate, however, also acknowledges that so-called clean electricity is roughly four-and-a-half times more expensive than natural gas, leading to “increases in energy costs across the board” that outweigh the savings on equipment expected under the plan.
So how exactly would this work? The DOE announcement doesn’t provide much of anything in the way of details. It consists almost entirely of generalized statements and grandiose language about carbon footprints and “clean energy.”
Presumably, they will be ripping all of the gas heating systems and gas water heaters out of the federal buildings and replacing them with electric heaters. There are currently more than 300,000 federal buildings in the country. That’s going to cost a boatload of money, as any of you homeowners who have ever had to hire a contractor to do plumbing and electrical work already know.
For every building that is “phased out” of natural gas usage, there will be a new drain placed on the grid to supply the electricity to run the new heaters. And this is all going to be happening at a time when we’re already struggling to keep the energy grid up and running with enough juice to meet our current needs. Where will all of that electricity come from? Currently, wind power provides less than 10% of the electricity we use, and solar accounts for less than 3%.
In contrast to that, fossil fuels still supply 61 percent of our energy, with natural gas accounting for almost 40% of the total. If you want electricity to heat all 300,000 of those buildings you’re going to be burning a lot more natural gas. The only difference is, you’ll be burning it somewhere else, specifically at your local power generation station. And all of this assumes that we can bring our natural gas production levels back up to pre-Biden rates.
The DOE announcement proclaims that these measures are a demonstration of how “the Biden-Harris Administration is leading by example.” That much certainly seems to be true. But it’s an example of bad policies combined with poor math skills, so it’s probably not an “example” we should be following.