By Craig Rucker
With respect to energy policy, President Biden has been nothing but consistent. From day one, he set out to end fossil fuel use in America and replace it with wind and solar power — even if green energy drives up costs and fails to deliver reliable electricity when needed.
One of his flagship initiatives is to construct 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. That’s 2,500 800-foot-tall 12-megawatt turbines. Sounds impressive. It’s not.
Even blanketing the East Coast with such monstrosities would barely meet New York state’s electricity demand on a hot summer day. It would provide a scant half of the Empire State’s needs once it goes all-electric and perhaps one-third of its needs if the turbines also have to charge batteries to prevent blackouts whenever the wind stops blowing.
Multiply that situation for every state in the country, and the massive, impossible scale of this government-mandated foolishness becomes clear. Worse, many more obstacles loom — most of which the wind industry, politicians, climate activists and the news media rarely mention.
The media have reported that Orsted, Siemens and other wind power companies have been pulling out of projects in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and elsewhere. They blame financial hardship, high interest rates, tight material and equipment supply chains, consequent rising costs and insufficient taxpayer subsidies (which are already in the billions of dollars). But they hide the rest of the story.
Most people have become accustomed to the reliability and affordable prices that coal, natural gas nuclear and hydroelectric power provide. They’re not really hip to power interruptions, blackouts, 30-cent-per-kilowatt-hour electricity, or hidden costs that jack up their electric and natural gas bills. While they may give a wink and a nod to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Green New Deal, or solar and offshore wind, that support melts away if costs begin to rise.
A recent poll of 1,000 voters conducted by MWR Strategies found that the median answer to the question of “How much would you personally be willing to pay each year to address global warming?” was just $20, with 37% of respondents answering “zero” and 44% of respondents answering less than $10.
Not one demonstration project has shown that a pure renewable energy system (wind and solar), plus sufficient nonfossil fuel backup (batteries or pumped storage) to ensure electricity on windless/sunless days can actually power an all-electric society. They haven’t even shown it for a village, much less an entire nation, not even for a week, much less a year.
To date, virtually none of the most vocal proponents of offshore wind (or onshore wind, solar panels and an all-electric economy) has ever addressed these vital questions:
• How many offshore wind turbines would be required to generate the electricity we need today?
• How many would be needed if we move to an all-electric economy and add electric vehicles to the mix?
• How many enormous battery modules would be needed to provide electricity for a day, week or month when the wind isn’t blowing?
• How often would offshore turbine generators have to be replaced due to salt spray, storms, normal use and aging?
• How many miles of new undersea cables and onshore transmission lines would be needed? How many acres of wilderness and farmland would be hacked up for placing solar farms?
• What impacts would construction and operational activities have on whales, porpoises and other wildlife, much of which is endangered?
• How much would we have to upgrade our home, neighborhood, city, state and national electrical lines and grids to handle all this extra electricity, prevent blackouts and avoid hacker-inflicted disruptions?
• How much slave and child labor would be involved in getting the materials to produce wind energy and battery backup?
• What would we do with the worn-out, broken and obsolete 300-foot-long wind turbine blades — and other wind and battery components that cannot be recycled?
• How much will our taxes and electric bills go up to pay for it?
Every citizen should become better informed — and start asking inconvenient, impertinent questions like these at every opportunity. They should demand the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from utility regulators and elected leaders.
• Craig Rucker is president of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org).