Junk Science, Delusion, and California’s “Green” Energy Grid

For nearly seventy years—since the 1960’s—California has been the epicenter of a radical philosophy that holds capitalism, wealth, property rights, and conservatism as enemies of the people. This progressive ideology gave birth to the modern environmental movement, which the uncompromising green extremists have used as a sledgehammer to attack lifestyles that they conclude are harming the planet. Ultimately, the broadminded thinkers have concocted environmental laws and policies designed to ultimately control of the rest of us whom they declare to be “lesser-minded.”

To accomplish this, one of their key goals is to limit the flow of inexpensive energy available to the masses, thereby eventually forcing people to make lifestyle changes that are more congruent with their climate agenda, which demonizes fossil fuels and calls for the end of “Big Oil.” They want us to reduce our personal carbon footprint, downsize our homes, become dependent on mass transit, and herd us into cities where we can be better observed, better controlled,  and better regulated.

The lie they have activated to move forward their plans involves a compound necessary for life: carbon dioxide (CO2). They contend CO2 is a pollutant stemming from the use of gas and oil products required to create energy. While it’s true that carbon dioxide is a heat-absorbing greenhouse gas that is emitted whenever fossil fuels are used, it is not accurate to claim such usage is causing global warming or climate change. In my upcoming book, Climate Cult, I discuss this in very easy to understand terms. Suffice it to say, without greenhouse gases where you live would likely see temperature swings of 100-degrees between night and day.

Actually, where you live would be unlivable.

Additionally, CO2 is a requisite for all plant life. In fact, the more CO2, the more plants are able to thrive. But these are facts that get in the way of the climate agenda.

In their quest bring forth what Al Gore has described as “a wrenching transformation of society,” for the past several decades lawmakers in California have been putting in place aggressive moves towards renewable electricity production—solar and wind—thereby eventually killing Big Oil. While doing so, they frequently tout the state’s nation-leading electric efficiency and its supposed reduction in CO2 emissions. But what they don’t tell you is that Californian’s are paying the highest prices for electricity in the contiguous United States and that the energy grid in the Golden State is hanging by a thread.

While there are a myriad of laws and policies that have made California’s retail consumer electric prices totally out of line with the rest of the country, I’ll boil it down to just a few.

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First, despite being a state with some of the country’s most abundant natural gas reserves, California has made the decision to eventually curtail the use of those resources. There are only three natural gas plants left operating in the state and the legislature has plans to shutter than all.  However, there is a huge disconnect with reality that the environmental community doesn’t want you to know about.  California has led the way in government subsidized solar and wind arrays; it’s the only way the bureaucrats have been able to get renewable generation—which is very costly by the kilowatt—to market.  Problem is, solar only works on a sunny day well after sunrise and well before sunset. Wind turbines only create electricity when the wind is blowing just right, not too fast or too slow. When conditions are not perfect, the grid has to be powered by another source. The go-to is natural gas. Yes, there is nuclear and hydropower in California, but both combined make up less than 20-percent of total electricity output, and the environmentalists want to see those sources come to an end as well. In fact, perhaps in an effort to appear moderate and save face under his watch, Governor Newsome actually pushed to extend the usage of California’s last remaining nuclear plant for another five years.

California’s electricity production is very much dependent on natural gas, which now has to be imported from other states, and that’s very expensive, not to mention fiscally stupid. In fact, California is the nation’s biggest importer of electricity. In the past, this meant bringing in a lot of coal-fired power from Arizona and Utah. But a law passed in 2006 alongside the state’s more famous AB 32—the Global Warming Solutions Act—effectively banned reupping contracts from traditional out-of-state coal-powered generating companies.

As a result, something known as “electron laundering” has arisen to fill the gap. This occurs, for example, when California, in its hunt for green electrons to power their grid, pays British Columbian for hydropower. The Canadians are more than happy to sell hydropower as they backfill their own power needs with coal power from Washington State and Alberta. It’s a shell game. California gets higher-priced power that they can claim to be “green,” while the Canadians get American greenbacks to fund their socialized health care system. But it’s even more devious. To maintain the green mirage, California authorities created a category of imported power called “Unspecified Sources of Power” that provide about 10 percent of the state’s electrical needs. The “Unspecified Sources” are coal.

Meantime, all the legislators continue to make the phony claim that California is leading the way to a carbon-free, “net zero,” energy grid.

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Another big reason for the sky-high monthly utility bills has to do with the many rooftop solar arrays. Because the electricity generated by the panels is free to the user (with any excess fed back to the grid), the user doesn’t receive a bill each month that automatically includes additional fees for “fixed costs” which include maintenance, generation, transmission, and distribution as well as public programs like wildfire mitigation. When households adopt solar, they’re not paying their fair share, while they still rely on the state’s electric grid for much of their power consumption. This is another reason for the grid’s higher electricity prices in California.

Electric vehicles (EV) pose another problem.  Despite the propaganda, these vehicles generally suck in electricity from the grid that is derived primarily from natural gas.  Thanks to government subsidies and a massive PR campaign, as more drivers switch to an EV, and as the politicians in Sacramento continue their warpath against natural gas, the grid’s capacity will continue to be stretched, leading to higher prices, rolling black outs, and forced lifestyle adjustments. On hot summer days, California is already seeing electronic signs above the highways urging EV owners to charge their vehicles after the peak evening energy hours have concluded. And this is happening with only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road being electric–just wait until new gasoline powered vehicles are prevented from being sold in California in 2035—per the law.

But wait there’s more. While Bidenflation is taking a big bite out of the working family’s bank account, California is set to employ another electricity rate hike in 2024.

Brian Sussman

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