Rolling blackouts in California and natural gas shortages in New York show the consequences of the Green New Deal-styled policies some politicians and states are trying to advance.
Both California and New York have adopted aggressive mandates that virtually eliminate the clean, affordable, baseload power natural gas provides, favoring highly intermittent, costly renewable sources instead. As a result, Californians and New Yorkers are facing self-inflicted and avoidable reliability challenges, blackouts, and soaring energy costs.
What’s missing from those Green New Deal policies is the foundational role of natural gas in delivering needed reliability and affordability, while achieving significant clean air progress.
Consider California, where state mandates have resulted in highly intermittent renewable energy sources making up nearly 50% of the state’s power share, according to federal data. As a result, the state lacks reliable, around-the-clock baseload power to support renewable energy sources.
Currently dealing with a massive heat wave, the state’s grid can’t meet electricity demand, as “a lack of wind stilled thousands of turbines and power plants in other states couldn’t export enough electricity,” the New York Times reports.
This inability to meet electricity demand has made California “a case study in how not to approach our electricity grid and how not to approach the energy needs of this country,” U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said last week.
Although climate activists celebrate Green New Deal-type policies and demand 100% renewable power, without American-produced natural gas serving as baseload power, those policies are not realistic solutions. As the American Wind Energy Association’s Tom Kiernan said, “natural gas is an important partner” for wind energy development.
New York is following a similar approach, with the Cuomo administration’s misguided policies resulting in energy shortages. Currently, natural gas is the second largest electricity generation source in the state, with the majority of Manhattan skyscrapers and Brooklyn brownstones powered by natural gas.
Despite New York’s reliance on natural gas for home heating and electricity, Governor Cuomo has advanced policies to block needed pipeline expansions and ban safe, responsible hydraulic fracturing. These actions have prevented residents, small businesses, restaurants, hospitals and developers from accessing needed natural gas that’s produced in abundance just a state away.
Now, especially with the 2020 campaign season well underway, “it’s very important that we pay attention to this example in California and as we look down the road, perhaps anticipate what some of the next steps may be,” Secretary Brouillette said.
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