California cannot run on “renewables” alone

Both the California Senate and Assembly approved Senate Bill 100 for Governor Brown to sign into law, that will set California on a path to 100% renewables and “zero-carbon” sources in electricity by 2045, have demonstrated their lack of understanding of basic math.

Our legislatures have no understanding of basic math if they believe (SB100) we can replace San Onofre’s 2,200 megawatts of power with a wind farm that would take land 6 times the size of San Francisco to generate the same power.

The goals to reduce California’s one percent contribution to greenhouse gases have already increased the costs of electricity and transportation fuels to among the highest in the nation and may be very contributory to California having the largest percentage of homelessness and poverty in the nation. California households are already paying about 40 percent more than the national average for electricity according to 2016 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. SB100 will further fuel the growth of our homelessness and poverty populations.

Interestingly, the primary economic reasons refineries even exist is to manufacture the aviation, diesel, and gasoline fuels for our military and transportation industries. It may be shocking to most, but there are no economic reasons JUST to manufacture the other “stuff” of chemicals and by-products from crude oil that are the basis of 6,000 products from petroleum that are part of every infrastructure and virtually everything in our daily and leisurely lifestyles.

Surprise! Almost everything we use comes from oil.

The two prime movers that have done more for the cause of globalization than any other: the diesel engine and the jet turbine, both get their fuels from oil.  Without transportation – there is no commerce. Road and air travel dominate most people’s lives.

Today, worldwide fuel consumption is astoundingly more than 600 million gallons of diesel fuels worldwide EVERY Day, and we have an airline industry that can take us anywhere in the world consuming more than 225 million gallons of aviation fuels EVERY DAY to move almost 10 million passengers and other things EVERY DAY. Consumption of both diesel and aviation fuels are increasing every year.

Cruise ships’ fuel consumption can be up to 3,000 gallons per hour, for each ship. Complimentary to the aviation and cruise liner industry are the billions of gallons of transportation fuels, also manufactured from crude oil, being consumed to get passengers back and forth from airports, ports, and hotels.

All of the materials used by the 17 infrastructures that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be reporting on in the upcoming 2019 Infrastructure Report Card for California, inclusive of all the materials used in the wind, solar, and electric vehicle industries, have their materials made from the chemicals and by-products manufactured from crude oil.

Ethanol as a substitute for gasoline is doing little, if anything, to reduce overall U.S. oil consumption or imports, because refiners are having to buy the same amount of crude (or more) in order to meet the demand for products other than gasoline – that is, diesel fuel, aviation fuel, and asphalt as well as other chemicals and by-products that all infrastructures are dependent upon.

This energy reality seems to have been lost among some of our California lawmakers, some of whom are now pursuing legislation that would require a severe cut in the use of vehicles that run on internal combustion engines in the near future.

There’s no question that electric vehicles have many positive attributes: low refueling costs, no air pollutants at point of use, and quiet operation. But despite their promise, all-electric cars continue to be hampered by the same drawbacks that have haunted them for a century: limited range, slow recharge rates, lack of recharging stations, and high costs, particularly when compared to conventional cars.

Renewables such as wind and solar only provide intermittent electricity, but do not manufacture any of the chemicals or by-products that are the basis of every infrastructures’ materials. But those by-products are real, and essential to our lives. Yet, environmentalist extremists still want to eliminate the main source of their current production.

An understanding of basic math by our elected officials should be obvious that eliminating fossil fuels in California would virtually:

  • Shutdown the military operations in California.
  • Shutdown the aviation industry at 145 California airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) that has a daily need for 13 million gallons/day of aviation fuels.
  • Shutdown transportation that has a daily need for 10 million gallons/day of diesel fuels, and 42 million gallons/day per day of gasoline to support its 35 million registered vehicles.
  • Shutdown the Ports of San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • Shutdown the cruise liner industry calling on California ports.
  • Raise the costs materials used by every infrastructure that are made from the chemicals and by-products that are manufactured from crude oil.
  • Stymy the 90 percent of our population that cannot afford an EV, leaving them without transportation.

The future economic viability of the California economy will be dependent on our citizens electing representatives that have an understanding of basic math.

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About the Author: Ronald Stein

Ronald Stein is the founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine, California and a researcher and commentator on climate, energy, environment and public policy.