American cities such as Berkeley, San Jose, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Albuquerque, and other U.S. cities are moving to ban natural gas as a step toward becoming carbon free in the next few decades. They’re about to take one giant step toward Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up call for governments everywhere, but it appears our leaders deliberately intend to follow the German failure.

Germany tried to step up as a leader on climate change, by phasing out natural gas and nuclear, leaving them short of continuous generation plants that can work on the breezeless and dark days when wind farms and solar plants won’t provide much to the grid—and demand is at its peak. To replace that 24/7 generation, they pioneered a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies. 

Power prices in Germany are among the highest in Europe – but many customers continue to support the switch to renewable energy sources regardless. Today, German Households pay almost 50% more for electricity than they did in 2006.

To go carbon free in the next few decades in America is not going to be done focusing on just the limited and stymied “new” construction. To achieve the target will require inclusion of buildings built before 2020 that were constructed over the last 50+ years.

 The renewable energy term currently on the lips of anybody with a microphone in front of them is not energy in its totality, but just “electricity”. The world’s wind and solar farms can only produce electricity, and even that is intermittent, as we need the wind to blow or the sun to shine, or both continually, as far north as Oslo and as far south as Christchurch.  It is a given that this is not going to happen.  Electricity alone has its limitations about being able to energize (no pun intended) societies around the world.

 With the shuttering of nuclear and natural gas plants that have been generating continuously uninterruptable electricity, our elected officials seem to be oblivious to the fact that America has no electricity generating capacity to replace what’s being shuttered.

But wait, cities cannot generate that much renewable wind and solar electricity. The industry is still in its budding years and the technology to create or store massive amounts of electricity to be available “on demand” has not yet been developed.

Nor can electricity from wind and solar provide the thousands of products from petroleum that are part of every transportation infrastructure, electricity generation, cooling, heating, manufacturing, agriculture, and virtually every product used in our daily and leisurely lifestyles.

By driving the oil and gas industry out of America and into the dust bin of modern economics, cities are moving to lessen the power of one of the most successful industries in world economics and play right into the hands of Russia’s plan to control oil and natural gas exploration and distribution in the western world. But Russia’s plan to control the world’s energy needs is a topic for a more grandiose presentation. Let’s stick to the fallacies of electrical energy being able to support entire infrastructures.

 The Green New Deal’s push to bad mouth deep earth fuels and transform the U.S. and eventually the world into an ecologically sound “utopia” of intermittent electricity will not end well for small and medium economies across the U.S. and the world. This banning directive of natural gas without a “real” replacement fuel is a logistical boondoggle. It’s forcing the hand of experimental scientists to push their studies into high gear to come up with a product or system that is going to provide continuous reliable power to light and run entire cities 24/7/365 for the foreseeable future. 

 These cities are trying to influence elected officials nationwide to focus on those subsidized low-power density renewables of wind and solar intermittent electricity for their economies, but the world economies are driven by continuous power, not intermittent power. The two prime movers that have done more for the cause of globalization; the diesel engine and the jet turbine, get their fuels from oil and without this fuel transportation and commerce would return to the pre-Industrial revolution age. 

Leaders of American cities seem to ignore the fact that the State of California, the 5th largest economy in the world, is already a National Security Risk to America because of its desire to import oil from friendly and not so friendly foreign countries as its in-state crude oil production and Alaskan oil imports have been in decline for decades and exponentially not meeting the states’ growing energy needs. According to the California Energy Commission, California increased crude oil imports from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to 57% in 2018. The cost of importing crude at such a rate will bankrupt almost every other state in the U.S.

Also, in California, as a result of the state’s over regulations, its emissions crusade, the subsidizing funds required by low-power-density renewables, and the state’s general high cost of living, California households are already paying more than 40% more, and industrial users are paying upwards of 100% more than the national average for electricity according to 2018 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Those costs are expected to increase significantly with the implementation of SB 100 (The Renewable Energy Mandate) and the need to import more electricity.

The future economic viability of the American economy will depend on our citizens electing representatives who understand basic math.

Author

  • Ron Stein is an engineer who, drawing upon 25 years of project management and business development experience, launched PTS Advance in 1995. He is an author, engineer, and energy expert who writes frequently on issues of energy and economics.