House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats have a far-reaching and ambitious agenda for the next two years. She wants to pass gun control laws, universal healthcare, and of course a new green cleaner energy deal. Oh yes, I almost forgot, impeaching President Trump, investigating his entire family, and further dividing our already divided nation. That a pretty energetic agenda for a near-octogenarian.
Speaking of energy, the book Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy is an accurate assessment of the left’s sacred cow. The author, Norman Rogers, considers wind and solar energy to be utterly (or should we say udderly) useless. Nothing more than environmental fraud perpetrated against the American people.
Wind and solar are the most prominent members of what is typically referred to as renewable energy. They are both subsequently the biggest waste of money as well. Renewable energy is usually defined as energy that comes from natural sources like the sun and the wind which can be naturally renewed. Those that swear by this type of energy claim it will not run out, it is safer for the environment, and unlike fossil fuels, it does not increase pollution by dispersing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, around 30 states have passed laws that set goals for what percentage of their electricity must originate from renewable sources.
There are other types of renewable energy sources too. For instance, if you burn wood that is renewable as trees regenerate however they do release CO2 into the atmosphere when the wood is burned. Using wood is not practical on the scale needed for the electrical grid, therefore, wood becomes a niche player. For example, leftover wood scraps from sawmills may be burned to provide energy.
Many of these so-called Green advocates are really full of hot air and a lot of wind. If these limousine liberals, who fly around the world in their private jets really cared about CO2 levels they would embrace one type of energy that emits none. Mysteriously missing from their preferred list of clean energy is perhaps the cleanest, nuclear energy. Why isn’t nuclear energy considered desirable by the promoters of clean and renewable energy? Nuclear energy does not emit CO2 gasses into the atmosphere and its fuel supply is nearly unlimited? There are no smokestacks and no pollution? As the great Ronald Reagan once famously quipped, “All of the waste from a nuclear power plant can be stored neatly under a desk.”
So why don’t the environmentalist’s (with emphasis on the mental) like nuclear energy? The answer is because these groups have spent over 50 years weaponizing nuclear energy by scaring people with stories of cancer, deformities, and war. The left has done a masterful job of alienating nuclear energy from the national discussion. So while America is still dependent on foreign oil, countries like China and Russia are outpacing us in their use clean nuclear energy.
Another form of renewable energy that is mostly renewable is hydro energy. Hydro, meaning energy powered and generated by a dam is considered renewable by most but not renewable by a select few. For instance, California mostly thinks dams are evil and a threat to the environment which is why they frown upon using hydro energy with dams. You can thank the eco-terrorists groups like the Earth Liberation Front, The World Wildlife Fund, and of course the Sierra Club for putting the State of California in the water crisis it currently faces. A half a century of litigation and lawsuits protecting tree frogs and beavers is why California is now regulating bath times and showers to 55 gallons a week.
What the book Dumb Energy tries to do is reform folk wisdom and sheds light on the renewable energy scam. The inconvenient truth is that wind and solar are erratic sources of energy. Just like when you eat 3 burritos wind comes and goes. The sun sets every night and is sometimes obscured by the clouds. As a result, the supply of electricity coming from these sources is unpredictable and oftentimes intermittent at best requiring expensive backup generating plants to supplement the missing electricity. In fact, the backup plants have to be large enough to provide enough energy in case the original source does not produce enough. Thus lies the problem financially with wind and solar energy. If you have to have a complete portfolio of power plants and generators why bother at all?
Wind and Solar energy advocates say that when wind or solar sources are working, fuel consumption is reduced which in turn means less CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere saving the planet from Global Warming, or Global Cooling or Climate Change, or whatever it will be called next week. Bottom line is wind and solar advocates like to play loosely with the facts. They claim using wind and solar energy lowers energy costs claiming the cost per kilowatt hour is much less while completely ignoring the massive financial costs and burdens associated with building and maintaining the back up generating plants.
Wind and solar don’t replace the existing grid either. They are supplements that reduce fuel consumption within the existing grid but fail to reduce capital investment. The cost of building a wind farm is about four times greater than the cost of constructing a natural gas plant with about the same output of electrical capabilities. Solar farms are even worse as they cost fives times as much. The cost of wind or solar electricity is driven by the capital investment that is financed over the life of the plant plus current operating expenses. It turns out that the cost is roughly the same at a little more than seven cents per kilowatt hour as measured at the plant fence.
This is the cost under good circumstances for large utility-scale installations. If we want to discover the net cost of wind or solar we have to look at the value of the fuel saved. The only economic contribution of wind or solar is in the reduction of fuel consumption in the backup plants. In a natural gas plant, the cost of fuel is about two cents per kilowatt hour. This means we pay seven cents to generate a kilowatt hour with wind or solar but the value of that kilowatt-hour is ONLY two cents. Therefore a net loss of five cents for every kilowatt-hour of wind or solar is the net result. This loss represents a subsidy that taxpayers pay to support these plants. That subsidy is paid for by explicit government subsidies hidden into the tax code and in increased electrical rates paid by unaware consumers. This is why wind and solar are totally and completely useless.
The Carbon Offset Racket…
An additional claim is that wind and solar reduce CO2 emissions. This may be true but at what expense? Say we are okay with paying the wind and solar subsidy in order to reduce CO2 emissions. For five cents we remove the CO2 emissions from using a gas plant to generate one kilowatt-hour of electricity. It turns out that a gas plant emits 0.8 lbs of CO2 in order to generate one kilowatt-hour. Five cents per 0.8 lbs of CO2 is the same as $140 to reduce one metric ton (2200 lbs) of CO2. Reducing CO2 emissions by a metric ton is called a carbon offset. Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet buys carbon offsets to compensate for CO2 emitted by his private jet. There is a market for carbon offsets and you can buy one for $10, or fourteen times less than the cost of wind or solar power.
From a rational standpoint, it seems clear that Rogers assessment is right. Wind and solar are a total and complete waste of money. He suggests that rational analysis has been countered by relentless and dishonest propaganda. This propaganda is spread by the typical culprits such as trade associations, environmental wacko groups, tree huggers, nonprofits, the media, utility companies looking to raise their rates, lobbyist groups, and of course crooked politicians looking for contributions, endorsements, and votes.
The Green Energy Mafia as Rogers contends uses tactics and techniques that would have made the regime proud in George Orwell’s 1984. In that book, the regime changes the English language with the goal of removing the words and ideas needed to oppose the regime. Orwell called the new language Newspeak. Rogers suggests that the forces of leftist environmentalists are trying to create a new language. Let’s call it Greenspeak.
The most notorious example of Greenspeak is twisting the word “pollution” to include Carbon Dioxide. For example, the Sierra Club refers to it as carbon pollution. However, the word pollution, applied to the atmosphere means emitting a toxic substance. CO2 is odorless, tasteless, harmless, and an essential nutrient for plants. It is not pollution whatever the perceived effect on the climate may or not be.
As for the propagandists they often like to quote the cost of wind and solar without revealing the TRUE costs and full scope of the subsidies. The massive backup plants are completely ignored when these two-bit climate hustlers quote their manufactured costs. Rogers is correct and this writer concurs that the alternative energy bandits have been selling the American people a lot of useless hot air.
Josh Bernstein, is host of The Josh Bernstein Show, a television news show featured on Amazon TV. Follow him on Twitter @jbc230mb Become a patron of his show at www.patreon.com/joshbernstein