Home Environment & Climate News Democrat Energy Plans Require Big Changes, Leave Important Questions Unanswered

Democrat Energy Plans Require Big Changes, Leave Important Questions Unanswered

Approximately 90 percent of all oil and gas wells in the United States are now hydraulically fractured, or “fracked”. Fracked wells in shale formations open up vast supplies of oil, natural gas, and petroleum liquids that previously were locked up and inaccessible. Fracking conventional wells expands and prolongs production.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, AOC, the Democrat Party, and their radical environmentalist allies are determined to make climate change, the Green New Deal, and replacing fossil fuels with wind, solar, and battery power the centerpiece of their foreign and domestic policies. They would ban fracking outright—or price and restrict it out of existence through the slow, painful death of a thousand regulatory cuts.

Impact of Biden Fracking Proposals

Prematurely ending fracking would cost millions of jobs and billions of dollars in annual royalty and tax revenues, send energy prices soaring, and end America’s newfound status as the world’s foremost oil and gas producer.

It would also hammer environmental quality, especially in sunny and windy locations, such as Western, Midwestern, and coastal states. Fossil fuel revenues would disappear, and open spaces, scenic areas, and wildlife habitats would be blanketed with wind turbines, solar panels, transmission lines, and warehouses filled with backup batteries.

GND Demands Big Transformation

Many news outlets, social media, and search engines routinely spike, censor, or bury stories that could sow doubt about manmade climate chaos or undermine claims the GND transition would be easy, affordable, ecological, sustainable, and painless. The truth is, the transition would not be any of these things.

Wind and sunshine are certainly clean and renewable. Harnessing them to power America is not.

Fossil fuels provide 80 percent of U.S. energy. In 2018, fossil fuels generated 2.7 billion megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity. Another 2.7 billion MWh worth of natural gas powered factories and emergency power systems, as well as furnaces, hot water heaters, ovens, and stoves in restaurants, homes, and hotels. Cars, trucks, buses, semi-trailers, tractors, bulldozers and other vehicles consumed the equivalent of another 2 billion MWh.

That’s 7.4 billion megawatt-hours per year the GND would have to replace! We’d also have to generate another 142 million MWh per year to charge batteries for each week of windless, cloudy days.

The more we try to do so, the more turbines and panels we’d have to install in low quality wind and solar sites, where they’d generate electricity only 15 to 20 percent of the year.

Transforming America to an all-electric nation would require millions of onshore wind turbines, thousands of offshore turbines, billions of solar panels, millions of vehicle battery modules, billions of backup energy storage battery modules, thousands of miles of new transmission lines, millions of vehicle charging stations, tens of billions of tons of cobalt, concrete, copper, plastic, rare earth elements, steel, and countless other materials – requiring the digging up of hundreds of billions of tons of overburden and ores!

The battery, biofuel, solar, and wind facilities would impact hundreds of millions of acres of America’s croplands, scenic areas, and plant and animal habitats. Under the GND or similar Democratic energy schemes, raptors, other birds, bats, and forest, grassland, and desert wildlife would suffer substantial losses, some possibly even being driven into extinction.

China, Russia Benefit from GND

Even if the United States and world could somehow mine, process and smelt enough metals and minerals—and manufacture, transport and install all those turbines, panels, batteries, and transmission lines—the GND would require the greatest expansion of mining, manufacturing and land use in human history.

Will Democrats and Greens, who have been adamantly opposed to mining anywhere in the United States—even though the United States likely has all those metals and minerals literally beneath our feet—now allow such mining? Or would America would become even more dependent than we already are on China, Russia and Ukraine for the critical materials that make wind turbines, solar panels and rechargeable batteries possible. U.S. foreign and domestic policies would be held hostage, the interests and goals of often hostile foreign governments.

Nearly all this mining, processing and manufacturing would require coal, diesel, gasoline, and natural gas in foreign countries because those operations cannot be conducted with wind, solar and battery power. Global carbon dioxide and other emissions would increase, they would simply be produced in locations outside of the United States.

Moreover, that overseas mining, processing and manufacturing would mostly take place under nearly nonexistent workplace safety, fair wage, and child labor laws. The horrors we already see in Africa’s Congo region would be minor compared to what would accompany GND demands for cobalt and other materials.

The GND would also mean ripping out perfectly good natural gas appliances, replacing them with electric models, installing rapid charging systems for vehicles, and upgrading household, neighborhood, state, and national electrical systems to handle the extra loads. This would require still more raw materials from China and other economic and geopolitical rivals. Should we really be giving foreign leaders control over the U.S. energy supply?

Environmental and Cost Concerns Ignored

Will Biden, AOC & Co. require “responsible sourcing” for all GND materials and components, meaning certified compliance with all US wage, workplace safety, child labor, and environmental laws, including the multi-year NEPA environmental review process for every industrial installation and transmission line? Will they demand compliance with the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and other laws that have been strictly enforced for decades for other industrial facilities?

Or will they claim all those batteries, panels, power lines, and turbines are needed to “save the planet from imminent climate cataclysms,” and thus must be exempted from U.S. labor and environmental laws?

Businesses, factories, families, hospitals, and schools accustomed to paying between 7 and 11¢ per kilowatt-hour for electricity would pay 22¢ per kWh as they already do in “green” US states—or even 35¢ a kWh as families now pay in Germany. Gasoline and natural gas prices would also skyrocket, until the GND banished those fuels. How many businesses would survive? How many jobs would disappear? How many people would have to join the ranks of those who must choose between heating and eating?

All these issues demand open, robust debate—which too many schools and universities, news and social media outlets, corporate and political leaders, and Antifa mobs continue to censor and cancel. America deserves answers before any actions are taken to implement any Green New Deal, or any similar energy plan designed by the national Democratic leadership.

Paul Driessen
Paul Driessen (pkdriessen@gmail.com) is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, nonprofit public policy institutes that focus on energy, the environment, economic development and international affairs. He is the author of "Green Power, Black Death" (Merril Press, 2010) and coauthor of "Energy Keepers, Energy Killers" (Merril Press, 2008).

5 COMMENTS

  1. To clue the public in, what would be beneficial is a few weeks of HARD winter weather in the Northeast & Upper Midwest this season. Fuel shortages & gas curtailments resulting from pipeline capacity restrictions may just leave a few folks in cold, dark luxury apartments in “enlightened” enclaves like NYC & Boston. Nothing like INCONVENIENCE & even minimal hardship to make the energy transition challenge REAL. Americans have (largely) taken their energy system and it’s reliability & affordability for granted for too long. A little time in the “Hurt Locker” might prove quite sobering so we can (finally) begin a thoughtful, well informed energy policy debate…

  2. Biden and crowd have no concern for the American Citizens. They have a game plan that takes care of them and theirs and will cost everyone else.

  3. It always seems that the far left wants to punish people. they have no expertise in this area of climate & energy. Specifically they have no clue how an electric grid works & would become stressed by limiting sources. It cannot be run on just solar or wind. Then they are taking this medieval age point of view that they are the center of the universe & can control climate. All they trying to do is bring society back to the stone age so that govt can dole out-or rather ration out supplies. They even lose sight of their own argument on co2. If there claim on co2 is increasing warmth, then why as they did in the Michael Moore documentary cut down a forest to build a solar farm. Indeed you want the forest because it absorbs the co2-it’s there for a reason & that is why we are not the planet Venus. It’s like they are chasing some illustrious prize on this climate thing. What are they going to win? A blue ribbon?

  4. The far left claims to rely on science to provide guidance for their decisions. It is becoming evident that their reliance is upon superstition and a profound ignorance of the scientific principals that control life on planet Earth.

  5. It is only those jobs that produce and pay wages and salaries in “commodity” or “representative” money that have value.
    A nation that tries to rely on fiat money for prosperity is a nation that is headed for the last round up.

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