Despite President Joe Biden’s February 24th vocal concerns about America’s growing dependence on unreliable foreign sources for the supply chain of materials and products to support electric cars, pharmaceuticals, hospital supplies to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and military hardware, his actions are directly opposite of his vocal concerns, as they are encouraging national security concerns.
Biden has learned very little from the first two countries to go Green, Germany and Australia, as neither countries’ manufacturing sector can compete with China and India, and thus depends on those foreign countries to support their mission to go green. With the Biden administration seeking an increase to the minimum wage to $15 an hour, America is surely not going to be competitive with China or India to manufacture solar panels in America.
Rare Earths Supply Imposes Limits on Aspirations
Solar panels require “rare-earth” elements which are not currently mined in the U.S.A. Demand for these elements is expected to rise 250-1000 percent by 2050. America is now 100 percent dependent on imports for some 17 key minerals, and, for another 29, over half of our needs are imported from unreliable foreign sources, introducing tremendous vulnerability to the American economy.
Also, alarming is the fact that about 90 percent of the world’s solar panels are built in Asia on coal-heavy electric grids. In the poorer world, replacing fossil fuels with new intermittent electricity sources like wind and solar power is hard because most people desperately want much more continuous uninterruptible power at lower cost, not fickle power at high cost.
For the push to convert from internal combustion engine vehicles to EV’s, each of those EV batteries weighs in at about 1000 pounds. To produce one battery requires digging up and processing about 500,000 pounds of raw materials such as cadmium, cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel, all of which are dominated by those unreliable foreign sources for the supply chain.
As the popularity of electric vehicles starts to grow explosively, so does the pile of spent lithium-ion batteries that once powered those cars. Industry analysts predict that by 2020, China alone will generate some 500,000 metric tons of used Li-ion batteries and that by 2030, the worldwide number will hit 2 million metric tons per year.
Creating Waste and Energy Dependence
By the way, estimates are that by 2050, with current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels, much of its non-recyclable, will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades.
Under the Biden climate plan, America will be discouraging U.S. energy independence, starting with tightening restrictions on fossil fuel development by suspending Federal Oil and Gas Permits, encouraging the shuttering, and halting of further fracking efforts in America, and the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
As a result of the Keystone energy “loss” of Canadian oil to America inflicted by Biden, China just received an unwarranted gift for their industrial and military advantage. America’s most serious competitor can now look forward to Canada’s oil being sent by truck and rail to the West coast ports, then flowing across the Pacific on tankers, rather than south to the U.S.A. via the safer, cleaner, and more efficient pipeline.
Democrats Follow California Example
The Democratic platform loves California’s policies and regulations and wants to clone them for the other 49 states. Biden should open his eyes to what is going on in California as California’s dysfunctional energy policies has the state depending on foreign countries for most of its oil, and its residents pay among the highest costs for electricity and fuels in the country.
California continues to encourage dependency on unstable foreign sources for their supply chain for energy demanded by the 5th largest economy in the world as the State has increased imported crude oil from foreign countries from 5 percent in 1992 to 58 percent today of total consumption. The imported crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day, yes, every day, being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, driving up the cost of energy for all residents while depriving Californians of jobs, careers, and business opportunities.
What About Planes and Ships?
As much as Biden wants to electrify everything with intermittent electricity, he’s yet to comprehend that intermittent electricity cannot support: 1) commercial aviation, with 23,000 commercial airplanes worldwide that has been accommodating 4 billion passenger annually, 2) Cruise liners, each of which consumes 80,000 gallons of fuels daily, that have been accommodating more than 25 million passengers annually worldwide, 3) The 53,000 merchant ships burning more than 120 million gallons a day of high sulfur bunker fuel (soon to be converted to diesel fuel to reduce sulfur emissions) moving products worldwide worth billions of dollars daily, and 4) The fossil fuel energy needs for the non-nuclear military equipment of aircraft carriers, battleships, destroyers, submarines, planes, tanks and armor, trucks, troop carriers, and weaponry.
President Biden’ actions are encouraging increases in our dependency on foreign countries on two fronts: 1) for America’s oil needs from unstable foreign sources which is reversing America’s recent achievement for the first time since Harry Truman was president, to finally become energy independent and no longer held hostage to unstable Petro-powers and the vagaries of foreign energy supplies, and 2) for Biden’s plan to electrify everything, America continues to yield market share to China and India for the manufacturing of solar panels, and for their domination of the ‘green’ material supply chains needed to support the construction of wind turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries.
The member countries of OPEC and Russia, and the economies of China and India are appreciative of the actions being implemented with the Biden climate plan.
|Ronald Stein, P.E. (Ronald.Stein@PTSadvance.com) is the co-author of the newly released book, “Just GREEN Electricity,” an internationally published columnist, and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute.|