California Governor Gavin Newsom had a pretty bad summer. His state is still in the throes of a coronavirus pandemic, he’s had problems with riots and political unrest, and he can’t beg, borrow, or steal enough power to keep the lights on.
Fortunately, he has a plan. Close the beaches to deal with the pandemic, make nice with rioters so they don’t totally burn down the cities, and promise the people that he has a plan to deal with the rolling blackouts.
Will he throw open his state to offshore oil drilling? Will he allow drilling on state lands? Will he expand hydraulic fracturing?
Nothing so mundane, I’m afraid. You see, Gavin is allergic to fossil fuels. To prove it, he ordered that within 15 years, no gasoline-powered cars will be sold within the state. He is also demanding an end to fracking.
Assuming that residents of California haven’t suddenly developed an interest in walking, they are going to have to be driving something. So Newsom wants Californians to use electric vehicles to get around.
As Forbes‘ David Blackmon points out, there’s only one teensy-weensy problem with that plan.
Think about it this way: Newsom contemplates the elimination of millions of cars that generate their energy through the use of gasoline and diesel in just 15 years. He proposes to replace them all with EVs or supposedly hydrogen powered cars as their feasibility continues to advance.
The thing is, those millions of new EVs have to have their batteries charged regularly, just as users of gas-powered cars must fill up their tanks every few hundred miles. The energy needed to power the charging stations which charge those batteries must be generated either by hooking them up to the state’s power grid, or by hooking them up to a generator, most often one that is powered by either gasoline, diesel or natural gas.
California’s electrical needs will grow at exactly the same time Newsom is reducing the amount of electricity the state can generate. I’m sure the governor has all sorts of charts and graphs showing that the energy shortfall from the ban on fracking and a massive increase in the use of electrical power can disappear if the state puts up enough windmills and solar panels.
Sort of like the last time someone raised that point when he assured Californians that despite the decline in power-generating plants, the wind and solar industry could make up the difference.
How’d that work out for ya, Gav?
Maybe he could initiate an electrical plant building crash program to make up the difference?
The big complication for Gov. Newsom here is that the policies he and his predecessors have adopted for his state’s power generation sector have rendered the building of substantial new baseload power plants fired by fossil fuels or nuclear economically and environmentally unfeasible. In fact, the state’s final nuclear facility is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2025, eliminating that source of clean energy for California consumers entirely.
What Newsom and his supporters propose to affect here is a massive transfer of energy generation capacity from the state’s transportation sector, in the form of internal combustion engines, to its power sector. They apparently believe that enormous transfer of generation capacity can be handled entirely through the installation of more windmills and solar panels, given that they have basically made the building of any other energy generating source unfeasible, if not illegal.
This seems like energy hubris on an historic scale.
More like stupidity and arrogance.
Newsom blamed the summer power shortages on the industry. His friends in the solar and wind industries had overpromised how much power they could deliver in a crunch. Why should Californians believe them now?