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‘Gambling With The Grid’: New Data Highlights Achilles’ Heel Of One Of Biden’s Favorite Green Power Sources

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By NICK POPE

 

New government data shows that wind power generation fell in 2023 despite the addition of new capacity, a fact that energy sector experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation demonstrates its inherent flaw.

Wind generation fell by about 2.1% in 2023 relative to 2022 generation, despite the 6 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity that came online last year, according to data published Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That wind power output dropped despite new capacity coming online and the availability of government subsidies highlights its intermittency and the problems wind power could pose for grid reliability, energy sector experts told the DCNF.

The decrease in wind generation is the first drop on record with the EIA since the 1990s; the drop was not evenly distributed across all regions of the U.S., and slower wind speeds last year also contributed to the decline, according to EIA. The Biden administration wants to have the American power sector reach carbon neutrality by 2035, a goal that will require a significant shift away from natural gas- and coal-fired power toward wind, solar and other green sources.

A table depicting the decrease of wind power generation in 2023 relative to 2022. (Screenshot via U.S. Energy Information Administration)

“Relying on wind power to meet your peak electricity demands is gambling with the grid,” Isaac Orr, a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment who specializes in power grid-related analysis, told the DCNF. “Will the wind blow, or won’t it? This should be a moment where policymakers step back and consider the wisdom of heavily subsidizing intermittent generators and punishing reliable coal and gas plants with onerous regulations.”

Between 2016 and 2022, the wind industry received an estimated $18.6 billion worth of subsidies, about 10% of the total amount of subsidies extended to the energy sector by the U.S. government, according to an August 2023 EIA report. Wind power received more assistance from the government than nuclear power, coal or natural gas over the same period of time.

“This isn’t subsidies per kilowatt hour of generation. It’s raw subsidies. If it were per kilowatt hour of generation, the numbers would be even more extreme,” Paige Lambermont, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the DCNF. “This is a massive amount of money. It’s enough to dramatically alter energy investment decisions for the worse. We’re much more heavily subsidizing the sources that don’t provide a significant portion of our electricity than those that do.”

“Policy that just focuses on installed capacity, rather than the reliability of that capacity, fails to understand the real needs of the electrical grid,” Lambermont added. “This recent disparity illustrates that more installed wind capacity does not necessarily correlate with more wind power production. It doesn’t matter how much wind you add to the grid, if the wind isn’t blowing at peak demand time, that capacity will go to waste.”

Wind power’s performance was especially lackluster in the upper midwest, but Texas saw more wind generation in 2023 than it did in 2022, according to EIA. Wind generation in the first half of 2023 was about 14% lower than it was through the first six months of 2022, but generation was higher toward the end of 2023 than it was during the same period in 2022.

In 2023, about 60% of all electricity generated in the U.S. came from fossil fuels, while 10% came from wind power, according to EIA data. Beyond generous subsidies for preferred green energy sources, the Biden administration has also aggressively regulated fossil fuels and American power plants to advance its broad climate agenda.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) landmark power plant rules finalized this month will threaten grid reliability if enacted, partially because the regulations are likely to incentivize operators to close plants rather than adopt the costly measures required for compliance, grid experts previously told the DCNF. At the same time that the Biden administration is effectively trying to shift power generation away from fossil fuels, it is also pursuing goals — such as substantially boosting electric vehicle adoption over the next decade and incentivizing construction of energy-intensive computer chip factories — that are driving up projected electricity demand in the future.

“The EIA data proves what we’ve always known about wind power: It is intermittent, unpredictable and unreliable,” David Blackmon, a 40-year veteran of the oil and gas industry who now writes and consults on the energy sector, told the DCNF. “Any power generation source whose output is wholly dependent on equally unpredictable weather conditions should never be presented by power companies and grid managers as safe replacements for abundant, cheap, dispatchable generation fueled with natural gas, coal or nuclear. This is a simple reality that people in charge of our power grids too often forget. Saying that no doubt hurts some people’s feelings, but nature really does not care about our feelings.”

Blackmon also pointed out that, aside from its intermittency, sluggish build-out of the transmission lines and related infrastructure poses a major problem for wind power.

“Wind power is worthless without accompanying transmission, yet the Biden administration continues to pour billions into unreliable wind while ignoring the growing crisis in the transmission sector,” Blackmon told the DCNF.

Another long-term issue that wind power, as well as solar power, faces is the need for a massive expansion in the amount of battery storage available to store and dispatch energy from intermittent sources as market conditions dictate. By some estimates, the U.S. will need about 85 times as much battery storage by 2050 relative to November 2023 in order to fully decarbonize the power grid, according to Alsym Energy, a battery company.

The White House and the Department of Energy did not respond to requests for comment.

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Economy

Trump’s Promise Of American Abundance, Fueled By ‘Liquid Gold’

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By JAMES P. PINKERTON

 

One of the brightest nuggets of policy in Donald Trump’s July 18 acceptance speech to the Republican convention in Milwaukee was his ode to “liquid gold.” That is, oil.

As part of his inflation-fighting plan, Trump offered a gleaming solution: increase energy production, thereby decreasing energy prices. “By slashing energy costs,” Trump declared, “we will in turn reduce the cost of transportation, manufacturing and all household goods.”

He continued: “We have more liquid gold under our feet than any other country by far. We are a nation that has the opportunity to make an absolute fortune with its energy.”

Indeed. According to the Institute for Energy Research (IER) technically recoverable oil resources in the U.S. total 2.136 trillion barrels. At the current price of around $80 a barrel, that’s some $171 trillion. And so, Trump concluded, “we will reduce our debt, $36 trillion.”

As former Alaska governor Sarah Palin would say, “You betcha.” In Palin’s Alaska, oil is so abundant, relative to the population, that everyone gets a check from the state. Last year, it was $1,312. For a family of four, that’s more than $5000. Our goal should be that every American gets such an energy dividend.

Moreover, the abundance of America’s carbon fuels is not limited to oil. According to IER, we have 3.391 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s worth $165 trillion.

To be sure, these staggering dollar totals can’t be counted directly against the national debt—or in support of some future tax cut. Yet every dollar of our energy assets would contribute to the economy, and if even 10  percent of the humongous total could be available to the public, we could, in fact, pay off the national debt.

Moreover, thanks to fracking and other enhanced recovery techniques, we keep finding more energy: Human ingenuity has upended old beliefs about energy shortages, ushering in an almost Moore’s Law-ish surge in production.

Indeed, there’s so much oil and gas (and coal) that an emerging school of thought holds that carbon fuels aren’t “fossil” at all, but rather, the product of earth’s vulcanism. The core of this earth, after all, is the same temperature as the surface of the sun. Perhaps all that heat is cooking something.

In any case, we keep finding more oil, and not just in the U.S.

So how, exactly, do we take advantage of this planetary cornucopia? As Palin said, as Trump said, and as the convention crowd chanted, “drill, baby, drill.”

Okay, but what about climate change? Most Republicans don’t worry too much about that, but if Democrats do, they should be reassured that we can capture the carbon and so take it out of the atmosphere. Trees and other green vegetation have been capturing carbon for eons; the element is, in fact, vital to their very existence. Similarly, the human body is 18 percent carbon. Yes, all of us ourselves are carbon sinks.

So we, being smart, can capture vastly more carbon — capturing it in everything from wood to cement, from plastics to nanotubes. These in turn can be landfill, construction materials — maybe even a space elevator.

We can, in fact, establish a a circular carbon economy: carbon fuels extracted, burned, and then recycled back into feedstocks. By this reckoning, carbon fuels are renewable. Such creative thinking can power all those energy-hungry data centers on which Big Tech and AI depend. So there’s the makings of a bipartisan “Grand Carbon Bargain,” uniting mostly blue-state tech with mostly red-state energy. More energy + more tech = more wealth for all.

In Milwaukee, Trump spoke of American “energy dominance,” and that’s great. But with all the energy we can produce and consume, we can speak of economic abundance — and that’s even greater.

James P. Pinkerton served in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He is the author, most recently, of “The Secret of Directional Investing: Making Money Amidst the Red-Blue Rumble.”

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Trudeau pledges another $500 million to Ukraine as Canadian military suffers

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Despite the nation’s own armed forces grappling with an alarming recruitment crisis, Justin Trudeau and his government have poured over $13.3 billion into Ukraine.

More Canadians tax dollars are being sent overseas as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised an additional $500 million in military aid to Ukraine. 

During a July 10 meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trudeau announced that he would send another $500 million to Ukraine as it continues its war against Russia, despite an ongoing decline in Canada’s military recruitment.  

“We’re happy to offer we’re announcing today $500 million more military aid this year for Ukraine, to help through this very difficult situation,” Trudeau said. 

In addition to the $500 million, Canada will also provide much of Ukraine’s fighter jet pilot training as Ukraine receives its first F-16s. 

Trudeau’s statement comes after Canada has been under fire for failing to meet NATO’s mandate that all members commit at least two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to the military alliance. 

According to his 2024 budget, Trudeau plans to spend $8.1 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, and $73.0 billion over 20 years on the Department of National Defence.   

Interestingly, $8.1 billion divided equally over five years is $1,620,000 each year for the Canadian military. Therefore, Trudeau’s pledge of $500 million means he is spending just under a third on Ukraine compared to what he plans to spend on Canadians.  

Indeed, Trudeau seems reluctant to spend money on the Canadian military, as evidenced when Canadian troops in Latvia were forced to purchase their own helmets and food when the Trudeau government failed to provide proper supplies.  

Weeks later, Trudeau lectured the same troops on “climate change” and disinformation.       

However, at the same time, Trudeau readily sends Canadian tax dollars overseas to Ukraine. Since the Russia-Ukraine war began in 2022, Canada has given Ukraine over $13.3 billion, including $4 billion in direct military assistance.    

In May, Trudeau’s office announced $3.02 billion in funding for Ukraine, including millions of taxpayer dollars to promote “gender-inclusive demining.”  

Trudeau’s ongoing funding for Ukraine comes as many Canadians are struggling to pay for basics such as food, shelter, and heating. According to a recent government report, fast-rising food costs in Canada have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” with nowhere to turn for help.  

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