Biden should quit putting green energy fantasies ahead of America’s families
Published 12:36 pm Friday, July 8, 2022
BY SEN. BILL HAGERTY
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the authority to force the American power industry to adopt its green-energy ideology by regulation.
This decision not only scores a victory for the rule of law by restoring lawmaking authority to the people’s representatives in Congress, rather than unelected Washington bureaucrats, but provides the American people desperately needed relief from one of the Biden’s administration’s costly green fantasies.
For the past year and a half, President Joe Biden has pursued a radical theology of green energy without any regard for the real consequences for American workers and families. Biden recently contended: “[When] it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”
Biden is finally saying out loud what many in his orbit have been whispering for some time: He wants to use high gas prices to force America to accept the left’s top priority, a transition to green energy.
But the unfortunate reality is that the green payoff they promise is just a mirage because it is impossible to power American cars, homes, and businesses using only green energy.
The technology simply isn’t there. Sources like wind and solar are inefficient, unreliable, and built with materials that aren’t abundant enough to satisfy current energy demand.
As much attention and government funding as modern green energy receives, because of its inefficiency, it comprises just 9% of U.S. power consumption. To replace hydrocarbons, global green energy production would need to increase by 9,000 percent.
For wind and solar to be useful when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, their power must be stored. Yet the world’s largest battery manufacturing facility can only produce enough storage each year to power the United States for three minutes. That is, it would take that factory 1,000 years to make enough batteries to power the United States for two days.
More generally, this green fantasy would require more turbines, batteries, and panels than the world has raw materials to make. All the mines that exist in the world today for critical minerals like graphite, cobalt, vanadium, and nickel produce only one-third of what is required to achieve the green transition, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Germany, a country that rushed toward abandoning traditional energy sources, has already proven this thesis. It has suddenly been forced to start burning coal again as a consequence of poor planning resulting from its blind adherence to this green theology.
In addition to being unfeasible, the premature rush to “green” our energy sources has destabilized the world and benefited our enemies, economically and politically.
Take China, the world’s largest producer of solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles. Their effective monopoly on green energy manufacturing (using coal power, of course) has forced Biden to bow to Chinese pressure on tariffs.
These green energy policies are also bankrolling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
In spite of all of the saber-rattling, Europe still depends on Russia for oil and gas. And the record-high prices Putin is reaping for these commodities account for more than half of Russia’s annual budget. Europe now sends over $1 billion each day to Russia for energy. To quote Sergey Lavrov, “this year [Russia] will significantly increase the profits from the export of our energy resources.”
To put these numbers in context, Russia’s military budget last year was $66 billion. So as a result of this dependence, the West is funding Russia’s entire annual war budget roughly every two months.
The true green zealots seem unable to accept these facts, and America is paying the price.
To be clear, I support energy innovation and efficiency, and I believe the American people do, too. But markets, not radical theology, must dictate this transition. American consumers and businesses should not be sacrificed on the altar of green energy.
What Biden has called an “incredible transition” weakens our country while strengthening our enemies, and we should reject it. Instead, let’s restore the all-of-the-above approach that was working in January, 2021, when America was energy independent and exporting freedom all over the world.
(Sen. Bill Hagerty represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.)