Judith Curry is one of the world’s most respected climate scientists. On Wednesday, she testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources on the complexities and uncertainties that are too often unacknowledged in the debate over global warming. Her testimony is here and is worth reading in its entirety. Its rational, scientific approach contrasts strongly with the ill-informed hysteria that usually predominates on this topic.
On pages 7-8 of her written testimony, Dr. Curry addresses the recent natural gas “brownout” in central Minnesota–an event that illuminated the danger of reliance on “green” energy:
The recent record-breaking cold outbreak in the Midwest is a stark reminder of the challenges of providing a reliable power supply in the face of extreme weather events, where an inadequate power supply not only harms the economy, but jeopardizes lives and public safety. Last week, central Minnesota experienced a natural gas ‘brownout,’ as Xcel Energy advised customers to turn thermostats down to 60 degrees and avoid using hot water.27 Why? Because the wind wasn’t blowing during an exceptionally cold period. Utilities pair natural gas plants with wind farms, where the gas plants can be ramped up and down quickly when the wind isn’t blowing. With bitter cold temperatures and no wind, there wasn’t enough natural gas.
This paragraph was based on a Power Line post, and footnote 27 goes to Why Green Energy Is Futile, In One Lesson. We appreciate the fact that Dr. Curry recognized the importance of this event as a red flag for those who naively assume that “green” energy is a practical alternative to reliable energy.
Everyone is having fun at the expense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her band of merry pranksters, who may have proposed banning air travel and murdering all American cows–imagine what that would do for the beef industries of Canada, Argentina and Australia!–or may have just gotten high and hit the “publish” button on what was meant as a joke. But it is important to realize that other proposals, regarded as serious in the press, are actually almost as fantastical.
Here in Minnesota, our legislature will take up a bill that would require 50% of electricity in the state to be produced by “renewable”–defined to exclude hydroelectric and nuclear generation–energy sources. Most don’t realize that such proposals are only marginally more sane than AOC’s fantasies. Isaac Orr and others in my organization have subjected this proposal to a rigorous cost analysis–which, of course, the authors and supporters of the bill have not done. Within the next week or two, we will publish a paper demonstrating that the cost of implementing the 50% renewable standard would be on the order of $80 billion–an utterly unfeasible number–and would depend largely on increasing the state’s supply of fossil fuel energy. This will come as a surprise to the bill’s proponents.
The same kind of thing is happening across the country. Stay tuned.