I’ll have a lot more to say about the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” in due course after I finish unpacking and catching up with five weeks of snail-mail and other things in the pile, but as an opening generalization it should be said that by passing massive subsidies for wind and solar power, the U.S. has decided to emulate Germany’s energiewende (“energy revolution”) policy that it adopted 20 years ago. It has been a total bust. Emissions reductions in Germany stalled out several years ago, and soaring energy prices (along with dependence on Russian natural gas) now threaten Germany’s entire industrial sector, not to mention a cold winter ahead for the German people. And now we’re setting off on the same course.
Hence it is worth noting an early indication of how this will all end from inside our own borders, specifically California, which was an early adopter of the German model. Kudos to Politico for telling the story straight up a few days ago:
SACRAMENTO — California wants to quit fossil fuels. Just not yet.
Faced with a fragile electrical grid and the prospect of summertime blackouts, the state agreed to put aside hundreds of millions of dollars to buy power from fossil fuel plants that are scheduled to shut down as soon as next year.
That has prompted a backlash from environmental groups and lawmakers who say Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approach could end up extending the life of gas plants that have been on-track to close for more than a decade and could threaten the state’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2045. . .
That plan was a last-minute addition to the state’s energy budget, which lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled Legislature reluctantly passed. Backers say it’s necessary to avoid the rolling blackouts like the state experienced during a heat wave in 2020. Critics see a muddled strategy on energy, and not what they expected from a nationally ambitious governor who has made climate action a centerpiece of his agenda.
The legislation, which some Democrats labeled as “lousy” and “crappy,” reflects the reality of climate change. Heat waves are already straining power capacity, and the transition to cleaner energy isn’t coming fast enough to meet immediate needs in the nation’s most populous state.
Officials have warned that outages would be possible this summer, with as many as 3.75 million California homes losing power in a worst-case scenario of a West-wide heat wave and insufficient electrical supplies, particularly in the evenings.
It’s also an acknowledgment of the political reality that blackouts are hazardous to elected officials, even in a state dominated by one party.
You can expect this story to be repeated throughout the country over the next decade as the wind and solar madness of the IRA unfolds.
P.S. Imagine what environmentalists would be saying if a Republican governor was doing this. Also guess which candidate environmentalists will endorse in this year’s election.