Democratic Party Rule Could Spread California-Style Energy Shortages Nationwide

August 30, 2020 Updated: September 1, 2020


Coming to a city and state near you: California style energy shortages and blackouts.

At least that will be the case if Democrats sweep the White House and both houses of Congress in November and keep their campaign promises to impose the type of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, green energy mandates, and fossil fuel restrictions on the nation that California has forced upon its residents.

Californians are suffering self-inflicted harm as power blackouts occur throughout the Golden State. The cause of the blackouts is the ever-growing spate of restrictions on the use of fossil fuels to generate electric power in the state, leaving residents dependent on government favored, intermittent renewable power sources.

In 2018, California enacted a law requiring that 50 percent of the electricity delivered in the state come from renewable sources by 2025, 60 percent by 2030, and that all the electricity in the state come from sources emitting no carbon dioxide during generation by 2050.

The result was lampooned by the news satire site The Sacramento Brie, in a hilarious article, “Gov. Newsom: California successfully tests power blackouts as state prepares for 2025,” filled with made-up but basically accurate quotes.

With good humor, a wink, and a nod—the Brie article “quotes” Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, saying, “‘These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or time for preparation between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., demonstrate exactly the kind of green energy capability California government has been shooting for,’ Newsom said at a meeting of energy professionals on Sunday.

“'[R]esidents, communities, and other governmental organizations did not receive sufficient warning that these de-energizations would occur, which is exactly what we expect to happen—but on a much larger scale—as the state moves toward 100 percent renewable energy in 2045,’” the Brie imagines Newsom as saying.

Although these quotes are entirely fictional, they do accurately describe the situation in California. In the past few weeks, dozens of news outlets carried stories outlining how California’s green energy policies have resulted in repeated failures of the power supply in recent years.

For instance, an article in the California Globe, “California’s Electric Grid Is Near Collapse,” explicitly links the state’s repeated blackouts to its embrace of renewable energy sources to the exclusion of historically reliable and affordable electricity generated by fossil fuels.

“California’s bet on renewables and shunning of natural gas and nuclear power, is directly responsible for the state’s blackouts and high electricity prices,” the author wrote.

The architects of the policies that have led to this power failure, former Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, and Newsom, blamed the state’s common people, the hoi polloi, for the blackouts, admonishing them in multiple tweets to turn out their lights and turn up their thermostats.

You read that right. According to the elitist politicians of California, the answer to the state’s politically induced energy crisis is for people to swelter in the dark amid a raging heatwave.

At a press event, in a rare moment of honesty, Newsom and other state officials finally admitted the state’s renewable power diktats were responsible for the blackouts across the state.

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom said [on August 17] the state had to ‘sober up’ about the fact that renewable energy sources had failed to provide enough power for the state at peak demand, and needed ‘backup’ and ‘insurance’ from other sources,” writes Breitbart News. Newsom went on to admit that the critical reason for the blackouts was California’s over-reliance on renewable power sources.

But then Newsom lapsed back into typical political obfuscation, saying, “We failed to predict and plan these shortages.”

Who is this “we” Newsom refers to? Analysts from think tanks in California (Reason, Pacific Research Institute, and the Independent Institute) to Washington (the Competitive Enterprise Institute) and in between (including my own think tank, The Heartland Institute in Illinois) have warned for years that California’s policies would result in dangerous power shortages.

And, in an ironic example of too little, too late, on June 11, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) admitted that approving the use of up to 450 megawatts of diesel generators to fill in when renewable power sources failed to supply sufficient energy wasn’t nearly enough.

As more and more green energy infrastructure is added to the grid, the gap between power demand and what is available on any particular day will continue to increase.

Sadly, California could have easily avoided these problems. If only bureaucrats had allowed just a single modern, large coal-fueled power plant to remain open, or allowed new natural gas plants to be built. Alas, California politicos cared more about the approbation of their fringe radical environmental constituents, than the well-being of most Californians.

I can only hope California-style energy policies, which is what the Democratic Party is supporting, aren’t ushered in as a result of the November election.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.