California’s Not So Brilliant Remedy For Global Warming
Article from Reason by Steve Chapman.
In the world of government policy, two chief dangers always loom. The first is people with bad intentions using every available means to achieve their malignant goals. The second, more common but no less destructive, is people with the purest of hearts and the most boneheaded of methods.
For an example of the latter, look west, where the California Energy Commission just decreed that starting in 2020, new homes must be equipped with solar panels. Commissioner Andrew McAllister boasted that the rule “will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future.”
Its utilities are already on track to get half their energy from solar and other renewable sources as soon as 2020. The state is also fighting the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to gut controls on vehicle tailpipe emissions. The energy commission says the solar panels and other requirements will cut a typical new home’s energy consumption by 53 percent—”equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.”
But there are three major flaws in this approach. The first is that it’s a highly inefficient way to expand solar energy. University of California, Berkeley economist Severin Borenstein told the commission that he and the vast majority of energy economists “believe that residential rooftop solar is a much more expensive way to move towards renewable energy than larger solar and wind installations.”
Read the entire article at Reason.
One of the stupidest things is shutting down San Onofre, and planning to shut down Diablo Canyon. Roth and Jaramillo remarked “Preventing nuclear plant retirements is a cost-effective carbon avoidance strategy.”, Jenkins and Thernstrom calculated that deep decarbonization will be extremely expensive. Roberts calculated (not guessed) that the nuclear plant shutdowns so far provided more electricity than all solar so far installed. The next doubling of solar will only make up for the emissions of replacements for those plants. Shaner et al, and Mearns, calculated how much storage will be needed to get firm power from wind and solar. Using the cost and capacity of the Big South Australian Battery, and observing that batteries last about five years, it’s easy to calculate that batteries alone will cost three to five times total current US GDP every year.