Energy Secretary Warns About Need For Reliable Energy Sources

Rushing to 100 percent renewables without reliable backup sources can have dangerous consequences, according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. In a recent Orange County Register op-ed, Brouillette took a closer look at California’s rolling blackouts and high electricity prices, asking:

“Is this what our state leaders had in mind when they touted their 100 percent renewable energy plan?” California closed several power plants without replacing the electric generation capacity and then faced a record heat wave this summer, resulting in a serious supply shortage. Residents were asked to use less energy and in some cases, lost power all together as the state was forced to institute rolling blackouts. Nonetheless the state has continued to push aggressive climate policies without adequate storage or planned backup energy supplies. As Brouillette explains:

 “According to SoCalGas, even the 9,000 megawatts of storage (enough to power more than 5.5 million homes) California has planned for 2030 would not have prevented the blackouts of the past month.”

Despite this, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that would additional strain on the electric grid by phasing-out the sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. And that’s after acknowledging in August that the state has grid reliability issues because of its move away from fossil fuels, including natural gas.

A reliable and affordable solution

As Brouillette describes, though, there “exists a plan for 24/7 reliable energy for California; a plan that keeps all clean energy technologies on the table.” And that plan includes affordable, reliable natural gas:

“Natural gas and nuclear must play a role in providing reliable energy because of their ability to near continuous generate power. We know California regulators realize this. The State Water Resources Control Board recently voted to extend the useful lives of four natural gas plants against the wishes of radical environmentalists for this very reason.”

 The reality is that with current policies, it is likely Californians will continue to suffer the consequences of “Keep It in the Ground” policies catered to activists’ calls for a swift transition away from natural gas, leaving many across the state without an adequate energy supply.

If California wants to ensure reliable and affordable energy, then it has to embrace natural gas as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. However if these policies continue, California’s future summers are (pardon the pun) looking a little dark.

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