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How Progressives Enrich Oil Companies – Mario Loyola/WSJ

Wind turbines and power transmission lines in Rio Vista, Calif., March 30, 2021.
Wind turbines and power transmission lines in Rio Vista, Calif., March 30, 2021.(David Paul Morri/Bloomberg)

By Mario Loyola

Among the biggest obstacles to a clean energy transition in the U.S. is the red tape around energy permitting. Yet some progressive Democrats resisted adding Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting reform bill to the National Defense Authorization Act. Unless it is taken up as a floor amendment, Mr. Manchin missed his last chance for reform while Democrats control Congress.

Democrats who oppose the measure are concerned with the bill’s concession to fossil fuels but ignore that permitting reform is essential to “net zero” goals. President Biden wants a clean electricity grid by 2035, but under current permitting standards, only a fraction of the necessary infrastructure would break ground in time. And to achieve a clean grid by 2050, experts believe that more than one million miles of high-voltage transmission lines will have to be added to the grid.

Mr. Manchin’s reforms would have dramatically expanded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s power to build transmission lines. That should be music to progressives’ ears. Instead they opposed the measure because it would have eased the permitting process for natural-gas pipelines.

The reality is that climate activists’ own policy positions help fossil-fuel producers and hurt everyone else. They want to wean Americans off oil and gas by constricting supply. But constricting supply boosts prices and maximizes profits.

Activists’ push for “net zero” electricity is even more counterproductive. As Texas, California and now Europe have learned, there is a limit to how much renewable power like solar and wind can be deployed while still maintaining a stable grid.

Activists dream of getting to 80% renewable energy on the road to “net zero.” But even at about 34% renewable, the California grid is unstable: If there is an overabundance of solar electricity during the day, either solar panels are shut off or utilities pay other states to take the excess energy. There also have been blackouts at night, especially when demand for air conditioning is high.

It won’t get any better. California recently voted to phase out gasoline cars by 2035. That’s impossible without major grid expansions.

California’s grid-reliability issues suggest that without some unforeseen revolution in battery technology, at least half of the added grid capacity will have to come from nuclear power, coal or natural gas. But given the sometimes decades-long permitting odyssey for a nuclear plant in America, California’s environmentalists are headed for a reality check: The transition to electric vehicles will be nearly impossible without quickly building dozens of new coal and natural-gas plants.

As Mr. Biden is learning the hard way, a clean-energy transition depends on energy remaining abundant and cheap. Instead, climate activists are pushing to make energy scarce and expensive. Fossil-fuel companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

_______________________________________________

Mario Loyola teaches environmental law at Florida International University and is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He was associate director for regulatory reform at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, 2017-19. Energiesnet.com does not necessarily share these views.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on December 8 , 2022. EnergiesNet.com reproduces this article in the interest of our readers. All comments posted and published on EnergiesNet.com, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of EnergiesNet.com or Petroleumworld.

Original article

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EnergiesNet.com 12 12 2022

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