In California politics, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and they don’t seem to care. California will ban the sale of all gas powered vehicles in the state in just 13 years, replacing then with electric vehicles. State lawmakers and the governor are abdicating their legislative power to California Air Resources Board of unelected political appointees to issue the ban.
California is the largest auto market in the United States.
“California energy officials on Friday issued a sober forecast for the state’s electrical grid, saying it lacks sufficient capacity to keep the lights on this summer and beyond if heatwaves, wildfires or other extreme events take their toll,” US News reported in May.
It is August 25th in California, which means hot summer weather in many locations. Notably, PG&E cut the power for residents Wednesday East of Sacramento. California’s electricity grid is tenuous at best.
Californians are so bombarded with one narrative on “clean vehicles” and “climate change” that many are unaware that there are alternative clean energy sources, or automobile options other than electric vehicles, including clean, technologically efficient gasoline-powered cars that don’t generate carbon dioxide.
Despite this, in September 2020, using his emergency authority during the Covid crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and “additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector.” Prior to his executive order, California was aiming to eliminate internal combustion engine autos by 2050.
The Governor’s Executive Order also addressed “closure and remediation of former oil extraction sites.”
Michael Shellenberger, energy expert, author and former gubernatorial candidate has been warning of the dire consequences of banning oil and gas and moving to an all-electric energy grid. Shellenberger posted his message in a Tweet Thursday:
“20M US homes behind in gas & electricity bills; 50% of UK households pushed into energy poverty; Fertilizer plants closing down Governments considering price controls; All because Western elites refuse to produce more natural gas, which is abundant and should be cheap.”
20M US homes behind in gas & electricity bills
50% of UK households pushed into energy poverty
Fertilizer plants closing down
Governments considering price controls
All because Western elites refuse to produce more natural gas, which is abundant and should be cheap pic.twitter.com/EAjSL6iUW9
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) August 25, 2022
It really is that simple.
California should be leading the entire United States promoting an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy: oil and gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric and biofuels.
In a 2020 California Globe interview, Tom Tanton, E&E Legal’s Director of Science and Technology Assessment said the push to electrify everything is a key component of the national Green New Deal. However, his study focused solely on the cost of energy electrification – which is almost worse given the potential costs.
He said his study was intended to open a dialogue to discuss what it will take to achieve total electrification, as well as to show that “it’s pretty damn expensive.”
“The estimate for annual energy expenses directly and indirectly paid by households will likely increase by at least $5,000 per household. Annual consumer expenditure for energy would roughly double,” the report found.
According to the report, electrifying the entire nation, with a goal of eliminating the direct consumption of fuel and reducing climate change emissions, would cost between $18 trillion and $30 trillion in first costs. Going all renewable, says Tanton, will force costs to the high end of the range – $30 trillion.
“The US currently derives about 35% of its electricity from natural gas but have also nearly doubled their use of renewable fuels in the past decade, from 9% to 17%, according to the EIA,” the report says. “This growth however doesn’t account for the electricity generated from non-renewable sources during periods of peak electrical demand. Whether it is peak load or normal operating times, policy makers must understand how the variables in utility operation impact the fuel availability and cost.”
In 2021, the Globe also spoke with energy expert Jesus Arredondo about the California Public Utilities Commission white paper, Utility Costs and Affordability of the Grid of the Future – California electric and gas cost and rate trends over the next decade, warning that “the burden of continually rising utility bills will likely derail California’s decarbonization work if left unaddressed,” according to Arredondo.
California’s “decarbonization work” is the state’s and CPUC’s flawed scheme to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through moving to an all-electric grid, away from oil and gas, coal, hydroelectric and nuclear power.
So, what happens to the electricity grid and tiered pricing when Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate of all-electric cars becomes reality by 2035?
It will likely be a lot worse if the current course is maintained.
Arredondo explained that the daily optimum solar energy generation time is 10:00am to 4:00pm. But the sun goes down right when most people get home from work and would plug the electric cars in. Besides the all-electric car goal sounding preposterous, the huge load on the grid after 4:00pm would be devastating.
In 2018, the approximate total number of automobiles registered in California was 15.1 million. Imagine adding even half — 7.5 million electric cars – to the electricity grid, which is already strained. “We are trading energy independence for dependence on Cobalt,” Arredondo said. “We don’t have trees that produce Cobalt,” he added.
The continuing unsound decision-making to remove traditional power sources in California is what is behind the ever-increasing utility rates, among other silly notions from the good-idea fairies.
The State’s three largest investor-owned utilities charge residential electricity customers much higher prices than are paid in most of the country—prices that are two to three times higher than the actual cost to produce and distribute the electricity provided.
“These high prices result from uncommonly large fixed costs that are bundled into kilowatt-hour prices and passed on to customers,” Arredondo explained. “These costs cover much of the generation, transmission and distribution fixed costs, as well as energy efficiency programs, subsidies for houses with rooftop solar and low-income customers, and increasing wildfire mitigation costs.”
“The report also points to compounding concerns over the high costs, particularly what the report calls the ‘inequity of their distribution.’ Specifically, the report says that as wealthier households transition to rooftop solar, the fixed costs are distributed through a smaller volume of kilowatt-hours delivered, raising the costs even more for remaining, lower-income customers.”
Electric cars have a dirty little secret: Every electric vehicle, and most hybrid vehicles, rely on large lithium-ion batteries weighing hundreds or thousands of pounds. Typically made with rare-earth minerals – cobalt, nickel, and manganese, among other components – these batteries are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars and aren’t environmentally friendly, requiring ingredients sourced from polluting mines around the world, and contaminate soil and water. And in the Congo mines, children are used as slave labor.
The real dirty secret about electric cars is that they are being pushed on the US and Europe hard – by China, which has the most lithium resources and it has been buying stakes in mining operations in Australia and South America where most of the world’s lithium reserves are found, according to the Institute for Energy Research.
Removing carbon directly from the atmosphere, rather than reducing emissions, can be accomplished by improving agricultural practice and enhancing the carbon storage of soil, Tanton said in the report. “A great deal of carbon, once in the soil, is now in the atmosphere. We have lost two thirds historical soil humus to the atmosphere, representing 476 gigatons of CO2 and for a sense of perspective – all of mankind’s other activities since 1860 have released a total of just 250 gigatons of CO223. A mere 2% increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100% of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.”
Tanton said that electrification will destroy decades of diversification by the market, tying consumers to a fragile yet monolithic electric grid. The electric grid is ill-equipped for extreme conditions, like extended heat waves or polar vortex cold snaps, without blackouts, as just happened in California. “The likelihood of outages will increase with the considerable increase in demand associated with electric cars, removing natural gas from buildings, and other electrification moves. Building a more robust grid to handle such extremes would add perhaps $7 trillion to the costs.”
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