“Green Power Failure” is a May 10, 2012 article by Canadian columnist Lawrence Solomon for Canada’s Financial Post.
The article is a warning for the United States of pitfalls from adopting renewable electricity sources of solar and wind. Quoting Mr. Solomon, ”Global-warming-related catastrophes are increasingly hitting vulnerable populations around the world, with one species in particular danger: the electricity ratepayer. In Canada, in the U.K., in Spain, in Denmark, in Germany and elsewhere the danger to ratepayers is especially great, but ratepayers in one country — the U.S. — seem to have weathered the worst of the disaster.”
Mr. Solomon then addresses situations in the U. K., Germany, Denmark and other countries which have adopted sizable amounts of solar and wind electricity generation that has led to electricity rates so high that 15 percent of households or more are in “fuel poverty”–ten percent or more of household income goes to electricity or gas. Many of these countries pay electricity rates triple the U. S. average.
Mr. Solomon further cites the U. S. Energy Information Administration forecasts starting next year U. S. electricity rates “dropping by more than 22 % by the end of the decade.”
Due to the U.S. large electricity generation system, the more than 40,000 megawatts of wind energy and several thousand megawatts of solar energy has not caused appreciable increases in electricity rates. However, there are exceptions.
Mr. Solomon may be unaware that California is going down the road to higher electricity prices by adopting renewable energy standards of 20 percent electricity coming from solar and wind by December 31, 2013 and 33 percent by 2020. As of May 2011, the all sector cost of electricity in California was 13.39 cents per kilowatt-hour compared to a national average of 9.87 cents–36 percent higher than the national average. Hundreds of megawatts of solar power are under construction or scheduled for construction around San Diego, in the Mojave Desert, and Nevada that will add to the misery of California residents when they go on-line.
The EPA is forcing shutdown of coal as a fuel which may cause increased electricity rates due to increasing natural gas demand and no competition from lower priced coal. In addition, EPA’s First Carbon Pollution Standards for Future Power Plants could be modified to further reduce or eliminate fossil fuels for electricity generation. This would require dramatic increases in renewable energy sources for electric power generation.
The U. S. advantage of low electricity rates is not that certain with the political climate existing today. High electricity rates is making manufacturing non-competitive in California and the E. U.
A commentator on CNBC recently made a point on discussing the economic situation in North America and Europe, “The U. S. is like the best house in a bad neighborhood.” Lets keep it at least that good!