by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Imagine one of your kids freezing to death in your home. Eleven-year-old Cristian Pineda’s mother found her son dead during the Texas blackout in February 2021. Or you have a power outage for three days, losing a couple of hundred dollars worth of food because your refrigerator didn’t work, as Michelle Jones did last summer. The food she had just bought to feed herself, her daughter, and her granddaughter spoiled without electricity.
This is likely to become all too common in the future.
My years as a Wisconsin state senator and in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration gave me some insights. My senate district included a coal plant, a natural gas plant, two nuclear plants, a biogas plant, biodigesters, wind towers, and many miles of Lake Michigan shoreline—and since then it has added a solar plant. Here are some lessons I’ve learned.
First, we need to understand a little bit about how electric grids work. They cannot store electricity without a battery. Batteries are scarce and expensive. Electric demand must be met with electricity generation, always. If supply cannot keep up with demand, the utility will shut down electricity for some or many. …
… Nonetheless, Progressives favor energy policies that will make grid failures more frequent, widespread, and prolonged. They want to close coal plants without enough full-time power ready to take their place. They seem unconcerned about reliability. They want coal plants torn down even if we have to keep paying them—like selling your car to get a newer one while you still owe lots on the first.
The people of the upper Midwest will pay the price this summer. …
… A dirty green secret is that coal is full-time power and wind and solar are not. Electric grids must have full-time, on-demand power all the time—plus some—or blackouts are guaranteed.
Another dirty secret: wind and solar produce little or no energy 70% of the time.