by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Biden administration is casting its plan to phase out the use of natural gas in federal buildings in favor of clean energy as a “cost-effective” move that will save taxpayers millions each year.
That’s baloney, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of federal data, which indicates that a Biden administration statement touting the plan’s frugality excludes the administration’s own findings on the increased cost of green energy sources as compared with natural gas.
In that statement, President Joe Biden’s Energy Department says the proposed natural gas phaseout “would save taxpayers $8 million annually in upfront equipment costs,” a figure that stems from the department’s Dec. 6 estimate of the plan’s budgetary impact. That estimate, however, also acknowledges that so-called clean electricity is roughly four-and-a-half times more expensive than natural gas, leading to “increases in energy costs across the board” that outweigh the savings on equipment expected under the plan. As a result, Biden’s transition away from natural gas will actually cost taxpayers up to $5 million annually, the Energy Department estimate says, a statistic that does not appear in the department’s statement.
Despite the increased costs associated with the plan, green energy groups—which Biden aggressively courted during his campaign in an attempt to win over liberal voters—quickly applauded the move. The Sierra Club, for example, said it was “excited that the Biden administration is making good on its promise” to advance green energy and pledged to “continue to work with the Biden administration.” But as Biden looks to expand his natural gas phaseout beyond the federal government and toward the general public—the Democrat has called for a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 and a decarbonized economy by 2050—he could alienate everyday Americans concerned about energy costs.