by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It seems that the environmentalist movement in the U.S. believes that it’s possible to completely overhaul the electrical grid without building anything. Or at least, that’s what its actions imply.
The Wall Street Journal ran two pieces on this subject recently. The first is a news piece about New York’s plan to run a 339-mile transmission line from hydropower plants in Quebec to New York City. But the environmental permitting process has led the project to take 17 years, and possibly longer. …
… [M]agical transmission seems to be what environmentalists expect. The Sierra Club opposed the construction of the transmission line because “importing power threatened the development of in-state renewable-energy projects and could cause environmental damage in Canada.” As John Cochrane asks on his blog, “Does mother Gaia care where carbon-free electricity is produced? Why is state-by-state protectionism, by definition more expensive, important to climate?”
New York closed its Indian Point nuclear power plant, which supplied about a quarter of New York City’s power, and replaced it with natural gas. So, on the journey to green energy, we’re going to use power sources that emit more carbon while making it harder to transmit energy from power sources that use less carbon.
Which leads to the second Journal article, an opinion piece from Ted Nordhaus. He argues that deregulation is going to be necessary to build green energy. He tells of a renewable-energy project in Nevada opposed by environmentalists because it threatens endangered tortoises and a California nuclear power plant that was closed using a state law to protect fish eggs. …
… It’s logically inconsistent to be pro–green energy and anti-construction. Yet that’s where the environmentalist movement seems to have landed in the U.S. It’s yet another indication of the completely incoherent energy agenda from the Left.