California, Here We Come!

by James A. Bacon

For a look at Virginia’s energy future, just take a look at California. It’s not a pretty picture. The state’s grid operator imposed short rolling blackouts twice over the weekend due to an inability to meet peak demand caused by a heat wave. More blackouts are possible later this week.

Both Virginia and California aspire to have 100% carb0n-free electric grids, but the Golden State is farther along in adopting wind and solar power. The California Energy Commission estimates that “34% of California’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2018.”

The Northam administration has signed legislation requiring Dominion Energy to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources (primarily solar and wind) by 2045, and Appalachian Power to meet that goal by 2050. All coal-fired plants must close by the end of 2024. California’s present is Virginia’s future just a few years out.

So, what went wrong?

Writes the Wall Street Journal:

The emergency outages, though brief to date, demonstrate the challenges California faces in making sure its transition to cleaner power doesn’t come at the expense of reliability. The state has almost eliminated coal-fired generation and has been reducing its reliance on natural gas and nuclear power in favor of renewables, which now supply more than a third of its typical energy needs.

In recent days, California has struggled to supply power in part because it relies heavily on imports from other Western states that are also experiencing higher demand during the heat wave. Its reliance on natural-gas plants that can produce power at peak times has increased, but still fell short of demand several times.

“California, in many ways, is the canary in the coal mine,” said Todd Snitchler, Chief Executive of the Electric Power Supply Association, a trade group representing power producers nationwide. “Many of the natural-gas units that some in California would like to see go away have been exactly what’s needed to keep the system operating.”

California’s blackouts this year are different from the power failures last year caused when Pacific Gas & Electric ceased distributing power on electric lines vulnerable to disruption by heavy winds. Sparks from fallen power lines had ignited multiple wildfires. This year’s blackouts stem from a statewide mismatch between electric load and generating capacity. Demand for air conditioning peaked in the late afternoon just as power output by solar farms was declining.

What does it cost Californians to bask in the benefits of such a world-class-performance electric grid? Sixteen point seven (16.7) cents per kilowatt hour — about 40% higher than the average cost in Virginia.

In other words, California’s electricity is getting more expensive and less reliable at the same time. Pretty good trick. The same policy genius that has brought California to the brink now prevails in Virginia. We’re just a few years behind the curve.

Is there any chance that Virginia will learn from California’s mistakes? Not a chance. Californians aren’t learning from California’s mistakes!

Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized the state’s grid operator and utility regulator in a letter Monday, saying that their “failure to predict these shortages is unacceptable particularly given our state’s work to combat climate change.”

“These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” the Democratic governor said, adding that he was notified just “moments before” they started. “Grid operators were caught flat-footed,” he said.

What a joke! Lots of people predicted the rolling blackouts. California’s ideologically driven ruling class just didn’t listen! Similar predictions hold for Virginia, too. PJM, which manages the regional electric grid of which Virginia is a part, says the grid can handle up to 30% of electricity generated by intermittent power sources. Over that level, we’ll need to make massive investments in battery storage, which is totally unproven on a large scale. One thing you can count on: When Virginia experiences rolling blackouts, too, three words you’ll never hear from the greenies, is “We were wrong.”

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97 responses to “California, Here We Come!

  1. The same thing will happen here unless there is a provision for a reasonably priced backup–natural gas and nuclear.

    • The SCC is out with a new report today estimating that the green energy buildout demanded by the 2020 General Assembly may add up to $660 per year to the bill of a 1000 kWh per month residential customer — close to a 50% increase by 2030. (More on that later, dear readers, as I’m watching the GA today.) Building more fossil fuel back-up is not in the plan and would add further to those costs! Instead, the goal is to kill the remaining fossil fuel sources.

      Richmond has had rain something like 15 of the first 17 days of August, so the solar outputs have to be reduced substantially. That will be the source of our brownouts in the years to come.

      • What fun watching the General Assembly today. In the House, Filler-Corn runs roughshod over the Republicans, just because she can. In the Senate, Norment complains about the incompetent leadership in the House, Saslaw complains that the leadership in the House (Democrats) won’t talk to him (the Senate Democratic leader), and the Senate proceeds to unanimously reject the House Joint Resolution setting the ground rules for the Special Session.

        • Excellent. They accomplished a lot of nothing.

          I like it when the legislature accomplishes a lot of nothing – it makes me feel safer.

          By the way, I will not criticize anyone – democrat, republican or other – for refusing to talk to Dick Saslaw. He is one of the three or four most unpleasant people I have ever met or dealt with.

  2. “So jump for joy/ be gay and blythe/ or weep my friend with sorrow. What California is today/ the rest will be tomorrow.” — Some guy who penned a PoliSci textbook in the 60s.

    OTOH, they once had Enron, whereas we have only Dominion.

  3. The analogy to California has some merit, but not exactly.

    Both states import a lot of electricity, so we/they do not have to have total self-dependency. The solution does not have to make sense on a stand-alone basis.

    Almost all the RGGI states import electric eg; from Canada, so that is partially what enables them to commit to no fossil fuels within the state boundaries themselves ( I do believe New England is building some natural gas power. ) Also most RGGI states have expensive electricity, and except for Virginia, they use megatons of natural gas for home heating.

    The problems for Virginia: (1) we do not have tremendous renewable resources except off-shore wind which is mega-expensive, (2) we have a lot of heat pumps instead of natural gas for home heat, which means we have a bigger household electricity demand compared to the rest of the Northeast (who minimizes electricity demand by using more natural gas to the homes), (3) compared to Ca., we have a hot summer and cold winter which requires much more electricity than Ca. needs, and (4) we have an industry electric demand from the Cloud.

    The New Green Deal asserts renewables are the only valid choice and are far cheaper, will turn us all into millionaires living to Age 200 without the poisons and high cost to society of fossil fuels. What’s not to like? If it turns out to be a pipe dream, we can adjust later.

  4. Electricity blackouts are a clear sign of governmental failure. A regulatory system that cannot ensure sufficient supplies of electricity is a disaster, even if it produces other benefits. Not only does it inconvenience normal life and business but it also creates a danger to health and safety. Many people rely on CPAP equipment to sleep safely. What about traffic lights? What about other illuminated safety signs? Metrorail? Plug-in electric vehicles? Cell towers. The Internet?

    I handled network reliability and service quality regulatory issues for a major company some time ago. Power failures were a major cause of outages that often included 911 calling. Running a network on 12 hours of backup batteries and generators just doesn’t do it for very long.

    Now if we still had a functioning media instead of simple minded ideologs, this news would have everyone talking about it.

    • “Electricity blackouts are a clear sign of governmental failure.”

      Yes. For instance, when I was in Perm, Russia in the early 2000s, scheduled power outages were a daily occurrence. Different parts of the city lost power at different times of the day, but pretty much everyone went without power for about 3 hours each day. The people we were staying with lost electricity from about 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.

      They also had a scheduled daily water shut-off, but I think that occurred at the same time city-wide. In any event, water was turned off at our hosts’ apartment from about 9:00 am to noon pretty much every day.

      At that time it did not even cross my mind that we might face the same thing here in the United States.

      • “At that time it did not even cross my mind that we might face the same thing here in the United States.”

        From one gang of socialists to the next. Failure is the common denominator of socialism.

        • “Failure is the common denominator of socialism.”
          Then explain us.

          • re: ” “Failure is the common denominator of socialism.””

            more boogeyman pablum… geeze…

            California is only the 7th biggest economy in the world … and by GAWD – it’s a socialist failure… good lord…

          • Including Purchasing Power Parity, China just ceased being a socialist country. How else can the free marketeers explain them having the world’s largest economy?

  5. Wait! Are you saying that 2/3 of California’s electricity is fossil fuel and nukes and it’s not enough ?

    The never-ending “war” on wind/solar just boggles the mind!

    Remember this :

    ” Fifteen years ago, a high-voltage transmission line sagged into an overgrown tree on a warm summer day in northern Ohio. It caused a fault that triggered a cascading outage that ultimately interrupted electric service to 55 million people across the Northeastern United States and Ontario, Canada.

    Public transit systems halted in New York City, stranding commuters in the summer heat. Water treatment plants, hospitals, firehouses, police stations and other critical services were without power, in some cases for days.”

    the point? These types of outages have happened over time for many years and no one blamed it on renewables then because there were no renewables.

    NOW – there are renewables so the anti folks now have something to blame!

    the boo-bird of life can’t be happy. When life has hiccups, it’s got to be someone’s fault and especially so liberals and eco-weenies…

  6. Let’s see. Could the real reasons be?
    PG&E’s proven, massive corporate mismanagement.
    Or the fact that California is experiencing climate change.
    Give a denier a WSJ headline and they go nuts!

  7. interesting chart:

  8. Do you wonder why the blackouts start about 4 in the evening…. rapid fall off of power coming from solar farms as the panels reach the end of their rotation and start shadowing each other…

    • You do realize that there is a battery attached to those solar panels, right?

      • Nancy – You may have areas of expertise, but science is definitely not one of them. No, California’s wind and solar energy is not stored for non-productive periods with batteries.

        It is currently impractical to store large amounts of energy in that way. That’s why solar and wind must be backed up with fossil fuels like natural gas.

        Bill Gates is a confirmed leftist, but at least he has a grasp of science as it relates to storing energy. Here’s his take on the matter.

        “Solar and wind power are reliable energy sources so long as the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. But people still need dependable energy on cloudy days, at nighttime, and when the air is still. That means power companies often back up these renewable sources with fossil fuels like coal or natural gas, which emit greenhouse gases.”

        “It would help, of course, if we had a great system for storing solar and wind power. But right now, the best storage option is rechargeable batteries, and they are expensive. Lithium-ion batteries like the one inside your laptop are still the gold standard. If you wanted to use one to store enough electricity to run everything in your house for a week, you would need a huge battery—and it would triple your electric bill.”

        – Bill Gates

          Well, smart people have them. But we have Republicans.

          • The article does not say how much the system cost to build.

          • It’s only money. The web is crawling with articles on the costs and the savings realized.

          • Did you actually read the article?

            “The dedicated battery farm can power 30,000 homes for up to an hour…”

            Wow, storage for one whole hour. Yippee!

            Solar make sense in some places and can successfully replace some fossil fuels. That doesn’t mean it should be deployed everywhere, or used beyond the point where it is practical.

            I’m also a fan of Musk and hope that someday we find new and innovative ways to store large amounts of power for extended periods of time, but we aren’t there yet.

            Right now, one the best ways to store excess power for later use is to pump water back to a reservoir where it can be used at some future point by the turbines in dams to generate electricity. That requires the building of dams which liberals oppose.

            Not only do liberals oppose building dams, they want to tear down the ones we have.


          • Or one home for 30,000 hours.

          • N_N

            1 house for 30,000 hours? Probably not.

            Even with only a 0.1% storage loss over a 40 month period they’d only last about 29,970 hours.


          • Your comment “Or one home for 30,000 hours.”

            So you support the deforestation of Virginia to build solar and battery farms? I rather like trees.

          • The crawl space beneath your house has sufficient space to house batteries (or the attic) and your roof the panels. Here, at 38N, a house could be off the grid for roughly $25K, based on a 10 year battery life. Good panels, 23% efficiency, have 20-years at 90% rating. So, $200/month. Meh.

          • You have now changed the subject. I have no problem with individuals buying solar panels, and batteries. Conservatives are all about individual rights and capitalism.

            If you want to do that, what’s stopping you?

          • Nothing. My vacation home is.

            But it does scale, and Australia is leaving us behind. They already recycle/use water more efficiently, and soon, their power useage will be too.

            Btw, panels do contain toxic chemicals. Keywords CONTAIN. release is optional.

          • Great. You made your choice, now allow others to make theirs, and stop telling the power company how to generate power for everyone else.

          • Wow, Nate. Cool, so you developed your own internet?

          • “Nancy_Naive | August 19, 2020 at 9:37 am |
            The crawl space beneath your house has sufficient space to house batteries (or the attic) and your roof the panels. Here, at 38N, a house could be off the grid for roughly $25K, based on a 10 year battery life. Good panels, 23% efficiency, have 20-years at 90% rating. So, $200/month. Meh.”

            Well that’s a brilliant idea, place a bomb either above you or below you. Which you prefer when it goes off? Cause that’s exactly what lithium-ion and or nickle manganese cobalt do following thermal runaway.

            Batteries require cool constant temps and then there is the aspect that they have memories and wear out.

            Tesla Powerwall currently run between $9,600 and $15,600 per system. So that ~$200 your claiming will be efficacious in what 6.5 years, assuming that the batteries don’t degrade from the constant charge and discharge cycles you’re going to be using. You’ll be covered until year 10 of that warranty, but after that you’ll shell out another $6,500 for a new battery.

            So please regale us with the knowledge that you seem to lack on the topic of Electricity.

          • Yes, and the cost of batteries haven’t changed in 10 years. My batteries are in my “crawl space” so to speak.

          • I can assume you don’t do any of the following listed from the professionals, as you assume you know better.


            I mean that’s a given since you’ve placed solar batteries in an unconditioned space and are currently just praying that they don’t hit thermal runaway and burn your “cabin” down if not worse.

            So did a professional do this setup or did you?

          • Like charging systems don’t have temperature sensors. The solar system? That’s a user add on. It’s synchronized.

          • yeah.. never heard much about Tesla walls blowing up… and they put them in garages, no?

          • Apparently, Larry, some people believe that nothing has changed in technology in 50 years nor can change in another 50. I mean, consider a car. We still get 15MPG and in a head on at 40MPH, everybody dies. Like, what could possibly change that?

          • Well NN, that would royally screw-up all kinds of things.. if you know what I mean….

            That’s the problem with facts and realities – they tend to be real buzz-killers for some.

          • I shouldn’t have used the car example. Maybe he drives a Pacer, or a lime green Gremlin. Didn’t mean to embarrass him.

          • Tesla’s vehicles, and solar systems have indeed caught fire and or exploded. Thermal runaway is very real, and very hard to stop.

            LarrytheG | August 19, 2020 at 11:43 am |
            yeah.. never heard much about Tesla walls blowing up… and they put them in garages, no?


            “Powerwall can be installed indoors or outdoors and can operate within a wide range of temperatures, from -4°F to 122°F. At the extremes of the temperature range, Powerwall may limit charge or discharge power to improve battery lifespan. If you are in an area that is often outside of the 32°F to 86°F range, we recommend that Powerwall is installed indoors.

            To optimize performance, avoid installing Powerwall in locations exposed to direct sunlight or subject to extreme temperatures. Additionally, while humidity and rain do not pose a risk, Powerwall should not be installed in locations subject to flooding or near water sources such as downspouts, faucets or sprinkler systems. In order to maintain proper ventilation, Powerwall should be kept clear of debris such as leaves and dense brush, and areas of accumulated snow.”

            Do you require the FEMCA too? That would be the Failure Mode, effects and criticality analysis that is done for probable systems failures.

            “Nancy_Naive | August 19, 2020 at 11:39 am |
            Like charging systems don’t have temperature sensors. The solar system? That’s a user add on. It’s synchronized.”

            So you have a readout display showing you the internal temp of the batteries your stuffing energy into? At what points is thermal runaway catastrophic? (I realize you don’t have a clue, it’s okay).

            Beyond that, it’s in a non-conditioned space. You do know what that means right?

            Well considering how short on facts you two are most of the time if not always. I’ll count myself safe with the knowledge that my degree in Electrical Engineering confided to me.

            Batteries are not green, batteries can be just as dangerous as fossil fuels. Should we advance them, yes. However, that process is slow. Lithium-ion batteries were developed in 1970, while there have been promising advances, most have issue duplicating their results.

            I drive an Acura and a Honda before that. The only difference between that car which is a 2013 and the 1986 Acura is the ECU and creature comforts.

            So tell me more about how very little knowledge you have of batteries and or power generation.

          • I have a Chevy Volt. Not because I particularly care about saving the environment, but because it reduces the amount of money that VDOT would get from me that they would otherwise spend on hookers and blow.

            Anyway, this Chevy Volt has temperature sensors for the lithium-ion battery pack. If the pack is too cold, it has an electric heater to circulate warm coolant through the battery pack. If the pack is too hot, it will circulate chilled coolant through the battery pack. It uses the AC compressor for this, and there is a refrigerant-to-coolant heat exchanger it uses to chill the coolant.

            All of this is done to increase the battery life.

            By way of comparison, the Nissan Leaf does NOT actively cool the batteries, and this is thought by some to contribute to the frequent and widely-known battery failures on that vehicle.

            So from this, I take it that putting batteries in an unconditioned space, like an attic, would dramatically reduce their life unless they had some form of active cooling. And then in that case, you are using a lot of energy to cool the batteries because attics get HOT.

            Another reason why you wouldn’t want to put batteries in an attic is that the floor of an attic, such as it is (drywall and top plates and the bottom joist of the roof trusses–maybe some plywood has been put down for storage) just isn’t very strong. Batteries are heavy, and simply getting them INTO the attic could be a challenge.

          • Idiocracy, all very good points and the drawbacks of our current batteries. I’ve not jumped on the electric car craze simply for the fact that you’re just offsetting your carbon footprint from your vehicle to your electric bill. Which is still burning carbon fuel in most cases, coupled with the heavy metals used to create our current batteries it just didn’t make sense to me. I do understand the VDOT aspect and did contemplate when I lived in NOVA and was using 66 every day. They however undid those exceptions when it became a toll way.

            What you take is correct, extreme temps are never good for batteries, either cold or hot the charge will be less than ideal and provide a possible avenue for thermal runaway. Couple that with excessive charge and discharge can shorten the battery life of most things, typically with Li-Ion you’re supposed to charge it and let it sit, as the act of charging increases the internal temp of the battery. What current battery backup setups are designed as, is a long term capacitor not a sustained power source. They are to be there in a time of need. Also, typically solar panels just send their energy back into the grid and provide the owner with a tax insensitive (that was at least in PA when I lived there).

            All in all, let the professionals handle the stuff and realize that a 12V system is not a house or even close to those requirements. When this article says California here we come, there are any number of places that could be substituted for that. South Africa has long done load sharing, and I have colleague who made a battery/inverter setup that would charge when the power was on and bypass when it was off. He did that so he could watch tv during that window.

        • Gates v. Musk? Windows v. Tessa? Well, they both DO crash… one more often than the other.

          • so NN, do you admit that MAadams is brilliant and far superior to you? It would make him feel good for you to say so… 😉

          • I admit it. He’s brilliant! Smartest Luddite ever.

          • Larry,

            I’m not brilliant and never have claimed to be. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering, which makes electrical topics my relative area of expertise. I however haven’t made any statements that aren’t backed with verifiable facts provided from manufactures, not your usual Wikipedia.

            What would really do this board good, is if the two of you heeded the following statement:

            “Please Do Not confuse your Google Search with my Insert Topic Degree”

          • Marinas are full of boats with combined solar, wind, and diesel power (main&genset). Have been for 20+ years. You only assumed LIon. I didn’t say it. Nevertheless, batteries are stored in an unconditioned space, hostile actually, and the sensors have controlled charging beautifully.

          • Oh yes, I’m so opposed to technology. That’s why I got a EE degree, you got me there.

            What exactly did you study in college, supercilious nom de plume?

          • You must work at Raytheon. Place is full of EE Luddites. And they have a common attitude.

          • The image you posted is of Helios, a concept hybrid (diesel-electric) powered sailed boat that costs 10,900,000 euros.


            The batteries hold as you can read 335kWh worth of power, that’s what a conventional dishwasher consumes in a year just for context.

            Marine batteries are AGM batteries, they aren’t what you put in your house. They are still susceptible to thermal runaway, as is your car battery.

            Would you care to make a comparison that you actually understand or are you going to continue to deflect.

            So still mum on that education, that’s fine you’ve provided your lack of knowledge on topic by simply opening your mouth.

          • Wow. Are you smart. Now look up PlanetSolar.

            I’ve told you my degrees, BA, MS mathematics.

            Yes, two 8A8D AGM. In the bilges. Well, a foot above.

          • BTW stay off airplanes. They’re loaded with LIons. And, how could they ever control the charging?

          • So someone who has a degree in Mathematics is attempting to tell someone who holds a degree in Electrical Engineering that they know more.

            PlanetSolar cost $15 million euros and has 8.5 tons of Lithium-ion batteries in its hulls. It has a 93.5kW solar generator that operates at 18.8% efficiency. It’s battery voltage is 338V. So outside of the batteries being below the water line and therefore cooled to some degree, how is it designed taking into account everything I’ve stated.

            8A8D AGm batteries are 12 volt batteries @25 amps they discharge in 8 hours. They are still not what is used in a house, I mean in a pinch we used them on the railroad when we couldn’t get the GNB’s for the crossings.

            They are still susceptible to thermal runaway, that one condition you don’t seem to understand.


            This is not a controversial topic, batteries that are taxed and or used will eventually find thermal runaway. It’s their chemical nature, of of the reasons why as a EE I had to had Chemistry. To understand these principles.

            I have yet to see your point, outside of you shouldn’t be installing or giving advise on battery backups and or solar power.

          • Airplanes use APU’s to generate electricity.


            Oh and it’s Li-ion, Lithium’s chemical symbol is Li.

            There is a reason you can’t place it in your checked bag.

            That is also completely and utterly a strawman.

          • Yes, they do have APUs, and LIon batteries. See 787. They had a couple of incidents… minor… as cockpit fires go.

            They also won’t let you check an oxygen generator.

          • Yeah ins 2013 they had cockpit fires that were investigated by the NTSB.

            “A report adopted November 21, 2014 by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that “the probable cause of this incident was an internal short circuit within a cell [cell 5 or cell 6] of the auxiliary power unit (APU) lithium-ion battery, which led to thermal runaway that cascaded to adjacent cells, resulting in the release of smoke and fire. The incident resulted from Boeing’s failure to incorporate design requirements to mitigate the most severe effects of an internal short circuit within an APU battery cell and the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to identify this design deficiency during the type design certification process.” The report also made recommendations to the FAA, Boeing and the battery manufacturer”

            Also known as FEMCA which I already asked if you required the documentation for. So outside of what I indicate occurs with batteries and proving me correct, you were trying to do what exactly? Prove that you know nothing?

            Well I don’t think you’re checking two large tanks that manufacture O2, nor could a person afford this. However, you can indeed check personal O2 concentrators. It’s no recommend given the rough nature in the way bags are handled and if you require that device you’re going to need one and not potential broken.

            Furthermore, O2 isn’t flammable it’s an oxidizer it feeds the fire. I guess you should’ve taken an Chem course in college. I mean I can manage to do Laplace, FFT and all other sorts of mathematical items along with chemistry. Yet, you someone with an alleged MS in mathematics can’t seem to do much at all, other than pontificate out of our vacuous 4th point of contact.

            Just an FYI again, there is no L on the periodic table, it’s Li. Clearly you just talk to hear yourself blabber on.

          • Lion an LiPo are generally accepted.

          • It’s an acronym and how acronyms are built is a form of jargon, and you know that, but you have convinced me, you certainly know all about Lithium in all its forms, flat, button, pill…

          • Nancy_Naive | August 19, 2020 at 9:03 pm |
            Lion an LiPo are generally accepted.

            Nancy_Naive | August 19, 2020 at 11:47 pm |
            It’s an acronym and how acronyms are built is a form of jargon, and you know that, but you have convinced me, you certainly know all about Lithium in all its forms, flat, button, pill…

            It is in fact not “generally accepted”, the notion that you believe otherwise and further testament to you not having a clue what you’re talking about.

            Acronyms are not built from “jargon” they are built from the initial letters of words. Jargon has nothing to do with developing acronyms.

            “: a word (such as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term
            also : an abbreviation (such as FBI) formed from initial letters : INITIALISM”

            Well that’s fun, you know what you’ve convinced me of? That you’re incapable of having an intelligent conversation, that you lack any and all ability to admit you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you wanted to have a technical conversation that would require you to admit others have superior knowledge in topics than yourself, but you and your bosom buddy Larry again believe you’re Google Search trumps others educations.

            You engage in fallacies when you’ve been bested, because you lack the skills for formulate a coherent argument. All in all you offer nothing of substance to this board or society in general.

  9. Nathan ..
    You’re right about batteries and NN…!!!
    Battery technology has advanced very little over the last 100 years… are scientist working on it.. heck yes, if someone comes up with a good battery they will make more money than Bill Gates… and it may never happen… the rare earth elements presently used are expensive and toxic,,, and there are technical limitations… electric cars sound great, but wait until you have to pay for a new battery for one…
    And blaming Republicans for battery issues is beyond crazy…

  10. Haner. Why the gratuitous comment about solar? How is that relevant to my statement where I did not mention renewables. Do you talk to yourself a lot?

  11. If one looks back – it’s not uncommon to have outages – across the country. PJM came about because of one.

    It boggles the mind that we have folks who are opposed to a fuel source for electricity that is low polluting and low cost because it is not “reliable”.

    I just point out that all the other fuel sources, gas, coal and nukes also would also be “unreliable” if not for the extensive infrastructure we built so they are reliable. We blast off mountaintops for coal and set up supply logistics to get it to coal plants. Ditto with gas – it comes out of the ground and has to go into pipelines that we had to build to get it to power plants. Nukes have their own issues on reliability.

    So wind/solar are newer and it will take additional infrastructure to incorporate them – no surprises there.

    Note also that California already uses quite a bit of hydro AND natural gas and both of them also have supply and reliability issues.

    No one source of power is without its issues.

    • I am in no way opposed to using renewable energy sources. If fact, I am greatly in favor of it.

      What I oppose is setting hard time tables for eliminating fossil fuel energy sources when there are still major issues with continuous generation/availability of wind and solar energy.

      Solve the energy storage issue so that renewable energy sources are as reliable as fossil fuel sources on a 24/7 basis at a reasonable cost both economically and ecologically and I’m all in.

      In fact, I have my own idea for generating renewable energy and it would not rely on wind or sun – all it would need is a body of water with a more-or-less constant water surface elevation and a few simple mechanisms. I’m not going to tell you about it because at first blush it sounds down-right silly.

      • I agree with that and I think there is potential for solar to create hydrogen for “storage”. If that happens, it will dramatically change the way we produce electricity.

        • My idea does not involve storage. Barring mechanical problems it would produce 24/7. Some may think the generation units unsightly, but they’d be no worse than wind turbines.

  12. “These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” the Democratic governor said, adding that he was notified just “moments before” they started. “Grid operators were caught flat-footed,” he said.

    What a joke!”

    Yes, what a joke. And all as predicted here on Bacon’s Rebellion several years ago.

  13. interesting article:

    How much solar would it take to power the U.S.?



    • I’ll believe the environmentalists when green energy companies offer lower-priced electricity, after all the cost of renewables is allegedly lower than fossil fuel. We not only have crony capitalists roaming the halls of Richmond, but they are joined by crony nonprofits and startups. The public interest be damned.

      • What’s the cost of black lung? Storing radioactive material fo 100s of years? They all lie the lie of omission. The cost is ultimately in lives.

  14. Vepco, now dominion, almost went to rolling blackouts in the late 1970s because it was mismanaging its nukes. I know. I broke the story. Reed, this is not something new with renewable energy although you might see it that way.

    • It only became about renewable energy when Conservatives became climate skeptics… and suckers for fossil fuel hackery.

      • I’ll believe the environmentalists when green energy companies offer lower-priced electricity, after all the cost of renewables is allegedly lower than fossil fuel. We not only have crony capitalists roaming the halls of Richmond, but they are joined by crony nonprofits and startups. The public interest be damned.

      • Will you please tell me your definition of a “climate skeptic”?

    • Well, now they have random blackouts because of a lack of “right of way vegetation management”.

  15. here’s one: ” Climate change denial, or global warming denial is denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, including the extent to which it is caused by humans, its effects on nature and human society, or the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions.”

    My suspects are that most who are opposed to renewables are also climate skeptics though have not found definitive data.


    • I asked for YOUR definition of a climate skeptic. Are you not able to formulate your own thoughts?

      • Not even remotely, considering what he stated does’t coincide with the questions asked by the survey. He often seems to throw around the term science, but I’ve attempted to debate him on the topic and he concludes I’m just personally attacking him (when it’s pointed out he’s wrong).

  16. Well it pretty much reflects my thinking.

    My definition of a skeptic is one who doubts scientific consensus on global warming – who thinks the data is wrong or rigged… made up, etc and we don’t face a threat.

    how’s that?

    • So, am I a skeptic if I have no doubts at all that the climate of the earth is changing and that global temperatures are rising, but I do not think that man’s activities (apart from breathing) have as much of an effect on global warming as is claimed by the “scientific consensus”?

  17. Well, it’s pretty much in the skeptic camp if it is at odds with scientific consensus on the causes of global warming.

    I just see that as a variant rather than a distinct separate position.

    The entire point of the concern of the vast majority scientists about global warming is that it is a threat to the planet and us and it is caused by human activities.

    I don’t see it that much different than I did the Ozone Holes by the same groups of scientists. They saw a threat, thought it came from human activities and advocated changes which we did adopt and it does appear to have been a connection.

    Notice as we speak here that I’m not attacking you personally which seems to be a problem here with some posters – not you so far.

    • As far as scientific consensus goes, how am I supposed to take seriously a climate scientist (Stephen Schneider, part of the consensus) who, in 1976 wrote a book about how to prepare for lower food production caused by the coming ice age, and who, without any real explanation for his change in philosophy, became a full-on global warming fanatic during the 1990s/2000s?

      How am I supposed to take seriously a climate scientist (James Hanson, one of the consensus) who once declared that their would be a 6 foot sea level rise during the 1990s.

      There are scientists and there are alarmists – and in my opinion far too many members of your “scientific consensus” are more alarmist than scientist.

      I am all for reducing atmospheric emissions as much as we can within economic reason. I 100% support research which improves our ability to utilize renewable energy. I wholeheartedly support water conservation, cleaning up the environment, wildlife conservation and trying to save endangered species. I support taking every reasonable measure we can to recycle and to avoid polluting our environment.

      And yet, you’re going to label me a climate skeptic because I don’t fully trust, and definitely do not kow-tow to, a “scientific consensus” that has been so wrong about so many things over the years? Really?

      • Not every scientist is a winner but when more than 90% of them reach some level of consensus – I take it seriously.

        I do not see everything they say as individuals as the truth on high – never have but when a large number agree on some basic things – then yes.

        And yes, they can be wrong and have, but it’s sorta like science saying they can’t prove you’ll get cancer from smoking. Nope – but the consensus is pretty damn strong.

        The thing is if they are right – even just generally, we are talking about some pretty serious things to basically gamble on.

        • As you can see from my previous comment I am in favor of taking reasonable measures to reduce our impact on the planet. Where I depart from the “consensus” is when shrill alarmists issue specific dire warnings (we cannot even predict next week’s weather with any degree of accuracy); and, of course, when the issue is perverted and exploited by politicians in order to justify their latest wealth redistribution scheme.

          • I think you might be distracted by others rather than the consensus of scientists.

            The core thing here, absent all the external chatter by non-scientists is the consensus of science – for me at least.

            There are lots of issues with respect to what to do or not – and there are some loons on both sides but again – the core of the consensus in my mind is real and we’re foolish to discount it.

            I’m NOT of the view that we must get rid of all fossil fuels including gas. We need gas. We cannot operate purely on 100% renewables and, in fact, we probably can’t run a reliable grid with more than 40% of renewables.

            I’ve pointed out here many times that if renewables were so easy – every one of the worlds 10,000 inhabited islands would convert to wind/solar or nukes and the reaility is right now that 99% of them burn diesel for electricity (at about 3 times the cost of mainland grid electricity).

            We’ll know when solar/wind are truly viable when we start to see islands use them – at least as much as they can before they have to burn diesel.

          • words like “alarmist” and “wealth redistribution” are not middle ground words…by the way. They pretty much tip the hand.

          • Gee, I’m sorry if I “triggered” you with my words.

            “The sea will rise 6 feet over he next ten year” is not alarmist?

            And can you give me a better name for the process in which a government takes money from people who have earned it and gives it to people who have not earned it? Essentially, wealth is defined by how much money one has. Redistribution is the process of taking something from one or more locations/entities and placing/spreading it in/over one or more other locations/entities. Hence, wealth (or money) redistribution.

          • I don’t know about the 6 ft, but am about climate change.

            and the rest is standard right-wing fodder on a variety of issues involving taxes.. and you’re basically accusing scientists and politicians of bad faith as entire groups… geeze… guy.. off the deep end…

          • Actually, Larry, I’m only accusing politicians of bad faith – as an entire group. And I’ve tried to hide that.

            I’ve written nothing that can be interpreted as accusing scientists of operating in bad faith – unless the scientist is also a shrill alarmist.

            And if you think my views are off the deep end then perhaps you should examine your own.

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