Is extreme heat caused by climate change stressing the power grid this summer?

Jul 14, 2023
Welcome to The Charge!




In this week’s edition of The Charge, we feature public comments from Heritage Foundation analysts on the proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tailpipe rule that would require 60 percent of new cars sold to be electric battery powered by 2030. Trade experts Shanker Singham, CEO of Competere and trade fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Alden Abbott, senior research fellow in the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, join The Power Hour to discuss the energy side of trade policy. We remark on the positive scene of more than 100 students and young professionals gathering to learn about sound energy and environmental policy, pour cold water on “extreme heat” climate alarmism, and analyze President Joe Biden’s comments at a recent fundraising event in San Francisco.


We continue our “Ask the Experts” series, featuring Heritage senior research fellow Travis Fisher, who breaks down the current excess stress on the national power grid as Americans try to beat the summer heat.


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Powering the American Dream: A Conversation

with Harold Hamm

featuring Harold Hamm, Executive Chairman of Continental Resources,

and Kevin Roberts, President of The Heritage Foundation

Wednesday July 26, 2023, at 11 a.m. Eastern

Click here to register.

Ask the Experts

Q: Is extreme heat caused by climate change stressing

the power grid this summer?


A: Power grids across the country are feeling the strain from this summer’s heat, no doubt. But people are blaming climate change for just about every bad thing imaginable, even the weather, especially when the more direct causes are bad policy. That’s exactly what’s going on here—the fundamental problem is that policymakers are forcing a transition to ever-greater amounts of intermittent power generation, which causes two distinct challenges. First, relying on more wind and solar energy makes the power grid more susceptible to changes in the weather. That is true, by definition, because these resources have “fuel” that is dictated by weather patterns. Over time, reliable generators retire and grid reliability suffers. Second, the power grid can and should be more resilient in all types of extreme weather, including heat and cold, but policymakers and grid watchdogs are distracted. They are focused on meeting arbitrary goals like “100 percent renewable by 2035” and have lost sight of their most basic responsibility—ensuring a reliable grid at the least cost to everyday Americans.


Travis Fisher, Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation

The Power Hour


Talking Trade, Energy, and the Environment with Shanker Singham and Alden Abbott

In this week’s special episode of The Power Hour, hosts Jack Spencer and Rachael Wilfong sit down with trade experts Shanker Singham, CEO of Competere and trade fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Alden Abbott, senior research fellow in the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, to talk about their new book, Trade, Competition, and Domestic Regulatory Policy: Trade Liberalization, Competitive Markets and Property Rights Protection. Singham and Abbott not only explain how energy trade helps American consumers and industry, but also how it leads to better environmental outcomes. We also take on tough issues like free trade vs. managed trade, and how to balance the benefits of free trade with the costs of trading with countries like China.

Listen to the Episode!
Quick Takes


In Sweden, Young Leaders Weigh Conservative Climate-Change Solutions

Despite the constant deluge of climate-change hysteria broadcast to today’s youth, not everyone is falling for it, as demonstrated by the more than 100 young adults from across Europe who attended the New Direction Young Leaders Summit in Sweden last month to listen to conservative solutions to climate issues. Read CECE director Diana Furchtgott-Roth’s description of the summit in National Review.


Rather than listening to celebrities and elites telling everyday people to drive tiny electric vehicles while they travel the globe in private jets, summit attendees learned that, absent a vastly greater energy presence, the world will continue to rely indefinitely on conventional fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) for electricity. We need to recognize that Western “net-zero” policies do next to nothing to reduce global carbon emissions because many other areas of the world, including China and India, are increasing their emissions.


Furthermore, attendees learned how a wind and solar dependent power grid will cripple small businesses and impoverish citizens. Most importantly, attendees learned that building reliable, abundant, and cheap forms of energy through conventional fuels allows people to achieve levels of material wealth that lead to a cleaner environment.


Events such as the New Direction Young Leaders Summit inspire hope for a better tomorrow and show that not everyone is falling for the climate change hysteria currently in vogue.


In Hot News, Americans Really Aren’t Beset by “Extreme Weather”

Claims by the media that extreme heat is the leading factor in weather-related deaths falsely portray the summer heat as a deadly threat. According to The Federalist senior editor David Harsanyi, Americans have never been safer from the weather.


Weather-related deaths have significantly decreased in the past century due to innovations such as air conditioning. Today, more deaths occur due to extreme cold than heat, yet the media continues to circulate misleading statistical analyses. The Washington Post, for example, fails to provide any evidence to support its claims about the deadliness of extreme heat. Yet, in previous articles, the Post cited studies from the Centers for Disease Control and the British Medical Journal that contradict its own claims.


Relative to other deadly factors, heat is not a serious concern, especially with the health benefits that modern living standards bring. Cold kills more people than does heat.


Biden Blows Smoke on Prospects of Wind, Solar Replacing Fossil Fuels

During President Biden’s recent campaign fundraising visit to San Francisco, his actions directly contradicted his promises to balance environmentalism and cheap, clean energy production for Americans, writes CNSNews editor in chief Terence Jeffrey. Flying in Marine One between fundraising events is ironic considering the President’s insistence that Americans need to fly less and reduce their own energy use.


Biden spoke about his commitments to reducing deforestation and creating a 100 percent clean energy future by restricting human development and conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. Additionally, Biden claimed that by 2035 the United States will have 100 percent clean energy, and that he has a plan for installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the nation.


The facts indicate a different outcome. America’s planned energy production from wind and solar sources would fail to meet our energy needs in this 100 percent clean energy fantasy. In addition, the new and costly charging stations would lead to skyrocketing electricity prices. They would also require installation of thousands of wind turbines and solar panels, which contradicts President Biden’s commitment to reducing resource use.


The solar and wind future promoted by President Biden cannot support America’s energy needs, and the President avoids any discussion of how his unrealistic plan would proceed without harming the American way of life.

On the March: The Regulatory Crusade


Heritage Foundation Analysts Comment on EPA Tailpipe Rule

Analysts at The Heritage Foundation submitted public comments on the EPA’s tailpipe rule. If finalized as proposed, the rule would require 60 percent of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030, and 67 percent to be electric by 2032. According to Heritage Foundation distinguished fellow Steve Bradbury:


With these rules, EPA is proposing to interfere with and displace market forces on a massive and unprecedented scale, and the effects of these regulatory edicts on the American people and the U.S. economy will be disastrous if even one of the EPA’s many key supporting assumptions turns out to be incorrect…


It seems apparent that the EPA’s primary goal is not to improve environmental performance of new motor vehicles, but rather to force the industry to transform its production processes and to achieve an artificially rapid transition to zero-emission-vehicle platforms, such as fully electric vehicles, to the extent and on the schedule that President Biden and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have announced as their goals. Thus, the EPA’s proposed rules seem to be guided by and aimed at hitting goals that are more aspirational and political in nature; they are not legitimate standards based on an accurate and objective assessment of technological and marketplace realities.


Heritage’s chief statistician Kevin Dayaratna and CECE director Diana Furchtgott-Roth wrote that:


EPA has also proposed new rules for power plants, driving up the costs of the electricity needed to charge these vehicles. These rules would raise driving costs for Americans, and poor and middle-class Americans disproportionately would pay the price. EPA has not fully accounted for these price increases.


New electric vehicles cost more than gasoline-powered vehicles. The electric version of the base version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in America, costs an additional $26,000. EPA has not analyzed the effects of the increased costs of these vehicles.

Charging will also cost more. The new power plant rules will regulate carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gas emissions from both new and existing natural gas and coal-fired power plants, and require carbon capture systems or a switch to hydrogen fuels. Drivers will find it more expensive to use electricity for all purposes, including charging their electric vehicles, harming poor and middle-class drivers the most. EPA does not address its new power plant rules in this rule.


The EPA Strikes Back

Just as President Obama’s Clean Power Plan did for coal plants, the EPA’s new rule mandates emission-reduction goals that will be virtually impossible for fossil-fuel power plants to attain. This time, the main targets are the natural-gas plants, which have been responsible for a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions from America’s power sector since 2010. Many will shutter, and the remainder will pass the rule’s exorbitant compliance costs on to consumers.


The rule would reshape America’s power sector, but it almost certainly cannot be implemented. If the EPA’s goal is to end the use of fossil fuels for electricity and pave the way for renewables, this rule would not accomplish that. Like so many other misguided climate policies, the main effect would be to deprive Americans of affordable energy until, squeezed to their breaking point, they cry out for relief and the rule is repealed. The main question is how much pain and suffering the rule would inflict in the meanwhile.


Hence the final irony. The EPA’s new rule is more likely to impede a net-zero transition than to facilitate it. As French President Emmanuel Macron learned from the months-long “yellow vest” protests, and as President Biden learned when gasoline rose above $5 per gallon, once people’s energy bills go through the roof, the last thing they want to hear about is the dangers of climate change. Environmental protection is something that only rich societies can afford, and the EPA’s new rule would impoverish everyone.


Mario Loyola, Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation


Read the full article here.

Categories: Environment

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