President Joe Biden’s climate czar, Obama’s former Secretary of State John Kerry, flew his jet into Dubai for the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference to demand that no coal-fired power plants be built anywhere in the world.
In the meantime, China, which generates upwards of six times more power from coal than the U.S. does, is building or planning to build even more plants, with the new ones totaling more than the entire existing U.S. coal-fired fleet. And while communist China claims to have environmental laws as strong as those in the U.S., a well-placed bribe will get local communist apparatchiks to look the other way.
All the while, some 80 percent of mercury pollution in America comes to our shores from overseas — much of it from China.
The practical problem with Biden’s war on American coal — one of the few 2020 campaign promises he kept — is that even if the Biden administration is bending or breaking the rules to shut down American energy production, the effect goes far beyond regulations lawfully enacted. Investors hate risk.
People aren’t building new, efficient, clean American coal plants. Instead, they’re being shut down and replaced with unreliable wind and solar (much built in China by slave labor) that require massive Chinese-made battery farms to keep the lights on.
But new coal plants are being approved in China to the tune of a couple a week — and something tells me China cares not for Kerry’s scolding.
Affordability and Economic Considerations
Coal has historically been one of the most affordable sources of energy. Even with the decreasing costs of renewables, coal-fired power plants still play a role in keeping electricity prices lower, particularly in regions where coal is readily available. This affordability is significant for both individual consumers and industries, especially those that are energy-intensive. Higher energy costs can lead to increased costs for goods and services, affecting the broader economy.
Biden and Kerry want high energy costs. For them, it’s a feature, not a bug. The problem is that it increases costs on American manufacturing, leading to more things being made in coal-fired China — and then imported back to America — along with the fentanyl to numb the pain of a lack of prospects.
Want to see America’s future under the Biden-Kerry policies? Look to Gavin Newsom’s California. The Golden State had the second-highest electricity prices in the U.S. in 2022 (only Hawaii’s are more expensive), and this year through September, it still has America’s second-highest prices at 24.87 cents per kWh, more than double Texas’ price at 10.15 cents per kWh.
Reliability and Energy Security
One of the primary arguments for maintaining coal-fired power plants in the U.S. is their contribution to the reliability and security of the nation’s electricity supply. Coal plants are capable of providing baseload power, meaning they can consistently generate electricity at a steady rate, independent of external conditions. This contrasts with renewable sources such as wind and solar, which are intermittent and reliant on weather conditions. The ability of coal plants to supply constant power is crucial for maintaining grid stability, especially during peak demand periods or when renewable sources are less productive.
But America’s electric grid is getting perilously close to winter blackouts, with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warning a few weeks ago that more than half of the country is at a heightened risk of blackouts this winter thanks to a combination of high demand and deficits in regional power generation — the latter being code for wind and solar not being enough to make up for early coal plant retirements.
So when your lights flicker and your heat fails this winter, remember to thank a climate czar.