No to Biden’s green energy colonialism

Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Frank Franklin II/AP

No to Biden’s green energy colonialism

The people of many African countries are accustomed to frequent electricity blackouts. But President Joe Biden was here to remind them last week that it could be worse. In fact, he intends to make it so and proposes bribing them to let blackouts become a permanent feature of their lives.

At the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington, Biden pledged $8 billion in public and private financing to make South Africa shut down its coal mining and coal power generation industries, which provide 77% of the nation’s power. He wants them to put up windmills and solar panels instead, and he promised further funding for neighboring countries with similarly fragile economies where such a transition is equally inappropriate.

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If Biden wanted to make electricity less reliable for millions of people, he could hardly do better. These are people whose food supplies are unreliable and who are ill-advised to take measures that would make them even more secure.

Think about it; even California, one of the richest U.S. states, can’t keep the lights on consistently because it has made foolish extreme-green decisions to eliminate carbon and, supposedly, tackle climate change. What are the chances that South Africa, which according to the World Bank already experiences nearly eight outages per month, will do better?

It is, of course, ordinary people who will suffer, not well-connected government officials and contractors who will pocket Biden’s cash. It’s easy for the elites to give up everybody else’s most reliable source of electricity. And it is highly unlikely that the billions of dollars will be spent in one of the world’s most notorious kleptocracies on the goods for which it is intended.

The biggest problem with renewable or so-called green energy is that it is not reliable. The sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. This means renewables produce electricity randomly, not when it is needed. There does not exist a suitable, cost-effective technology to store enough electricity to make up for this defect. This means wind and solar cannot be more than a supplementary source of generating capacity.

The more dependent a grid is on such intermittent sources of power, the greater the likelihood of dangerous problems. This was illustrated in February 2021, when electrical utilities in Texas accidentally cut power to natural gas producers at a time of high demand. When the gas failed, there was no other source of power that could carry the load. The 28% of the state’s generation capacity represented by heavily subsidized wind and solar was useless under the circumstances. At the crucial moment, it may as well not have existed at all. This left 4 million people without power (and without gas) amid brutal winter weather. It proved fatal for many people.

The Biden administration and the Left are bullying Africans with green colonialism. What they really need is development — reliable and affordable energy so they can grow their economies and raise their people’s standard of living.

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