When we flip the switch, the lights come on without anyone thinking about it. This has only been true for the last hundred years in metropolitan areas, and for only approximately eighty years in rural areas with the enactment of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.
In 1935, only 25 percent of rural homes in the United States had electricity, and there are people alive today who grew up without electricity. Today, few people are even aware of the monolithic system that generates, distributes, and controls the electricity that flows with seeming effortlessness across the United States. This system is referred to as the grid, which is actually three grids covering the entire lower forty-eight states.
Over the past one hundred years, there have been only two area-wide blackouts affecting over 30 million people caused by a failure of the transmission system. There have been other blackouts—mostly caused by storms—affecting smaller groups, perhaps as many as several million people. Overall, the grid has worked remarkably well. Reliability can still be improved upon, but this is primarily a question of placing transmission and distribution lines underground to minimize weather-induced outages.
Suddenly, we are faced with a threat to the grid we haven’t seen before. It is a threat that can dramatically increase blackouts and the suffering that accompanies them. Some in leadership positions have viewed climate change as an existential threat to mankind and have implemented actions to eliminate fossil fuels from the generation of electricity. Some have claimed that wind and solar and other renew- ables can replace all the coal-fired, natural gas, and nuclear power plants in the United States. It can be argued that the actions these people are taking are making electricity more costly and less reliable, and placing Americans at risk for little or no reason. They are willing to gamble the safety and lives of Americans, as well as the American economy, on an ideology.
Our nation has suffered through a medical war fighting COVID-19 in which thousands died. As my neighbor said,
“The inability of our country to anticipate the corona- virus pandemic and put in place adequate reserves of all of the things we needed—PPE, ventilators, masks, tests, hospital beds, etc.—speaks loudly and directly to the need for reliable on-demand electricity and the need to plan for it right now.”
Imagine if Americans had to suffer through rolling blackouts while quarantined at home during a future pandemic. How would newly erected emergency hospitals operate without electricity, let alone our existing hospitals without diesel fuel or natural gas to power emergency generators?
This was brought home by an oped in the Washington Post. Quoting from the op-ed:
Residential use is up as workers and school children stay home.[Demand is down] in locked up restaurants, offices and factories.
Hospitals are a different story: They consume twice as much per square foot as hotels . . . lead schools and office buildings by an even greater margin. And their work couldn’t be more vital as they confront the novel coronavirus.
A grid operator, sequestered in his dispatch center in East Greenbush, New York, said it all, “Keeping the lights on. . . . It’s so critical.”3
There is little doubt there will be another pandemic. The only question is when. We must do what is needed to guarantee adequate and reliable supplies of electricity in preparation for the next pandemic.
President Trump recognized the vital importance of the grid when he issued an executive order on May 1, 2020, to protect the grid from foreign adversaries. He said the grid, “provides the electricity that sup- ports our national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastruc- ture, economy, and way of life.”
There is also an ideology that threatens the grid. This book will examine how federal regulators, state governments, utility companies, and the operators of the grid themselves are imposing their beliefs about climate change on all Americans and placing the grid in great jeopardy. Unelected bureaucrats and self-imposed intelligentsia are making decisions that place all Americans in danger.
Looming Energy Crisis will show you why we must continue to use fossil fuels and why we must protect the grid from the actions of those who are imposing their personal beliefs on the rest of us. Our objective should be low-cost reliable electricity available for everyone.
Reliability is a national security issue.
This content was originally published here.