Europe’s climate obsession could be deadly | Popgen Tech
The wind has died down again in Europe. Unless you sell kites or umbrellas, you probably don’t care.
But if you’re a public official responsible for making sure your citizens stay warm this winter, you may be panicking. In the climate-obsessed European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK), where a decade-long war on fossil fuels has caused a radical shift to unstable power sources and enabled Russian President Vladimir Putin’s energy stranglehold, a growing dependence on wind power. again a source of anxiety.
As the Wall Street Journal recently reported: “Wind speeds in Hamburg dropped to about 5 meters per second, or about 11 miles per hour, according to weather forecasting website windy.com.” That wind speed is apparently the “minimum speed required for electricity generation.”
The Journal explains, “Speeds of about 15 meters per second, or 33 mph, are required to produce maximum power generation.” come again The U.S. Weather Service declares winds of 31 mph to 63 mph “storm force”; so, all those wind towers being built on the mainland and in the US require massive wind speeds to be fully productive? Who knew?
The sad fact is that our politicians don’t know, and it seems neither do the people running Europe. Even as European countries rush to destroy their economies by implementing unrealistic climate goals, the US ignores the devastating results.
EU countries have made every imaginable wrong turn to allow their aggressive climate lobbies to make harmful decisions of exactly the kind being forced on Americans via the Biden White House. The climate zealots in the Biden administration, who have stuffed global warming considerations into every policy plank of every federal agency, seem to have learned nothing from Europe’s entirely self-inflicted misery.
Europe decided a few years ago to move away from fossil fuels and rely on renewable energy such as wind and solar power to meet an increasing share of their energy needs. Incredibly, today the most consumed renewable fuel on the continent is wood, which according to one team of climate scientists “releases more CO2 emissions than coal.”
Rather than producing its own natural gas, or investing in nuclear facilities, Germany adopted Energiewende, or “energy transition”, in 2010. That Green New Deal precursor led to over-reliance on renewable energy, resulting in increased burning of coal and even dirtier lignite. energy shortages stop. It also ultimately meant relying on Russian gas imports via the Nordstream pipelines. We know how it turned out.
France wisely became the continent’s largest energy exporter by investing in nuclear power plants after the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, a decision that sharply reduced its emissions while also providing stable energy to its citizens.
Unfortunately, unable to live with that success, President Macron’s environment minister in 2017, in the throes of a climate pass, banned new fossil fuel exploration, demanded that all gas and diesel-powered vehicle sales end by 2040 and also announced that he will gradually shut down France’s aging nuclear plants to turn to renewable energy.
As a result, investment in France’s nuclear industry has waned and today the industry, which supplies 70 percent of the country’s electricity, is in crisis. More than half the country’s reactors have been offline for repairs, and power output is the lowest since 1993. France is now importing energy, its nuclear power output has hit a 30-year low and there could be blackouts this winter as demand rises . The price of electricity has increased tenfold.
The UK has similarly fallen under the spell of climate visionaries, abandoning its encouragement of North Sea oil and natural gas investment in favor of wind power. About 23 percent of power production in the UK now comes from wind – wind which, like on the mainland, has slowed down, reducing electricity output.
Meanwhile, North Sea oil and gas production, which has been slowly declining since the late 1990s, has endured not only hostile offshore elements but also hostile regulations and tax regimes. Most recently, the government slapped a 25 percent windfall tax on Britain’s North Sea producers, similar to a proposal mooted by the Biden administration in response to rising oil prices.
Natural gas accounts for more than half of the UK’s electricity production; this extra tax will further reduce investment in the North Sea and likely lead to lower production. Electricity prices are 78 percent higher than a year ago.
None of this should come as a surprise to European lawmakers. In August 2021, the wind also died down, causing a shortage of electricity production in Germany, England and other countries and driving prices through the roof.
The war in Ukraine exacerbated Europe’s energy crisis, but the war on fossil fuels was arguably more destructive. Europe had deficits long before Putin invaded its western neighbor.
One day, when the world has made great advances in the ability to store electricity, wind and solar power will be reliable sources of energy. This is not the case today. To pretend otherwise is to endanger people’s health and indeed their lives.
That’s why the UK is rapidly setting up “warm banks” – places where citizens who can’t pay their electricity bills can gather to survive winter’s freezing temperatures. Imagine: one of the richest nations on earth is at risk of freezing.
If you are an American living in New England, it may not be necessary to imagine such a development. Democratic senators from the region are pushing the Biden administration to protect Northeasters from hardship this winter as temperatures drop. The same lawmakers who supported the irresponsible veto of natural gas pipelines and reckless reliance on renewable energy suddenly worry that their policies could hurt voters.
That’s wrong. Biden and his Democratic colleagues need to wake up to the risks they are running in pursuing an unrealistic climate agenda. If they don’t, voters will.
Liz Peek is a former partner at the Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.