Article written by Alex Epstein, Founder of Center for Industrial Progress (01/28/21). Used with permission.
Joe Biden’s escalating bans on domestic fossil fuel production, combined with mandates of unreliable solar and wind overwhelmingly produced by unreliable China, are an existential threat to our energy security and therefore our national security.
In the last decade, America has achieved unprecedented energy security thanks to domestic, reliable energy production from coal and especially from oil and natural gas unlocked from abundant, once-useless shale deposits via “fracking.”
While we are taught to take energy security for granted, that is a huge mistake. In the 1970s, thanks in large part to a lack of domestic energy production, we suffered two enormous energy crises that ground life to a halt. Endless gas lines, unheated schools, blackouts, etc.
Energy security is national security. When hostile foreign powers can meaningfully cut off our access to energy, they can manipulate us politically. Energy security is national security, above all in wartime. War requires continuous high-energy manufacturing and continuous fueling of high-energy mobile machines such as planes and aircraft carriers. Both world wars were won by the side with the most oil, the fuel of mobility.
In past administrations, even Presidents who campaigned against oil quickly learned that it’s irresponsible to stop oil production. Obama ran on ending “the tyranny of oil” but later bragged: “America’s like the biggest oil producer…that was me, people.” But Biden is different.
Joe Biden’s early moves are centered around destroying any fossil fuel production and transportation he can get his hands on. His later moves promise to be mandates of unreliable solar and wind. This is a recipe for unprecedented energy insecurity.
Destroying fossil fuel production and mandating unreliable solar and wind will cause unprecedented energy insecurity in two ways: 1) making domestic energy unreliable, 2) depending on unreliable countries, above all China, for solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries.
The most obvious way in which Biden’s policies will cause energy insecurity is that by outlawing fossil fuels, mandating unreliable solar/wind, and failing to decriminalize nuclear, he will turn America into a third-world grid.
Unreliable solar and wind are failing around the world. Germany pays 3X US prices to get 1/3 of electricity from solar and wind. UK rising prices are causing more people to die of cold, with “energy poor” people trying to stay warm by huddling in libraries and buses all day.
As bad as solar and wind are for electricity, they’re even worse for mobility, which is dominated by oil. Even if solar/wind could reliably charge still-expensive small electric vehicles (EVs), there is no EV for large mobile machines like planes and cargo ships, let alone a cost-effective one.
As bad as solar and wind are for electricity, they’re even worse for widely overlooked “industrial process heat”–the high-temp heat we need to make steel, plastics, and cement. Even reliable, cheap electric heat is often 4X more expensive than natural gas or coal heat.
Banning domestic production of fossil fuels and relying on “unreliables” means frequent blackouts, skyrocketing electricity prices, and increasing imports + shortages of the fossil fuels that mobile and industrial heat machines will run on for many decades to come.
On top of making our energy insecure by making it unreliable and unaffordable, Biden’s plan to rely on solar and wind will make our energy even more insecure because it will overwhelmingly rely on materials and machines that will be made by China and other problematic countries.
Biden and his team seem to be completely clueless as to how solar, wind, and batteries will be produced for the foreseeable future. That production will be dominated by China, which dominates the mining of materials, processing of materials, and cheap manufacturing.
China dominates the mining and processing of “renewable” materials to a staggering degree. The US does little mining or processing of the needed materials, largely because of “green” regulations. Our dependence on China for “renewables” dwarfs past Mideast oil dependence.
Not only does China dominate mining and processing of “renewable” materials, but it also dominates its manufacturing thanks to low-cost fossil-fueled factories–the kind Biden wants to ban. Biden’s “Fact Sheet” promise to buy “Made in America” is total fiction.
Now that Joe Biden is destroying US fossil fuel projects, John Kerry says the unemployed workers “can be the people that go to work to make the solar panels.” But solar panel makers will remain in China–because China’s mines and factories are cheaply powered by fossil fuels.
As the Biden administration acts to destroy US energy security, China, Russia, and others continue to pursue fossil fuel projects around the world. They know that if they have low-cost, reliable, versatile energy and we don’t, the global balance of power will shift.
The best policy for energy security and everything else is energy freedom. Liberate all forms of energy, including nuclear–which the “climate crisis” crowd continues to criminalize, despite it being the only scalable way to produce non-carbon electricity.
Joe Biden was pitched as a guy who could not do very much harm. But on energy, his policies are quite concerning. His energy policy threatens the security of this nation, which is an incomparably greater threat than climate change (real not remotely catastrophic).