The wind has calmed down again in Europe. Unless you’re selling kites or umbrellas, you probably don’t care.
But if you’re a civil servant tasked with keeping your citizens warm this winter, you might be freaking out. In the climate-obsessed European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK), where a decades-long war on fossil fuels has caused a dramatic shift towards unstable energy sources and allowed the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s energy from suffocating, a growing dependence on wind power is still a source of angst.
As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “Wind speed in Hamburg has dropped to about 5 meters per second, or about 11 miles per hour, according to weather forecast site windy.com.” This wind speed is apparently the “minimum speed required for power generation”.
The Journal explains: “Speeds of about 15 meters per second, or 33 mph, are required to produce maximum power output.” Say again? The US Weather Service declares winds of 31 mph to 63 mph “gale”; So all those wind towers being built on the continent and in the United States require massive wind speeds to be fully productive? Who knew?
The sad reality is that our politicians don’t know this, and, it seems, neither do the people running Europe. Even as European countries race to destroy their economies by pandering to unrealistic climate goals, the United States ignores the devastating results.
EU countries have made every conceivable wrong turn in responding to their aggressive climate lobbies – making harmful decisions of exactly the type forced upon Americans via the Biden White House. The climate zealots in the Biden administration, who have baked global warming considerations into every policy plan of every federal agency, seem to have learned nothing from Europe’s entirely self-inflicted woes.
Europe decided a few years ago to move away from fossil fuels, betting on renewables like wind and solar to meet a growing share of its energy needs. Incredibly, today, the most consumed renewable fuel on the continent is wood, which, according to a team of climatologists, “emits more CO2 emissions than coal”.
Rather than producing its own natural gas or investing in nuclear facilities, Germany adopted the Energiewende, or “energy transition”, in 2010. This precursor to the Green New Deal led to an overreliance on renewable energy , causing increased coal burning and even more polluting lignite. make up for the lack of energy. It also ultimately meant a reliance on Russian gas imports via Nordstream pipelines. We know how it happened.
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 producing stable energy for its citizens.
Unfortunately, unable to live with this success, President Macron’s environment minister in 2017, in the grip of a climate crisis, banned all new exploration for fossil fuels, demanded a halt to all sales of gasoline-powered vehicles and diesel by 2040 and also announced that it would gradually close the aging French nuclear power plants to turn to renewable energies.
Consequently, investments in the French nuclear industry have decreased and today the industry, which provides 70% of the country’s electricity, is in crisis. More than half of the country’s reactors have been shut down for repairs and electricity production is the lowest since 1993. France now imports energy, its nuclear production has reached its lowest level in 30 years and it could there will be power outages this winter as demand increases. The price of electricity has been multiplied by 10.
The UK has also fallen in love with climate visionaries, ditching its incentives for investment in North Sea oil and natural gas in favor of wind power. Some 23% of electricity generation in the UK now comes from wind power, which, like on the Continent, has slowed down, reducing power generation.
Meanwhile, oil and gas production in the North Sea, which has been slowly declining since the late 1990s, has suffered not only from hostile offshore elements, but also from hostile regulations and tax regimes. More recently, the government imposed a windfall tax of 25% on UK North Sea producers, similar to a proposal launched by the Biden administration in response to rising oil prices.
Natural gas accounts for more than half of UK electricity generation; this additional tax will further reduce investment in the North Sea and will likely lead to lower production. Electricity prices are 78% higher than a year ago.
None of this should come as a surprise to European lawmakers. In August 2021, the wind also died, causing a power generation shortage in Germany, England and other countries and sending prices skyrocketing.
The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the energy crisis in Europe, but the war on fossil fuels has arguably been more destructive. Europe was facing shortages long before Putin invaded its western neighbour.
One day, when the world has made great strides in the ability to store electricity, wind and solar energy will become reliable energy sources. This is not the case today. To claim otherwise is to endanger people’s health and even their lives.
That’s why the UK is rapidly setting up ‘hot banks’ – places where citizens unable to pay their electricity bills can congregate to survive freezing winter temperatures. Imagine: one of the wealthiest nations on the planet threatened with frost.
If you are an American living in New England, imagining such a development may not be necessary. Democratic senators in the region are pressing the Biden administration to protect residents of the Northeast from suffering this winter as temperatures drop. The same lawmakers who backed the irresponsible pipeline veto and reckless reliance on renewables suddenly fear their policies will hurt voters.
It’s wrong. Biden and his fellow Democrats must realize the risks they run by pursuing an unrealistic climate agenda. If they don’t, voters will.
Liz Peek is a former associate of the large Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.
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