The survival of our way of life depends on energy reliability

The survival of critical infrastructure that supports modern life starts with reliable energy.  We must be the ones to call out the policies and the lies being told.

I was there at the new Department of Homeland Security when it opened its doors after 9-11 in 2003.  (Ten years later, I served Governor Susana Martinez as the Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Emergency Management and Homeland Security.) In 2003 my team was asked to consult with a lot of other smart people to develop a Critical Infrastructure Program for the 16 critical sectors in the U.S. Sandia Lab was hired to model the interdependencies of the critical sectors.  At the top of the list was and still is ENERGY.  Without it, the other 15 infrastructures that we rely on for modern life fail. There is no excuse for advanced countries like those below to experience a shortage of electricity or other types of power or severe inflation of energy costs. But failing we are. How many examples do we need to change our course?

Example 1: Remember last winter when California was forced into rolling brownouts in its quest for zero-carbon power ahead of other states? They were only at 27% of meeting their renewables goal, and the electric grid couldn’t function. You see, the grid wasn’t designed for intermittent energy flows like wind and solar.   

Example 2: On August 26th, the California Air Resources Board adopted new regulations effectively banning the sale of gas engine vehicles by 2035. 17 states have tied themselves to California’s emission standards, and New Mexico is one of them. Four days later, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to excessive heat and the electric grid. The Governor is urging residents and businesses to reduce the use of electricity to avoid additional power outages by not plugging in cars and major appliances between 4 pm-9 pm! Experts say that reductions in energy supply are a direct result of California energy policy making the grid unreliable by mandating renewables. How is it that government can require everyone to have electric cars in 10 years even though we can’t even plug them in today?

Example 3: Look at the disaster that is befalling the U.K. and the rest of Europe. The U.K. is announcing that energy could be rationed for years. Why? Gas prices for the UK are more than 16 times higher than the average prices over the previous decade. Household bills for wholesale gas and power are due to increase by 80% a year from now even though the U.K. has large potential supplies of oil and gas. Countries like the U.K. and Germany are facing failure because they needlessly failed to provide for their own energy reliability and self-sufficiency. And the Biden administration is following the same path.  

Example 4: France is a little better off because its electricity has come from its own fleet of nuclear power plants.  It has generated 70 percent of its electricity from a fleet of 56 reactors, but 32 are now offline.  The French President says companies may face energy rationing this winter. The government is working on a quota trading system where businesses can buy and sell electricity to each other.  President Macron says, “The months ahead are just a step in the bigger transition that we need to make.” Boy, does that sound familiar.

Example 5: Germany’s impending disaster is one of its own makings, but with more variables. Angela Merkel announced her nation would close all its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, at the same time quadrupling down on the decarbonization of its economy. In so doing, Germany is left with relying more heavily on Russian natural gas while Putin is demanding EU nations pay for energy in rubles, thus undercutting the European economy on a whim. Germany now has the highest global electricity prices per household in the world, at ten times higher than the seasonal average for the past decade. To reduce the cost of electricity, the German government announced it will subsidize the use of more coal-fired power plants. Germany began its transition to green renewables 30 years ago, and now they are begrudgingly returning to fossil fuels — it claims temporarily. This situation of declining supply and radically higher costs is facing the US too. Could you pay a utility bill every month that is ten times more than last year?

Example 6: Meanwhile, China and India build a new fossil fuel plant every month to fuel their economy at our expense. 

The elite left yearns for a utopian future and doesn’t care about the costs faced by us-its citizens in the US and Europe. We saw it last month. Gas prices rose to $7/gallon in California, and Biden said it’s just part of the transition. The transition, though, will take 20-50 years, not 2-5.  Meanwhile, the energy independence and system reliability we enjoyed here in the US just two years ago slips away, and costs continue to rise. Failing we are.  

Anita Statman is the Vice-Chair of Congressional District 3 for the Republican Party of New Mexico and the President of the Santa Fe Federated Republican Women.