October 23, 2017
Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Washington, D.C. think tank, sent a letter last week to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt which was signed by 60 climate and health experts. It requested EPA to review its “Endangerment Finding” which EPA uses to claim greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are endangering the planet.
EPA's Endangerment Finding required that the agency determine whether or not emissions of greenhouse gases (from new motor vehicles) cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision.
This finding serves as the foundation for the enormous number of burdensome regulations EPA imposed on the auto fuel economy to the Clean Power Plan (CPP). EPA has used this finding and the Clean Air Act (CAA) to implement its war on coal and other fossil fuel.
Replacing fossil fuels?
A petition was filed in January 2017, which requested EPA to reconsider the data which contributed to findings that greenhouse gases needed to be regulated under the CAA. The petitioners are a group of household electricity consumers. This EPA plan seeks “…to replace current electricity generation sources primarily based on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas with so-called ‘renewables,’ principally wind turbines and solar panels.”
The petition states wind turbines and solar panels only provide power intermittently. In fact, it claims electricity costs will increase fivefold or more if the nation relies on turbines and solar panels.
We all rely on round-the-clock electricity supply. We know the wind does not blow all the time and it is dark half the time.
The petition claims that solar and wind sources provide less than 10% of the nation’s electricity. It cites California as a leader in generating power from intermittent sources. The California Energy Commission in 2015 published data showing California receiving 6% of its electricity from solar and 8.2% from wind. As a result, California’s average household electricity rate was 15.62 cents per kWh. The U.S. average per kWh is 10.31 cents.
The German example
Germany provides another excellent example of switching to wind and solar. It’s generation of electricity from wind and solar is approximately 30%. Germany’s household electricity rate in 2015 is 28.7 (34 cents U.S.) euro cents per kWh. The petition asserts the soaring price of Germany’s electricity is squarely placed on attempting to replace fossil fuels with intermittent renewables.
Common sense tells us there are days of light wind and heavy clouds in Germany. When those conditions occurred, the entire fleet of Germany’s fossil fuel plants had to be ready to go. The petition asserts, based on an experts’ report, that for “Every 10 new units worth of wind power installation has to be backed up with some 8 units worth of fossil fuel generation. This is because fossil fuel plants have to power up suddenly to meet the deficiencies of intermittent renewables…To avoid blackouts the government has to subsidize uneconomic gas and coal power plants.”
According to the petition, Germany spent up to 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion U.S.) in one year to subsidize its intermittent power projects.
Another example cited was a demonstration project in South Korea where citizens attempted to rely on wind and solar for electricity. For 97 households, the cost for wind and solar power plus batteries amounted to $125,000 per household. In addition to these costs, the South Korean families still had to have fossil fuel backup capacity.
The petition destroys EPA’s Endangerment Finding. EPA used three lines of evidence to support its Endangerment decision. The first line of evidence came from the basic physical understanding of concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide. The second line of evidence came from looking at historical estimates of past climate changes and compared that to global surface temperature during the past several decades. The third line of evidence was arrived from computer based-climate models. The first line of evidence or the Tropical Hot Spot (THS) theory that occurs in the tropics is bogus. There are data cited in the petition to invalidate the THS finding by EPA.
The petition claims that new research shows that the Tropical Hot Spot assertion is invalid. In fact, it says “These models, relying on an invalidated physical theory, all predict the Hot Spot. Proper analysis for more than 50 years of balloon and 37 years of satellite temperature data generated by five independent entities conclusively shows that the Hot Spot does not exist.”
Assuming this is true, EPA’s Endangerment Finding should be withdrawn.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.
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