Wind and Solar Fail to Reduce PJM’s CO2 Emissions

Wind and Solar Fail to Reduce PJM’s CO2 Emissions

With a tax on fossil fuel use discussed in Pennsylvania and Virginia, comes an analysis showing the failure of such efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the name of saving the planet.

Under a multi-state agreement known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Virginia already taxes electricity producers based on the amount of carbon dioxide they emit burning fossil fuels — particularly coal and natural gas. Efforts to withdraw the state from RGGI appear to have stalled. Pennsylvania officially entered RGGI on July 1 and will begin collecting a carbon tax next year unless the court challenges or Republicans seize the governor’s office this fall to reverse the state’s participation.

In both states, opponents of the carbon tax have shown that the rationale for RGGI has no scientific basis. That is, there is no climate emergency from which the Earth needs to be rescued. In any case, the so-called solution offered by RGGI will not make a difference in the weather now or in the future. So far, such expressions of common sense and reason have not been enough to derail a program that promises high electricity prices and job losses.

Forces that should read a recent analysis by David Stevenson, director of the Kaiser Rodney Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment in Delaware: Increased use of wind and solar power—climate-stimulants preferred alternatives to fossil fuels—may fail to reduce CO2 emissions in the interconnection service area Intermediate PJM between 2019-21 despite adding $1 billion annually to energy costs as a result of subsidies and taxes, according to Mr. Stevenson.

“Generating electricity from wind and solar are really poor technologies that no one will use without permanent government mandates, subsidies and huge taxes that add a billion dollars annually in energy cost,” Mr. Stevenson wrote. They are also unreliable, non-recyclable, have negative environmental impacts, have shorter production times than alternative energy sources, and take up a lot of space. If you don’t reduce CO2 emissions, why use wind and solar energy? “

Both Pennsylvania and Virginia are part of the PJM power grid, which serves 65 million people in 13 states — mostly in the mid-Atlantic and extending into parts of the Midwest. It is the largest such regional power grid, providing 22 percent of the country’s electricity.

Stevenson found that although CO2 emissions fell by 0.9 percent over the study period, the decrease was likely to be 2.5 percent but due to inefficiencies imposed on coal-fired plants. Subsidized wind and solar power facilities are put into operation before other sources but must be supported by fossil, nuclear and hydro fuels when wind and sunlight are not available. Coal plants’ efficiency declines when they have to go up and down to accommodate the vagaries of wind and solar energy, resulting in increased plant emissions.

Stevenson attributes the relatively small reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to the replacement of some coal-fired generation with low-carbon natural gas.

This lack of CO2 emissions reduction by wind and solar energy comes at a high cost. Taxpayers and electricity customers provide expensive subsidies of nearly $2 billion in 2020-21, or $1 billion a year, he says.

Stephenson said PJM’s wind and solar cogeneration grew about 30 percent during 2019-21, but still only equated to about 4 percent of total production despite more than a decade of mandates and subsidies.

So, pumping money into wind and solar energy has done little to transfer wealth from taxpayers and consumers to the climate industrial complex. Can residents of Pennsylvania and Virginia expect RGGI to do anything else?

Gregory Wrightston, a geologist, CEO of CO2 . AllianceArlington, Virginia, and author of “Inconvenient Facts: The Science Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know.

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