Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the Democratic establishment by crushing incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary race in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
She successfully portrayed Crowley as out of touch with his constituents. “He works for corporations, and I work for people,” she said. But for all of Ocasio-Cortez’s woman-of-the-people claims, her energy politics are completely disconnected from reality. More important, they’re deeply regressive and, if implemented, would hurt the very same poor and middle-class voters she claims to champion.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Web site says: “In order to address runaway global climate change, Alexandria strongly supports transitioning the United States to a carbon-free, 100 percent renewable energy system.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned for Bernie Sanders, has endorsed the same all-renewable agenda that Sanders pushed in his failed bid for the White House. What is surprising is that for all her apparent political savvy, she didn’t bother to see if such a scheme is workable or affordable.
It isn’t. Last year, an all-star group of scientists thoroughly debunked the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor who, for years, has been claiming the US can run solely on renewables. In 2016, Sanders adopted Jacobson’s entire renewable scheme and made it his energy platform.
In a paper last June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists — including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, former EPA Science Advisory Board chairman Granger Morgan and Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme used “invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”
Those errors “render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100-percent wind, solar and hydroelectric power system.”
The scientists also concluded that Jacobson’s all-renewable proposal would require covering about 500,000 square kilometers — a land area larger than the state of California — with nothing but wind turbines.
The idea of covering that much land with wind turbines is preposterous on its face, particularly given that rural residents from New York and numerous other states are already rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind.
Furthermore, by endorsing an all-renewable scheme, Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, shows that she doesn’t care how the pursuit of that agenda will drive up electricity costs. Indeed, major renewable-energy mandates usually result in soaring electricity prices.
Consider Germany, which is pushing to have 80 percent of its electricity coming from renewables by 2050. According to a recent report by Agora Energiewende, a think tank that focuses on Germany’s energy sector, between 2007 and 2018, residential electricity prices in Germany jumped by 50 percent.
German residential customers now have some of the highest-priced electricity in Europe: about $0.37 per kilowatt-hour. That’s nearly three times the price of residential electricity in the US.
The high cost of renewables can also be seen in California, which has mandated 50 percent of the state’s electricity be sourced from renewables by 2030. In February, Mark Nelson and Michael Shellenberger of the Berkeley-based think tank Environmental Progress reported California’s electricity rates rose at more than five times the rate of electricity prices in the rest of the US between 2011 and 2017.
Californians now pay about 60 percent more for their electricity than residents of other states.
Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating Crowley. She has brought youth and intrigue to New York’s politics. It’s unfortunate that when it comes to energy, she’s pushing the same all-renewable hogwash that the far left has been promoting for years.
Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the producer of the forthcoming documentary, “Juice: How Electricity Explains the World.”