Don Quixote, call your office. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act being rushed through the state Legislature before the session ends is yet another exercise in tilting at wind turbines.
Worse, given current technology, the act mandates what is physically impossible. The bill calls for an 85% reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions — from vehicles, manufacturing, agriculture, you name it — and “offsets” for the remaining 15%. The legislation also calls for the state to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2040.
Lawmakers might as well vote to repeal the law of gravity while they're at it.
Today, only about 15% of the 3,700 trillion BTUs of energy consumed in the state is electricity. The rest is fossil fuels.
Converting all of that fossil fuel used by cars, trucks, oil-burning furnaces and more will require huge increases in generating capacity. An average day’s electricity use would require 150,000 giant wind turbines.
There’s not enough available land in the state to even come close to siting that many wind turbines. Likewise, you could cover the state entirely with solar panels and still not generate enough electricity.
So where will the state get all of this power? From Canada? New Jersey? Mars? Is the governor going to decree that offshore wind turbines cover the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Key West?
Jonathan A. Lesser, PhD, is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the president of Continental Economics, an economic litigation and consulting firm.
Photo by lovelyday12 / iStock