At the forefront of President Biden’s unveiled infrastructure plan is an alarming push to impose the green energy policies of the left onto American citizens. Since the days of his presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden has advocated for a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. Thrilled to have the chance to shove through their Green New Deal utopia, Biden and congressional Democrats want to push for a renewables-only world. This is simply bad policy. One such example is the Democrats’ CLEAN Future Act, which would require retail electricity suppliers to provide electricity with zero carbon emissions by 2035, only 14 years from now. It is impossible for electricity suppliers to provide consistent electricity on renewable sources alone, especially in such a short timeframe. Instead, we should be advancing an “all-of-the-above” energy approach, rooted in a diverse portfolio of energy sources that are not only sustainable, but reliable and affordable, and also enhance our energy security.
Democrats’ renewables-only push is fraught with problems. Take for example California, which faced emergency outages due to an inadequate power supply during wildfires and heat waves last summer. California is heavily reliant on solar and wind power for its electricity needs that cost consumers a pretty penny. California’s blackouts started as the sun went down and solar power was no longer an option.
If our whole nation were to turn to California’s policies, as Biden and Democrats would like us to do, we would have few-to-no domestic alternatives when these sources fail due to sunsets, bad weather, or unpredictable circumstances. Still California, and Joe Biden, continue to push for renewable-only energy solutions—a leftist vision most Americans cannot afford.
California’s overreliance on renewables is not a viable solution for the state or our nation as a whole. We need to turn to a better solution—an “all-of-the-above” energy approach. To implement this approach, we need to look at all energy sources, not just solar and wind, but natural gas, nuclear energy, clean coal, hydroelectric power, hydrogen, and new energy technologies. When combined as a wholistic energy offering, these sources become far more affordable to the American consumer than renewable energy alone and provide a more viable, realistic path toward a cleaner energy future. Unlike an overreliance on renewable energy, an “all-of-the-above” approach provides consumers with alternatives should renewable sources fail. As a bonus, these alternatives tend to be more cost-effective as well.
Arizona’s major electric companies, Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project, and Tucson Electric Power are examples of providers that are utilizing multiple sources of energy to serve customers. Just outside my district is the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, a large nuclear power facility, operated by APS. This nuclear generating facility is the largest power producer by net generation in the country and produces clean, carbon free energy. There is growing bipartisan support for nuclear energy, an energy source that is reliable and cost-effective. According to the Department of Energy, nuclear energy has the highest capacity factor of any other energy source by a longshot. Nuclear power plants operate at their maximum power more than 93% of the time each year, more than 1.5 times the next leading energy source.
One of the most critical benefits of an “all-of-the-above” approach is that it maintains our energy security and national security. If our nation stops domestically producing energy through traditional sources that do not fall under the Green New Deal wish list, America will have to turn to countries like Venezuela and Russia for our energy needs, making us more reliant on foreign adversaries.
Democrats and the Biden Administration need to rethink their Green New Deal strategy of a renewables-only future. An “all-of-the-above” energy approach promotes a cleaner energy future without sacrificing reliability, affordability, or our national security. We need to invest in a wholistic energy approach if we want to be smart about our nation’s energy future.
• U.S. Representative Debbie Lesko, Arizona Republican, represents the 8th Congressional District. She serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.