Climate goals are at risk

Most of the facts stated  in this article are true.  The conclusions are not, nor is the headline.  Climate goals are already at risk, even if they build the transmission lines. The renewable technologies being installed cannot produce enough energy.  Additionally, transmission lines that carry renewable energy are underutilized making them more expensive per Megawatt-hour carried.  Transmission lines that carry large amounts of solar energy don’t have much to do at night and batteries that could help to offset that issue are extremely expensive.

Netscape Business & Money
Electrical grids aren’t keeping up with the green energy push. That could risk climate goals
By DAVID McHUGH, AP Business Writer
October 17, 2023

What the article fails to analyze or even mention are several issues related to the installation of the needed transmission lines.

Where is the labor going to come from to double the size of the world’s electric grid in 20 years, 50 million miles worldwide ? It’s taking California eight years to replace 1200 miles of cable.  Western Europe and the US are experiencing  labor shortages due to many years of falling birth rates and that has been compounded by deaths from Covid.  In the US, that has also been impacted by 260,000 deaths from drug overdoses in the 18 – 54 age group over the past three years.  Not only is the population not trained to do that kind of work, there are not enough people available to even train for the magnitude of the project in Western Countries.  The US is currently short 600,000 people in the manufacturing sector along with having an acute shortage of electricians.

Where are the transformers going to come from that are required to operate large transmission systems?  US utilities barely have enough transformers to replace ones damaged by storms, let alone having enough to double the size of the entire system.

Where is the money going to come from ?  If California were a country, it would be the world’s 4th or 5th largest economy so it has more resources than most countries.  It can’t do it so how are more impoverished countries going to succeed?

People can’t afford to put food on their table now and the way that they have structured the transition is going to double energy costs, diminishing public support for the effort.  If people don’t have energy, they will burn whatever is available for heat and cooking.  That includes wood, garbage, tires, or any other combustible substance, all of them with much higher carbon footprints than natural gas or oil.

What the premise of the article does highlight is where NY State needs to apply the limited resources that it has.

First, it should encourage a company to build a transformer factory in upstate NY because the demand is certainly there.  It can help to offset the dashed expectations of the battery manufacturer that just pulled out of the state because it had no resources.

Second, if it expects EV’s to be viable in 12 years, it has to add a lot of transmission and distribution lines to make charging viable.  With limited labor resources being squandered on electric buildings, that is not going to happen because fifteen years to install one power cable from Canada to NY City doesn’t provide a great deal of encouragement that this will be accomplished by 2035, twelve years away.


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