New York State, helmed by a governor hell-bent on demonstrating his progressive-green bona fides, is propelling itself head-long into a wholly avoidable energy crisis. Con Edison and National Grid, the suppliers of natural gas service to the city and its suburbs, have either declared that they will not take on any new natural gas customers, or have warned that such a moratorium is imminent. The reason? They can’t guarantee sufficient gas supply to existing and new customers going forward. The cause? Cuomo and his state Environmental Protection Agency have blocked construction of new gas pipelines that would bring additional supply to the metro area.

Meanwhile, the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which provides a quarter of the metro area’s electricity, will shut down one of its two next year, and the other a year after that.

No more natural gas, and a giant crimp in the electricity supply, for arguably the most important city in the world (and the life-blood of the otherwise-moribund state’s economy).

So, what’s going to power, heat, and cool the city’s homes and businesses?

If you listen to Cuomo’s handwaving, it’ll be renewables, i.e. solar and wind.

There’s a bit of a problem, however. Wind and solar energy projects aren’t coming on line all that fast. A story in today’s New York Post identifies two 100 megawatt projects that have stalled out or been cancelled due to local opposition. Each of those would have generated 100 MW of power, or 5% of what Indian Point is currently making.

What’s the beef? Footprint, that’s what. Solar and wind energy are terribly land-inefficient. The Bear Ridge solar project in Cambria, NY, would eat up 900 acres to produce its 100 MW. Solar energy requires 75x as much land as nuclear power, and wind requires over 300x as much.

Renewables advocates will counter that it’s a big country, with a lot of empty space, and that the entire US power grid could be supplied by solar panels covering an area the size of Massachusetts (less if they’re concentrated in sunny areas, but then transmission becomes a bigger issue, with its own land demands).

Out west, where there’s a whole lot of nothing, such substantial land use would not be particularly difficult. However, in places like New York, the proof is in the real-world examples. The local oppositions to wind power are even worse.

I can’t blame locals for not wanting their towns and environs consumed in large quantities by solar panels and wind turbines, especially in economically-depressed upstate New York, which is on the governor’s “don’t care” list, unless cronyism offers an opportunity to tout some new initiative.

This is where the hand-waving utopia of renewables hits the hard realities of implementation. With so much land required to replace what’s being done with so little, and with NIMBYism (some of it actually justified) part of how things work, actually getting renewables up and running at the scales called for by the far-Left’s Green New Deal is going to be difficult, to put it very mildly.

That’s not going to deter our green politicians, though. They’ve already established that they don’t give a rat’s patootie for any opinion that runs contrary to their policy aspirations, and they’ve already established that they’ve no problem with making dissenters bend the knee. Should they accrue enough power to start implementing their Green energy ideas, don’t be surprised when they get eminent-domain-happy in acquiring the land for their power projects. And, don’t be surprised when they go after the most problematic holdouts and opponents with the government machine.

We are being sold a premise of “democratic socialism,” which suggests we’d have a say in how things work, but all the policies are already decided and foretold. To paraphrase the late comedian Bill Hicks, we will be free to do as they tell us, and we can vote to support the policies they’ve already decided upon.

Americans are ornery, and rightfully so, about incursions on their rights and their property. Unfortunately, too many are far less ornery about incursions on other people’s rights and other people’s property, and too many have been conditioned to accept that coercing others to see things their way and to do things the way they think they should be done is OK, if it’s for a “good cause.”

Solar and wind have been anointed as “good,” so the truncheons of the jackboot State will be wielded, should the Greens come to power, to “convince” all those who object of the error of their ways. I can’t wait to see how Cuomo handles resistance to his solar-wind fantasy. Maybe he’ll piss enough people off to produce an Australia-style rejection of green thuggery.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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