Engineers have to play a task in local weather coverage
The von Biden government places great emphasis on climate change and has begun enacting executive ordinances that will affect national energy production. The state governments are also examining various mandates to reduce CO2 emissions.
What should leaders do?
One thing we shouldn’t be doing is pointless belt-wagon jumping and partaking in happy talk about renewable energy. Promoting your business all-in for a carbon-free America may make you feel good and climate activists feel good, but it doesn’t do anything to get us there.
We should educate ourselves about energy consumption and production and advocate for sensible technical solutions to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions that are implemented on a sensible and achievable schedule. Everyone wants to respond to climate change, but how many of us would like our solution to include vastly increased energy costs and decreased reliability of access to adequate electricity?
If you don’t believe these things can happen, look no further than California. Instead of technical solutions, California leads the nation in political mandates. California wants everyone to drive electric cars that are plugged into an electrical grid that is already struggling with reliability as California continues to add unreliable solar and wind power as well. Several cities in California have already banned natural gas connections in new buildings and have opted for electrical heat, stoves and hot water to put more strain on the grid.
Anyone who studies this problem from a technical perspective quickly understands that wind and solar power have inherent reliability problems. Solar panels do not work at night and wind turbines do not work when there is little or no wind. One solution to this problem would be a robust, affordable, high-capacity energy storage device. Unfortunately, our battery technology is not advanced enough to be the solution, and we don’t know when it will be.
Renewable energies must first be secured by conventional coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants. Since these systems cannot be put into operation immediately, they must be in constant operation and ready to fill any capacity gaps. The coal and gas plants are still backing up carbon while they are idle, and we are closing nuclear power plants across the country as soon as they reach the age for license renewal.
There are several exciting new nuclear power plant designs that are much smaller, more reliable, and safer than the old Westinghouse and GE designs of the last century. Nuclear energy does not cause any greenhouse gas emissions and has the highest power density of all technologies that we have. But politically, who has the backbone to be their champion?
The best solution is not entirely clear, but I do realize that I am trying, for better or worse, to address this problem at the local, state, and state levels. This will not work and is likely to be harmful. We need fewer politicians who signal virtues to the climate pressure groups. We need far more engineers, not only for design innovation, but also for a strong voice in policy making.
We need leaders and organizations who represent business interests at all levels of government and who advocate technical solutions that are implemented on a reasonable timeline. The US Chamber of Commerce addresses this through its Global Energy Institute, whose mission is to “unite policy makers, regulators, business leaders and the American public behind a sound energy strategy.” This is a good start, but I believe it is critical that our business leaders, chambers of commerce and other business representatives play a much bigger role at the state and local levels.
Don’t sit on the sidelines. Let yourself be educated. involved. This is too important to be left to politics.
Richard Randall is the founder and president of New Level Advisors management consulting firm in Springettsbury Township, York County. Email to [email protected].