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NBC News Inadvertently Exposes Big Government Climate Folly

An NBC News item on lost solar energy inadvertently exposes the folly of big-government climate policies such as the Green New Deal, and building mandates. The report also exposes the extent to which the market does not actually support an electrification agenda.

Watch as correspondent Liz Kreutz explains curtailment, which is basically solar energy that is lost for lack of storage space or transmission capacity, and how people in California reacted to a reduction in government incentives for residential solar installation:

LIZ KREUTZ: In recent years the amount of renewable energy curtailed, most of it solar, has skyrocketed, both from oversupply and so-called congestion, when there’s more electricity than the transmission lines in some areas can handle. So far this year the state has already lost out on nearly 2.6 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity, more than enough to power all the households in San Francisco for a year. To solve the problem, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration has been pushing to add more batteries to store that excess energy. And state regulators have taken a more controversial approach, drastically cutting financial incentives for homeowners looking to install solar.

ED MURRAY: Before we used to have people clamoring to put solar on.

KREUTZ: Ed Murray, who operates Aztec Solar outside Sacramento, says the impact has been devastating for his business. He’s laid off ten employees over the last year.

MURRAY: We were left figuring out how-  what do we do now.

KREUTZ: Since the changes, there’s been a 66% drop in residential solar installations and an estimated 17,000 green jobs lost statewide. To make it cost-effective, homeowners now need to install batteries in addition to solar panels. But that can cost an additional $10,000 to $20,000 or more. In a statement, Governor Newsom defended the state’s policies saying in part “No other state in America comes close to California’s solar production, and now we’re adding more batteries faster than ever to help capture that energy to use at night.” 

Do you think California will be able to meet its 2045 clean energy goal?

MURRAY: Absolutely not. No way we’re going to get there without rooftop solar.

KREUTZ: New challenges casting a shadow on the path to a renewable future. Liz Kreutz, NBC News, Folsom, California.

The “new challenges casting a shadow” on fulfillment of the green agenda are actually old and persistent. And they boil down to the market. Basic supply and demand.

People went along with installation of solar panels so long as the government incentives flowed freely from California’s state coffers. People didn’t really care or think about curtailed, or lost, power. But once the taxpayer money dried up, they stopped buying solar panels, which rippled across the solar rent-seeking economy. Furthermore, in order to maximize efficiency, they have to pony up an extra 10-20 thousand dollars, which in this economy might not be so accessible.

The report exposes that without appropriate storage capacity the potential of solar power is not fully realized, as well as the folly of government mandates. One imagines the disaster if something like the Green New Deal were to become the law of the land, with its requisite mandates. 

In hyping the green agenda, NBC News exposed its potential downfalls.

Click “expand” to view the transcript of the aforementioned report as aired on NBC Nightly News on Monday, July 8th, 2024:

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS

7/8/24

6:49 PM

LESTER HOLT: Solar power has been hailed as clean, renewable and abundant. But why is California throwing so much of it away? Liz Kreutz now on the controversial impact it’s having on homeowners and jobs.

LIZ KREUTZ Across California it’s a common sight. Rows of suburban homes topped with solar panels. But as the state works toward its ambitious clean energy vision, an almost counterintuitive problem has emerged. California is at times generating too much solar, meaning loads of good clean energy is going to waste. Since solar power relies on the sun, it’s often the middle of the day on days when it’s not too hot that you can run into this issue of essentially having too much solar. People aren’t home. They’re not running their ACs. And the system can generate more than the state can use. 

This imbalance has been dubbed “the duck curve”. Its belly, the time of day when solar production can exceed demand.

So that’s the duck curve?

ELLIOTT MAINZER: That’s the duck curve. Yeah. There it is.

KREUTZ: Inside California’s independent grid operator, CEO Elliott Mainzer showed us how they manage the state’s electricity in real time.

There is solar energy right now that’s essentially being thrown away.

MAINZER: You know, the bottom line is there are times when we do not have the demand for electricity for the full production of the solar fleet. Sometimes we’re able to export it, and there are those times under certain extreme conditions when we do have to curtail it.

KREUTZ: When you say curtail you mean throwing it away?

MAINZER: We say sending dispatch instructions to those fleets to reduce their generation, yes.

KREUTZ: In recent years the amount of renewable energy curtailed, most of it solar, has skyrocketed, both from oversupply and so-called congestion, when there’s more electricity than the transmission lines in some areas can handle. So far this year the state has already lost out on nearly 2.6 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity, more than enough to power all the households in San Francisco for a year. To solve the problem, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration has been pushing to add more batteries to store that excess energy. And state regulators have taken a more controversial approach, drastically cutting financial incentives for homeowners looking to install solar.

ED MURRAY: Before we used to have people clamoring to put solar on.

KREUTZ: Ed Murray, who operates Aztec Solar outside Sacramento, says the impact has been devastating for his business. He’s laid off ten employees over the last year.

MURRAY: We were left figuring out how-  what do we do now.

KREUTZ: Since the changes, there’s been a 66% drop in residential solar installations and an estimated 17,000 green jobs lost statewide. To make it cost-effective, homeowners now need to install batteries in addition to solar panels. But that can cost an additional $10,000 to $20,000 or more. In a statement, Governor Newsom defended the state’s policies saying in part “No other state in America comes close to California’s solar production, and now we’re adding more batteries faster than ever to help capture that energy to use at night.” 

Do you think California will be able to meet its 2045 clean energy goal?

MURRAY: Absolutely not. No way we’re going to get there without rooftop solar.

KREUTZ: New challenges casting a shadow on the path to a renewable future. Liz Kreutz, NBC News, Folsom, California.

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