On Wednesday, the Biden administration released a blueprint for how America could increase its reliance on solar power in the next 15 years. The plan involves boosting the share of solar power generated electricity from 4 percent to 40 percent by 2035. This change, even the New York Times admits, “would require a vast transformation in technology, the industry and the way people live.”
While the Energy Department report claims that this surge of solar power electricity is possible due to a dramatic decrease in the cost of solar panels, it still would require trillions of dollars from all sectors of society — private individuals, businesses, and the government.
And the issue is more complicated than the Biden administration would like to admit. Trade disputes with China involving concerns about forced labor could slow solar power project construction.
Even more interestingly, Politico reports:
The report modeled several potential scenarios, including a “business-as-usual” future based on existing state and federal clean energy policies that lacks a comprehensive effort to wring carbon emissions from the power sector. Under that scenario, the study found that installed solar capacity will increase by nearly a factor of seven by 2050, driving down grid emissions by 45 percent by 2035 and 61 percent by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.
So why push to spend trillions of dollars when electricity emissions are already going to dramatically decrease by continuing on with a “business-as-usual” approach?
This report, while describing the increase in solar power needed to achieve the Biden administration’s climate goals, exposes how unrealistic and unnecessary these goals really are.
We all want a healthy planet, but preserving it does not need to come at such a tremendous cost to American taxpayers. There is already an appetite for cleaner energy and, as the report notes, renewable energy and solar capacity is already expected to increase dramatically in the next few decades.
Instead of spending even more trillions, the Biden administration should recognize that there are more efficient ways to encourage the use of cleaner energy. Improvements in battery technology are critical to making renewable sources a more significant player in our energy grid. American innovators are hard at work tackling that issue. In the meantime, the Biden administration should focus on solutions already available — nuclear power and carbon capture and storage. Nuclear power can provide cheap, reliable, carbon free electricity while carbon capture and storage works to decrease emissions from more traditional energy sources.
Combating climate change is a laudable goal, but the Biden administration should be sure to utilize all the tools in hand before forcing expensive, unreliable “solutions” on the American public.