How many movies have you seen where a pilot is heading toward a mountain and the co-pilot screams “Pull up! Pull up”! as failure to do so implies immediate and pending doom?
Gov. Gavin Newsom and company just pulled up in time to avoid one mountain while setting a direct crash course to a bigger mountain just beyond.
Gov. Newsom declared California is going to eliminate fossil fuel use including banning the sale of new gas-powered automobiles and diesel-powered trucks by 2035. He was wearing his superhero’s cape as he declared, “Let us no longer be victims of geopolitical dictators that manipulate … global markets.”
Our geopolitical dictator believes his declaration will force automobile manufacturers to speed up their transition to electric vehicles or miss out on the largest car market in the nation. His major “pull up! pull up!” statement? He was forced to beg and cajole electric vehicle owners to not charge their cars during the long heat wave because we don’t have enough electricity!
Next up, a bill by state Sen. Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara, was signed into law that will eliminate a significant number of oil and gas wells in the state by way of a de facto prohibition of the same operating within 3,200 feet from so-called sensitive receptors (schools, residences, parks) even though these wells have been so located in some cases for more than 100 years without incident or impact, which brings us to our next “pull up! pull up!” moment. California has already admitted we must import crude oil from South America to make up for the loss of crude oil production in this state!
Moreover, California had to postpone a regulatory death sentence on several gas plants that have served to keep the lights on and the air conditioner running while pretending to go all electric by way of renewable energy sources, namely wind and solar. Across California, nearly 80 gas-fired power plants helped meet statewide peak electric demand (supplying upward of 47% during the recent heat wave!). These plants include 65 combustion turbines designed to ramp up quickly to meet peak demand and more than 10 aging steam and combined cycle turbines now used infrequently to meet peak needs. Not only that, California, just last year added two ginormous new natural gas backup generators and had our utilities add dozens more!
Meanwhile, some local jurisdictions are now banning the construction of new gas stations while others are banning natural gas connections to new construction. It is certain that California has declared it can live without fossil fuels except that it is all a lie based upon a fantasy.
Our reality? California only keeps the lights on by way of a multi-state Western State’s energy consortium that shares electricity production from non-renewable sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro-electric, etc. The truth is California must import more electricity (and oil!) than any other state. We are anything but on our way to carbon neutrality.
The biggest “pull up! pull up!” move we have seen California make is a Hail Mary shot to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near Avila Beach from closing prematurely because somebody finally did the math and determined we can’t afford to lose 10% of our entire state’s energy supply in one fell swoop. Yet, there was no mea culpa that the only reason the San Luis Obispo County plant was closing prematurely was because of state laws and mandates (e.g., once-through cooling) that have yet to be repealed.
Primarily, Diablo was caught up in the same machinations as our oil and gas industry, being that nuclear power is not considered a “renewable” energy source, it had to go.
California had better learn to not keep getting ahead of its skis before this avalanche of stupid energy decisions engulfs it in a newfangled dark age.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.