New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich does a lot of name-calling and obfuscating in an opinion piece that appeared in the Albuquerque Journal today about the recently-passed Energy Transition Act. The Rio Grande Foundation has staunchly opposed mandates that New Mexicans must use more so-called “renewable” energy, but Heinrich is a full-throated supporter of such policies. Who is correct?
Here are Heinrich’s basic points minus the name-calling:
1) Electricity prices are dropping in 100% renewable Georgetown, Texas. That is false as this news story from earlier this year points out. Rates are up for consumers and the City is being forced to pay $6.5 million for renewables. Heinrich provides no real evidence for his point, so it is hard to even give his point credence when the evidence so clearly points in the opposite direction.
2) Heinrich also claims that Facebook coming to Valencia County, NM somehow vindicates “renewables.” This is just silly. As this article states,
Server farms require high-quality electric power, all the time. Wind farms and solar farms do not provide always-on power.
Because of this, even companies that buy renewable power equal to their annual consumption make use of whatever fossil-fueled plants keep the grid running in areas where they operate.
In other words, no matter how much wind and solar are produced around the Facebook facility they still rely on traditional electricity sources when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
3) Heinrich’s final point is perhaps the most pathetic. He counters a point about German electricity prices rising by making a misleading statement that “citizens are demanding their country take even bolder action to decarbonize their economy by moving away from expensive coal power plants and investing more – not less – in the clean energy infrastructure of the future.”
That doesn’t really mean anything, but how about those German electricity prices? Whatever polling says about German desires, the reality is that (as the following chart) electricity prices there are high and going up rapidly.
Worse (at least for Heinrich and his enviro group allies, “Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions have not declined as rapidly as expected in response to the vigorous expansion of renewable energy.”
It is sad when a US Senator is so wedded to his ideology that he simply ignores facts, but this is the world we live in.
5 Replies to “Heinrich swings and misses on Energy Transition Act”
Nice work Paul! If our elected officials would put a fraction of the time and effort that you put into learning the facts, they might save themselves the embarrassment of exposing their lack of knowledge by publicizing biased falsehoods. I’m not sure that Heinrich and the like do this by mistake. They don’t seem to be fans of the truth. Thanks once again for keeping the public informed.
If Senator Martin Heinrich had read my blog as I suggested, he would not have written his oped hit piece. During the two months of the legislation, I wrote eleven (11) articles explaining why the Clean Energy Transition as well as the Green New Deal were never going to work.
Here is my last and final article on SB489:
Inconvenient Energies – Not In My Back Yard.
Now that SB 489 is official, it needs to be physically implemented. In order to meet the clean energy requirements of the bill. A lot of industrial wind and solar farms with natural gas backup power generators and transmission lines have to be built at great expense all over our enchanted landscape.
These industrial wind and solar farms require a lot of building materials like cement, steel, resins, plastics, silicones and several finite rare earth minerals (from China). Also, land as far as you can see has to be acquired through leasing or purchase. There has been an increasingly aggressive opposition by local communities and conservationists trying to preserve wildlife and scenic views on the lands these industrial scaled energy farms require.
In 2017, Iowa enacted a law that prohibits the use of eminent domain for high-voltage transmission lines. The move doomed a 500-mile, $2 billion, high-voltage direct-current transmission line that was going to carry wind generated electricity from Iowa to eastern states.
This resistance is also happening in New Mexico with the SunZia project which will build two 1,500 megawatt high voltage lines running 520 miles from central New Mexico to carry wind generated electricity to western states. After ten years, this project is still in the courts because it requires a lot of private land easements.
On the same note, Oil &Gas (O&G) pipelines of all kinds also face staunch opposition from climate change activists. A key difference is that renewables require far more land above ground, 700 times more, to produce the same unit of energy.
Small nuclear reactors and micro reactors have the smallest footprint on the environment with the greatest amount of clean energy output. They can be built underground near existing grid transfer substations and plugged into the local, regional or national grids. However, there is this misguided resistance to all things nuclear.
So, where is New Mexico actually going to get it’s electricity when all energy delivery systems are not desired in our backyards? No coal power, no nuclear power, no hydro power, no thermal power, no transmission lines, no biofuel, restricted gas and oil pipelines and restricted drilling with fracking. SB 489 has all the answers. NOT!
Here what Senator Heinrich should be supporting. I thought the man was an engineer. I guess he skipped his physics class.
Next Generation Nuclear Reactors:
There is a nuclear renaissance occurring throughout the world, even here in the United States. Currently the US produces the most reactor net capacity of commercial electrical power (30%) worldwide with France a distance second. Based on the documented 55 Gen3+ nuclear reactors currently under construction around the world, the United States nuclear energy capacity will drop all the way down to 8th place on the list of countries that will out produce us. Of course, China will lead the world in nuclear energy capacity.
The primary reason for the nuclear renaissance at this time is the ‘fear of climate change’. It is so ironic that the ‘fear of nuclear’ was the primary reason for continued use of fossil fuels that eventually caused our current climate concerns. The shift to renewable wind and solar to address climate change will eventually have an unintended favorable consequence for more nuclear energy.
After a forty year absence from building nuclear reactors in the US, The US is still a leader in designing reactors for the future. The next generation, referred to as Gen4, are walk away safe small modular reactors (SMR) still based on solid fuel rods like the existing nuclear fleet except they are self contained, passively cooled, factory built vessels that won’t melt down.
Another Gen4 reactor design is the use of liquid fuel instead of solid fuel rods. These integrated molten salt reactors (MSR) are also self contained factory built vessels that never are refueled. After 10 years they are removed, placed in safe storage, and replace with another self contain reactor.
The US is now on a fast track with NuScale’s first SMR nuclear power facility (with 12 reactors) in 2026. The plant will be owned by Utah Associated Municipal Power System and could generate enough power for about 540,000 homes. Terrestrial Energy is also on a fast track with Canada’s first IMSR power plant.
While the Gen4 designs are scheduled for commercial use in the mid 2020’s, it is not until the Gen5, Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactors, scheduled for the 2030’s, that the existing unused nuclear fuel, also known as spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is actually addressed as new fuel and completely solves the long term storage issues. These MSR power plants will use existing SNF without reprocessing and will completely eliminate the nuclear waste stream.
Until such time, all the existing SNF should be consolidated at a central site for storage and a conversion facility built to re-configure or re-manufacture the SNF into new fuel for Bill Gates’ Terrapower or Ed Pheil’s Elysium molten chloride salt fast reactors. New Mexico is leading the way for this interim storage facility known as HI-STORE CISF.
First of ll remember who tutored Heinrich that would be T. Udall, you know the guy who hasn’t a real job in decades and always spews the same crap coming for the Democrats in Washington….remember when in doubt always use double talk to cloud the issue..
Our current NM delegation in Washington, Senate and House, constitute about our worst ever.
Cannot say much good about state government, either.
(“I do what the democrat leadership tells me to do”)
Supporting budget-breaking public unions and the end of educational choice. Despicable.
From a 50-year democrat.