President Joe Biden has claimed that the United States is in the middle of an “incredible transition” to green energy, but critics say that his administration is pushing the country too quickly toward that goal and driving up energy prices in the process.
On Thursday, Fox News reported that multiple current and former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) officials warned that the Democrats are switching the American power grid off of fossil fuels and exchanging reliability for green energy.
“When I was in FERC, I felt it was my foremost obligation, our responsibility for the oversight of the reliability of the grid,” former FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee told the media outlet.
“I think that we have prioritized decarbonization over reliability and, sadly, it is going to take catastrophic events to recalibrate things and recenter our focus on reliability,” he added.
Chatterjee also predicted that Americans might experience energy outages across the country in the coming months, adding to their economic woes already caused by high gas prices.
“Americans are already suffering at the gas pump, and I’m very worried that the combination of extremely high prices and the possibility of blackouts and brownouts is really going to bring home the fact that we have taken our eyes off of reliability, that in our zeal to decarbonize, we’ve lost that critical focus,” he explained.
Current FERC commissioner Mark Christie also told Fox News that recent changes to the federal natural gas pipeline approval process, such as requiring an analysis of climate change and greenhouse gas on the application, will have disastrous effects on the market. The updates mean that it will take longer for pipelines to become active, he explained.
Christie said that these updates are “a huge barrier to developing needed pipeline capacity to take advantage of our domestic resources.”
“Increasing gas production and supply cannot be done overnight and it requires more than drilling, it requires increasing the capacity to transport gas,” Christie added. “That takes sufficient pipeline capacity. Pipelines are the only realistic way to transport gas supply in large quantities from American gas fields to consumers.”
“Everybody has a good sense of where we want to go in terms of decarbonizing the fleet,” Midcontinent Independent System Operator Chief Executive Officer John Bear recently told the press.“We are moving in that direction. Unfortunately, we are moving in that direction quite quickly and I am worried about the transition.”
An energy economist at the University of Houston, Ed Hirs, also emphasized that there has not been enough investment into green energy for America to fully take the plunge.
“We’ve let our infrastructure decay to the point where we have these failures,” Hirs said. “Somebody has to stand up and start doing something. We have not even addressed what will happen to the grid when every two-car family switches to one plug-in Ford F150 [pickup truck] and one plug-in passenger car. The grid can’t even handle what we have now.”
For its part, The White House has doubled down on the need to limit fossil fuels in the economy as quickly as possible.
Heather Boushey, a member of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, recently said that high gas prices are a “priority” for the president, “but none of that changes the fact that for our national economic security, for our national security, we have to be thinking about all the different ways we can transition to green energy.”
WH economic advisor Heather Boushey: Biden has been "so clear" that he cares about lowering gas prices, "but none of that changes the fact" we need to "transition" to green energy pic.twitter.com/HJvPzTzH9z
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 22, 2022