Executive Intelligence Review


Green New Deal Fiasco: Wind and Solar Worthless During Polar Vortex Freeze, Nuclear Needed!

Feb. 6, 2019 (EIRNS)—The record from last month’s deep-freeze temperatures in the U.S. Upper Midwest is that wind and solar “renewables” are spectacularly worthless in these latitudes. Andy Olson, LaRouche PAC farm leader in Minnesota, described the dysfunctional solar panels under the overcast skies, and motionless wind turbines, and said that people are talking of moving out.

On the bitterly cold day of Jan. 30, when morning temperatures in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota were -24˚F, the profile of wind energy electricity in use in the region was 4% (utilizing just 24% of its installed capacity), plus 45% from coal-fired power plants, plus 13% from Minnesota’s Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear reactors, which added up to 62%; the remaining 38% had to come from Canada and states outside the Midwest. The regional supplies are monitored by Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator.

The wind farms were knocked out, by fierce high winds from the cold front, because the bearings give out in the turbines. The solar panels were knocked out because of clouds.

Isaac Orr, a nuclear power advocate, gave the details on this in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Feb. 4, in which he urged keeping open Minnesota’s nuclear plants, and for the state legislature to give up a plan under consideration to double Minnesota’s mandate for renewable energy to 50% by 2030. In “Bitter Cold Shows Reliable Energy Sources Are Crucial,” he wrote that “The intermittency of wind and solar is a feature, not a bug, which is why Minnesota lawmakers should reconsider the wisdom” of relying on renewables.

Additional aspects to this winter’s big freeze under the polar vortex, there was not enough natural gas to meet the increased need for home heating, to the point that supplier Xcel Energy resorted to calling on households in a number of designated communities to turn thermostats down below 63˚. The lack of fuel supply and energy redundancy is already bad enough, but if more solar and wind systems are added, which means more back-up gas plants have to be added, at a time when the existing U.S. pipeline grid is already drastically inadequate and unable to supply the gas. An estimated 66% of Minnesota households were depending on natural gas.