New England has seen price increases, too. Rapidly transitioning away from a balanced electricity mix that once included coal has meant dire fuel security warnings from the region’s grid operator along with electricity prices now running almost twice the national average.
The same problems are cropping up overseas. Germany’s “energiewende” movement toward full-scale wind and solar power has driven German electricity prices to three times the U.S. average.
Japan is also seeing record electricity prices as grid operators warn that available power isn’t keeping up with demand. And even the UK power grid is showing signs of strain. Britain’s grid manager has already issued four warnings this winter, with power demand on the verge of exceeding supply. It’s an alarmingly common occurrence now that the nation has shifted to greater reliance on intermittent wind generation.
The Biden administration is taking office at a time of serious economic disruption from the COVID pandemic. The new president may be eager to roll out a comprehensive energy agenda. But the American people can ill-afford the hefty additional costs right now.
Families depend on reliable, affordable electricity. Yes, there’s great appeal to incorporating more solar and wind power in the nation’s electric grid. But the priority must be to ensure secure, affordable power for 330 million people. It would be a grave mistake to hurriedly abandon the nation’s current, diverse electricity mix in favor of costly power generation that could prove insufficient when it’s needed most.
Matthew Kandrach is president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a free-market advocacy organization.