Between the lines: The Green New Deal

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

By Gwen Kautz, General Manager
gkautz at dawsonpower.com
308-324-2386

If you haven’t caught the news reports, you may have missed one of the most audacious and ridiculous plans unfold via a newly elected official. I’m talking about the “Green New Deal” introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

The deal is a policy package that would remake the U.S. economy and eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions. While Congresswoman’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ press people attempted to walk back the first draft, the second draft was not much different. The accompanying FAQ was deleted because it drew more questions than answers. It had many on the right scratching their heads. There were instant challengers to the plan, but they were painted as “unprogressive, environmentally hostile, climate change naysayers and anti-renewable.”

There are some outrageous concepts in their plan, but is it so far out there that it can’t be achieved? It might have been better received had they made it work over a longer term rather than something to be accomplished in 10 (short) years. I do like the “national mobilization” concept.

Mention climate change in any circle and it brings out arguments on both sides with equal passion. For one person who cites statistics about it being a real threat, someone else can find an opposite report. Generally, the louder voice, the more powerful voice and the more passionate voice will be heard. I think we should listen to the majority voice.

Dawson PPD has done many surveys in which we ask our customers if they would be willing to pay more money if we could offer green energy. The majority answer has been the same in the past three surveys: NO. For years, we offered to buy shares in green energy and sell them to our customers at cost – and we had one taker. One.

I don’t know if Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey are that brave, or that ignorant, to put a plan out there that challenges the status quo of many industries. Imagine being the airline industry in which the proposal is to remove most air transportation. Closer to home, the plan calls for regulations and limitations for raising cattle in order to limit the methane gas they produce. Think about how expensive your electricity will be if they remove the most economical source of generation? Suddenly, former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan looks to be a central position between the left and the right.

To quote the Wall Street Journal: “Millions of jobs would have to be destroyed en-route to this brave new green world, but not to worry. The resolution says the government would also guarantee ‘a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security to all people of the United States.’ Good that they’re starting small.”

Guess who pays for this? The taxpayers – you and me.

Germany made a similar plan years ago and they now have the highest electricity rates in Europe. Small businesses and low-income families are impacted the most. It’s a job and economy killer if it’s not done right. The Green New Deal is being embraced by the far left for what I feel are none of the “right” reasons. Dropping coal as a generation source is the wrong reason. Relying on solar and wind cannot be the answer because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. The development of battery storage will help, but that has yet to be viable because batteries fail in only a few years.

Research Australia’s push to energy efficiency back in 2009. Pizza delivery employees became insulation experts overnight. The program lasted one year and was abandoned due to the problems it created.

As with everything, from rural electrification to rural broadband – the plan must be bi-partisan and must make economic sense. Great things can be achieved if we work together. Radical approaches to change are rarely well received. Dropping this 10-year bomb in our laps is too much too fast. The next move by supporters should prove interesting.

 

March 2019

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