Rational or disastrous?

During his successful election campaign, President-elect Joe Biden insisted he did not favor a “green new deal” approach to energy. Now, however, it appears he may be poised to deliver a one-two punch in that very direction.

First, Biden said he will name former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate change “envoy.”

Then, late last week, there was speculation Biden may choose Mary Nichols to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Nichols’ current position is head of the California Air Board. She oversees the most stringent air quality regulations in the nation.

During August, millions of Californians suffered temporary power outages that were, at least in some measure, due to the state’s drive toward its own version of a “green new deal.” Part of the problem was lack of reliable peak load generating capacity. The state requires at least one-third of electricity be generated through “renewable” methods such as solar and wind power. As a result, it lacks the conventional power-plant backup capacity enjoyed by most other states.

Some analysts argue that during the past several years, billions of dollars that could have been put toward ensuring California had an adequate power grid was spent instead on “renewable” projects.

If Biden, perhaps using Kerry and Nichols as his enforcers, adopts a policy similar to California’s, the entire nation could be in trouble.

Until the technology to ensure “renewables” can deliver reliable peak-load electricity is developed, Americans need an “all-of-the-above” energy policy. That means relying on natural gas and yes, coal, for a significant percentage of generation.

As EPA administrator, Nichols could make the impossible or at least exceedingly expensive by flexing the agency’s enormous regulatory muscle. If Biden indeed does seek to name her to head the EPA, senators who must confirm his appointee should grill Nichols regarding whether she intends to pursue a rational policy or one that could be disastrous to Americans.