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Europe’s climate-consciousness is hardly paying off for European families who face startling energy blackouts this winter amid a dangerous energy crisis. The energy shortage is largely due to an over reliance on solar and wind generated power made worse by Europe’s 2015 Paris Climate Accord agreement, which mandated the closing of coal-fired power plants and replacing them with less reliable wind and solar power alternatives.
There is no doubt that unpredictable energy sources such as these cause unnecessary suffering, financial strain and even illness among the most vulnerable. Americans should take heed from Europe’s misguided energy strategy and misplaced reliance on wind and solar power, or else watch many regions of the United States endure lengthy power shortages.
As the colder months roll in, Europe could soon face temporary cuts in cell phone and internet service, school closures from a lack of lighting and heating and even traffic jams from underpowered traffic lights. In Germany, a country heavily dependent on Russian gas due to its shuttered nuclear power plants, candle sales have skyrocketed in anticipation of power blackouts. In fact, electric car owners in Finland are being told not to heat their vehicles on frigid mornings to avoid straining the electrical grid.
In the United Kingdom, energy companies have made a game of saving energy during peak usage times by bribing participants to sit in the dark in exchange for prizes and monetary savings. The message from the UK is clear: you might suffer this winter, but you will suffer with a savings and a smile. The truth is that alternative energy sources proposed by Europe are far from a smart investment for families suffering from low energy production.
When it comes to relying on wind power, sometimes the wind just doesn’t blow. Europe experienced this phenomenon in 2021 when a drastic reduction in wind caused a decrease in energy generation by wind turbines. Just recently, wind power production in the UK fell from 28% of overall energy production to just 3%.
Due to a lack of wind power, the UK’s reliance on coal for energy outperformed wind and solar even though the country has nearly banned its coal production entirely. The reliability of coal is so obvious that the nation is beginning to reinvest in coal mines to keep the plants open for business. Still, it’s doubtful such reinvestment will spur an uptick in reliable energy in time to protect its citizens from frigid winter temperatures.
Solar energy, on the other hand, has proven to be just as unpredictable in its output, despite Europe’s aggressive commitment to the source. Since Russia cut gas supplies after Europe’s sanctions over the war in Ukraine, there has been a sharp increase in demand for natural gas, forcing prices to rise higher and higher as a result. But this is a bad omen for elderly, lower-income Europeans ill-equipped to deal with the consequences of supply chain issues.
Ordinarily, Europe sees an increase in winter deaths but over 100,000 Europeans could die from high energy prices this winter, according to a study by The Economist magazine. If each country experiences its coldest winter since 2000, the death toll could rise to 185,000. But even if the temperatures remain at usual levels, 147,000 more people could die from cold-related illnesses than if the electricity costs stayed at 2015-2019 averages.
In the United States, European-style energy policies likewise cause tragic consequences with little benefit to Americans. Due to the Biden administration’s inflationary policies, U.S. electricity prices have more than doubled. Oil and natural gas prices have done the same. Hundreds of people in Texas died in February 2021 after frozen wind turbines triggered blackouts. Meanwhile, the administration plans to replace fossil fuel power with wind and solar by wrapping up $369 billion in climate spending in the Inflation Reduction Act.
If energy policymakers don’t stop soon, they risk turning the United States into a European “green” energy nightmare. That’s the last thing Americans want or deserve. Congressional leaders on both sides of the political aisle should take heed of the clear European warning signs before it’s too late and American citizens are left in the dark.