Energy Shortages Are Taking U.S. Back to the 1970s

Energy Shortages Are Taking U.S. Back to the 1970s

December 1, 2021

During the holiday season, most kids are afraid of getting coal in their stockings – but more coal would actually be a gift for Americans struggling with high energy prices. The Wall Street Journal discusses our nation’s shortage in coal supplies, inevitably brought about by energy policies that are steering utilities and companies away from reliable and affordable fossil fuels.

In spite of these policies, coal remains a critical part of our nation’s energy mix. As today’s article reports:

…coal remains an important source of power generation, serving as a swing fuel to augment other sources when output from renewable sources, like wind farms, is insufficient or natural-gas prices are high, as they are today.

A lot of coal was burned this summer to power air conditioning during some of the hottest weather on record. The Western drought reduced hydropower output, and coal plugged some of the generation gap, along with natural gas. The price of gas, which started out the heating season at its highest in more than a decade, has made switching to coal attractive to power producers that can burn both.

Having access to stable energy resources like coal is critical if want to keep the lights on and heat our homes this winter. So, one would hope that the Biden administration was working to secure access to a diverse number of power sources for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal reports the opposite is happening:

Inventories in the U.S. power sector are about two-thirds of the five-year average for this time of year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Richard Nixon was in the White House the last time there was so little on hand, EIA data show.

Emulating the energy policies of the 1970’s – a decade best known for its “energy crisis” – is a bad idea. Yet that is exactly where President Biden is leading us.