California has mandated that all new car sales must be plug-in by 2035. A handful of blue states have joined the lineage, copying the edict of the golden state. Nevada regulators have put forward the same proposal, and more than a few Democrats in the Legislature would be eager to jump on the bandwagon.
But the idea that this can be achieved without massive disruption is a progressive fantasy masquerading as serious politics.
Last week, the Institute for Energy Research released a detailed analysis of California’s plan. The authors note that the EV Policy is built on a foundation of dubious assumptions, most of which stand little chance of coming true.
State regulators and Gov. Gavin Newsom claim that “by 2035, the state will have enough electricity to support an all-electric vehicle fleet of 12.5 million cars,” they write. “This comes as a surprise to many, as the state cannot currently even get through the summer/fall season without having to reckon with rolling power outages due to insufficient supply.”
The state’s conclusions, reports IER, depend on speculation that is unlikely to materialize. For example, California will need 15 times more charging stations than it does today. Additionally, solar and wind farms — including offshore wind farms, which the state does not have — would need to be built at an unprecedented pace to meet demand. Drivers would have to heed demands not to charge their vehicles during rush hours.
The state is particularly vulnerable when it comes to building wind farms and solar parks. Despite Gov. Newsom’s efforts to reform California’s permitting process, bureaucracy remains a serious impediment, all but ensuring there’s no way power producers can provide enough power to keep millions of new electric vehicles on the road for the next decade .
“California’s regulations and laws toward a green economy are likely unrealistic dreams,” the report concludes, adding that the state “will follow in the footsteps of Europe, whose transition to renewable energy has led to energy shortages and skyrocketing prices.” .”
Proponents of this pipe dream will protest that the Institute for Energy Research, founded 25 years ago, is an unreliable source because it is funded by… wait a minute… a Koch brother, and is thus a moron for the fossil fuel industry. Yet such critics remain silent when it comes to refuting the conclusions of the IER.
Indeed, many observers — including the New York Times and CalMatters — have raised more cautious questions about the “challenges” the state faces in trying to force the transition. Obstacles include energy production, but also green activists campaigning to keep all of Earth’s resources – many of which are needed to power electric vehicles – stay in the ground.
In the end, reality presents the biggest hurdle to California’s ill-conceived EV plan.