EDITORIAL: Report concludes that California EV plan is a fantasy
All plug-in by 2035? Good luck.
January 31, 2023 - 9:00 pm
California has mandated that by 2035 all new vehicle sales must be plug-ins. A handful of blue states have fallen in line and copied the Golden State’s edict. Nevada regulators have floated the same proposal, and more than a few Democrats in the Legislature would eagerly leap on the bandwagon.
But the idea that this can be accomplished without massive disruption is a progressive fantasy masquerading as serious policy.
Last week, the Institute for Energy Research released a detailed analysis of California’s plan. The authors note that the EV directive is piled high on a foundation of dubious assumptions, most of which have little chance of becoming true.
State regulators and Gov. Gavin Newsom claim “the state will have enough electricity supply to support an all-electric vehicle fleet of 12.5 million cars by” 2035, they write. “That surprises many since the state currently cannot even get through the summer/fall season without having to worry about rolling blackouts because of inadequate supplies.”
The state’s conclusions, IER reports, depend on speculation that is unlikely to materialize. For instance, California will require 15 times more charging stations than it now has. In addition, solar and wind farms — including off-shore wind farms, of which the state has none — would have to be built at an unprecedented pace to meet the demand. Drivers would have to heed demands that they not charge their vehicles during peak hours.
The state is particularly susceptible on wind and solar farm construction. Despite efforts by Gov. Newsom to reform California’s permitting process, the red tape remains a serious obstacle and all but assures that there is no way energy producers can provide over the next decade sufficient power to keep millions of new EVs on the road.
“California’s regulations and laws toward a green economy are likely dreams that are not feasible,” the report concludes, adding that the state “will be walking in the footsteps of Europe, whose renewable transition has resulted in energy shortages and skyrocketing prices.”
Supporters of this pipe dream will protest that the Institute for Energy Research, founded 25 years ago, is an unreliable source because it has received funding from … wait for it … a Koch brother and is thus a shill for the fossil fuel industry. Yet such critics are silent when it comes to rebutting IER’s conclusions.
In fact, many observers — including The New York Times and CalMatters — have more delicately raised questions about the “challenges” the state faces trying to force the transition. Obstacles include energy production, but also the green activists who toil to ensure that all the Earth’s resources — many of which are needed to power electric vehicles — remain in the ground.
In the end, reality represents the biggest hurdle to California’s ill-thought-out EV plan.