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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Why green energy can’t satisfy electricity demands

Nov 09, 2023

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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Intense heatwaves, a surge in artificial intelligence, and a notable increase in electric vehicle production have contributed to record-breaking demand for electricity in the U.S. This demand is expected to persist and continue to rise in the decades to come.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan asks tough questions about the sources of power for all this electricity and whether green energy can satisfy the growing demand for more power.

Excerpted from Peter’s Nov. 9 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Would you try to fly a kite when there’s no breeze? Or try to surf when there are no waves? If you answered ‘no’ to those questions – CONGRATS – your basic analytical skills are much better than those tasked with the green energy buildout. Now we just need to test your math skills…

With a resurgence of manufacturing and industrialization in the U.S., electricity generation needs will skyrocket. I’m all for green energy, but it needs to be done the right way, in the right places, and with the right energy infrastructure to support it.

Conservative estimates show electricity demand increasing by more than 50%, and the green transition will complicate that even further. I’m still a Green, but no matter how hard we try – green energy isn’t going to solve this problem alone.

Hey everybody, Peter Zion here coming to you from Northern Indiana, the Nipsco coal power plant that is not a new killer cooling towers, just cold cooling tower, this power plant is unscheduled to be decommissioned around 2025 and then replaced with wind and solar. But I don’t know how many of you guys have been to Northern Indiana. But this is neither a windy nor sunny area. More to the point. If things go with the Chinese and to a lesser degree, the Europeans in the direction that I think it’s going to and if the Americans decide they still want stuff, the industrialization wave that’s coming here is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before, and will be a lot faster than what we did in World War Two. But it also means that we need to generate a lot more electricity wherever that comes from, because manufacturing takes more power than services, and doing the processing for things like lithium and steel, and the rest takes a lot more power than it does for normal manufacturing. So we need to conservatively increase the power plant in the country and transmission capacity by at least half. And there’s only been one year since 1960, where we’ve increased power generation in the country by more than two and a half percent. And that’s what we did the year we were coming back from COVID. So that was just turning things back on as opposed to actually generating more. So not saying that coal is the future or anything like that. I’m just saying we need a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot more. And that assumes we don’t do the green transition because if we electrify transport, then we need to double the power plant. And honestly we need to do this before the end of the decade. So chop chop

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