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How the Biden Administration threatens energy security

By Alex Epstein

Joe Biden's escalating bans on domestic fossil fuel production, combined with mandates of unreliable solar and wind overwhelmingly produced by unreliable China, are an existential threat to our energy security and therefore our national security.

Quick Summary

The value of our current energy security and how domestic fossil fuel production makes it possible

  1. In the last decade, America has achieved unprecedented energy security thanks to domestic, reliable energy production from coal and especially from oil and natural gas unlocked from abundant, once-useless shale deposits via "fracking."1
  2. While we are taught to take energy security for granted, that is a huge mistake. In the 1970s, thanks in large part to a lack of domestic energy production, we suffered two enormous energy crises that ground life to a halt. Endless gas lines, unheated schools, blackouts, etc.2
  3. Energy security is national security. When hostile foreign powers can meaningfully cut off our access to energy they can manipulate us politically. Examples: US appeasement of Saudi Arabia and European appeasement of Russia.3
  4. Energy security is national security, above all in wartime. War requires continuous high-energy manufacturing and continuous fueling of high-energy mobile machines such as planes and aircraft carriers. Both world wars were won by the side with the most oil, the fuel of mobility.4

Biden’s unprecedented attack on domestic fossil fuel production combined with mandates of unreliable energy from unreliable trading partners

  1. In past administrations, even Presidents who campaigned against oil quickly learned that it's suicide to stop oil production. Obama ran on ending “the tyranny of oil” but later bragged: “America’s like the biggest oil producer…that was me, people.” But Biden is different.5
  2. Joe Biden's early moves are centered around destroying any fossil fuel production and transportation he can get his hands on. His later moves promise to be mandates of unreliable solar and wind. This is a recipe for unprecedented energy insecurity.6
  3. Destroying fossil fuel production and mandating unreliable solar and wind will cause unprecedented energy insecurity in two ways: 1) making domestic energy unreliable, 2) depending on unreliable countries, above all China, for solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries.7

How unreliable energy causes energy insecurity

  1. The most obvious way in which Biden's policies will cause energy insecurity is that by outlawing fossil fuels, mandating unreliable solar/wind, and failing to decriminalize nuclear, he will turn America into a third-world grid. CA is just a minor preview.8
  2. Unreliable solar and wind are failing around the world. Germany pays 3X US prices to get 1/3 of electricity from solar and wind. UK rising prices are causing more people to die of cold, with "energy poor" people trying to stay warm by huddling in libraries and buses all day.9
  3. For more on how Biden's policies will, if implemented, destroy our grid, see this breakdown.
  4. As bad as solar and wind are for electricity, they're even worse for mobility, which is dominated by oil. Even if solar/wind could reliably charge still-expensive small EVs, there is no EV for large mobile machines like planes and cargo ships, let alone a cost-effective one.
  5. As bad as solar and wind are for electricity, they're even worse for widely-overlooked "industrial process heat"--the high-temp heat we need to make steel, plastics, and cement. Even reliable, cheap electric heat is often 4X more expensive than natural gas or coal heat.
  6. Banning domestic production of fossil fuels and relying on "unreliables" means frequent blackouts, skyrocketing electricity prices, and increasing imports + shortages of the fossil fuels that mobile and industrial heat machines will run on for many decades to come.

How energy from unreliable trading partners causes energy insecurity

  1. On top of making our energy insecure by making it unreliable and unaffordable, Biden's plan to rely on solar and wind will make our energy even more insecure because it will overwhelmingly rely on materials and machines that will be made by China and other problematic countries.
  2. Biden and his team seem to be completely clueless as to how solar, wind, and batteries will be produced for the foreseeable future. That production will be dominated by China--which dominates the mining of materials, processing of materials, and cheap manufacturing.
  3. China dominates the mining and processing of "renewable" materials to a staggering degree. The US does little mining or processing of the needed materials, largely because of "green" regulations. Our dependence on China for "renewables" dwarfs past mideast oil dependence.10
  4. Not only does China dominate mining and processing of "renewable" materials, they dominate its manufacturing thanks to low-cost fossil fueled factories--the kind Biden wants to ban. Biden's "Fact Sheet" promise to buy "Made in America" is total fiction.11

How others will capitalize on the weakness created by Biden’s policies

  1. As the Biden administration acts to destroy US energy security, China, Russia, and others continue to pursue fossil fuel projects around the world. They know that if they have low-cost, reliable, versatile energy and we don't, the global balance of power will shift.12
  2. The best policy for energy security and everything else is energy freedom. Liberate all forms of energy, including nuclear--which the "climate crisis" crowd continues to criminalize, despite it being the only scalable way to produce non-carbon electricity.13
  3. Joe Biden was pitched as a guy who could not do very much harm. But on energy, he is a maniac. His energy policy literally threatens the security of this nation, which is an incomparably greater threat than climate change (real not remotely catastrophic).

References

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Recently, US almost 2/3 of US oil production and 3/4 of US gas production came from shale:
“The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2019, about 2.81 billion barrels (or 7.7 million barrels per day) of crude oil were produced directly from tight oil resources in the United States. This was equal to about 63% of total U.S. crude oil production in 2019.”
U.S. Energy Information Administration

"The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2019, U.S. dry shale gas production was about 25.29 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), and equal to about 75% of total U.S. dry natural gas production in 2019."
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Domestic energy production shields from dependence on adversarial countries like Russia:

"Earlier this year,New England — located just a few hundred miles from the Marcellus Shale, one of the world’s largest natural gas fields — was forced to import a cargo of Russian liquefied natural gas. This was necessary because anti-energy activists have convinced local elected leaders to block new energy infrastructure, including pipelines that could bring American gas to the region. This is making households in the Northeast more dependent on imported energy, and forcing them to pay among the highest energy bills in the country."

[Washington Examiner](https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/why-natural-gas-from-putins-russia-has-to-be-imported-to-new-england)
Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.”

[Barack Obama in a February 2007 speech announcing his candidacy for president of the US as reported by the Denver Post](https://www.denverpost.com/2007/02/10/full-text-of-obamas-candidacy-speech/)“That whole, suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas that was me, people.”

[Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times as reported by Associated Press](https://apnews.com/5dfbc1aa17701ae219239caad0bfefb2)
[Institute for Energy Research - Biden Suspends New Leases for Oil and Gas Drilling on Federal lands](https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/fossil-fuels/gas-and-oil/biden-suspends-new-leases-for-oil-and-gas-drilling-on-federal-lands/)[Institute for Energy Research - Biden Cancels Keystone XL Pipeline Permit](https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/fossil-fuels/gas-and-oil/biden-cancels-keystone-xl-pipeline-permit/)
"China indicated recently that it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin in retaliation for a U.S. decision to sell missiles to Taiwan. China could “cut off material supply including rare earths, which are crucial to advanced weapons production.” That would mark the latest phase in the weaponization of rare earths."

[Institute for Energy Research - China Dominates the Rare Earths Supply Chain](https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/international-issues/china-dominates-the-rare-earths-supply-chain/)
German household electricity prices have more than doubled to over 0.3€ per kWh ($0.35 per kWh depending on currency exchange rate) since 2000 when the modern renewable energy law started to massively incentivize solar and wind capacity on the German grid.

[BDEW Strompreisanalyse July 2020 p. 7](https://www.bdew.de/service/daten-und-grafiken/bdew-strompreisanalyse/)[The Guardian - Thousands of people in the UK are dying from the cold, and fuel poverty is to blame](https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/27/dying-cold-europe-fuel-poverty-energy-spending)[Chirakijja et al. (2020) - Inexpensive Heating Reduces Winter Mortality](https://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~sjv340/heating_mortality.pdf)
"China indicated recently that it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin in retaliation for a U.S. decision to sell missiles to Taiwan. China could “cut off material supply including rare earths, which are crucial to advanced weapons production.” That would mark the latest phase in the weaponization of rare earths."

[Institute for Energy Research - China Dominates the Rare Earths Supply Chain](https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/international-issues/china-dominates-the-rare-earths-supply-chain/)
China is still building and planning about 200 coal plants domestically.\
[Global Coal Plant Tracker - Coal Plants by Country, July 2020](https://endcoal.org/global-coal-plant-tracker/)

During the pandemic year 2020 China managed to increase its coal production to the highest level since 2014. This is necessary to keep Chinese citizens warm during winter and to manufacture the solar panels John Kerry said US workers should manufacture after losing their competitive oil & gas jobs.\
[The Global Warming Policy Forum - China’s 2020 coal output rises to highest since 2015, undermining climate pledges](https://www.thegwpf.com/chinas-2020-coal-output-rises-to-highest-since-2015-undermining-climate-pledges/)
[David Wojik - China loves coal far more than wind](https://www.cfact.org/2021/01/11/china-loves-coal-far-more-than-wind/)

[Reuters - China has 250 GW of coal-fired power under development - study](https://www.reuters.com/article/china-coal-idUSL4N2E20HS)

[The Guardian - Russia rules out cutting fossil fuel production in next few decades](https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/01/russia-rules-out-cutting-fossil-fuel-production-in-next-few-decades)