Flashback: Bernie Sanders says his Green New Deal can make electricity ‘virtually free’ by 2035 — but there’s a catch

By Chris White

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s struggle to defend some of his lofty proposals at Tuesday’s debate raises questions about some of his other ideas, namely those stemming from his version of the Green New Deal.

Sanders revealed his own GND in August 2019, promising everything from “virtually free” electricity and a “hunger-free” transition to green energy from fossil fuels. The democratic socialist’s nearly 14,000-page memo also lays out how he will deal with a variety of social justice issues.

“Generating revenue from the wholesale of energy produced by the regional Power Marketing Authorities. Revenues will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be virtually free,” according to the memo on the Sanders campaign website.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is a proponent of the Green New Deal. The cost of electricity under Sanders’s plan is dependent on operation and maintenance costs, which could be substantial.

It contained one significant caveat.

The cost of electricity under Sanders’s plan is dependent on operation and maintenance costs, the memo notes, which could be substantial if past reports are any indication. Critics say Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal would force American taxpayers to shell out trillions of dollars over the next decade to pay for the transition.

Republicans in the Senate torpedoed the Ocasio-Cortez’s legislation in March 2019 as Democrats called the vote a dog-and-pony show. The GOP defeated the proposal 57-0; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill a socialistic ploy designed to kill the economy.

The resolution called for “10-year national mobilizations” toward addressing climate change. A fact sheet published alongside the proposal said the plan would “mobilize every aspect of American society on a scale not seen since World War 2.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s GND would reportedly phase out fossil fuel usage within 12 years, but could cost tens of trillions of dollars, some reports show. Americans could be forced to pay up to $93 trillion to implement the proposal over a decade, the conservative-leaning American Action Forum (AAF) noted in a study in February 2019.

Sanders, for his part, is pegging his campaign to an ambitious plan — to nationalize U.S. electricity generation. He laid out a $16 trillion plan transitioning such forms of generation away from oil and other fossil fuels and toward green energy projects like wind and solar power.

Moderate Democrats have ripped Sanders’s plans.

“What the Sanders proposal would do is create an 800-pound federally owned power gorilla that would make it very hard for the existing generators to compete,” Josh Freed, head of energy and climate policy at Third Way, said in a Feb. 2 Politico report. Third Way opposes Sanders.

Freed added: “I think a plan like this could turn off voters in large parts of the country. It would have challenges in Pennsylvania, Michigan — a lot of the states that are competitive for the election.”

Sanders’s Democratic opponents ambushed the Vermont senator during Tuesday’s debate.

Sanders defended himself after former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg characterized his policies as radical and communistic.

“Is Medicare for all, universal health care, some kind of communist radical agenda?” Sanders asked in response at one pint in the debate. He also took great pains to explain how he would pay for his Medicare-for-all proposal.

Sanders’s campaign has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Image courtesy of Sen. Bernie Sanders
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9 thoughts on “Flashback: Bernie Sanders says his Green New Deal can make electricity ‘virtually free’ by 2035 — but there’s a catch

  1. Virtually Free, must mean them farmers bloomingijit gonna finance to dig a hole and plant teh

    money trees…..

  2. Electricity for Free?
    There are 7.6 billion people in the world.
    He would be the ONLY person to say that.

    Well, it is official.
    Sanders is a total idiot.

    He has been free-loading off taxpayers on a government payroll for almost his entire life.
    Running a business at a profit is totally strange to him.
    He is an ultra Socialist/Communist, spouting pure nonsense most of the time.
    He is completely unAmerican.
    He should go to Venezuela or Cuba as a consultant, and not ever come back.

    • Sanders wants the Federal government to take over the entire US electrical sector.
      All the employees would become federal workers.
      All the assets would be owned by the government.
      All the costs would be a government line item in the US budget.

      The sector would have no revenue, because the electricity would be for free, just like all our roads are for free, etc.

      Is it not clever for a card carrying Communist/Socialist to come up with that?

      This scheme is modeled after his health care plan

      Free healthcare for all

      The entire healthcare sector would be taken over by the Federal government, etc.

      All this Sanders has leaned about in Russia, where he spent his honeymoon, Cubah, and Venezuela, all shiny examples of happiness and prosperity.

  3. Windmills and solar arrays have a life span of 20 – 25 years with increasing maintenance expenses as they age. By 2035, the existing generators will be retired. If they are replaced by new units, by then ten years old, the economic process has been restarted to pay for them. So, they won’t ever last long enough to produce nearly free energy. What of disposal costs? What isn’t being said is, if VT only uses in-house produced electricity, Vermonters will have to down size their electrical footprints for there to be enough to go around without brownouts or maybe occasional blackouts. But what should Bernie care, he won’t be around by 2035 to accept responsibility for his failed promise.

  4. He’s an Idiot, but the sad thing is that people believe his BS, just ask him to show
    you the numbers, smoke & mirrors !! Or there must be a money tree somewhere !!

    It’s you’re money, and he wants to spend it even if we don’t have it to spend.

    So Bernie’s Revolution sounds more like a financial abomination to the worker of
    this country.

  5. Has it occurred to anyone that if the word “free” is removed from Bernie’ vocabulary, he would have absolutely nothing to talk about. All of his proposals are “free” to everyone and will be funded by a tax on the income of the top 1%. Bernie either is ignorant of or chooses to overlook the reality that if he took 100% of the wealth of the top 1% there still wouldn’t be enough to pay for his pipe dreams. Unfortunately, too many including the young are mesmerized by his clarion song.

  6. “Virtually free” electricity from nuclear power plants was promised in the late fifties. We’ve heard it before. “to nationalize U.S. electricity generation” – These are the people who call the Conservatives Nazis? – “Is Medicare for all, universal health care, some kind of communist radical agenda?” – Is that a rhetorical question? Of course it is. Would Bernie the Commie propose free market competition? Bernie, who believes bread lines illustrate how well Socialism works thinks we should form lines and wait until a government doctor – or the Independent Patient Advisory Board (aka Death Panel) will consider our case?

  7. Vitually free huh? Heard that before …when nukes were coming to the region. Look how that wotked out

    If Bernie puts his estate’s money in a trust..to ensure he’s held accountable down the road for saddling us with God Knows What It Will Look Like in reality, to make sure it performs and we get to realize his promise, , I’ll try anything once

    Oh wait, Bernie only uses OTHER PEOPLES MONEY. i forgot

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