McClaughry: Cold snap could trigger rolling blackouts if Climate Council recommendations enacted

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During a week of sub-zero temperatures in 2018, New England electric generating plants burned nearly 100 million gallons of fuel oil to make up for the lack of natural gas.

Matt Cota, executive director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, is a very good source of information on the consequences of implementing the Vermont Climate Council’s sweeping recommendations. Here’s some of what he reported last week:

The Climate Action Plan week relies on a basket of regulations, taxes, and fees to get more Vermonters to use electricity to heat their home and fuel their car. If the plan works as intended, Vermonters will need more than twice the amount of electricity they use today. The head of ISO-NE [the New England power grid] declared “The region would be in a precarious position if an extended cold snap were to develop and these fuels were not available.”

We know this because we have been here before. During a week of sub-zero temperatures in 2018, New England electric generating plants burned nearly 100 million gallons of fuel oil to make up for the lack of natural gas. But what if there is not enough solar, wind, natural gas, or fuel oil to keep up with demand for electricity during the next cold snap? We should be prepared for “controlled power outages” or rolling blackouts to keep the grid from short circuiting.

He adds: “There is a simple way to avoid all this: use less electricity. But nearly every state in the Northeast is doing the exact opposite, encouraging more electric heat and electric cars. It’s time to rethink that policy.”

It certainly is. Thanks, Matt Cota.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

10 thoughts on “McClaughry: Cold snap could trigger rolling blackouts if Climate Council recommendations enacted

  1. While the public remains distracted with the Covid narrative, Vermont’s legislature will get back to the business of dismantling Vermont’s energy sector – and these legislators will now be able to do it with less public input and scrutiny, as they’ve voted to legislate remotely.
    The lofty goals of the GWSA, passed last year under the same remote process are unobtainable without severe, draconian measures, taxes and fees. Vermont and New England’s electrical grids are incapable of handling the additional power consumption required to sustain the socialist goals of the GWSA. We MUST import electric power, and lots of it to enable this hair-brained plot. Likewise- southern New England is short on electric power and will become shorter as coal, oils and nuclear plants are moth-balled at this scheme unfolds. Even Natural Gas, the cleanest energy source currently available has been deemed unsuitable to the green crowd.
    We have acquiesced Vermont to the whims of people whom want social and environmental justice (whatever those terms mean) at any cost. The cost of allowing these people to experiment with their lofty dogmas will be borne by those that remain in Vermont – as too will the cost of fixing the systems that are destroyed by the GWSA and the Vermont Climate Council.
    As this is an election year, those secretive legislators will keep the impact low to insure re-election, but 2023 is going to be very expensive and messy. Can’t figure out who the players in this theatre are? Watch the source of campaign donations for 2022 and factor that in when you vote.

    • EU Draft Proposal for Nuclear and Gas

      EU bureaucrats are finally facing reality
      With energy costs soaring and citizens complaining, the EU is finally shifting to a more pragmatic energy policy…

      They declared, in a draft proposal: “Nuclear and gas are good enough for the EU, if certain conditions are met”
      The German Government, and a few other EU governments, are upset about EU draft proposal

      Two Nuclear Green Requirements

      – The project has a plan, funds and a site to safely dispose of radioactive waste.
      – New nuclear plants must receive construction permits before 2045.

      Four Natural Gas Green Requirements

      – Investments in natural gas power plants would also be deemed green, if they have emissions below 270 g of CO2e/kWh.
      – Replace a more polluting fossil fuel plant
      – Receive a construction permit by Dec. 31 2030
      – Plan to switch to low-carbon gases by the end of 2035

      Point number 4 is interesting. To be classified as green, Owners have to “plan”, not to “do” something, i.e., switch to low-carbon gasses.
      Low carbon gasses are defined as biogas, bio methane, or hydrogen produced via electrolysis by using renewable-generated electricity.

      As methane is methane, a plan to switch to low-bio methane costs nothing (no plant retooling needed).
      Doing is another matter. Maybe it will be more economical in 2035.

      Previously, the EU proposed a 100 g of CO2e/kWh emissions limit, based on climate fear-mongering, and “steps needed to avoid disastrous climate change”.
      That went out the window, after already over-stressed consumers complained about the very high cost of electricity and heating.

      French president Macron did not want another “Yellow Vest Movement” protest about energy; he is facing a tough re-election in April, 2022.
      France derives about 70% of its electricity from nuclear, due to a long-standing policy based on energy security.
      It has among the lowest household electricity prices in the EU, primarily due to low-cost nuclear.
      France was aiming reduce nuclear to 50% by 2035, but that goal may be revised.

      The EU draft proposal would provide a more practical and environmental approach, in contrast to the ridiculous path Angela Merkel took Germany.
      Merkel gave in to the Greens. She agreed to phase out nuclear.
      As a result, Germany became more dependent on coal; that makes no environmental sense.
      Mothballing nuclear plants that have decades more useful life, makes no sense regarding energy cost and the environment.

      Weather-dependent wind and solar are unreliable, as Spain found out, and its citizens are complaining the most.
      A cold winter and soaring prices knocked some sense into the EU.
      High inflation trumped green ideology.

      US Energy Policy on Hold, due to the Controversial BBB bill

      Biden’s extreme-leftist handlers have not yet learned from European Experience
      Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, et al., three well-known energy systems analysts, are still setting US energy policy.

  2. CCP coup ongoing.
    Keep complying.
    Keep playing to the ‘captured’ narrative.
    Keep getting rid of your woodstoves and replacing them with machinery fueled by fuel from…somewhere else.
    And sell the trees of Vermont to China.
    Sealed, signed, and sold:


    The “Global Warming Solutions Act” bill was passed by the House Energy and Technology Committee on a 7-2 vote and moved to the House Appropriations Committee, which rubber-stamped the bill. A House vote passed the bill, 105 – 37, a few days later. The Senate is next to vote.

    GWSA converts the CO2 aspirational goals of the Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, to legal mandates.
    GWSA requires state government to come up with rules, regulations and programs to implement the CEP.
    GWSA sets up a legislatively controlled Council to:

    – Create a plan to achieve the legal mandates of the CEP.
    – Direct the Agency of Natural Resources, ANR, Department of Public Service, DPS, etc., to issue whatever binding rules and regulations they think are needed to carry out the Council’s plan.

    The Legislature controls a Council by appointing a bunch of yes-men?
    The yes-men will rubber-stamp whatever the government entities come up with?

    The Legislature will vote for the funds to implement each binding rule and regulation?
    The Council will vote for the funds to implement each binding rule and regulation?

    Legislators would not vote on each far-reaching rules and regulations that would affect every household and business?
    What if the Council decides to ruin pristine ridgelines for wind turbines to “fulfill the CEP”?

    Table 1
    Stage CO2 Reduction, % Million Mt Million Mt
    1 2025, 26% reduction relative to 2005 (Paris Climate Agreement) 10.240 in 2005 7.578 in 2025
    2 2030, 40% reduction relative to 1990 (CEP) 8.650 in 1990 5.190 in 2030
    3 2050, 80% reduction relative to 1990 (CEP) 8.650 in 1990 1.730 in 2050

    CEP: The capital cost for implementing the CEP would be in excess of $1.25 billion/y for at least 28 years, according to the Energy Action Network 2015 annual report. See URLs.

    Spending on government energy programs, including Efficiency Vermont, has averaged about $210 million/y from 2000 to 2015, but Vermont CO2 emissions increased 18% from1990 to 2015.

    GWSA will become a Global Warming Spending Act, which benefits the RE entities, at the expense of all other Vermonters.

    We need a Tsunami of votes in November 2022 to overwhelm the shenanigans of universal harvesting of ballots, surely to occur after the CONDOS universal mail-out of ballots.

    We have to oust the entrenched Legislators and career bureaucrats who are in cahoots with these RE entities.


    I installed three heat pumps by Mitsubishi, rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F, Model MXZ-2C24NAHZ2, each with 2 heads, each with remote control; 2 in the living room, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in each of 3 bedrooms.
    The HPs have DC variable-speed, motor-driven compressors and fans, which improves the efficiency of low-temperature operation.
    The HPs last about 15 years. Turnkey capital cost was $24,000

    My Well-Sealed, Well-Insulated House

    The HPs are used for heating and cooling my 35-y-old, 3,600 sq ft, well-sealed/well-insulated house, except the basement, which has a near-steady temperature throughout the year, because it has 2” of blueboard, R-10, on the outside of the concrete foundation and under the basement slab, which has saved me many thousands of space heating dollars over the 35 years.

    I do not operate my HPs at 15F or below, because HPs would become increasingly less efficient with decreasing temperatures.
    The HP operating cost per hour would become greater than of my efficient propane furnace. See table 3

    High Electricity Prices

    Vermont forcing, with subsidies and/or GWSA mandates, the build-outs of expensive RE electricity systems, such as wind, solar, batteries, etc., would be counter-productive, because it would:

    1) Increase already-high electric rates and
    2) Worsen the already-poor economics of HPs (and of EVs)!!

    PART 1

    Energy Cost Reduction is Minimal

    – HP electricity consumption was from my electric bills
    – Vermont electricity prices, including taxes, fees and surcharges, are about 20 c/kWh.
    – My HPs provide space heat to 2,300 sq ft, about the same area as an average Vermont house
    – Two small propane heaters (electricity not required) provide space heat to my 1,300 sq ft basement
    – I operate my HPs at temperatures of 15F and greater; less $/h than propane
    – I operate my traditional propane system at temperatures of 15F and less; less $/h than HP

    – My average HP coefficient of performance, COP, was 2.64
    – My HPs required 2,489 kWh to replace 35% of my fuel.
    – My HPs would require 8,997 kWh, to replace 100% of my fuel.

    – The average Vermont house COP is about 3.34
    – The average Vermont house requires 2,085 kWh to replace 27.6% of its fuel, per VT-DPS/CADMUS survey. See URL

    Before HPs: I used 100 gal for domestic hot water + 250 gal for 2 stoves in basement + 850 gal for Viessmann furnace, for a total propane of 1,200 gal/y

    After HPs: I used 100 gal for DHW + 250 gal for 2 stoves in basement + 550 gal for Viessmann furnace + 2,489 kWh of electricity.

    My propane cost reduction for space heating was 850 – 550 = 300 gallon/y, at a cost of 2.339/gal = $702/y
    My displaced fuel was 100 x (1 – 550/850) = 35%, which is better than the Vermont average of 27.6%
    My purchased electricity cost increase was 2,489 kWh x 20 c/kWh = $498/y

    My energy cost savings due to the HPs were 702 – 498 = $204/y, on an investment of $24,000!!


    THETFORD; July 2, 2021 — A fire destroyed a 2019 Chevy Bolt, 66 kWh battery, battery pack cost about $10,000, or 10000/66 = $152/kWh, EPA range 238 miles, owned by state Rep. Tim Briglin, D-Thetford, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Technology.

    He had been driving back and forth from Thetford, VT, to Montpelier, VT, with his EV, about 100 miles via I-89
    He had parked his 2019 Chevy Bolt on the driveway, throughout the winter, per GM recall of Chevy Bolts
    He had plugged his EV into a 240-volt charger.
    His battery was at about 10% charge at start of charging, at 8 PM, and he had charged it to 100% charge at 4 AM; 8 hours of charging.
    Charging over such a wide range is detrimental for the battery. However, it is required for “range-driving”, i.e., making long trips. See Note

    NOTE: Range-driving is an absolute no-no, except on rare occasions, as it would 1) pre-maturely age/damage the battery, 2) reduce range sooner, 3) increase charging loss, and 4) increase kWh/mile, and 5) increase the chance of battery fires.

    Charging at 32F or less
    Li-ions would plate out on the anode each time when charging, especially when such charging occurred at battery temperatures of 32F or less.

    Here is an excellent explanation regarding charging at 32F or less.

    Fire in Driveway: Firefighters were called to Briglin’s house on Tucker Hill Road, around 9 AM Thursday.
    Investigators from the Vermont Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit determined:

    1) The fire started in a compartment in the back of the passenger’s side of the vehicle
    2) It was likely due to an “electrical failure”. See Note

    NOTE: Actually, it likely was one or more battery cells shorting out, which creates heat, which burns nearby items, which creates a fire that is very hard to extinguish. See Appendix

    GM Recall of Chevy Bolts: In 2020, GM issued a worldwide recall of 68,667 Chevy Bolts, all 2017, 2018 and 2019 models, plus, in 2021, a recall for another 73,000 Bolts, all 2020, 2021, and 2022 models.
    GM set aside $1.8 BILLION to replace battery modules, or 1.8 BILLION/(68,667 + 73,000) = $12,706/EV.

    Owners were advised not to charge them in a garage, and not to leave them unattended while charging, which may take up to 8 hours; what a nuisance!
    I wonder what could happen during rush hour traffic, or in a parking garage, or at a shopping mall, etc.
    Rep. Briglin heeded the GM recall by not charging in his garage. See URLs

    – Cost of replacing the battery packs of 80,000 Hyundai Konas was estimated at $900 million, about $11,000 per vehicle
    – EV batteries should be charged from 20 to 80%, to achieve minimal degradation and long life, plus the charging loss is minimal in that range
    – Charging EVs from 0 to 20% charge, and from 80 to 100% charge:

    1) Uses more kWh AC from the wall outlet per kWh DC charged into the battery, and
    2) Is detrimental to the battery.
    3) Requires additional kWh for cooling the battery while charging.

    – EV batteries must never be charged, when the battery temperature is less than 32F; if charged anyway, the plating out of Li-ions on the anode would permanently damage the battery.



    I am not surprised at the lack of public trust in Washington, DC, and elsewhere. The games of smoke and mirrors played in Washington are off-the-charts outrageous.

    Never, ever, has there been such a level of deceit, as Democrats have inflicted on the US People, since January 2021, using a controversial election in 2020 (see Appendix), to obtain government power, to relentlessly implement:

    – An increased size and intrusiveness of the federal government
    – A major change in US demographics by means of just-walk-in, anybody-is-welcome, open borders
    – Increased Democrat command/control over the federal government and the American people to “Remake America”

    However, Dem/Progs made a major mistake.

    – They intended to use top-down, command/control of the very-inefficient federal government to very-expensively “Remake America”.
    – Their strategy is a highly un-American approach, significantly different from the history of US economic development.
    – They never mentioned the words “private enterprise”.

    In contrast, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” specifically did not rely on government. MAGA relied on:

    – Eliminating business-stifling government rules and regulations
    – Freeing up the creative energies of the American people
    – Putting America and the American people first again, within secure borders

    Here is an example of Dem/Progs trying to force their visions onto the American people by various underhanded methods.


    BBB Bill “Shaping” and Cost Estimating

    The cost of the original BBB bill was $6.0 trillion, as crafted by extreme-leftist Sanders, Chairman of the US Senate Budget Committee. When his proposals proved to be a non-starter, he was told to “whittle it down” to an alleged $3.5 trillion, which, he declared, was the “absolute minimum”.

    Whittled down means, he shortened the duration of some programs from 10 years to 1 year, or 2 years, etc., as explained in next sections. See table 1

    NOTE: Sanders is a life-long admirer of Communism and Socialism, who celebrated his honeymoon in the USSR, i.e., before the Iron Curtain came down

    BBB Overwhelmingly a Social Program Bill

    The cost of 16 social programs would be $3.477 trillion, or 77.5% of $4.490 trillion, if all programs last 10 years
    Two of the 16 social programs would represent 67.3% of the total cost. See table 1A

    Table 1A/Social Programs Start 2022 – End 2031 Start 2022 – End 2032
    10 years 10 years
    Program $Billion $Billion
    Expanded child tax credit (CTC) 1597
    Expanded child care and preschool 752
    Total, per CBO 2349
    Total all social programs, per CBO 3477
    Allocated interest 129 206
    Total 2478 3683
    Total, % 67.3

  7. I-95 Ice Storm Overnight Traffic Jam – Imagine you were Stuck in an EV

    An ice storm and accident stranded drivers in freezing conditions on the Virginia I-95 overnight on Monday. My question – what would have happened if they were all driving electric vehicles?

    27-hour commute: Virginia officials pelted with questions after hundreds of drivers were stuck on I-95 overnight

    The winter storm blanketed several states in the mid-Atlantic and South on Monday, closing schools and causing power outages.

    In Virginia, drivers were stranded in a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg overnight. Five deaths across three states were caused by the weather.

    Ice and snow stranded hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95 in Virginia into Tuesday after a winter storm pounded several Eastern states and dumped more than a foot of snow in some places.

    The storm brought havoc to roadways, left more than 300,000 without power in Virginia and Maryland and caused at least five deaths across three states.

    No injuries or fatalities from the storm or the traffic backup were reported in Virginia.

    Problems began Monday morning when a truck jackknifed on Interstate 95, the main north-south highway along the East Coast, triggering a swift chain reaction as other vehicles lost control, state police said.

    On a roughly 50-mile stretch of I-95 near Fredericksburg, drivers were stuck in their cars overnight while ice blanketed the freeway. The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted Tuesday that the stretch of the interstate remained closed.

    Josh Lederman, a reporter with NBC News, tweeted that he was stuck in his car overnight and many motorists turned off their cars to conserve gas.

    “People (myself included) are taking exercise breaks outside their cars, walking their dogs on the interstate. I’ve been putting snow in his bowl and letting it melt into water,” he tweeted, detailing the ordeal.

    Sen. Kaine finally arrived in Washington Tuesday afternoon, some 27 hours after his journey began.

    Drivers survived the Monday traffic jam by periodically running their engines to stay warm. When the traffic finally started moving again, most vehicles had enough gasoline to finish their journeys.

    President Biden is pushing everyone to switch to electric vehicles, as part of his Net Zero plan.

    But EV batteries suffer severe performance drops in freezing conditions, and are more likely than gasoline engines to fail completely in severe conditions.

    Even if the EV batteries don’t freeze, an EV battery contains nowhere near as much energy as a tank of gas, so the safety margin is a lot thinner, for people stranded in severe weather who are using the stored energy of their vehicle to stay warm.

    In my opinion, if everyone stuck on the I-95 had been driving an EV, the I-95 ice storm traffic jam could have become a mass casualty event.

  8. The genius Henry Ford realized that the fuel infrastructure had to precede the proliferation of the machinery that required it. Vermont’s leftist elected leadership seems ok with mandating the equipment BEFORE we have the necessary electrical grid upgrades in place. I would like to see a comprehensive survey done to determine how many members of the Vermont Legislature have their own fossil-fuel powered backup generators at their homes to assure that they wont be affected by their own poor decisions. Just like people in California with electric cars realized,
    when the rolling blackouts were ordered during times of fire risk and they were ordered to evacuate, they had to have a backup plan.
    Elections have consequences.

  9. I want all the ‘wokes’ who want this to be registered, and set up with meters that cut off their power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Lets see just how real virtuous they really are. — I bet the number is zero.

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