The bitterly cold temperatures and winter weather in Texas have recently put the reliability of “green energy” into the spotlight.
- Unreliable Green Power: Wind Power Frozen In Texas Storm, Energy Costs Rise To A Stunning $9000 Per Mega-Watt Hour – FYI.com
- Texas Outages Put Reliability Of Renewable Energy In The Spotlight (forbes.com)
But the unreliability of green energy has been known for years
- Too Much Green Power Worsening Blackouts – California Globe
- Green Power Gridlock: Why Renewable Energy Is No Alternative (forbes.com)
Note that the last article is over 7 years old. The fact that green energy is unreliable is nothing new. When the wind doesn’t blow, windmills are useless. When the sun doesn’t shine, solar panels are useless. This is not a matter of debate. Glad that people are suddenly now paying attention but, as is typically the case, even with this renewed “revelation”, everyone is actually still missing the point. And that point is that green energy smacks of “white privilege”. Whether or not you believe in white privilege or how much you believe green energy unreliability contributed to Texas’ electrical grid failure, if we use the same arguments others use to brand things as white privilege, then there is absolutely no denying that green energy does; in fact, meet the definition of white privilege to the letter. Doubt us? Read on.
It has been well understood for years that minorities, and in particular blacks, suffer disproportionately during weather events of extreme heat or cold. Consider this report from the CDC in 2014 where this is stated multiple times:
“Adjustment for region and urbanization decreased the risk of heat-related mortality among Hispanic persons and increased the risk of cold-related mortality among non-Hispanic black persons, compared with non-Hispanic white persons.“
“Subpopulations at risk for cold-related mortality are similar to those at risk for heat-related mortality: older adults, infants, males, black persons, and persons with preexisting chronic medical conditions (2,11,15,16,23–27,29).”
“Non-Hispanic black persons had higher rates of heat-related and cold-related mortality than other race and ethnicity groups during 2006–2010 (Table 3). For heat-related mortality, the rate for non-Hispanic black persons was about 2.5 times that for non-Hispanic white persons and about 2 times as high as that for Hispanic persons. The age-adjusted cold-related death rate for non-Hispanic black persons was 5.8 deaths per million compared with 4.1 for non-Hispanic white persons and 2.1 for Hispanic persons.”
“Adjustment for region and urbanization level increased the risk of heat-related mortality for counties in the lower three income quartiles compared with counties in the highest income quartile. In contrast to the impact of adjustment on heat-related mortality, adjustment for region and urbanization level slightly increased the risk of cold-related mortality for non-Hispanic black persons compared with non-Hispanic white persons (from 1.35 to 1.73).”
“This study found, as studies for earlier time periods have reported, that older persons, males, and non-Hispanic black persons had higher weather-related mortality rates than other ages, females, and other race and ethnicity subgroups. This study also found that weather related death rates were 2 to 7 times as high in low-income counties as in high-income counties;”
“Age-adjusted weather-related death rates for males were higher than those for females, and age-adjusted death rates for heat-related and cold-related mortality were higher for non-Hispanic black than non-Hispanic white or Hispanic persons.“
This is not the only study to make such a conclusion, there are many.
“In the United States, people of color are found to be particularly more vulnerable to heatwaves, extreme weather events, environmental degradation, and subsequent labor market dislocations.”
If we are to follow the science, then there is no question that weather events of extreme heat or cold disproportionately kill blacks rather than whites. But why is this? Well, yet another study that makes the same conclusions provides an answer:
“Heat-related mortality in four US cities was reduced with increasing central AC prevalence, and substantially higher effects of heat on mortality were observed among Blacks compared with Whites. A large proportion of the disparity in heat-related mortality may be due to differences in central AC prevalence. Room-unit AC prevalence showed little effect on heat-related mortality and no consistent pat-tern of disparities by race.
Several previous studies showed both Black race and lack of AC as indicating vulnerability to heat-related health effects. Heat-related mortality associations were higher in areas with lower AC prevalence, even after adjusting for latitude. Access to AC has been recommended as a key component of efforts to prevent heat-related deaths.”
But what does this have to do with green energy? Well, obviously electricity is required to power the vast majority of heating and cooling systems within houses. Furnaces might run on natural gas, but you still need electricity for them to work. Same goes for air conditioning, you need electricity. Proper temperature regulation, critical to keeping people alive during extreme heat and cold events, depends directly on electrical energy supply.
Now consider that white households are generally more affluent than black households and other minorities.
What this means is that whites are better able to cope with electricity outages caused by unreliable green energy. Wealthy white households are able to afford expensive luxuries such as backup power generators to power their furnaces and AC units. Wealthier white households are also more likely to have better insulation and weatherproofing in their homes. In addition, wealthy white households have better mobility in the event of an extreme hot or cold weather event, they can simply hop on a plane to their second home in Florida if the whether becomes too cold, or jaunt on over to the Hamptons for vacation if the whether becomes too hot. In short, the unreliability of green energy is a risk and a luxury that whites can afford. Thus, the ability to cope with unreliable green energy is a benefit that whites unconsciously enjoy. And that is the very definition of “white privilege”.