To the Editor:

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin recently stated that the House-passed Build Back Better bill’s provisions on renewable energy would jeopardize the reliability of the electricity grid. His statement is a common refrain when it comes to opposition to renewable energy. However, the facts just don’t bear out when it comes to the idea that renewable energy isn’t a reliable source of power.

A 2017 draft study by the U.S. Department of Energy showed that the expansion of renewable energy, including wind and solar, has had no harm on the reliability of the energy grid, stating “Numerous technical studies for most regions of the nation indicate that significantly higher levels of renewable energy can be integrated without any compromise of system reliability.”

In fact, the U.S. military has been working for several years to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and increase their usage of renewable energy, citing reliability and security as their primary reasons.

We see the same results overseas as well. Germany, which gets nearly half of its country’s electricity via renewable sources, has one of the most reliable electricity grids in the world.

Let’s not forget that fossil fuels also have reliability issues. The 2021 blackouts in Texas, which Manchin cited as examples of the potential unreliability of renewables, weren’t caused by renewable energy at all. They were caused by extreme cold temperatures stalling out all power sources, including nuclear and natural gas, across the state.

While it is true that the variable output of wind and solar is a challenge, it is one that can be met with current technologies. After all, fossil fuel plants are also subject to variable output as well, caused by extreme weather, fuel supply interruptions caused by transportation, or even unexpected maintenance.

Bold investment into renewable energy will also help prevent the worst effects of man-made climate change, which was linked to the rolling blackouts in California last year. The truth is that we cannot afford to wait to invest in sustainable energy sources. It’s crucial to safeguarding our future against increasing costly disasters. The good news is that we can do so without compromising our reliability.

Charlotte Reith

Bowling Green