Press Release: Heat Wave Highlights Fatal Flaws of Wind Power

July 9, 2021


Media Contact:
John A. Charles, Jr.
President & CEO
Cascade Policy Institute
(503) 242-0900

PORTLAND, Ore. – Temperatures throughout Oregon reached record levels last week. This posed a problem for the electrical grid, especially in the late afternoon. As commuters returned from work, residential electricity demand went up. But the wind farms that are supposed to be helping the region transition away from fossil fuels were completely unreliable.

Real-time data from the Bonneville Power Administration (below) showed that only the regional hydro system could rise and fall in tandem with demand. Nuclear and coal resources provided baseload power, but wind output went up and down randomly. During peak demand hours on both June 25 and June 26, wind dropped to near-zero.

BPA Real Time Data June

State lawmakers recently celebrated the passage of HB 2021, which mandates the elimination of fossil fuels from the power grid by 2040. However, the three main power sources preferred by legislators – wind, solar, and hydro – are all weather dependent. That makes them vulnerable to catastrophic shortages, as the region discovered 20 years ago when BPA did not have enough electricity to serve the aluminum industry. As a result, more than 5,000 jobs were permanently lost.

Cascade Policy Institute CEO John A. Charles Jr. summarized the problem: “Political meddling is steadily weakening Oregon’s electrical grid, which will lead to blackouts in the coming years. The only way to describe this is Failure by Design.”

About Cascade Policy Institute:
Founded in 1991, Cascade Policy Institute is Oregon’s free-market public policy research center. Cascade’s mission is to explore and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic opportunity. For more information, visit


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Comments 5

  1. Avatar for Bob Elvis Clark

    Bob Elvis Clark

    4:55 pm - July 9, 2021

    We are narrative driven in Oregon, and TV news marching to the spin of big government types, has our institutions marching in lock step to a disaster prone future. The press simply says “Climate Change is Real” and this is all the public needs to know in approving the Government order to eliminate fossil fuel use. Never mind that the recent heat wave is probably more natural in causation than having to do with the carbon dioxide content of our atmosphere. Nor is it asked if we can trust the likes of China, India, and Russia (even Europe is backsliding with increased use of coal generation) to also reduce their use of fossil fuels – so as to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This latter question seems to be no in light of China’s lack of cooperation, maybe even creation of, in the Covid-19 pandemic.

  2. Avatar for Don Crawford

    Don Crawford

    8:11 am - July 10, 2021

    These United States were born in a revolution based upon the premises that the purpose of government was to protect our rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. Government should have no role in deciding on how power is being generated in our country or this state. Consumer demand should drive the electric company to do whatever will work to meet that demand. The electric company should be free to do whatever costs less to generate electricity. Certainly we should have nuclear power options as well as hydro-electric. Wind and solar can only provide a small amount of what is needed. The people elected to the state legislature do not know much, if anything, about how to run the electric grid. If the legislators, who don’t understand what they are doing, are allowed to make up the rules for how the electricity providers do their business, there is nothing to prevent them from imposing unworkable rules that will literally leave us in the dark. How stupid is that? I want to go back to the free country I thought I grew up in.

  3. Avatar for Anthony Lash

    Anthony Lash

    3:38 pm - July 16, 2021

    How bad is the imbalance between available payroll taxes and lack of riders and fares?

  4. Avatar for Stanley Heinemann

    Stanley Heinemann

    8:47 am - July 17, 2021

    In a positive light I suggest that hydrogen -“from Natural Gas” – Fuel Cell Electric vehicles will help take the load off of the GRID!
    In a negative sense; –No matter where the energy comes from and connected to the GRID; It can only handle so much CURRENT before it will “Drop Out”.
    If the CURRENT in the wires and transformers doubles, the HEAT in those elements will QUADRUPLE! –Hence the safety breakers will drop-out or catch fire!. IT WILL NOT BE DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING AS OUR POLITICIANS WILL SAY! — Yes hot weather will make the problem worse too.
    The REAL problem is shifting the energy into the GRID from fossil fueled vehicles, That is; CARS and TRUCKS to electricity. Ref
    Electrically driven vehicles are about twice as efficient as gasoline, when all conditions al taken into account considering the weight of carrying a large heavy costly –battery in all electric vehicles! EVEN THEN! ( Petroleum is the main source of energy for transportation).
    From the websites given above —
    Looking at your grid chart and adding all the millions of watts is about 20.00 million watts.
    Looking at the gasoline energy used for vehicles say in Ohio? per day it calculates to 396,000 million watts! and almost 3 times that in California.

  5. Avatar for Patrick Castles

    Patrick Castles

    2:52 pm - July 17, 2021

    The real story of the heat wave is contained in this article, but it is not that future a brownout will cause more people to die in their homes of heat prostration. It is that the Northwest has an advantage through its hydro resources. What the left hates is anything big, especially industry. When have you heard the powerful elites in Oregon call for economic growth. They tolerate and milk what is already built, but their view of life is still (from their earlier days) a matter of flowers, hallucinogens, and the search for personal bliss. So, why bother with attracting new business. Those who might want a train, plane, or automobile to get around (we know that the entitled wealthy among us fly carbon intensive planes to climate conferences) have to buy them from other places besides Oregon. Starting such a company in Oregon will almost certainly run you afoul of some environmental hazard or they will tax you to death. The great hypocrisy of this is that somebody has to build or make what we buy in Oregon. Steel and other industrial products are made elsewhere. Our consumer goods are made in foreign countries where environmentalism and energy minimalism don’t exist. The grand illusion is that Oregon is green. But it isn’t. We simply outsource our pollution to other countries and feel good about recycling our grass. That China, our greatest existential threat, is a major source of what we buy reinforces their power base. Here is an interesting thought experiment: what would happen if the irresistible force of China and the immovable object of climate extremism met? The answer doesn’t matter. We are destroyed no matter what.

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