Michael Bloomberg's $1 Billion Assault on the Electrical Grid


Climate-related philanthropy in America has been hijacked by a radical agenda that will hurt the affordability, reliability, and resilience of the U.S. electric grid.

More proof of that hijacking came last month when mega-billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies would give $500 million to the Beyond Carbon campaign. The goal of the effort is to shutter the bulk of our most important power plants — the ones that burn coal and natural gas and are therefore dispatchable and weather-resilient — and, in Bloomberg’s words, replace them with “renewable energy.”

The September 20 announcement quotes Bloomberg as saying the $500 million gift marks a “new chapter in the Beyond Carbon campaign, as we move to finish the job. By working with our partners across the country, we hope to transform the way we power America by moving beyond fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energy.” The press release goes on to say the goal is to “shut down every last U.S. coal plant,” and “slash gas plant capacity in half, and block all new gas plants.”

A more radical agenda is difficult to conjure. The coal and gas plants that Bloomberg and his allies in the anti-industry industry want to shutter produced about 40% of all the electricity used in the U.S. last year. Here are the numbers: In 2022, according to the Statistical Review of World Energy, U.S. electricity generation totaled about 4,550 terawatt-hours (TWh). About 904 TWh came from coal-fired power plants, and 1,817 TWh was generated by burning natural gas. Thus, the Beyond Carbon campaign aims to eliminate about 1,813 TWh of dispatchable thermal generation from the U.S. electric grid and do so by 2030.

Put another way, the 1,813 TWh/year of electricity that Bloomberg wants to eliminate equals the combined annual electricity use of nine states: Texas, Florida, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, and Illinois.

The timing of Bloomberg’s announcement could scarcely be more tone-deaf. It comes in the wake of repeated warnings made this year by America’s top regulators, grid operators, and an industry association that our power grid is losing too much dispatchable generation capacity and is adding too much capacity that is dependent on the vagaries and whims of the weather. Indeed, Bloomberg announced the $500 million donation scarcely a month after the North American Electric Reliability Corporation warned that bad energy policy was a significant threat to the reliability of the U.S. electric grid. More on that in a moment.

Read the rest of this piece at Robert Bryce Substack.

Robert Bryce is a Texas-based author, journalist, film producer, and podcaster. His articles have appeared in a myriad of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Time, Austin Chronicle, and Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: World Bank, via Flickr under CC 2.0 License.