Amidst Line 3 protest, oil produces more electricity than wind

Hundreds of out-of-state protestors are flooding to northern Minnesota to protest the replacement of an aging oil pipeline, but reality apparently has a sense of humor: power plants running on oil produced more electricity during the periods of highest electricity demand than wind turbines and solar panels combined.

The graph below shows the electricity supply on June 9 at 6 pm. Oil, which the protestors claim we don’t need, produced 7,392 megawatts (MWs) of electricity that hour, while wind and solar, which protestors pretend can run our lives on, generated just 3,376 MW, combined.

This isn’t supposed to happen. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that roughly 70 percent of petroleum-fired power plants that exist today were built before 1980. These power plants also operate infrequently because of the high price of petroleum compared to other fuels, air pollution restrictions, and lower efficiencies of their aging generating technology.

But yesterday, when the electric grid was under extreme stress and power companies were asking their customers to use less electricity, oil, not wind power, showed up to work.

This fun fact blows apart the weak arguments made by pipeline protestors, namely that we have to keep the oil “in the ground.” Actually, we need that oil above ground keeping the lights on because the wind turbines they love so much aren’t showing up to work.

The pipeline protestors live on another planet where nearly all of their basic needs are provided for by the use of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power, but they totally oblivious to it. Thankfully, we’ve got the data to show that their ideas are dangerous and dumb.