With gas prices at an all-time high, it’s no wonder so many people are touting the benefits of electric vehicles. In theory, EVs seem like an environmental and economic solution; people would use less fossil fuel, saving money and the environment.
Unfortunately, this rosy idealism about EVs is far from reality. This recent article in Nevada Business’s Free Market Watch, by former Nevada State controller Ron Knecht, delves into why. As always, these “obvious” solutions to big problems are much more nuanced.
Several states, including Nevada, are taking a leaf out of California’s supposed “green” book by adopting EVs for various use (like busses for mass transit or trucks for transporting goods). This is alongside pledges to increase renewable energy generation through solar and wind power (and it’s worth noting that Nevada has had geothermal plants for many decades).
However, these investments into EVs and renewable infrastructure are being made without evaluating the downsides.
Renewable energy is not inherently more sustainable or “green.” Building things like batteries and solar panels required extensive mining for resources like lithium (of which Nevada has some large deposits). But attempts to mine that in the state are met with resistance by those who want to protect some “endangered” toads, flora and fauna. How is more “sustainable” technology supposed to be created if the resources needed to produce it are inaccessible?
Additionally, the same people who want renewable energy also tend to oppose a powerful (pun intended) option: nuclear energy. This is a topic I’ve written about before and, based on the research, I believe it is a safer, more viable option. However, fear-mongering around nuclear power has stalled that innovation.
I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert in this science, but I do know that we can’t simply want something so badly that we end up not making logical, smart decisions as we move forward. Nuclear energy is a perfect example. The safety record and the data show that it’s one of the best renewable energy solutions available today. However, there is this emotional, fear-based aversion to it; therefore we don’t even try to see how it could solve many of our energy needs.
It’s a Catch-22, then, when fueling the future is left up to people who want renewable energy but attempt to block any meaningful steps toward that, and also are the same people who condemn the continued use of fossil fuels. At this point, all of this going around in circles would probably generate enough electricity to power a small town.