Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is known for making outlandish claims, but this particular one on solar and wind power misrepresents the facts around their effectiveness. A video circulating in August 2022 showed her speaking at an event, where she suggested that the use of solar panels and wind turbines would mean less available electricity for a household.
In the video, Greene can be overheard saying (emphasis ours):
Thank god for air conditioning. Let’s talk about refrigerators. I personally like my refrigerator. I know you all like yours. What about washing machines and dryers? Lord please God don’t make me scrub clothes in a bucket and have to hang them out on a line when we switch over to wind turbines and solar panels. I’m gonna be really pissed off about that. I mean, how absurd is this? I like the lights on. I wanna stay up later at night. I don’t wanna have to go to bed when the sun sets. It’s so silly! I mean, all of this is absolutely insane.
Based on videos Greene posted that day on Truth Social and Facebook, featuring the same podium with the poster saying “We Can Do it,” she was speaking at an Aug. 9 event in Forsyth County, Georgia.
We reached out to her team to confirm whether she made the statements and to understand her reasoning behind them. Her spokesperson Nick Dyer did not deny that she said any of the above, but also sent us the following statement:
Thank you for exposing Snopes’ leftist bias and approach to “fact-checking.”
If you were only so transparent with your agenda on the website itself.
First off, you can watch and research all of Rep. MTG’s comments on this ridiculous green agenda of the Democrats.
Secondly, a simple google search provides you with a multitude of resources that show “solar energy” is not at all helping the energy crisis or providing relief to Mother Nature.
He sent us a link to a Los Angeles Times article about the adverse impact of solar panels being dumped in California landfills. This article, however, focuses on the environmental impact of the end of a solar panel’s life, and the lack of effective recycling. The story does not address the thrust of Greene’s argument — that solar and wind energy does not provide enough electricity to power a home, including appliances like air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators.
How much electricity can solar panels generate? According to a 2018 paper in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, solar and wind power generation could supply up to 80 percent of the U.S. electricity needs. The paper notes:
However, to reliably meet 100% of total annual electricity demand, seasonal cycles and unpredictable weather events require several weeks’ worth of energy storage and/or the installation of much more capacity of solar and wind power than is routinely necessary to meet peak demand. To obtain ∼80% reliability, solar-heavy wind/solar generation mixes require sufficient energy storage to overcome the daily solar cycle, whereas wind-heavy wind/solar generation mixes require continental-scale transmission to exploit the geographic diversity of wind.
The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy states on its website: “The United States is a resource-rich country with abundant renewable energy resources. The amount available is 100 times that of the nation’s annual electricity need.” Currently, there is enough solar energy available to power the equivalent of 18 million average American homes. There is little to no evidence that using solar or wind energy will result in less electricity available on a regular day for these homes, compared with energy from fossil fuels, unless of course there are challenges from weather conditions. We should note that power failures from storms did occur in Texas in February 2021, and were largely due to thermal power generators, and to a much smaller extent, the breakdown of wind turbines.
Given the evidence of her comments, we rate this as a “Correct Attribution.”
Abraham, John. “Study: Wind and Solar Can Power Most of the United States.” The Guardian, 26 Mar. 2018. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/mar/26/study-wind-and-solar-can-power-most-of-the-united-states. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
“Did Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Say ‘Jewish Lasers’ Caused California Wildfires?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/greene-jewish-lasers-wildfires/. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
Dyer, Nick. “Email Exchange with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Staff.” Email, 15 Aug. 2022.
Kisela, Rachel et al. “California Went Big on Rooftop Solar. Now That’s a Problem for Landfills.” Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2022, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-07-14/california-rooftop-solar-pv-panels-recycling-danger. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene Mocked for Suggesting Renewable Energy Doesn’t Work at Night.” The Independent, 15 Aug. 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/marjorie-taylor-greene-solar-energy-b2145521.html. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
“Renewable Energy.” Energy.Gov, https://www.energy.gov/eere/renewable-energy. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
Shaner, Matthew R., et al. “Geophysical Constraints on the Reliability of Solar and Wind Power in the United States.” Energy & Environmental Science, vol. 11, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 914–25. pubs.rsc.org, https://doi.org/10.1039/C7EE03029K. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
“Solar Energy in the United States.” Energy.Gov, https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-united-states. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.
“Were Frozen Wind Turbines in Texas a Major Factor in Power Outages?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wind-turbines-texas-power-outages/. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.