Going Green Doesn’t Work

Going “green” is not going well. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2010 forecast predicts fossil fuels will “continue to provide most of the energy consumed in the United States…” Only 6 percent of the “energy consumed by 2035 will be replaced by renewable fuel sources.” They will be principally wind and solar, for electricity and home heating, respectively, but with oil as our energy mainstay. Today,

nearly half of voters favor continued deepwater drilling in spite of the oil rig disaster that brought such serious environmental damage to Gulf of Mexico shorelines. “Some 80 percent of voters nationwide support offshore oil drilling…closer to shore,” a June 30 Rasmussen Poll reported.

President Obama’s ideologically-based decision to substitute alternative, green energy for oil is a romantic political choice which America will not see fulfilled for a more than a generation, if ever. But the President’s determination to drive toward other energy sources is seen in his decision to appeal Federal District Court of New Orleans’ ruling against the Administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf. As columnist Charles Krauthammer noted: “We haven’t run out of easily accessible sources of oil. We’ve been run off them by environmentalists. They prefer to dream green instead.”

Wind power has been hoisted up by Obama Administration wishful thinking as a major alternative power source despite its anemic potential. Take General Electric Company’s plan to build wind turbines on Lake Erie. “Projects like this would never get off the ground if it weren’t for massive tax breaks and government subsidies,” said a Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial blog. “But even then, wind power would be so costly that [the electric power company] wouldn’t touch it if it weren’t for the legal requirement that Ohio utilities buy 12.5 percent of their energy from ‘renewable resources,’ like wind, by 2025. The main argument for wind is that it is ‘green.’ It is not. Because wind blows irregularly, turbines run only about 30 percent of the time…. windpower will make money for companies like General Electric on the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers.”

Government subsidies for windmills and for GE come naturally to Obama. He and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt are buddies. Immelt is a presidential adviser. His company was likely the beneficiary of billions in green projectsas a major wind turbine maker. Immelt wrote his stockholders in 2009, the Obama Administration will be a profitable “financier” and “key partner.” According to the Washington Examiner in March 4, 2009, an item in Obama’s budget for fiscal 2010 labeled ‘climate revenues’ and totaling $646 billion, inspired confidence in Immelt. On page 115 of Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget a chart showed forecasts, beginning in 2012, of billions of dollars a year in “climate revenues….by forcing companies to pay for the right to emit greenhouse gases (and GE could benefit as possibly the only ‘secondary market trader of the credits). It would all be in the workings of “Cap and Trade” legislation passed by the House June 26, 2009. The legislation would place limits on greenhouse gases and require a massive switch to cleaner energy. The bill appears dead in the Senate. But, like ObamaCare–pronounced dead early this year–it, too, could rise from its political grave, and quite possibly will in a new form.

GE and Vestas Wind Systems are the world’s two largest suppliers of wind turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). There are hundreds off thousands of turbines throughout the country, serving electricity to millions of homes Wind power in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2006 nd 2008, mainly because of huge subsidies. Still, in 2008, wind generated only 1.3 percent of total electricity production. Besides being an unreliable source, windmills can be bad for one’s health. Dr. Nina Pierpont of Malone, N.Y., conducted lengthy research on what she terms “wind turbine syndrome” for a “constellation of symptoms experienced by many” living near industrial wind turbines. Health problems range from headaches to anxiety, insomnia, and nausea. While the nightly news rarely fails to show a dying pelican completely coated in oil from British Petroleum’s evil spill in the Gulf, migratory birds and eagles, purportedly protected by the law, are killed by the thousands by environmentalists’ favorite green energy source—politically correct wind farms.

The American Wind Energy Association optimistically predicts 20 percent of electricity will be produced by wind by 2030 with most of the increase coming in the decade between 2020 an 2030. Wind project developers were offered a 30 percent tax credit from the approximately $800 billion stimulus package. That 2009 law also gave the Department of Energy (DOE) $118 million for wind research and development. And the President’s 2010 budget provided 75 million for the DOE wind program. As for jobs, the AWEA website claims only 150,000 jobs will be created for those working directly on the windmills.

It says 85,000 people are presently employed. AWEA is currently making a big push for a “Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).” Under RES, AWEA says, if all our states adopted it, 25 percent of electricity would come from renewable sources, including solar, biomass, geothermal, and, of course, wind. An “aggressive near-term target, such as 10 percent by 2012 is called for. By no coincidence, this is the “Obama-Biden New Energy for America plan.

This was an ambitious scheme put forth just before Obama and Joe Biden took office. It called for spending $150 billion to “build a clean energy future, put one million Hybrid cars on the road by 2015, ensure that 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025,” and, surprise,  of all things, “promote responsible domestic production of oil and natural gas.”

July 8th, 2010
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