November 22 2011
Green energy is a concept with enormous potential—as long as its development is left to the free market and government doesn’t force citizens to pay through the nose for expensive, unproven green systems.
There were two very interesting pieces today on the perils of promoting green energy through the government. First, let’s talk about how the Environmental Protection Agency uses regulations that kill jobs in traditional industries in order to promote renewable energy.
Although Lisa Jackson, chief of the EPA, claimed that her agency doesn’t require that coal-powered plants shut down, she let the cat out of the bag with this quote (in today’s Wall Street Journal):
When pressed, Ms. Jackson went on to say that "No, I can't say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are states that are leading the way on solar or wind. . . . What EPA's role is to do is to level the playing field so that pollution costs are not exported to the population but rather companies have to look at the pollution potential of any fuel or any process or any plant or any utility when they're making their investment decisions." (Our emphasis.)…
What Ms. Jackson really means is that she is trying to make coal—the workhorse of U.S. electric power—artificially more expensive. This is to serve her anticarbon goals, if not the consumers who will bear the costs and may suffer if the U.S. electric grid is compromised. But at least the EPA chief is finally admitting what she's up to.
This means that an agency set up for one purpose is actually being used for another: to put businesses unpopular by a particular administration out of operation.
The second story was a report from the Washington Examiner on what happened when the state of Maryland promoted renewable energy. In a nutshell: the state lost nearly two million dollars.
The Examiner reports:
Maryland spent $2.3 million last fiscal year on a renewable energy grant program that brought in only $637,000 in savings, according to a report by the Maryland Energy Administration.
That means that Maryland residents recovered roughly $3 in energy savings for every $10 the state spent on the grant program, which helps homeowners pay for the purchase and installation of solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines.
Is “energy savings” really the right word to use in relation to a program that poured nearly two million dollars down a rat hole?
If green energy advocates aren’t careful, they are going to harm their product.
The public, already fed up with picking up the tab for things like Solyndra, the bankrupt solar panels firm on which taxpayers lost more than a half billion dollars, is going to turn on green energy.