American Elephants

Pulling the Plug on Green Power. by The Elephant's Child

It is hard to tell just how much one government is influenced by the actions of another.  It is a lot.  Consider light rail, HOV lanes, lotteries, sin taxes, wind farms, bans on plastic bags, with an accompanying tax.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  These would never have happened in most states or cities without the cover of some other city or state doing it.

Now austerity is pulling the plug on green subsidies in Europe.  European states are dumping or rolling back their subsidies for renewable energy as some kind of economic sanity is developing. That apparently will not extend to the U.S.

The housing bubble in Spain led to a national unemployment rate of over 20 percent.  The government’s subsidies for so-called clean energy were a drain on the taxpayer  that disguised a politically correct industrial program. Sunny Spain became the world’s top solar power producer.  Since 2002, about €23-billion had been invested in Spain’s photovoltaic industry.

Other European countries are taking a long hard look at their renewable energy sectors.  France has declared a 3 month moratorium while they decide what to do.  CRE, the independent regulator of the French energy and natural gas markets has estimated that taxes on electricity would have to triple to meet the rising costs of renewable energy, and energy taxes could kill more jobs than those created by renewable expansion.

Germany is also scaling back subsidies, and Britain is facing  big problems as in such cold as they have had this winter, wind farms are unable to produce adequate power.  Denmark, supposedly the greenest of countries, actually generates half of its electricity from coal.  That percentage has remained constant even during the country’s pursuit of ever more wind power.

In Ontario, Canada, the average price for power last year was 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour.  Solar installations ranged from 44 cents to 80 cents. The new techniques of getting natural gas from shale deposits have resulted in a worldwide glut.  Some sources say we have a 250 year supply.  Israel has found huge supplies of natural gas off their coast.  The Times of India has reported their first shale gas pool found near Durgapur.

Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post in Canada pointed out that: “In the middle of his State of the Union speech, the U.S. President flicked a switch that called for an Apollo-like mission to a green planet far, far away, triggering a malfunction that puts the United States back on course to nowhere.”

Mr. Obama, returning to the nasty corporate-bashing message of his first two years, attacked the U.S. oil industry by implying it was receiving massive subsidies that could be redirected to clean energy. “I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we’re currently giving to oil companies.” In fact, there is no money going to oil companies. It’s not a subsidy but a tax deduction that is used by all U.S. manufacturing corporations. Now Mr. Obama wants to single out the oil industry for punishment.

When it comes to paying corporate taxes, a recent University of North Carolina study found that U.S. oil giants paid effective tax rates of up to 43.9% (Chevron) between 2003 and 2007. During the same period, the green giant GE enjoyed a tax rate of 11.5%

That’s a pretty clear indication that neither Obama nor the new Chairman of his Jobs Council are going to be creating many new jobs anytime soon.  No Apollo projects here, just the same old fantasy of green energy and green jobs that European countries are rejecting.  Will President Obama learn anything from their experience?

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Green energy or clean energy is nuclear power.


Comment by Ron spins

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