American Elephants

Saturday Night Bach: Glass Harp by The Elephant's Child
October 1, 2011, 7:11 pm
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Do You Know About the Solyndra Scandal? It’s Important. by The Elephant's Child

Polls say that most people have never heard of Solyndra, and have no idea what it is.  People generally favor clean, green energy as well. If you have never investigated, getting energy from the wind and the sun probably sounds good.

The Sun’s energy and the energy of the wind are free, and they don’t produce any fumes or noxious gasses, so if we can get our energy from those sources, wouldn’t it be great? With a new government controlled by Democrats the delusional greens thought they were going to get their heart’s desire. Cap-and-trade and the carbon market along with tighter regulation would jack up the cost of fossil fuels; and public demand for clean energy would grow, making wind and solar profitable.

Cap and trade failed, and the carbon market collapsed.  Aggressive government  regulation merely raised the cost of energy, killing jobs and making the recession far worse. At the same time new technologies in drilling and huge discoveries of vast quantities of oil and gas in shale formations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Dakota and New York have changed the energy picture completely.

These discoveries have devastated the environmental movement and left them struggling to protest Canadian pipelines and finding species that might possibly prove to be endangered.  The Global Carbon Treaty is not going to happen, and peak oil has been pushed off again into the distant future.

With generous government subsidy — this administration believes that it is government’s task to invest in those projects too risky for venture capitalists — wind and solar projects were ready with their hands out.

The solar and wind industry made their pitch on the basis of rated capacity. That is, how much electricity the project could produce under ideal circumstances. Solar energy is diffuse. Clouds reduce the power from the sun. Night reduces it completely. Ideal circumstances are not the norm.

Solar energy produces less than 1/10th of 1% of U.S. energy. Wind produces .5% of all energy consumed, and 1.3% of all electricity generated. Taxpayer subsidies for solar energy are $24.34 per Mwh, wind is slightly less at $23.37 per Mwh. The oil and gas “subsidies” that Obama wants eliminated are not really subsidies, but the same type of capital write-offs that most industries have and amount to a comparable 25¢.

Master Resource makes some important points:

The proper business of energy policy is to support the efficient provision of the energy on which our economy depends.

—The lower the cost of energy to the economy, in general, the higher will be job creation and economic growth outside of the energy sector.

— Raising economic costs by forcing the use of uneconomic technologies to create more jobs will have exactly the opposite effect.

— Any analysis of job creation by green energy must consider the simultaneous effect of job destruction.

Solar equipment maker Stirling Energy Systems filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Friday. The Energy Department managed to get $4.7 billion in subsidies for 3 large solar power plants and 1 large solar project out the door before the subsidy program expired. There are more to come.


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