Green Energy Puts US in the Red

February 22, 2010

Towering hulks of rusting scrap iron. Andrew Walden of American Thinker calls them "Spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills." That is all that is left of many of California's vaunted wind farms. Thousands of these wind turbines left cannibalized and abandoned after the government mandates ended and subsidies ran out. They are now nothing more than corroding monuments to California's failed experiment with wind power. And the millions of tax dollars that funded them? Ask Bob Dylan; they're Blowin' in the Wind energy.

Sunshine, on our solar panel, makes Biden happy. (My apologies to the late John Denver) The Detroit Free Press reports that Vice President Joe Biden visited a solar panel manufacturing plant in Saginaw, MI. The plant received almost $142 million in federal energy tax credits to produce the material for solar panels. "It's a wonderful day for solar energy," Biden said as he gazed at the rows and rows of solar panels. The panels produce 30 kilowatts of power (when the sun shines), enough to power the plant's administration building.

Sounds great, right? Ask yourself, "Would the plant produce the solar panels without the energy tax credits?" No; I don't know what Biden would be gazing at but it wouldn't be solar panels; perhaps something the company can make a profit on.

The Carrizo Plain in California was once home to the largest photovoltaic array (solar power plant) in the world. It was built in 1983 by ARCO and had 100,000 1' x 4' solar panels on 177 acres of land. The thought behind it was that crude oil would reach a price that would make the 5.2 peak megawatts produced profitable. That never happened and the site closed in 1994. The solar panels were sold and the concrete and steel pillars that held them were dug up.

Is this the future of ethanol? I once thought that the US fuel ethanol industry could be viable and I still, to some extent, think it could be. However, in order to do so the focus must be placed on making a profit selling ethanol not providing another market for corn.

Since ethanol is only about 70 – 75% as efficient as a motor fuel as gasoline, the ethanol industry relies on a 51 cents per gallon blenders' credit in order to make it competitive with gasoline. What happens when we can no longer afford this subsidy? We are going to see the Midwest dotted with the rusted remains of the failed US ethanol industry.

The end of subsidies will spell the eventual end of Obama's "green economy." All of these green energy technologies have to be subsidized by the Federal Government until they are viable. But they will never be viable; if they were the private sector would be pursuing them now, without any push from the government. Once the subsidies are ended, the technology will be abandoned and the hardware will be left to rot. However, Obama is right about one thing. His green energy ideas don't burn coal, oil or natural gas. Instead, they burn tax dollars.

To top all this off, we now know that impetus for Obama's green economy was a complete hoax. UK Daily Mail reports that even Professor Phil Jones, who was once perhaps the leading global warming alarmist, has admitted that there has been no "statistically significant warning" in the past fifteen years. He also said he lost all that data that was supposed to prove this fraud. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent and are going to be spent to save us from this nonsense and he lost the data! His excuse was that he wasn't as organized as he should have been and his office wasn't very tidy. I pointed out in an earlier article that Jones received $22.6 million in grants. Seems like with that kind of money he could buy a couple of filing cabinets and hire a secretary. As it turns out, the scientific consensus on global warming was only one third right. It was a scientific con.

I am not against new technology. I am against government subsidies on any technology. But don't let me stop you. If you want to power your business with a windmill or put solar panels on your house, go right ahead. Just don't ask the rest of us to pay for it. If a technology cannot stand on its own in the private sector, it should go the way of a Democrat Senator; bye Bayh.

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Copyright ©2010 Humphrey Stevenson

Humphrey Stevenson has BS degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics and an MBA and makes his home in Tulsa, OK. He is a chemist by trade, has been published in trade journals, and is a recent "tea party" participant and political writer. His inspiration, as with many conservatives, is Ronald Reagan.