Impact on Economy and USA
Mr. Sanford said he wrote the bill because he is opposed to government mandates, not because he favors any particular energy source-a sentiment echoed by legislators in other states. "Texas is blessed with a lot of incredible resources for energy, wind and solar amongst them. But they need to be developed with free-market principles, not with the heavy hand of government directing us to an inefficient process," he said in an interview.
"New wind-farm activity has slowed as developers, wind-turbine equipment manufacturers and their financing sources are waiting to see what government benefits can be expected," CEO and Chairman Zsolt Rumy said in a statement. "Although project cancellations are very uncommon, a number of them are on hold until the economic uncertainties are cleared up."
At Katana Summit, Kevin L. Strudthoff, the president and chief executive, said that his industry's problem was probably similar to the situation of the domestic solar panel industry. In fact, the American wind industry is also subsidized, mostly through a production tax credit, but by all accounts the scale of Chinese subsidies is far larger.
"People want jobs, and all the more so in a situation like this," with an ongoing recession, said Alan Viard, an economist who is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "It naturally has a political resonance."
But Viard and other economists warn that the jobs arguments is flawed. Industries tend to look only at a policy's impact on one sector, ignoring the broader economic impact.
The alternative-energy sector has run smack into a credit crisis, probably a recession as well, and almost all industry experts think the fourth quarter is going to be worse. ...The reality today is that it's more expensive to produce renewable energy than it is from traditional resources, and consumers suddenly strapped for cash will start moving away, said Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at Cato Institute.
Even proponents are slowing the move toward alternative energy, at least for the moment.
For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new challenges because of the credit freeze and the plunge in oil and natural gas prices. ...after years of rapid growth, the sudden headwinds facing renewables point to slowing momentum and greater dependence on government subsidies, mandates and research financing, at a time when Washington is overloaded with economic problems.
Gains in the sector don't necessarily lead to wider employment.
The wind industry, for example, has shed 10,000 jobs since 2009 even as the energy capacity of wind farms has nearly doubled, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has added 75,000 jobs since Obama took office, according to Labor Department statistics.
Industrial-scale energy projects on Bureau of Land Management lands are pushed through by energy companies touting jobs and economic booms to communities. Not mentioned is the potential loss of tourism revenues if people stop coming to recreational areas that are visually blighted.
It's difficult to assess just how much oil and gas may be within reach, said Adam Sieminski, head of the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's independent statistical arm.
"The one thing I can say with absolute confidence here today is that our long-term forecasts are going to be wrong. It looks like the direction that we're going to be wrong, when it comes to oil, is that there's going to be more of it," he said.
Babcock & Brown Ltd.'s fight to avoid becoming Australia's next victim of the credit crisis may depend on convincing bankers that it can sell assets in a market where others have failed.
Babcock slumped 51 percent in Sydney trading since Nov. 6, when ABN Amro Holdings NV analyst John Heagerty said the owner of wind farms and real estate may breach loan agreements next year. ...Babcock said June 16 it was "confident'' the wind assets would be sold this year -- an assumption Heagerty said may prove too optimistic.
"The sale of Babcock's wind assets is likely to be postponed further given the difficulties for the acquirers in obtaining financing,'' he said.
The U.S. government is committing billions of dollars to support renewable energy such as wind- and solar-power plants. Some say it should use more of that financial clout to encourage less energy consumption in the first place.
Advocates of conservation, including businesses that help homeowners and companies save energy, think there should be more subsidies and tax incentives for basics like insulation and window shading, and for newer, more costly products like light-emitting-diode lamps and building-automation systems.
"Iberdrola Renewables is focusing on operations in 2012 rather than new building due to low energy prices, a poor economy and regulatory uncertainty," Johnson said, adding that the company has a "solid balance sheet, positive cash flow and no real debt."
U.S. President Barack Obama, whose administration has made clean energy a top priority, told reporters the bill "ushers in a critical transition to a clean energy economy..." But opponents say it will amount to a heavy tax on industry that will put people out of work.
Over time, the cap becomes more stringent to reduce carbon emissions, causing the cost of permits to surge and forcing factories to relocate to Asia, critics said.
The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 would increase power prices by about 4 percent in 2025 ...the agency said today in a statement on its website.
That gap may increase to as much as 18 percent by 2035 as utilities seek to reduce carbon emissions by shifting their mix of power plants away from coal in favor of natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy.
Dozens of renewable energy plants being built to meet California's tough global warming laws, including a major Spanish-owned solar plant in the Mojave Desert, are so overpriced they will increase consumers' energy bills for decades, according to the independent watchdog arm of the state's s utility regulator.
The poor performance of some sectors aiming to slow climate change is pushing money managers to cast further afield for investments that both carry green credentials and are likely to post better returns.
Some renewable-energy stocks, such as those in solar and wind industries, have fallen spectacularly in recent years, belying hopes that they were poised to break out.
Clean energy has a dirty secret.
It isn't cheap.
Consumers already are starting to feel at least a modest pinch in their electric bills. The impact is expected to grow in the next few years as utilities accelerate their investments to meet state quotas requiring a portion of clean energy in their generation mix.
Iberdrola Renewables Inc., the U.S. arm of a Spanish energy giant, received more than $1.5 billion for its wind and solar projects. In January, it laid off 50 people, leaving about 850 U.S. employees, according to spokeswoman Jan Johnson. The company takes credit for creating more than 15,000 jobs ..."How dare they claim they created those jobs," said Dick Messbarger, executive director of the nearby Kingsville Economic Development Council. "Their existence is almost invisible."