Energy Policy and USA
Germany is irrationally shutting its nuclear power plants — which produce lots of steady, reliable electricity and no carbon dioxide emissions — and promising that renewables will somehow pick up the slack. Perversely, that approach has led power companies to ramp up coal burning, the dirtiest fossil fuel, in a country that has also lavished its public money on the solar industry. Spain, too, has over-invested in expensive renewables.
It took an energy insider this past week to expose the dirty little truth about the future of wind energy - it's too costly, too unreliable and only getting more so because of government subsidies.
Take that, you green zealots.
If our communities can't reasonably afford to purchase and rely on the wind power we sell, it is difficult to make the moral case for our businesses, let alone an economic one. Yet as long as these subsidies and tax credits exist, clean-energy executives will likely spend most of their time pursuing advanced legal and accounting methods rather than investing in studies, innovation, new transmission technology and turbine development.
Nowadays, a huge chunk of the action on clean energy in the United States is happening at the state level. Some 29 states and Washington D.C. have renewable energy standards requiring electric utilities to get a portion of their power from sources like wind or solar. ...Yet those state laws are now facing a fierce backlash.
If only wind energy worked, it would be great. But it does not - at least not that well. What's worse, most people do not know, especially the Green Energy True Believers. Those who do know, however, do not care.
Instead of pouring money into subsidies and direct production support of existing, inefficient green energy, President Obama should focus on dramatically ramping up investments into the research and development of green energy.
It may be pleasant still to assume that President Obama's motives are pure; that his green agenda may require corrupt bargains with private interests, but the sparks fly upward. ...The political networks here consist of owners who aren't in business to risk capital on technological advances, but to extract cash from political favoritism.
The credit already has been extended by Congress five times. Now, Congress is considering whether to extend it one more year, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $12 billion. If so, the many will once again pay to benefit the politically connected few. ...Our government cannot subsidize its way to the long-term economic growth the country desperately needs. The math doesn't work, nor does the flawed logic that we should continue to pay billions to build wind turbines that fail to produce power when customers most need it.
The economic inefficiency of subsidies compounds the electrical inefficiency of wind farms. The U.K. should end its 200-percent subsidies for offshore wind farms, too - and the U.S. should follow suit by ending its own wind-power boondoggles.
The Sierra Club, Greenpeace and other groups claim that we can run our economies solely on renewable-energy sources such as wind. But if you are trying to pump water out of your rapidly molding basement, would you prefer a wind turbine that operates at full power about one-third of the time, or a greasy, diesel-fueled V-8?
Federal transmission policy should facilitate investment in projects that are needed to maintain reliability and reduce congestion on the grid. Using federal transmission policy to achieve other broader policy objectives sets consumers up for benefits that are speculative, with burdens that are all too real.
Wind power does not represent progress, it's a step backwards.
To editorially support a wind farm off Block Island, costing millions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars in government subsidies and increased rates for electrical users for an unreliable, inefficient and ugly encumbrance on a natural treasure is ill informed and does no service to your readers or the people of Connecticut.
Federal-and-state-sponsored renewable programs are being pursued without any regard for the economic consequences. The electricity they produce will be guaranteed a market at a price that makes them profitable, whatever it may be. As David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, told the New York Times about California-sponsored solar project his company is building: "I have never seen anything that I have had to do in my 20 years in the power industry that involved less risk."
No doubt renewable energy technologies will continue to evolve and become more viable. But it would be helpful if conferences such as this one included a serious discussion of economic realities rather than simply devolving into a pep rally for increased public handouts to favored green producers all too eager to stick out their hands.
Climate change is a huge concern, but misguided attacks won't solve the issue, and the environmental movement is more financially motivated than some of its proponents would like us to think.
Bloomberg reports that half the solar companies that have received loan guarantees have gone bankrupt. Renewable energy deserves every chance to compete in the open marketplace backed by private investors. But DOE's taxpayer bet on alternative energy is looking steadily worse over time.
Those customers aren't the only ones who are being fleeced. Even at high premiums the entire wind industry would be blown away by conventional power sources if not for huge taxpayer subsidies. According to a 2008 Energy Information Agency (EIA) report, the average 2007 subsidy per megawatt hour for wind and solar was about $24, compared with an average $1.65 for all others.
As recent as a year ago, the choice seemed to be renewables or nuclear, with much talk of natural gas as the bridge fuel. Now, gas is the fuel of choice ...A slow decline in attention paid by government support may not change, as wind and solar are under threat of collapse if tax credits expire.
The president and Mr. Chu hedged their bets in the form of billions of taxpayer dollars on a green-energy initiative that has cost Americans tens of thousands of jobs and has contributed to the creation of the highest average annual oil price in the 150-year history of the modern oil industry.
Getting "backup" generation in place that can quickly crank up when the wind dies down. But such "firming" or "cycling" is not only expensive but it can also be dirty. If coal plants are "cycled" up and down, they will release more pollutants per unit of output than if they ran full steam ahead.
Should U.S. lawmakers maintain the incentives and mandates or set out to smother them?