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Wishful thinking won't end recession

To be kind, efforts at the federal level to promote alternative energy have been less than stellar. So what is it that makes Sen. Shaheen so optimistic? It may be that her call for energy diversity and green power is being reflected in speeches by New Hampshire's governor, John Lynch, and President-elect Barack Obama. But the simple fact that all three are reading from the same playbook assures nothing. Nothing that is except higher energy prices, at least for the foreseeable future.

On Thursday, New Hampshire's freshman United States senator, Jeanne Shaheen, used her first floor speech to address a key component of her campaign - clean, alternative energy and energy efficiency.

Shaheen sees the opportunity for green technology to help pull the country out of recession.

"With a bold investment in energy efficiency and clean, alternative energy, we can create millions of new 21st century green collar jobs, begin to reverse global warming and start on the path to energy independence," Shaheen said from the Senate floor.

Shaheen went on to point to successes New Hampshire is having, pointing out that small businesses here "already are leaders in the new energy economy, making everything from wood pellets to ethanol from forest by-products to solar panels and biofuels. We have seen firsthand how investment in clean energy creates good jobs up and down the economic ladder - advanced manufacturing jobs, highly skilled construction jobs, jobs installing solar panels and energy efficiency systems, jobs selling and delivering new fuels."

To some extent Shaheen is correct. New Hampshire has made great strides in diversifying its sources of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

On Thursday, New Hampshire's freshman United States senator, Jeanne Shaheen, used her first floor speech to address a key component of her campaign - clean, alternative energy and energy efficiency.

Shaheen sees the opportunity for green technology to help pull the country out of recession.

"With a bold investment in energy efficiency and clean, alternative energy, we can create millions of new 21st century green collar jobs, begin to reverse global warming and start on the path to energy independence," Shaheen said from the Senate floor.

Shaheen went on to point to successes New Hampshire is having, pointing out that small businesses here "already are leaders in the new energy economy, making everything from wood pellets to ethanol from forest by-products to solar panels and biofuels. We have seen firsthand how investment in clean energy creates good jobs up and down the economic ladder - advanced manufacturing jobs, highly skilled construction jobs, jobs installing solar panels and energy efficiency systems, jobs selling and delivering new fuels."

To some extent Shaheen is correct. New Hampshire has made great strides in diversifying its sources of energy, but at a steep price. And unfortunately, the federal government's role on a national level in promoting alternative and green fuels is abysmal.

In the 1960s, Congress took a run at coal shale technology - and failed.
Later Congress tried to promote wind power with tax credits. Unfortunately, the technology was not cost effective and there was a strong sense that manufacturers were simply increasing prices to take advantage of the government's largesse.

Then came unleaded fuel and with it MtBE, which has poisoned groundwater sources across the nation, including here in the Granite State.

And don't forget ethanol. That 10 percent of ethanol in each gallon of gas you put in your car reduces fuel efficiency. It has also driven up food prices as farmers have redirected their crop production away from the grocery store shelves and toward the more lucrative fuel market.

To be kind, efforts at the federal level to promote alternative energy have been less than stellar.

So what is it that makes Sen. Shaheen so optimistic? It may be that her call for energy diversity and green power is being reflected in speeches by New Hampshire's governor, John Lynch, and President-elect Barack Obama.
But the simple fact that all three are reading from the same playbook assures nothing. Nothing that is except higher energy prices, at least for the foreseeable future.

Any infant technology is expensive. When you have a moment, stop in at one of the businesses selling solar hot water systems. You may just find the payback will take far longer than you plan on staying in your house.

And how about a windmill? Why has the state had to step into local disputes over size and location? Why have environmental groups been allowed to promote the safety of bats and birds over the need for alternative fuel sources?

(And speaking of windmills .... Will freshman Sen. Shaheen be able to convince Cape Wind Farm opponent Sen. Ted Kennedy to finally come on board? Good luck, madam senator.)

It would be disrespectful and perhaps a bit premature to call Sen. Shaheen naive. So we won't. Let's just say that she needs to study some of the lessons history teaches. And in so doing she will find that green jobs and associated technologies are not going to be cost effective in time to help the government dig out of this recession.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't be pursued and promoted. It does mean our senators, representatives, governor and president should be a bit more forthcoming with the American people.

Taxpayers, voters and the jobless don't need false hope. They don't need to be misled into thinking salvation is just a gallon of ethanol or a few wood chips away.

History teaches otherwise.


Source: http://www.fosters.com/apps...

JAN 11 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18533-wishful-thinking-won-t-end-recession
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