Presidents of both parties have long extolled the virtues of renewable or green energy. But no president has embraced the concept, nor has spent so much taxpayer money on the idea with nothing to show for it but a string of bankrupt companies, as has Barack Hussein Obama. He has even made the idea a cornerstone of his political and environmental platforms. Yet despite dismal failure, his green energy vision remain undaunted, and he continues to spend taxpayer money and offer all manner of provably untrue or conveniently incomplete success stories.
For example, in his State of the Union speech, Obama said, “It was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock – reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.” That preposterous claim is completely untrue. Fracking has been used since 1947, and was originally developed by Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation, and improved by a small-time, independent oil man named George Mitchell.
In the “great timing” department, Obama said, “In three years our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries.” Two days later, Ener1, high-tech battery manufacturer and the recipient of a $118 million federal grant, filed for bankruptcy. But, the Obama administration advisers promise that battery costs will fall. Why do they think that? The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that lithium-ion batteries, like those most used in electric vehicles, is not an “emerging” technology, but is quite mature. Dramatic cost drops are most often associated with new technologies.
Obama’s green-energy program has yielded thousands of jobs. The Department of Energy (DOE) reported that $38.6 billion worth of federally backed loans to green-energy companies has created 3,545 new permanent jobs, with each job costing taxpayers $5 million. It would be much cheaper to have simply supported/subsidized these workers until they died. The wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal industries admit that they would cease to exist without mandated consumption orders and massive production subsidies.
Obama’s DOE predicts that consumption of renewable energy will go from 8.4% of total US energy consumption to 10.8% in 2035, with most of that growth coming from government consumption orders. When we total the billions of taxpayer dollars we’re spending on renewable or green energy, that’s not much of a technological revolution. Technological breakthroughs do occur, often without warning. But there is no reason to believe that President Obama is a better energy future forecaster than are market capitalists who stand to gain billions in profits by making good investments in future technologies So for all you green-energy environmentalists, it’s time to put up (especially your own money) or shut up. Speaking of putting up, environmentalists, why are Chevy Volt sales so dismal?
The recent bankruptcies of DOE green-energy loan recipients and the record of bad DOE bets over the past three years caution taxpayers against future crony paybacks, er, taxpayer-backed loans, er, “investments.” American voters should not confuse hope with certainty.
But that’s just my opinion.