Green Lobbying: “Laws are like sausages,” the old saying goes. “It’s better not to see how they get made.” The same is also true for federal environmental policies. Case in point: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s review of U.S. green-energy policies.
Perry had a great idea: Why not conduct a 60-day review of green-energy policies to see how they would affect the U.S.’ electrical grid?
A shows how Washington works. When Perry announced his review in April, the American Wind Energy Association, the main lobbyist for wind producers, kicked into high gear. It plotted to go after politicians, regulators and green-energy supporters in the press to fight Perry’s study for “supporting baseload sources such as coal and nuclear.”
Perry was interested in finding out whether all the regulations, taxes and subsidies that benefit the green-energy providers were hurting the power industry and “forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”
The wind-industry lobbyists put on the full press, seeking a meeting with Perry and company CEOs, while also teaming up with the Solar Energy Industries of America and the Advanced Energy Economy, and “working with allies in Congress and the media, including the New York Times.”
They even went after the economist overseeing the study, Travis Fisher, who had worked for the free-market energy think tank the Institute for Energy Research. Before they even saw the study, they began planning to “debunk” it.
And they lined up some heavy hitters, the Daily Caller notes, including Sen. Charles Grassley, to influence Perry. Grassley’s Iowa gets 40% of its electricity from wind turbines, and the wind industry contributed $16,000 to Grassley in the 2014 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
So that’s how sausages get made in Washington, D.C.
The only problem is, the green-energy movement is a lot less nutritious than sausages, and unlike sausages it leaves a very unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Start with a basic fact: Wind, solar and other “alternative” energy sources depend almost entirely on subsidies and tax breaks of various amounts to stay in business.
Just this week, Canada’s oldest commercial wind power facility, run by TransAlta (TAC), was shut down and slated for demolition. Why? TransAlta, which acquired the wind facility via a $1.6-billion hostile takeover of another company, says the wind farm it acquired is not “economically feasible.”
To keep running it, TransAlta wants — what else? — more subsidies, aid and tax breaks from Canada’s government.
This is the story for all alternative energy, whether in Canada, the U.S. or in Europe. And even with massive subsidies, alternative energy will never be a major source of power for the U.S., at least barring major scientific discoveries and new technologies that don’t currently exist. As of 2015, renewables (solar, wind and other green “alternatives”) made up about 3% of all energy output. By 2030, even after hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Worse still, the forced adoption of green energy means Americans will spend far more on energy than would be the case without all the subsidies, tax breaks and regulations. So their standard of living will, inevitably, decline.
But fossil fuels are here, and they’re already cost-effective and have net benefits to society that are undeniable.
A recent study from Richard Tol, a leading environmental economist at the University of Sussex,
“The private benefits of carbon are, really, the benefits of abundant and reliable energy or rather, the benefits of the services provided by energy, such as warm homes, cooked food, travel and transport, information and communication, and so on,” Tol wrote.
And the net benefits are huge. Tol estimates that for each metric ton of CO2 emissions, we gain $411 of private benefits. According to estimates by President Obama’s administration, the social cost of carbon is about $40 a ton. So the benefits far outweigh the costs.
The EPA’s Perry is to be commended for reviewing the massive amounts of money spent on green energy and the regulations that surround it. Sadly, the green swamp people have risen up, and will do anything to keep the money flowing.