White House says Green Policies Working

Critics point to subsidies

Bill Opalka | Apr 03, 2012


Renewable energy generation has grown nationally by 27% in the past three years, largely due to federal policy support and favorable tax policies, recently released data show.

According to the most recent issue of the Monthly Energy Review by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through December 31, 2011, renewable energy sources expanded rapidly during the first three years of the Obama Administration while substantially outpacing the growth rates of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Wind came out the biggest winner of the renewables, more than doubling its output over the period.
Between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011, renewable energy sources (biofuels, biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) grew by 27.1%. By comparison, during the same three-year period, total domestic energy production increased by just 6.7% with natural gas and crude oil production growing by 13.6% and 14.2% respectively. Nuclear power dropped by 1.9% and coal by 7.1% during the same time frame.
“The numbers speak for themselves - notwithstanding politically-inspired criticism, the pro-renewable energy policies pioneered by the Obama Administration have generated dramatic growth rates during the past three years, vastly outpacing those of all other energy sources,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The investments in sustainable energy made by the federal government as well as state and private funders have paid off handsomely underscoring the short-sightedness of emerging proposals to slash or discontinue such support.”

All energy sectors, not just electricity, saw renewable energy sources accounted for 11.7% of domestic energy production in 2011 – compared to 9.8% in 2008. In fact, renewable energy sources provided 10.9% more energy in 2011 than did nuclear power, although nuclear still provides a larger share of the nation’s electricity. (On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.29% of total U.S. energy use during 2011.)
During the first three years of the Obama Administration, geothermal grew by 15.63%, hydropower by 26.28%, solar by 28%, biofuels by 46.5%, and wind by 113.92%.
Looking at just the electricity sector, according to EIA’s "Electric Power Monthly," with data through December 31, 2011, net electrical generation by non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) grew by 54.6% during the first three years of the Obama Administration. During the same period, conventional hydropower expanded by 27.6%.

Combined, electrical output from renewable energy sources was 36.5% greater for calendar year 2011 than it was for calendar year 2008. By comparison, between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011, natural gas used in electrical generation grew by 15.1% while nuclear and coal dropped by 2% and 12.7% respectively.
Among the non-hydro renewables contributing to net electrical generation in 2011, wind accounted for 61.4%, followed by biomass (29.1%), geothermal (8.6%), and solar (0.9%).

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Yeah it grew but at what cost and to what benefit?

Everytime we turn around, the green energy industry is trying to get PTCs, cash grants, loan guarantees and all sorts of benefits through Congress that will allow them to keep feeding at the federal trough--a trough refilled by taxpayer dollars both in the form of taxes and in the form of increased prices for food and fuel, a couple of items the feds deliberately leave out of the inflation calculations and consumer price index.  DoE spent $100 billion last year on green energy.  That amounts to $100 billion forcibly removed from the wallets of taxpayers to go to green energy investors.  What does a dollar's worth of tax credit amount to for a Google, or a GE, or a BP, or a Duke Energy etc?  To owe that dollar in taxes at at 35% corporate tax rate, the corporation would have had to made $2.87 in net earnings.  Oil and gas companies like BP operate at margins of about 8% so they would have had to be engaged in economic activity somewhere around $35.87 to earn the $2.87.  High tech computer and software type companies have a much higher margin from what I read--around 25% or so--which means their economic activity would have been less at about $11.48 per $1 tax credit but then they do not buy stuff like pumps, compressors, heaters and other such items that require a lot of labor to build.  So, in essence a dollar of PTC means a dollar of extra money to the shareholders without any economic activity to generate wages, jobs, and peripheral business.  A dollar of PTC represents a dollar taken from the pocket of someone not engaged in investment in green energy and put directly into the pocket of wealthy corporations.

And the result.  Why look at all the CO2 we did not make.  (Oh, please ignore those fossil fueled power plants running in the background at low load--and low efficiency--to provide backup power for my not so reliable and totally non-dispatchable wind turbines.)  Two studies in Europe have already shown that the heavy investment in land-based and off shore wind there has done nothing to decrease CO2 emissions there.  Another study in Spain has shown its heavy investment in green energy has cost it 2.2 jobs for every green job created.

And, while green policies have been bankrupting Europe and the US, the construction of coal-fired powerplants in China, India, Vietnam and other developing countries has proceeded at an astounding pace--coal-fired power plants without CO2 mitigation and without some toxic emission controls.  Our rush to green, paid for with confiscated tax dollars and higher food and fuel prices, has merely shifted the location of where the CO2 is generated rather than decreasing the emissions.  Granted, the economic impacts of high unemployment generated by the economic downturn has decreased demand for power in the US, but is that really a wise way to decrease CO2 emissions--destruction of national and regional economies?

Our rush to green energy by financing it with tax dollars is incredibly stupid because it has completely jacked up competitive power markets.  This results in lack of investment in newer, more efficient power plants with improved reduction of toxic emissions and truly significant decreases in CO2 emissions.

But then, silly me--the White House always tells the truth.  Yeah, right!