By Dr. Larry Bell, University of Houston
President Obama’s war on coal brings new meaning to his lead from behind strategy. It involves replacing reliable fossil energy sources with pixie dust-powered alternatives.
Only one day following the Supreme Court’s ruling to block EPA’s planned power plant mercury emission regulations, he committed the U.S. to a goal of generating 20 percent of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
That means at least three times more subsidies than we currently blow on windmills and burn with sunbeams . . . and that’s a lot.
Wind and solar each already receive more than 50 times more subsidy support per megawatt hour than conventional coal, and more than 20 times more in terms of average electricity generated by coal and natural gas.
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration figures, annual “Federal interventions and subsidies” for wind (4.4 percent of American electricity) costs for taxpayers ranged from $5.5 billion and $5.9 billion between 2010 and 2013, and from $1.1 billion rocketing up to $4.5 billion for solar (0.4 percent of our electricity) during that period. For comparison, those allocated to fossil fuels (about 60 percent of total electricity) dropped from $4 billion to $3.4 billion.
Although lemming powers of observation aren’t highly regarded, wouldn’t you think witnessing fellow critters plunge en masse over cliff edges would offer cause for some among them to reconsider the perilous path ahead?
Painful EU experiences offer teachable lessons. Consider Denmark for example. On Earth Day, 2010, President Obama praised the country as a great green power model. And yes, while the country theoretically produces about 20 percent of its electricity from wind and solar, CEPOS, a Danish think tank reported that this only supplied between 5 percent and 9.7 percent of average annual demand over the previous 5-year period.
Danish consumers pay the highest electricity rates in Europe, more than three times more than we do.
Existing German energy policies, where 7.8 percent of electricity comes from wind and 4.5 percent derives from solar, force households to fork out for the second highest power costs in Europe — often as much as 30 percent above the levels seen in other European countries.
Such circumstances are only likely to worsen with Angela Merkel’s plans to wean the country off fossil fuels and nuclear power. Subsidies for wind power which deliver only about one-fifth of the theoretical installed capacity are three times higher than those paid for conventional electricity.
President Obama also lauded Spain as a fine example of renewable energy progress. Yet a study released by researchers at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos a few months later presented a far less enviable picture.
Over the previous eight years the Spanish government had spent $791,597 in subsidies to create each green energy job, and exceeded $1.38 million per wind energy job.
Each of those green jobs cost 2.2 jobs in lost opportunities elsewhere in the workforce, and each MW of installed wind energy capacity destroyed 4.27 other jobs.
Italy’s wind and solar experience record is even worse. According to a study conducted by researchers at the Bruno Leoni Institute, the amount of capital required to generate one job in the renewable sector would create between 4.8 and 6.9 in the industrial sector or elsewhere just based upon subsidies alone.
Of the 50,000 to 120, 000 renewable jobs they propose to create by 2020, 60 percent will be temporary.
Experiences in the United Kingdom are reportedly similar to those in other EU countries. A study by Verso Economics determined that each renewable job “created” by subsidies displaced 3.7 others in their general economy. “Renewable Obligations” which increase market prices for electricity from renewable sources cost U.K. consumers an additional $1.75 billion during 2009/2010.
In 2011 British wind turbines produced a meager 21 percent of installed capacity (not demand capacity) during good conditions.
As in Germany this has necessitated importation of nuclear power from France. Also similar to Germany, the government is closing some of its older coal-fired plants — any one of which can produce nearly twice the electricity of Britain’s 3,000 wind turbines combined.
Yeah, and then there’s our own uber-green California, which mandates that renewables provide 33 percent of the state’s electricity by 2020 and proposes to increase to 50 percent by 2030.
Over just the past three years their electricity rates have already risen by 2.18 cents per kilowatt hour — about four times the national rate — as more and more wind and solar came on line.
Meanwhile, so long as natural gas drilling is restricted, climate crisis hoax-premised EPA regulations strangle fossil power generation, and nuclear energy expansion is delayed, we are racing hell-bent along the same road to perdition. Let’s consider the peril before joining the EU and California lemming pack in a final, fatal jump.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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