Mandated Ignorance

August/26/2010 16:08PM
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No place, except for the economy, do you see more bad government decisions than in the area of energy.

Mandated ethanol was the biggest foible. We have lived with mandated ethanol for 30 years. We have paid billions in tax subsidies to make it economical. For what? A product that robs mileage, has a negative energy gain, produces carbon, raises food prices world-wide, and simply passes your tax dollars to ethanol producers. Even some in Washington are beginning to admit it was a bad idea all these years.

But, the capacity to magnify this mistake is hard at work. Many states, led by California, are mandating that as much as 20% of their power come from renewable sources. This is primarily solar and wind. But, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Power companies must provide power every day. They use natural gas for peak shaving. To augment the loss of wind and solar, they shovel in more coal, adding to the carbon emissions. So, the net gain/loss on carbon for wind and solar is more emissions.

They overlook cost completely, so power bill will double. They overlook the water used for solar, so they add to the water shortages in states like California and Nevada. They overlook the birds killed daily by wind. They overlook the noise pollution and blight on the landscape from ugly windmills. They don’t talk about the million dollar per unit per windmill, a cost that will never be fully passed on to the consumer.

Wind and solar get a pass on every negative, just like ethanol. Dr. Chu at the DOE can’t spend his budget. He is throwing money at every bad idea that walks in the door. Your money.

To chase bad ideas you will pay threefold. First, the money Chu wastes. Second, the tax subsidies to build the wind and solar farms. And, last and most serious, in your power bills down the road.

For all of this you will get little, if any, reduction in carbon emissions. Thousands of dead birds. Hundreds of abandoned windmills in the future, just like the closed biomass plants. Water shortages. And, someday, maybe, just maybe, a public outcry loud enough to stop the waste of your money and an energy strategy that works.

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