Energy is in the news every day. Gasoline prices are only part of the picture, although they are the most prominent indicator because we see them every day. Energy production is not subject to the forces of the free market. Prices are high because the Federal government doesn’t allow American companies to drill and refine enough oil domestically so prices are artificially high.
Interestingly electricity production has been going through a similar series of changes in recent years. In many states, the electric utility company is owned by the State government. 19 State legislatures have adopted Renewable Energy Portfolios, which are intended to reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately, due to the fact that power generated by alternative energy sources is more expensive than coal and natural gas fired generation, electricity costs are creeping up higher in those states.
The politics of energy can be complicated. Several major government agencies are involved in the creation of energy policy in the United States. The Department of Energy has been promoting Renewable Energy sources based on the misrepresentation that the sun and wind are free sources of energy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even stranger is the position of the utility company. Many state run utility companies have been forced by their legislatures to pay rebates to customers who put solar power projects on line. Utility companies are reducing their income by supporting solar projects which they are paying cash subsidies to the user. It’s like funding your own competition.
This has caused financial crises in the utility that result in accelerating the need to raise the price for electric power. This should not come as a surprise. If utility companies are going to go solar, the only way it will make sense is for the cost of equipment to be much lower that it is now, which the Chinese manufacturers are helping with, and for the utility company to own the project. After all, the utility is in the power generation business. And it would certainly make sense for the utility company to do the maintenance and technical support involved in solar systems.
The Department of Energy is responsible for deciding where huge sums of money will be spent when it comes to renewable energy. The Federal government created a $60 billion loan guarantee program to reduce the risk and accelerate financing for renewable energy projects. Of that $60B, over $600 million found its way to Solyndra and Beacon Tech who have both gone out of business. Add to the bad news, the failure of three more solar panel companies.
So we now have two problems, lost taxpayer funds in loans to companies that went broke and thousands of jobs in the solar industry that are now gone. How’s that “hope and change” administration working out for the Green Industry? And when will those Green Industry jobs replace the 2 million jobs lost in the mainstream sectors?
Think it’s time for a real change.