And if you need an example of why you should always rely on government to get it right, well, just consider the latest concerning the mandated use of
food ethanol for fuel:
The AAA says the Environmental Protection Agency and gasoline retailers should halt the sale of E15, a new ethanol blend that could damage millions of vehicles and void car warranties.
AAA, which issued its warning today, says just 12 million of more than 240 million cars, trucks and SUVs now in use have manufacturers’ approval for E15. Flex-fuel vehicles, 2012 and newer General Motors vehicles, 2013 Fords and 2001 and later model Porsches are the exceptions, according to AAA, the nation’s largest motorist group, with 53.5 million members.
“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle,” AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet tells USA TODAY. “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”
Hey look buddy, the ideological agenda waits on no one and if you’re among those driving the 228 million “other” vehicles, tough nuts.
The government has said 15%. Nuff said.
BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and VW said their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by E15. Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo said E15 use will void warranties, says Darbelnet, citing potential corrosive damage to fuel lines, gaskets and other engine components.
Gee, I wonder if anyone will question the “fairness” of this.
Anyone doubt who will pick up the tab for this, Mr. and Mrs. Consumer?
That is the key. And, given the re-election of Barack Obama, it may not be very likely:
A shale oil boom means the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, a radical shift that could profoundly transform not just the world’s energy supplies, but also its geopolitics, the International Energy Agency said Monday.
In its closely watched annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA, which advises industrialized nations on their energy policies, said the global energy map “is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States.”
The assessment is in contrast with last year, when it envisioned Russia and Saudi Arabia vying for the top position.
“By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer” and overtake Saudi Arabia for a time, the agency said. “The result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports (currently at 20% of its needs) to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030.”
This major shift will be driven by the faster-than-expected development of hydrocarbon resources locked in shale and other tight rock that have just started to be unlocked by a new combination of technologies called hydraulic fracturing.
And there’s the rub. Fracking has been demonized by the enviros and the Democrats. Nevermind the fact that in this nation alone it has been in use for 64 years and over a million wells have been drilled using it. This is not new technology despite the apparent belief by some that it is and that it is dangerous.
Environmental groups and some scientists say there hasn’t been enough research on fracking.
Right. 1948. A million wells. No history there.
EPA is publishing new regulations on fracking which they claim will not impede production. Any bets out there concerning the truth of that assertion?
We talk about “energy independence” often and others rightfully point out that oil is a global market and that it is difficult to become truly independent. Given these new finds, I’m not so sure that argument is still valid. Or at least it isn’t as valid as it was when we believed we only sat on top of 2% of the world’s reserves.
Let’s be clear here , the possibility of increased fossil fuel production, to the point of defacto energy independence flies in the face of everything the left wants to do in the energy sector. Anyone who doesn’t understand that has not been paying attention. We’ve seen it with this administration’s ban on off-shore drilling, putting areas of federal land off-limits and slow-walking the permit process. There is no reason to believe that will change. None.
We have the possibility to strategically help the country, create thousands if not millions of jobs, create revenue for government and begin to help a struggling economy get off it’s knees and at least begin staggering forward in a positive direction. If the past four years is any indication, that’s an opportunity that will likely be passed up or at best, minimized.
Oh, this administration will talk a good game, it always does. And it will claim it is interested in “all of the above” when it comes to energy. But action speaks louder than empty words and the action we’ve seen from Obama, et. al., says exactly the opposite is true.
We’re sitting on potential energy resources that could be a veritable game changer. One problem. With a government in place that loves to pick winners and losers, it looks upon fossil fuel as a loser.
The results, unfortunately, are predictable.
I really don’t need to add much to this do I?
Note the capitalized word in the title?
President Obama is campaigning as a champion of the oil and gas boom he’s had nothing to do with, and even as his regulators try to stifle it. The latest example is the Interior Department’s little-noticed August decision to close off from drilling nearly half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.
The area is called the National Petroleum Reserve because in 1976 Congress designated it as a strategic oil and natural gas stockpile to meet the “energy needs of the nation.” Alaska favors exploration in nearly the entire reserve. The feds had been reviewing four potential development plans, and the state of Alaska had strongly objected to the most restrictive of the four. Sure enough, that was the plan Interior chose.
Why? Because Ken Salazar in his infinite wisdom, knows more about all of this that you proles, especially the proles in Alaska. The excuse?
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his plan “will help the industry bring energy safely to market from this remote location, while also protecting wildlife and subsistence rights of Alaska Natives.” He added that the proposal will expand “safe and responsible oil and gas development, and builds on our efforts to help companies develop the infrastructure that’s needed to bring supplies online.”
Got that? Restricting use of a area designated by Congress for a specific purpose, a purpose backed by the state in which the area is located, will “help industry” and expand “safe and responsible oil development”.
George Orwell, call your publisher. Time to update Newspeak. Up is now down, and restrictions now “help industry” and “expand” development.
Meanwhile in coal country:
Two coal companies in Pennsylvania blamed President Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the layoffs announced last week.
“[T]he escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced EPA regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry,” said PBS Coals Inc. President and CEO D. Lynn Shanks in a statement on Friday, as noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The company also cited weaker-than-normal demand for coal.
Shanks’ comment on the EPA came as he announced a 28 percent work force reduction. “PBS Coals Inc. and its affiliate company, RoxCoal Inc., laid off about 225 workers as part of an immediate idling of some deep and surface mines in Somerset County,” Post-Gazette added. “The company now employs 795 workers.”
Yes, the Obama promise to essentially put coal out of business is indeed making progress.
So wait, we have the administration restricting the oil industry in Alaska and the EPA causing layoffs in coal country, and my guess is Obama will attempt to brag about how many jobs he’s created tomorrow night. Any takers?
That said, guess who is getting “fast tracked”?
The Interior Department set aside about 285,000 acres for commercial-scale solar in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The federal government will offer incentives for development, help facilitate access to existing or planned electric infrastructure and ease the permitting process in the 17 zones.
“Energy from sources like wind and solar have doubled since the president took office, and with today’s milestone, we are laying a sustainable foundation to keep expanding our nation’s domestic energy resources,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. …
The development program approved Friday cuts some up-front costs for developers, as the federal government already has performed National Environmental Policy Act assessments for the sites.
The administration fired the most recent volley Wednesday by affirming tariffs on Chinese imports. The Commerce Department determined Chinese solar panels were sold below fair value and that its solar businesses unfairly received direct government support.
Now for the irony:
Yes, you read that correctly — even with all of the many types of subsidies and special government treatment the solar industry receives, they still can’t compete, so the government affords the domestic industry protectionist tariffs… purportedly because China gives its own industry unfair government help.
Anyone who still thinks this isn’t the most political, inept, corrupt, ideologically driven and opaque administration in the history of this country has to have been living under a rock for a few hundred years.
This bunch makes one pine for Jimmy Carter.
We’ve heard the claims about how corn ethanol has lowered the price of gasoline and made us more energy independent. Don’t believe them.
Economics professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report ethanol mandates do not lower the price of gasoline, despite claims by the ethanol industry.
A recently published MIT study debunks the oft-repeated claim that ethanol usage reduces the price of gasoline at the pump.
The MIT study, “Ethanol Production and Gasoline Prices: A Spurious Correlation,” analyzes and refutes claims by the ethanol industry that ethanol reduced gasoline prices by nearly a dollar per gallon in 2010 and more than a dollar per gallon in 2011.
You see, as we’ve mentioned here, ethanol doesn’t provide the power that pure gasoline does, so it takes more of the ethanol mixed gasoline to provide the same distances that pure gasoline gives us.
The MIT study points out the largest variable for the price of gasoline is the cost of crude oil. Wholesale gasoline prices go up when the price of a barrel of oil goes up. Ethanol, by contrast, has a minimal impact on the cost of crude oil, the study notes.
The study further explains that ethanol has 33.3 percent less energy than gasoline, so engines need more of it to power a vehicle for the same distance.
As to the claims of lower prices because of ethanol?
“The fact is ethanol, because it only contains about 60 percent of the energy provided by gasoline, does not have the same value, making direct price comparisons meaningless.
And, given that the largest variable for the price of gasolineis the cost of crude oil, what about the 2010 and 2011 claims:
“Put simply, the empirical results merely reﬂect the fact that ethanol production increased during the sample period whereas the ratio of gasoline [prices] to crude oil prices decreased,” the study explained.
“The claim that ethanol reduces gasoline prices is just silly and is based on the fallacy that correlation equals causation,” said Tom Tanton, president of energy economics consultants T2 & Associates.
He added, “As I testified to Congress in early July, corn-based ethanol may provide some energy security from some geopolitical risks associated with the petroleum market, but it creates a serious weather-related risk. With 25 percent of our corn crop used to make ethanol, and most corn grown only with natural rainfall, our fuel supply has only traded one type of risk for another.
“We’d be more secure if we produced our own vast reserves of petroleum and brought in Canadian, and enjoy lower prices to boot,” Tanton said.
Obama 2012: “I never said it would be quick or easy”
Obama 2009: “If this isn’t done it three years, we’re talking about a one term proposition”
Last night we heard, well, we heard a speech that was not so hot. Oh he said lots of stuff, but we’ve all learned over the past 3 plus years not to really trust what he says, but instead to watch what he does. He knows how to own the rhetoric, he just rarely if ever lives up to it.
He’s the “I want to have it both ways” president.
For instance – last night he said this:
We don’t think the government can solve all of our problems, but we don’t think the government is the source of all of our problems …
And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It’ll require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.
On the one hand he tells us government isn’t the answer and on the other, he claims it more government is the answer. Which should we believe?
Well in this case, the latter, given his actions (see ObamaCare which he never once mentioned last night, just like the number “8.2%.). He spent two years going the FDR route with a Democratic Congress and had he not seen his party go down in flames in 2010 and a check put on him in the House of Representatives, you can be assured he and the Democrats would have attempted to grow government even more.
This is a guy on whose watch we almost doubled the debt. Yet not a mention of that last night. Instead he tried to tell us how much he was going to take off the debt . 4 trillion he claims.
Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion.
But another thing you learn listening to this president is to take his claims with a grain of salt. 4 trillion? Only if you believe in “creative” accounting. Jennifer Rubin, quoting the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler’s fact check of that claim points out why it is a load of rubbish:
By the administration’s math, you have nearly $3.8 trillion in spending cuts, compared to $1.5 trillion in tax increases (letting the Bush tax cuts expire for high-income Americans). Presto, $1 of tax increases for every $2.50 of spending cuts.
But virtually no serious budget analyst agreed with this accounting. The $4 trillion figure, for instance, includes counting some $1 trillion in cuts reached a year ago in budget negotiations with Congress. So no matter who is the president, the savings are already in the bank.
Moreover, the administration is also counting $848 billion in phantom savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the administration had long made clear those wars would end.
In other words, by projecting war spending far in the future, the administration is able to claim credit for saving money it never intended to spend. (Imagine taking credit for saving money on buying a new car every year, even though you intended to keep your car for 10 years.)
Rather than good arithmetic, independent budget analysts called the maneuver “a major budget gimmick.”
The administration also counts $800 billion in savings in debt payments (from lower deficits) as a “spending cut,” which is a dubious claim. We didn’t realize that debt payments were now considered a government program.
There are a number of other games being played, so fake money is being used to pay for real spending projects. In effect, most of Obama’s claimed deficit reduction comes from his proposed tax increases.
And, as we’ve all learned, those tax increases are but a drop in the sea of red ink this president has unleashed. His appeal to authority notwithstanding, his claim is as empty as his rhetoric.
As most have figured out, the problem isn’t about who is or isn’t “paying their fair share”, it’s about out-of-control spending. In the entire speech last night, that was not a subject that was addressed. Instead, as you saw above, we were given a real preview into what he has in store for us when he can be “more flexible”. FDR type experimentation.
What does FDR type experimentation require? More government and more spending.
Finally, if you missed this, you need to be reminded:
And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax.
That says two things. One, he plans to do the same sort of slow walking for fossil fuel he’s done this past four years while doubling down on his disastrous green policy. And part of the doubling down is undoubtedly to somehow impose a carbon tax that will help feed a ravenous spending machine.
The president who said he would return science to preeminence in decision making during his administration, is now planning on using the pseudo-science of AGW as an excuse to raise taxes on everyone. If that’s not clear, you’ve just not been paying attention.
So he’s right, there’s never been a more clear choice. Continued disaster, keeping a country on the wrong track on that track or an attempt to change that.
Will Romney be better?
He’s actually a turn-around specialist with experience and success in the field. How could he be worse?
I say we make Obama stick with the 2009 statement – for the good of the country.
But remember, they’re not biased.
What’s a good way to for the Federal government to begin the long road toward economic recovery? Do something that creates incentives for businesses to hire and expand.
Here’s one, but look how it is spun by the NY Times:
By proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands, Mitt Romney is making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key Western states while dangling the promise of a big reward to major campaign supporters from the energy industry.
He’s “making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key western states” while pandering to “Big Oil”. That’s it? That’s what this is all about?
State control isn’t really bidding for the anti-Washington vote as much as a return to “federal” government vs.a national or “unitary” government. Here’s the point:
The federal government owns vast portions of states like New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Alaska. Under President Obama, officials in Washington have played a bigger role in drilling and mining decisions on federal lands in the states, and such involvement rankles many residents and energy executives, who prefer the usually lighter touch of local officials.
It owns more than “vast portions”, the federal government owns most of the West. And when an administration like the Obama administration takes the angle on energy it has taken, it is free to block and slow walk oil and gas exploration while carpeting vast stretches of the West with marginally efficient solar and wind farms.
Most believe those sorts of decisions should not be left up to the neer-do-wells in Washington. Those sorts of decisions should be left to the states and those who have to live with the DC decisions. But they’re not. And consequently you see the difference as reflected in the progress in North Dakota (where the decisions are made by the state and local government in conjunction with private property owners) and Nevada (which is 80% owned by the Federal government and where most decisions are made in Washington). North Dakota is booming. Nevada is not.
Federico Peña, secretary of energy in the Clinton administration and now a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said Mr. Romney’s plan would cause more problems for the oil and gas industry. “I cannot imagine a world in where there are 50 different kinds of rules and regulations for industry,” Mr. Peña said. “To see Balkanization of rules and regulation I think would drive the industry crazy.”
Really? Seems the industry is handling it just fine in those states in which it is already happening. And, my guess is they’re willing to endure it in those states where the Federal government now restricts exploration and drilling.
“It is a preposterously bad idea — we are talking about federal trust lands that belong to the whole nation,” said Bobby McEnaney, a senior aide at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.
Because it would be impossible to sort out those lands which should actually be in a “federal trust” and “belong to the whole nation” vs. those included just “because”, huh Mr. McEnaney?
Here there is an opportunity to a) actually return to a bit of federalism and get the federal government out of making decisions states could make and b) create incentives that would lead to expansion of an industry, jobs, revenue for the federal government and produce more domestic oil and gas (which would effect the global price of those fuels).
Win-win, yet those possible outcomes are never mentioned by the NY Times.
Instead we get the “anti- Washington” (how dare the proles question their elite masters!) and “Big Oil” spin.
Some things never change.
Last month I pointed this out:
The Obama administration will open public lands in six Western states to more solar projects as part of a solar energy road map it publicized Tuesday.
The Interior Department set aside 285,000 acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah for the initiative. Firms can apply for waivers to develop projects on an additional 19 million acres.
At the same time the administration opens those lands up (19 million acres!? For solar?), it has essentially closed federal land to oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription) explains:
Several weeks ago in a remarkable but little-noticed policy directive, the Interior Department announced that it will allow construction permitting on 285,000 acres of public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah for solar energy projects. Even more remarkable, Interior said that energy firms can petition Interior to build solar installations "on approximately 19 million acres"—a larger land mass than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
Interior boasts that "this represents a major step forward in the permitting of utility-scale solar energy on public lands throughout the west." This means opening up huge chunks of U.S. desert and wilderness to the installation and long-term placement of hundreds of thousands of solar panels. The dirty secret of solar and wind power is that they are extremely land intensive, especially compared to coal mining, oil and gas drilling or building a nuclear power plant.
Question: Where are the environmentalists? I can’t imagine anything more disruptive to “fragile eco-systems” and endangered species than carpeting hundreds of thousands or millions of acres with solar panels. And yet I’m finding little to nothing in the press about their protests of projects of such a scale.
What’s surprising is that few if any nature groups are protesting this regulatory rush to approve renewable energy projects. Environmental groups have never hesitated to block a dam to save a snail darter, or oppose a forest-clearing to save an owl, but desert tortoises and bighorn sheep are apparently expendable as sacrifices to the gods of green energy. So much for protecting wildlife from big, bad profit-making industry.
Those groups are complicit in the cronyism and have abandoned their so-called calling (protecting the environment and wild life) for politics. Like happened to the National Organization of Women during the Clinton years, the environmental movement’s complacency and silence regarding this move by the administration destroys their credibility.
Not only that:
That’s only part of the special treatment for solar companies. Interior says it plans to expedite solar-project approval and cut up-front costs for developers. The agency is also streamlining National Environmental Policy Act approval and facilitating the linking of solar electricity generation to transmission lines that will carry the electricity to substations. All of this is on top of the $9 billion in taxpayer handouts for solar and wind projects that were approved between 2009 and 2011.
In short, green energy is getting an EZ Pass through the Administration’s costly regulatory tolls. Since taking office in 2009, the Obama Administration has approved 17 major solar projects on public lands. All of this is facilitated through a program called the "roadmap for solar energy development."
Apparently the costly and lengthy environmental impact studies required of fossil fuel or nuclear projects just don’t need to be done by “approved” energy sources, even if it is clear that in terms of real environmental impact (just by footprint alone) these projects are far more intrusive than fossil fuel projects.
But hey, that’s where cronyism comes in. That’s where we socialize (subsidize) the cost and privatize the profit. That’s where the taxpayer pays the difference while the government streamlines its procedures (or doesn’t enforce its own regulations) in favor of its chosen industry.
Interior is just not going to entertain the same sort of nonsense it imposes on fossil fuel projects when it is a project it favors.
Oil shale though? Oh, we have regulatory hoops, more hoops and requirements out the wazoo if you want to do that:
Meanwhile, the Institute for Energy Research notices that the new solar policy is "in sharp contrast to the Obama Administration’s canceling lease sales for oil shale deposits in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah early in the President’s term and significantly downsizing development plans for those resources since then."
This is roughly the same list of western states that got the green light for solar, but with different results. Oil shale—not to be confused with shale oil, which is extracted through hydraulic fracturing—is recovered by heating rock at high temperatures, which releases petroleum. The U.S. has the largest oil shale deposits in the world, totaling a little under one trillion recoverable barrels, or about 150 years worth of supply. But most of it is located on public lands and is still off limits.
Consider the 2005 Energy Policy Act that authorized oil shale leasing on public lands. In 2008 the Bush Administration issued rules on oil shale exploration, but in February 2009 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said those rules would be delayed. Only this year, says Mary Hutzler, former acting administrator of the Energy Information Agency, "did the Interior Department announce its plan for shale drilling, but the administration closed off 75% of the federal land containing oil shale resources that were to be offered for lease under the Bush rules."
Remember the post from yesterday in which I pointed to the promise of fossil fuel if government would just get out of the way? 3.6 million jobs and a 3% increase in GDP by 2020.
Instead, this is the way this administration has chosen to go. An unproven and land intensive energy source instead of backing a tried and true one. Like it has done in the medical field it is wreaking havoc in the energy field pushing its favored industry that can only survive by government subsidy.
And this administration has the gall to call anyone else “ideologically” driven?
Let this paragraph, given the economic circumstances we now find ourselves in and the policies we’ve suffered under with this administration in reference to fossil fuels, sink in:
U.S. energy supplies have been transformed in less than a decade, driven by advances in technology, and the economic implications are only beginning to be understood. U.S. natural gas production will expand to a record this year and oil output swelled in July to its highest point since 1999. Citigroup estimated in a March report that a “reindustrialization” of America could add as many as 3.6 million jobs by 2020 and increase the gross domestic product by as much as 3 percent.
In case you missed those numbers, that’s plus 3.6 million jobs and kicking up the GDP by as much as 3% by 2020.
And imagine the tax revenues that would bring as well.
Low cost fossil fuel will also do much, much more:
[T]here are signs the economic gains have begun to expand beyond the oil and gas fields and that the promise of abundant, low-cost fuels will give a competitive edge to industries from steel, aluminum and automobiles to fertilizers and chemicals.
In other words, low cost fuels will make our manufacturing sector more competitive which means more of it and more jobs as well. Right now (and for the foreseeable future) our natural gas is much less expensive than that in the UK and Europe. And we have literally trillions of cubic feet of it that is recoverable.
That’s starting to drive some massive private investment:
Companies plan to invest $138 billion in more than 700 natural gas storage, pipeline and processing plants in the U.S., and another $88 billion in more than 500 gas-fired power generation units, according to Joseph Govreau, vice president and editor-in-chief of Industrial Info Resources. The
firm tracks projects from planning stages through construction.
That’s only a portion of what this will spur, if allowed to go ahead. Fertilizer production, petrochemicals, etc., all could see a revival with cheap fossil fuel.
Democrats keeps saying that reviving the manufacturing sector should be a priority.
So here’s a valid means of doing so.
Yet for 3 plus years, this administration has done everything it can to slow walk or block increased production and exploration on federal lands and off our coasts. There’s no sign it plans on changing that.
This boom we’re talking about has taken place in a relatively very few areas, mostly privately owned:
So far, the economic benefits have been confined to states such as Louisiana, Texas and North Dakota, while the national jobless rate has stayed above 8 percent for 42 straight months in the wake of the worst recession in seven decades.
Seems like the proverbial “no brainer” doesn’t it? Open up federal lands and let oil companies responsibly and in an environmentally safe way explore for and exploit the natural resources we have and the country is put in the position to reap the benefits:
“This is one of those rare opportunities that every country looks for and few ever get,” said Philip Verleger, a former director of the office of energy policy at the U.S. Treasury Department and founder of PKVerleger LLC, a consulting firm in Carbondale, Colorado. “This abundance of energy gives us an opportunity to rebuild our economy.”
Or we can repeat these past 3 plus years.
Unfortunately these stories are all too common now:
As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid prepares to host his fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit on Aug. 7, a Nevada Journal examination of Nevada’s renewable energy sector shows that over $1.3 billion in federal funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield just 288 permanent, full-time jobs.
That’s an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job.
So as the Senator from Nevada tries today to justify his profligacy in his home state at your expense via this sham “National Clean Energy Summit”, you can be assured of one thing – No one in government will be held accountable for this, at least not legally.
The performance of many of these “sons of cronyism” is as dismal as the cost per job is outrageous.
Auditors for Nevada Geothermal Power, a federally subsidized green-energy firm in Nevada, are raising questions about whether that firm is going to fail.
As of last October, Nevada Geothermal Power had 22 employees in Nevada, and, according to the New York Times, had received $145 million in federal subsidies — composed of a loan guarantee of nearly $79 million for its Blue Mountain geothermal project and at least $66 million in grants to the company itself.
The Times called the company a “politically connected clean energy start-up that has relied heavily on an Obama administration loan guarantee,” and said it “… is now facing financial turmoil.”
Today, three quarters later, the latest company audit again questions the “company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
The firm’s survival, wrote auditors on March 31, will depend “on its available cash and its ability to continue to raise funds….”
And that’s not the only example:
The most recent “clean energy” company failure in Nevada occurred three weeks ago when Amonix, a North Las Vegas solar manufacturing plant that had received more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants, closed after only 14 months of operation.
Hailed upon its opening by Sen. Reid, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley and Gov. Brian Sandoval, the 214,000-square-foot Amonix facility had, at its height, employed some 700 individuals. In 2010, even President Barack Obama praised the Amonix plant, saying the “stimulus” tax credits it received had made an “extraordinary impact.”
Today, the company is bankrupt.
The result is something out of an Orwellian nightmare and the ultimate victim? The people of Nevada:
In Nevada, consumer energy rates climb higher and higher. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Nevada now has the highest residential electricity rates in the Intermountain West region.
Moreover, so long as present government policies — such as the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard — remain in place, rates will continue upward.
While Sen. Reid helped Salazar fast-track government-approved renewable projects in 2009, he also used his influence as Senate majority leader to delay and ultimately kill a coal power plant planned for White Pine County.
Coal-powered plants produce electricity at a much lower price than do renewable-powered plants, according to the EIA and NV Energy.
Currently, NV Energy pays 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for natural gas and coal-fueled power, 8 to 10 cents per kWh for geothermal energy and for wind energy and 11 to 13 cents per kWh for solar photovoltaic energy. Wind and solar photovoltaic energy also require backup power for “intermittency issues.”
The higher costs from renewable-energy production are passed on to Nevada ratepayers in the form of residential electricity rates that are 26 percent higher than those of other Intermountain West states and 7 percent higher than the national average, says the EIA.
Obviously cronyism isn’t just limited to Democrats. It’s just their turn in the barrel because their cronyism has been such a spectacular disaster here lately.
What none of our elected officials who regularly indulge in cronyism seem to understand is that they call certain things economic principles or economic laws for a reason – they aren’t something you can ignore and expect, for some reason, to be successful in ignoring them.
In this case Richard Epstein of the Hoover Institute again states why what is again being attempted, and failing, is a lesson that the government seems never to learn:
These subsidies programs have failed for mundane but compelling reasons. No government has ever succeeded in trying to shape industrial policy with state subsidies, for the simple reason that it has neither the knowledge nor the incentives to pick which fields make sense to invest in or which firms in these fields have latched onto a viable technology.
No government should, of course, ban investments in solar and wind energy, but the prudent strategy is to let these investments be made by venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs who might actually know what they are doing. And currently, the smart money seems to be steering clear of renewable energy technologies.
And yet we continue to see these sorts of attempts by government to do something it is entirely unequipped (and unneeded) to do.
You know, act like it has better information than … markets. It never has, it never will. The results are just about as predictable as sunrise.
Failure. In some cases epic failure.
In the case of Nevada, government intrusion, at the cost of $1.3 billion of your dollars, has created a whopping 288 jobs and managed to quadruple energy costs for the state’s residents.
And yes, I put that in the epic failure column – but then we’re talking Harry Reid here, so one should be used to epic failure when his name is mentioned.