The US has ‘no energy strategy’.

image: play the game of Bonkers; the game your politicians will undoubtably win. 🙂

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Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: Americans borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through their gas tanks. What a way to build the country.

When the summer is over, they will have increased their debt to China, increased its transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased their contribution to global warming for their kids to inherit.

The author of the article in the International Herald Tribune, Thomas L. Friedman says;

But here’s what’s scary: America’s problem is so much worse than you think. We have no energy strategy. If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy then you would want to raise taxes on the things you want to discourage – gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars – and you would want to lower taxes on the things you want to encourage – new, renewable energy technologies. We are doing just the opposite.

Are you sitting down?

Few people know it, but for almost a year now, Congress has been bickering over whether and how to renew the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy. The bickering has been so poisonous that when Congress passed the 2007 energy bill last December, it failed to extend any stimulus for wind and solar energy production. Oil and gas kept all their credits, but those for wind and solar have been left to expire this December. I am not making this up.

The Democrats wanted the wind and solar credits to be paid for by taking away tax credits from the oil industry. President George W. Bush said he would veto that. Neither side would back down, and Bush – showing not one iota of leadership – refused to get all the adults together in a room and work out a compromise. Stalemate. Meanwhile, Germany has a 20-year solar incentive program; Japan 12 years. The US, at best, run two years.

“It’s a disaster,” says Michael Polsky, founder of Invenergy, one of the biggest wind-power developers in America. “Wind is a very capital-intensive industry, and financial institutions are not ready to take ‘congressional risk.’ They say if you don’t get the [production tax credit] we will not lend you the money to buy more turbines and build projects.”

Rhone Resch, the president of the Solar Energy Industries Association says, the impact in just 2009 would be more than 100,000 jobs either lost or not created in these industries, and $20-billion worth of investments that won’t be made.

While all the presidential candidates were railing about lost manufacturing jobs in Ohio, no one noticed that America’s premier solar company, First Solar, from Toledo, Ohio, was opening its newest factory in the former East Germany – 540 high-paying engineering jobs – because Germany has created a booming solar market and America has not.

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8 Responses to The US has ‘no energy strategy’.

  1. earthpal says:

    Oh lordy. Scary, but it doesn’t surpise me.

    Taxing the things that are bad for the environment does actually work. I am feeling the increased petrol costs so we’re walking much more now. It’s no real hardship. It was just too easy to jump in the car because I am a last-minute person but I’ve just had to be more organised.

    They’re all motivated by greed Matt Just like Shell who recently pulled out of the world’s biggest wind farm. Shame on them.

  2. Pingback: Selfish Shell « Earthpal

  3. matt says:

    Yes, I do fear that large renewable energy projects are going to start to fall by the wayside as the credit problems bite. Still, some countries like China, Germany and Spain continue to invest and they will be the winners.

  4. the Grit says:

    Hi earthpal,

    You should follow history a bit closer before casting accusations of “greed!” It wasn’t that long ago that oil was selling for $15 per barrel, and all the Evil Big Oil Companies were treading on the edge of bankruptcy. I fail to recall the public outcry, at the time, for the Government to save them. Also, I don’t remember the public demonstrations over the need to raise the price of oil, or the calls for the Government to subsidize Oil Companies in their time of need.

    What goes around, comes around. I also suspect that there is at least a hint of disappointment over your failure to buy some Evil Oil Company stock back when it was affordable 🙂

    Hi matt,

    I suspect your worries are wasted. All of our Presidential candidates are singing the phrases of runnable energy, which, given the probable continued Democrat control of Congress will pump billions of dollars of Federal support into alternative energy development. Of course, most of those funds will go directly into the bank accounts of various political cronies, but it’s a start 😉

    the Grit

  5. matt says:

    Grit, you’re such a cynic!

    It’s actually a Republican & a Democrat that have proposed an extension to tax breaks for ‘clean energy’. So there.

  6. the Grit says:

    Hi matt,

    I prefer realist. Sorry, but it’s an occupational hazard for news junkies like myself 🙂 Honestly, I did, in the past, try to give politicians the benefit of the doubt, but my will power gave out somewhere between the 40th and 50th corruption scandal. Now, I find it easier to assume the worst in these matters. This way, when I stumble across a public servant who isn’t on the take, it’s a cause for joy and celebration, which I find is much more fun than being disappointed all the time because officials have let me down.

    As to “clean” energy, we first have to hope the news media will get around to pointing out that such an animal doesn’t exist. Even wind and solar power have serious effects on the environment. Thus, we, as people in general, really need to focus on energy independence, which is a positive thing, instead of spending so much time, money, and effort worrying about how we interact with “nature.”

    Nature, if it must be personified, is, I would point out, a mean blood thirsty beast that will be more than happy to slaughter every last human on the planet given the chance. It’s quite easy to make the case that almost all of human history is centered around the struggle of individuals, and families, to keep Nature on the other side of the entrance to their dwelling. Our highest level of achievement in this area is the mega-city, where the inhabitants are, mostly, sheltered from the weather, and the only “bad” part of Nature they encounter on a regular basis are pollen, rats, and cockroaches.

    Thus, when these easy living idiots insist that I can’t kill off the poisonous snakes on my farm, spray DDT to keep the mosquitoes and hornets under control, or, as has recently happened, stop shooting the coyotes that pose a threat to midgets, children, cats, and small dogs, or even attempt to eeradicate poison ivy, I can only respond with a hearty “Screw You!” Still, I do try to keep an open mind, so, if the Government will subsidize my efforts, I would be quite happy to capture these beasts instead of killing them, and ship them to random inhabitants of large cities, so they can embrace Nature.

    the Grit

  7. earthpal says:

    . . . and all the Evil Big Oil Companies were treading on the edge of bankruptcy.

    Lol. Bankruptcy or not, I don’t believe it would have resulted in any destitute oil barons.

    And I’ve never sought to buy shares in oil. You can trust me on that.

    Goodnight folks.

    xxx

  8. the Grit says:

    Hi earthpal,

    Yes, history can be funny, but facts are still facts, regardless of the amount of anti-capitalist propaganda floating around. As to investing in oil, that is, of course, your choice, but if you had the chance and turned it down, kindly refrain from complaining about the price you pay at the pump.

    the Grit

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