This week Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed that the US expand its use of “renewable” sources of electricity, particularly solar ones. She proposed that enough renewable power be generated to meet all household demand by 2027. She proposed doing this by implementing Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” increasing the number of government grants for “clean energy,” extending federal “clean energy” tax incentives, and expanding renewable energy on public lands. In other words, she is proposing more of the usual mix of Federal market interventions favored by radical energy environmentalists to skew the sources of electricity generation to those they prefer.
These proposals include coercion (the “Clean Power Plan”) and increased taxpayer subsidies, which are required because the “renewables” Hillary favors are more expensive and less reliable than fossil fuel-generated electricity and would not be built without the coercion and subsidies. They also include further despoliation of Federal lands with ugly and bird and bat-killing windmills and solar installations that are likely to be abandoned when the Federal subsidies end and the coercion is relaxed.
Proposal Would Repeat Western European Errors
Disregarding both economic sense and ample adverse experience in Western Europe, she apparently wants to repeat their horrendous errors here in the US. A number of European governments have already been down this road, including Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the UK, but are now trying to scale back because of the substantial adverse effects on electricity rates and taxes, which voters do not appreciate. A much wiser approach would be to allow the US market for electricity to determine whether more or fewer solar panels are needed without any subsidies or coercion since the basis for fearing catastrophic effects from increasing levels of carbon dioxide is scientifically invalid.
As explained in my new book, Environmentalism Gone Mad (available here), Federal coercion to expand the use of “renewables” would end up forcing electric power ratepayers to spend much more to obtain much less reliable electric power. Increasing Federal subsidies would further burden taxpayers. And even if fully implemented these proposals would have no measurable effect on global temperatures or extreme weather even using the UN’s useless climate models. So higher costs for no measurable benefits.
Her proposals would be nothing more nor less than a huge payoff to the “renewable” power industry, particularly the solar power industry, at the expense of everyone else. The biggest indirect beneficiaries are likely to be the Chinese, who have led the industry in recent years. Those most adversely affected would be the less wealthy, which the Democratic Party usually regards as its base of support. But Hillary neglected to mention how much her proposals would cost or who the primary beneficiaries and losers would be.
Hillary Claims Proposal Would Save World for Our Children and Grandchildren but It Would Only Decrease Their Standard of Living
Her justification for these proposals was that it would save the world for our children and grandchildren. What it would really do is burden them with higher electricity rates and Federal taxes for less reliable electric power and thus result in a reduced standard of living. The Democratic Party has already lost Congressional seats in coal states, such as West Virginia, as a result of supporting related proposals as part of Obama’s “war on coal.” Despite this, Hillary wants to expand on his efforts if elected.
The basis for these views and detailed references supporting them can be found in Environmentalism Gone Mad.