As our nation adds over a trillion dollars in deficit spending to the national debt every year, we’ve also been ramping up the subsidies poured into wind, solar and biofuels. “Renewable energy subsidies increased by 186 percent from $5.1 billion to $14.7 billion,” writes the EIA in a study commissioned by Congress. “Of the $14.7 billion in fiscal year 2010, $6.2 billion (65 percent of the increase) was related to the Obama administration’s economic stimulus law.”
But you have to ask, is your energy cheaper and more accessible due to these efforts? I think the answer has to be “no.”
Energy mandates requiring the use of sources like solar and wind on power grids have driven up energy prices for Americans, and even with that high cost these sources have done little to make power more “green.” Because the sun doesn’t always shine, because the wind doesn’t always blow, these sources are unreliable and must be backed up by always-on sources like natural gas or coal.
Ethanol, meanwhile, is a national train wreck consuming billions of dollars in subsidies while simultaneously enjoying both government mandates for its use and trade protection from ethanol imported from places like Brazil, all while providing fuel consumers with no discernible benefit. Of course, subsidizing ethanol is a pretty good deal for corn growers who scream in agony at the merest hint of touching their government gravy train.
You really have to wonder just what good all these subsidies are doing. They’re not helping consumers, they’re not really helping the environment. Outside of making some politically well-connected companies and lobbyists very, very wealthy there’s little here in terms of good policy for the country.