"PC" power is not "sustainable"
By Mary Kay Barton
President Obama's mantra du jour for his 2012 campaign speeches is "all-inclusive" energy. Any business touting this version of "all-inclusive" would be prosecuted for false advertising.
When the President says "all-inclusive," he means politically correct (PC) "green" energy (wind, solar and bio-fuels), and nothing that actually provides reliable, affordable power – especially not hydrocarbons. Another PC buzzword – "sustainable" – is right out of the United Nation's Agenda 21 Protocol and the President's goal of "fundamentally transforming" America."
Increasing pain at the pump and plug underscore the reality that Mr. Obama's energy policies are anything but all-inclusive, and his PC power is anything but sustainable – though they certainly are transforming our country. In fact, if the Keystone XL pipeline's oil were used to generate electricity, it would provide more energy than all existing US wind and solar installations combined.
Be they massive or small-scale, actual or theoretical and decades away – wind, solar, corn ethanol, switch-grass and algae projects are being paid for with countless billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars. The arrangements are sweet for promoters and "investors" on the receiving end, and for politicians looking for crony capitalist campaign contributions from these recipients.
But they're neither nice nor "sustainable" for those of us paying the tab.
Consider wind power. Whether you're talking about massive, multi-billion-dollar projects covering miles of ridge-lines and hundreds of thousands of acres with mammoth 400- to 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbines (which kill a half-million birds and bats without penalty every year, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and American Bird Conservancy), or you mean the comparatively smaller turbines being installed for personal home use around the country – both are being erected thanks to billions of dollars in generous state and federal incentives forcibly collected from taxpayers and ratepayers.
A recent news story in Western New York fairly sparkled with praise for one of these small wind projects. A semi-retired small farm owner and his wife just installed their third personal-size "windmill," with high hopes that the turbines will provide much of their electricity.
"State and federal incentives," the article explained, "are covering almost the entire $75,000 cost for the new windmill." Similar state and federal "grants" had paid half the cost for the first two ($55,000 each).
That adds up to $130,000 that the rest of us taxpayers and ratepayers paid to cover the cost of one residence's electricity. And yet, when the wind isn't blowing enough or at all, the part-time farmers will still be utilizing the same "base-load" sources (hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and nuclear) that we all rely on. They get "free" electricity, while we pay for PC power and redundancy.
The Heritage Foundation recently reported the startling news that the "average" American's annual income is $32,400, while those living off government entitlements now average $32,700 per year. That means the $130,000 that actual ratepayers and taxpayers are paying to cover the cost for one residence to get this PC electricity equals more than four years of before-tax wages for today's "average" worker.
Suppose now that 100 residences across New York (or any) state are able to get the same deal, and have one to three home-use-size turbines installed. Those 100 residences would get their PC electricity at a cost to the rest of us of $7,500,000 to $22,500,000! How quickly PC power's costs add up.
New York State is ranked as one of the worst states in the country for doing business. The reasons include our high taxes, onerous regulations and high electricity rates. A recent Manhattan Institute report noted that states like New York that have mandated the use of PC wind power and other "renewables" have seen their electricity rates soar ever higher – increasing by 30% to 50% above prior levels.
So while a few folks may be lucky recipients of personalized PC electricity installed at their homes, the rest of us must pay these costs through higher tax and utility bills, the economy worsening as businesses and industries avoid or leave the state, hospitals and schools cutting staff and services to pay their higher electricity bills, and "average" wage earners struggling even harder to make ends meet.
This is "sustainable"? This is caring about working people and our poor? This is our energy future?
Isn't it wonderful how our government offers $55,000 to $130,000 or more to encourage rural families to install personal wind turbines on their property, while the rest of us "get" to pay the tab?
Will it really surprise anyone when today's "average" wage earners simply decide it isn't worth the struggle anymore, and join the ranks of those living on the government/taxpayer dole?
Sadly, this increasingly appears to be the agenda for an Obama Administration that is focused on a "green" agenda that "necessarily skyrockets" our energy rates, and "fundamentally transforms" our nation (President Obama's words), in order to achieve near-total government control over our economy and lives.
Thanks to a well-orchestrated environmental movement backed by the United Nations, wealthy US foundations and multi-national corporations, the Administration's strategy is already working. Worse, it is being helped by misguided people who fail to consider the long-term ramifications, as they exploit and advance "environmental justice," "sustainability" and "incentive" programs. At some point, we and our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay the fiddler.
No one I know is opposed to "green" energy per se, as long as it can be fully justified by sound scientific, economic and environmental analysis – and those who want it pay for it themselves. However, we have yet to witness one instance where this has been the case.
Entitlement debt is destroying our great nation. These kinds of taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded giveaways, imposed in the name of being "green," are simply not "sustainable" – especially if we want our children and grandchildren to live free and prosper.
Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator, New York State small business owner, and tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable and reliable electricity for "average" Americans.