Opinion

‘Solar socialism’ could expand

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — West Virginians and Ohioans can only wonder how much good $38 billion would have done to help utilities find ways to burn coal with less impact on the environment. That much money to support research might well have developed ways tens of millions of Americans could have continued to enjoy low-cost electricity generated from coal. As matters stand, President Barack Obama is well on his way to wiping out affordable power.

Investors in the solar power industry don’t have to speculate. They and others in so-called “renewable” energy know exactly what difference $38 billion would make to them – because they have received it. They owe at least two-thirds of the federal government’s largesse in that regard to Obama.

Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan organization that shines the spotlight on egregious abuses in spending taxpayers’ money, has taken a look at federal subsidies for solar power. The result was a publication CAGW titled “The Sun Should Set on Solar Socialism.”

No one really knows how much Washington has poured into subsidies for alternatives to fossil fuels that would not be cost-effective without government help, CAGW learned.

There are clues – involving big numbers – however. Under Obama’s “stimulus” act, tax credits for renewable energy “cost taxpayers $24.5 billion for 101,364 projects as of July 30, 2015,” CAGW reports. Another program, “tax expenditures for alternative electricity generation cost $13.7 billion from 2004-2015.”

Meanwhile, clean coal funding, never more than a few hundred million dollars, was cut back during Obama’s presidency.

Many solar energy companies cannot exist even with massive government aid. One example from CAGW’s publication: A California project, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, fell far short of its power production goal. At last report, Ivanpah officials wanted a $539 million federal grant to bail them out.

Solar, wind and other renewable energy projects have fallen far short of both power generation and employment promises, CAGW determined. Similar failures in other countries – including climate change leaders such as Germany and France, are phasing out subsidies for renewables.

So yes, in order to destroy both the coal industry and affordable electricity, Obama has been eager to engage in “solar socialism.”

At least he’s in his last year as president, you say? True – but his chosen successor, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has a renewables plan, too.

She wants more taxpayer subsidies.

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