Solar Panels and Wind Mills are only Viable with Massive Government Subsidies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2012

Week in Review

Renewable energy advocates paint a rosy picture for solar power and wind power.  There are huge gains in installations despite the high-profile failures like government backed Solyndra.   And all they need to build on these successes is a dump-truck full of more government subsidies, tariffs and legislation forcing consumers to pay more for energy (see U.S. solar and wind industries expand by Wendy Koch posted 3/14/2012 on USA Today).

Newly installed solar panels produced 109% more electricity nationwide last year than in 2010, reaching a record 1,855 megawatts, as the price of these panels plummeted by more than 50%, according to a report today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), an industry group, and GTM Research.

“The U.S. remains the innovative center of the solar industry worldwide,” says Rhone Resch, SEIA’s president. He says “run-of-the-mill” panels may increasingly be made overseas, but the U.S. still will make the most advanced solar components and post double-digit annual growth. He expects solar power, which now produces less than 1% of U.S. electricity, to generate 10% by 2020…

“It’s not all rosy. … There have been growing pains of late,” says Ron Pernick, managing director for Clean Edge, a research firm. He expects “considerable consolidation.”

A federal “production tax credit,” which lowers the wind industry’s cost of producing power, is slated to expire at the end of 2012. Also at issue:

•A Treasury Department program, which Resch says helped many solar start-ups, expired at the end of last year. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate rejected an effort to restart the Section 1603 program, which allows companies to take upfront cash grants in lieu of tax credits.

•The Department of Commerce is likely Monday to decide whether to impose duties on solar panels made in China in response to an unfair-trade complaint filed by Oregon-based SolarWorld and six unnamed solar manufacturers. If it imposes duties, Resch expects a slight increase in panel prices.

•Low natural-gas prices are threatening the economic rationale for renewable energy. Pernick says the wind and solar industries will still grow, because more than two dozen states now require utilities to produce more of their power from renewables.

Yes, solar and wind are viable energy alternatives.  As long as we make consumers pay more in taxes to subsidize these industries.  We punish them for buying lower-priced solar panels.  And we force them to pay higher utility bills so utilities use more expensive renewable energy instead of less expensive natural gas.  If only we do these, and tank the U.S. economy in the process, we can make renewable energy viable.  Which it clearly isn’t.  Because we have to do these things.

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