Shady Solar Dealings

The president’s green energy policies don’t add up

By Donald J Bourdreaux

Speaking recently at America’s largest solar energy plant — in Boulder City, Nev. — President Obama insisted that green energy is so important, “You’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power. And yet, if some politicians have their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy.”

Indeed. And judging from the recent actions of Obama’s Commerce Department, the president himself is among those politicians.

The Commerce Department has decided to impose tariffs ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent on subsidized Chinese solar panels that are imported into the U.S.

It takes remarkable cheek for Obama to insist that, while American “public investment” in green energy is virtuous, Chinese “public investment” in green energy is vile.

Not that opposition to subsidies for solar and other “green” energies is to be lamented. Quite the opposite. Politicians have no expertise at forecasting consumers’ energy needs or identifying how best to meet those needs. And the fact that the money politicians spend to promote green-energy firms comes from taxpayers further reduces the likelihood that such subsidies will yield positive payoffs for the general public.

In a sane world, Obama would celebrate Beijing’s subsidies to Chinese solar panel exporters. Those subsidies supply Americans with the alleged benefits of artificially low-priced solar panels, but on China’s nickel!

Read the rest at the Daily.

  • NEILIO

    I think the author of this peice has some great points but he seems to be accepting of the premise that “green energy” is some kind of solution. If you click on the link for the story at the Daily, the first thing you see is our fearless leader standing in front of a vast sea of solar panels in Boulder City, Nev. This monstrosity produces about 10 megawatts, on sunny days, during daylight hours only. While a natural gas burning power plant approxamately 1/10 the size produces about 480 megawatts 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Yeah what a great solution!

  • Rob N. Hood

    We should impose higher tariffs on ALL imported items. Obama is not being hypocritical here, IMHO, just smart, looking out for American businesses, and our bottome line. When did that become the wrong thing? Oh, right, beginning in 1980.

  • John Johnson

    This guy says in a sane world we should be happy China is subsidizing solar panels to dump them in the US and forcing all of the US companies to go bankrupt? This is good? Perhaps the author should have finished grade school before he tries to write papers.

  • Rob N. Hood

    And speaking about lost revenue…

    Verizon and Boeing and Dow and DuPont all made profits three years in a row, but all paid zero taxes over the three-year period. Banking leaders Citigroup and Bank of America, with a combined $8 billion of pretax earnings in 2009 and 2010, each paid zero taxes two years in a row. From 2008 to 2010, Chevron paid less than 5% a year. Merck paid 5%. Hewlett-Packard 3%. IBM 2%. Carnival 1%.

    Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) recently noted other companies who were tax-free over the 2008-10 period, including Pepco Holdings, Computer Sciences, Consolidated Edison, Honeywell International, and Wells Fargo.

  • John Johnson

    I will smooth out my comments. Apologies about my “grade school” crack. But seriously, China is subsidizing solar panels because they are one of the most strategically important products currently being developed. Countries should not be relying on buying strategic products outside the country similar to why we don’t buy tanks or jet aircraft. Despite what you might believe about global warming, solar panels have the opportunity to revolutionize how electricity is delivered to our businesses and homes, and to make it cheaper. Currently power plants are decentralized and must send power great distances where a good percentage of the power “leaks” away. Panels would decentralize the production of power. This author is obviously trying to be critical of Obama but a very, very poor article. This web site is a partisan rag and throws anything it can find on it just so it satisfies it’s criteria.

    • NEILIO

      One of the most strategically important products currently being developed? Are you kidding? Just how are solar panels strategically important at all? They’re great when the sun is shining, and quite useless at night and when the sun is obscured. No, energy is of strategic importance but solar panels fall very short of providing a reliable source of that energy.
      How many solar panels does it take to power a fighter jet, or an aircraft carrier? How many solar panels does it take to power a sub? How many solar panels would it take to launch a missle, or an anti-missile projectile? How many solar panels would it take to power an M1 Abrhams tank, or fire its main gun? How many solar panels would be needed to fly an attack helicopter or even a medi-vac? Huh? It sounds ridiculous. And it is.
      China is subsidising solar panels because dupes like you think they are strategically important and they know that they will make a tidy profit on your gullability.

      • John Johnson

        Sir, the Chinese are kicking our butts in economic issues and unless the US wakes up, will overrun our economy. You flat out do not import strategic items. Why do you think China is stupid when they subsidize panels, and the Germans, and the Koreans. Are you right and they are all wrong? How do you know? Obviously solar panels cannot be used in some of the applications you note, but a good percentage of our energy usage is from home usage where if panels were cheap enough and efficient enough, could cause a revolution in energy production, great for our economy. Plus, it could cheapen or at least stabilize the cost of energy whereas with fossil fuels, the cost keeps raising. The other reason the US should take the lead is JOBS. We can’t import everything and especially strategic products. And Neikio, if they are subsidizing them, how is it they are making a “tidy profit”? Wouldn’t they be losing money if dupes like me bought them for an underwater price?

        • NEILIO

          This is not a discussion group for economic policies, this is a blog that talks about the global warming scam and related issues. The related issue here is energy production. Not china. If you want to talk about china let’s talk about why they were exempted from the kyoto protocols.
          The reason that they are subsidising solar panel production is because they can corner the market on them, and then they will make money hand over fist on them.
          My personal opinion on solar panels, and it is an opinion shared by a lot of people, is that they are practically useless when you are looking for stable, sustained power generation for a power grid. They are dependant on weather conditions, as is wind energy. No sun or wind and your power output is zero. That is not a viable alternative to gas, oil, or coal when with those power sources you have energy production 24-7, no matter what the weather is diong.
          I have always said that if you want to put solar panels on your house, and a wind turbine in your backyard, that is a great idea. You can use that energy when it is available to suppliment your energy usage. But that is not how we are going about it, is it? No. We are bulldozing the desert, killing protected desert tortoises BTW, and installing city sized arrays of solar panels, expecting them to provide reliable power generation. And if it’s not solar panels it’s the monstsities called wind tubines that indisrimantely kill thousands of birds and bats every year in the hopes that it can replace fossil fuels. It’s a joke! They never will…. ever. We could cover the entire surface of the country with solar panels, and wind turbines and they would never produce the amount of power you get from a handfull of fossil fuel burning plants.

          • NEILIO

            Appearantly I can’t spell monstrosities, or indiscriminantly. Who knew?

  • Rob N. Hood

    Hey JJ… tone down the common sense and logic would’ja please? Might arouse the natives.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Folks, the energy to feed industry has no vision of people. It has no vision to allow people to build their own energy production facilities. IT is now possible to gain wealth with Algae bio fuel if you are a community living efficiently using Permaculture. You will have enough energy to sell after you install bio gas digestion, solar thermal geo thermal and wind power as local power, Hydro power too. So, to be able to produce, with 6 acres of land, 100 gallons of Algae oil a day, one would think there would be a gold rush movement to power park expeditions. But for some reason, culture and the idea of growth and Jobs have left civilization paralyzed in their own dysfunctional addiction to petroleum. It is time to move people or you will die from the cargo culture. It’s going to shut down. Net energy failure is inevitable. Fracking shale or Tar sands is a futile game with no profits in the process. ITs 20 years at best of our energy future. And all the sweet spots are gone, 85% of all Fracking wells in America, 400,000 of them, are dry gas wells. There is no transportation fuel in that. And its taking water away from life and sending it 8000 feet into the earth never to be seen again. 4-7 million gallons of water per well. Every well only has a 20 day rate of growth and then it starts declining and once a well declines it never goes up again, so they have to constantly drill drill drill just to try to make a profit, but they never do. There is no profit in Fracking its a net energy failure play, and all who have hope for it are now feeling the sharp reality of its failing sting. Peak Oil is coming faster than anyone predicted it. Its happening now. Civilization is in some zombie state of mind, it gives me my understanding how 6 million Jews just walked into gas chambers without resistance. I have all the assembled engineers and technologies for designing appropriate power park eco villages. A scene of the future is a relationship between people collecting the CO2 from Agro forestry farming Royal Empress Trees, a fast growing hard wood that feeds the Algae fuel system. The people are in relationship with their power park. ITs all tied together. Aqua ponic shrimp poop feeds the garden. Water is reused over and over again as it passes through the green energy water transportation system, around your own property. Thats Permaculture.

    • NEILIO

      Posting somone’s comment made on some other blog again? Nice.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Getting another anal slap down from you… priceless.

    • NEILIO

      I am so glad that you think that!

    • NEILIO

      Is that anal expulsive, or anal retentive? At least when I have something to say, it comes from my head, not from Russell67’s comments on Harvey Wasserman’s blog at The Smirking Chimp. That’s just lazy.

  • NEILIO

    http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Anal_expulsive
    “An anal expulsive personality is broadly defined as exhibiting cruelty, emotional outbursts, disorganisation, self-confidence, liberal-mindedness, (sometimes) artistic ability, generosity, rebelliousness and general carelessness.”

    http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Anal_retentive
    “In common usage, the phrases “anally retentive,” “anal-retentive” or “anal” are used to describe a certain style of behavior, and it is implied that this is due to a person clenching their anal sphincter, causing retention of feces. This is not necessarily literally the case, nor usually even intended literally.”
    “The term is often used in a derogatory sense to describe a person with such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others, and can be carried out to the detriment of the anal-retentive person.”

    If I am to be described as one of these I would probably be categorized an anal expulsive, (that is if you subscribe to the theory, which I don’t really), but my personality traits include disorganization, and a bit of rebelliousness and general carelessness, and I have some artistic ability with music. (Though I couldn’t draw a stick figure if my life depended on it.)
    I am certainly not obsessed with attention to detail, I can get a little nit-picky with stuff like facts and truth, but that’s not the same thing.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Wrong again grasshopper. You are plain Jane conservative retentive. That was obvious all along. Or so I thought. Silly me. (no- you are NOT obsessed with detail?!?)

    And thanks so much for the lesson in anal. That was, a little too much, you know… detail.

  • Rob N. Hood

    And it is I who is the expulsive, including the somewhat unflattering traits, as are most Liberals. I believe even Joe would agree with that.

    • NEILIO

      I’m just having a bit of lighthearted fun. I don’t even buy that theory anyway, I don’t ever recall being fixated on anything, especially poopies! I am pretty shure that is just something that comes (out) naturally. And I don’t think I have ever spent more than a few moments of thought on them other than thinking that it’s kind of gross, or that used to be food….ugh!

  • Rob N. Hood

    Um, Neil. Perhaps you should be the one to look things up besides ancillary definitions supporting (supposedly) your already strongly held biases. The anal phase of child development is real and can have life-long repercussions, just like many other very early childhood experiences. But maybe to you Freud is just another long-haired liberal hippy.

    • NEILIO

      http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/freuddead.htm
      “Freud’s cultural influence is based, at least implicitly, on the premise that his theory is scientifically valid. But from a scientific point of view, classical Freudian psychoanalysis is dead as both a theory of the mind and a mode of therapy (Crews, 1998; Macmillan, 1996). No empirical evidence supports any specific proposition of psychoanalytic theory, such as the idea that development proceeds through oral, anal, phallic, and genital stages, or that little boys lust after their mothers and hate and fear their fathers. No empirical evidence indicates that psychoanalysis is more effective, or more efficient, than other forms of psychotherapy, such as systematic desensitization or assertiveness training. No empirical evidence indicates the mechanisms by which psychoanalysis achieves its effects, such as they are, are those specifically predicated on the theory, such as transference and catharsis.

      Of course, Freud lived at a particular period of time, and it might be argued that his theories were valid when applied to European culture at the turn of the last century, even if they are no longer apropos today. However, recent historical analyses show that Freud’s construal of his case material was systematically distorted and biased by his theories of unconscious conflict and infantile sexuality, and that he misinterpreted and misrepresented the scientific evidence available to him. Freud’s theories were not just a product of his time: they were misleading and incorrect even when he published them.”

  • Rob N. Hood

    Seriously? Now’s the time I have to remind thee of this: I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology. And Joe tries to accuse me of conceit. ABSURDITY.

    • NEILIO

      A Masters degree? Oh wow that must make you a total expert then! Right? I mean the only people who would be more knowledgable on the subject would be someone with a doctorate right? A Ph.D? Well I only ask that because the person that wrote what I posted was:

      John F. Kihlstrom
      University of California, Berkeley

      Current Position
      Professor

      Highest Degree
      Ph.D. in Personality and Experimental Psychopathology from University of Pennsylvania, 1975

      So, I’m sorry, in this case I am going to defer to the man with the highest degree of education. Not to belittle your Masters degree………………..

  • Rob N. Hood

    Not only are you anal but you possess delusions of granduer. Dismissing anyone with credentials for personally biased reasons only highlights your levels of honesty and ego, which are in opposite proportion to one another. All I refuted was a very basic and ACCEPTED psychological notion re: early childhood development. I am well aware of Frued’s detractors, and I myself am not in full agreement with all of his ideas and opinions. And if you were to defer to the majority of the “highest degrees of education” you would believe also in AGW. You consistently display your hypocrisy like some sort of demented badge of honor. Trust me, it is not.

    • NEILIO

      Hey, I only said I would listen to the opinion of a Ph.D. over your Masters degree. And comparing this to my position on global warming as opposed to so called experts on global warming is not the same thing. There are plenty of Ph.D.’s who share the same opinion as I do on global warming, and I never claimed to be an expert on global warming, as you DO claim to be an expert on Freud. So, phtttttt!

      • NEILIO

        You know if you would refrain from calling me things like anal we could avoid these kinds of conflicts. You do play a role in these things too.

  • Rob N. Hood

    I never claimed to be an expert on Freud. Please show me where I did that. You cannot. You behave like a very naive child who lashes out when he cannot get his way. But silly me, that’s pretty normal for someone on the Right. So nevermind. And (large sigh) there are still MORE PhD’s who agree with AGW than not, so how is it you can even begin to defend your position vis a vis that line of argument? Absurdity, thy name is Neil.

  • Rob N. Hood

    So you see, once again, the door is opened for you to respond logically, to specific points, clear as day. And as you have done all along, you fail to do so. I know why that is, but you are free to respond…

  • Rob N. Hood

    Or not.

    Since its founding in 1973, ALEC has ghostwritten state legislation across the country on a wide range of issues, from voter ID laws to private prison policyies, to worker “protections”.

    What has gone unmentioned, however, is ALEC’s longtime stealth campaign to scuttle state–and federal–climate change initiatives, despite the fact that a number of its corporate members publicly acknowledge that global warming is a serious problem. They include General Motors; oil giants BP America, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell Oil; and electric utilities Duke Energy, Entergy and Progress Energy.

    • ALEC is just one of thousands of similar think tanks. They’re probably the most open of any I’m aware of. They actually invite press to their meetings. Many (c)3 and (c)4 organizations are funded in whole or in part by grants from corporations and foundations. There’s no “stealth campaign.” They’re very open about their process, members, donors, etc. ALEC is a fake boogeyman, who in the scheme of things isn’t terribly important – though they do good work.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Of course you feel that way. They, ALEC, help fund sites such as these for example. And the Right is expert at creating fake boogymen and red herrings re: the Left; and to respond as you have is standard operating procedure. Accuse your opponent of the very thing you are guilty of. I see it all the time by the Right, more and more, because it is like a magical formula. It works like virtually nothing else. But then again is isn’t really anything that new. The Nazis utilized a lot of the same techniques, and developed some of them too. At most Dan, given some occasional fluctuations, your extreme Rightism will command at most a third of the population, as it has in the past. That is why they need such devices and techniques. And the extreme Right is also constantly starting little battles to keep the Left busy putting out fires, so they cannot become more organized with regard to populous support. It’s a generally winning formula, unfortunately. And you and this site are just another cog in that wheel of elitist control. Some people, perhaps even you, truly believe in all that you do. But they count on that, they know that there is that segment of the population that fall into that category. And they use them to the fullest because they are smart and wealthy. Mostly wealthy.

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