Remember the great California Electrical Shortage of 2000? The Obama stimulus package wants to nationalize it.
Last week we passed a landmark when Heidi Fleiss, the Hollywood madam, announced she was giving up plans to open The Stud Farm, Nevada’s first male brothel. Instead, she is putting her money into alternate energy.
“It’s where the money is,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s the wave of the future.”
Jesse Ausubel, director of the Center for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, takes the opposite view. “Alternate energy is the next subprime mortgage meltdown,” he says. When Heidi Fleiss has jumped in, we may be reaching the top of the market.
In the coming months and years, President Barack Obama’s $787-billion stimulus package will be steering us down the path California took in the 1980s and 1990s, leading up to the great California Electrical Shortage of 2000. The stimulus package contains:
• $8 billion in loan guarantees for wind and solar projects.
• $4.5 billion for “smart grid” upgrades.
• $6.5 billion to help the Bonneville and Western Area Power Administrations upgrade their grid to ferry renewable energy from remote regions.
• $600 million to help the Department of Defense convert facilities to wind and solar.
• $200 million for biofuel refineries, and on and on.
There is not one penny in the bill for the one form of energy that might give this country a future — nuclear power.
All this follows the plan laid out by Amory Lovins, Al Gore, Thomas Friedman and all the other enthusiasts who promise us that alternative energy is the future of the country.
“Wind is the fastest growing form of energy generation in the country,” Al Gore told the Senate energy committee two weeks ago, while promising the Senators that “All we need is an area 100 miles on a side and we could provide all the electricity we need to run the country with solar collectors.” (Gore then quoted a Scientific American article that actually says we would need 46,000 square miles — one-third of New Mexico — not Gore’s 10,000 square miles, to do it — plus a rebuilt national grid and a comparably large system of energy storage.)
It’s true, the nation is now going through a windmill-building binge, fueled by a 1.45 cents-per-kilowatt federal production tax credit that makes it profitable without even bothering to sell the electricity. On top of that, almost half the states have now passed “renewable portfolio standards,” which mandate that utilities get X amount of their electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal) by 20XX. This is what we used to call “unfunded mandates.” Legislatures want to promote renewable energy but they don’t want to pay the costs. So they make the utilities pay instead. The result is that electricity becomes more and more expensive.
California went through all this in the 1990s in the years leading up to the California Electrical Shortage. It had 10 percent renewables — the national average is 1 percent — and the most expensive electricity in the country before running out of electricity altogether in 2000. It solved the problem by frantically adding 12,000 megawatts (MW) of natural gas turbines in three years to make up for its shortages. But natural gas prices have gone through the roof and now California electricity is more expensive than ever. Manufacturing plants are leaving the state left and right and unemployment is almost the highest in the country. Now Congress is setting the whole country down the same path.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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