Green Energy Overhaul Hurts Environment, Hikes Electric Bills
In a major blow to the taxpayer-funded green energy movement, a government audit reveals that a California plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using more “renewable” sources will damage the environment and increase electric bills.
This clearly defeats the intended goal of saving mother earth from the evils of man-made pollutants that are contributing to the global warming crisis. The story involves California’s massive transformation in the way electricity is produced and distributed. By 2020 the Golden State plans to be a green zone with a clean-energy economy that drastically slashes greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impact of climate change.
This is supposed to happen via a “renewable portfolio standard,” which will require utility companies to get a third of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind. But this overhaul comes with a hefty price—to the environment and the wallet—and a lengthy report released this week by a nonpartisan state oversight agency seems to indicate that perhaps it’s just a pipe dream.
California is trying to implement too many renewable energy policy initiatives at the same time without a full accounting of the consequences, according to the audit. This includes a groundbreaking cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support for rapid expansion of rooftop solar systems and promotion of large, utility-scale solar thermal power plants in the desert.
“The state has not produced a comprehensive assessment of the total cost of implementing this group of policies, inhibiting consumers and businesses in their ability to plan for this new future,” the report says. “This sets the stage for a potential ratepayer revolt that could dampen support for environmental stewardship policies.”
In a statement announcing the report, the chairman of the state watchdog that conducted the probe, warned: “Without more careful calibration of these policies, Californians may wind up paying more than necessary for electricity and the state may unnecessarily degrade pristine habitat in its rush to implement its renewable energy goals.”
On a wider scale, this delivers a substantial blow to the Obama Administration’s green energy crusade, which has already cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for failed experiments. Remember the Solyndra boondoggle? The fly by night solar panel firm got $535 million from the government to promote green energy but instead folded, laying off more than 1,000 workers and stiffing U.S. taxpayers. President Obama had touted Solyndra as a prominent example of clean energy, saying during a visit to its northern California headquarters that “companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
The administration has also poured tens of millions of dollars into other ill-fated renewable energy projects that continue receiving big chunks of cash from the government. Last fall an investigative news report revealed that many of the nation’s so-called “green energy plants” actually infest the air with a “toxic brew of pollutants” while the administration promotes them as environmentally friendly generators of electricity and showers them with hundreds of millions of dollars.
Additionally, the administration has funded programs like a $30 million initiative to train the next generation of energy efficiency experts at dozens of universities around the country and $5 million to join an Arab-based organization dedicated to promoting renewable energy worldwide. The U.S. already gives similar international “renewable energy” initiatives, operated by the famously corrupt United Nations, billions of dollars.
Uncle Sam even doled out $9.9 million for the “green makeover” of a public housing facility in Washington State. President Obama justifies the expenditures by claiming that the green initiatives, not only help the environment, they create jobs. However, a scathing congressional report has revealed that the failed projects have instead eliminated jobs and the process of distributing funds is rife with undue political influence.