Flawed study urges government support for solar power industry


by J. D. Heyes

Source: Natural News

Those who believe that mankind is causing the earth to burn up by driving cars and heating their homes do so with a kind of cult-like vengeance, even to the point of ignoring common sense, hard facts and proven science.

One of the most popular of all of the "alternative power sources" the greenies love to tout is solar power, which many claim is dramatically underrated. A recent story on Tech Insider is a good example of this.

The writer notes that "more power from the sun hits the earth in a single hour than humanity uses in an entire year," but solar energy only accounts for about 0.39 percent of the energy used in the U.S. last year. This also makes one wonder why our country is always singled out for criticism, given all of the technological advances in power creation and generation we have created throughout history.

"Visionaries like Elon Musk think that solar will become the biggest energy source by 2013," writer Rebecca Harrington says. "Visionaries" are not prophets, mind you, but apparently because Musk said something Harrington agrees with, it's taken as gospel.

To make this happen, the writer notes, we would only need enough solar panels to cover an area the size of Spain in order to power the entire planet.

The technology is not ready yet

What are we waiting for?

For one, solar power is expensive. The very worst thing we could do to the world's poor and our own citizens is take away their access to inexpensive coal, natural gas and oil and force them to use a disproportionate amount of solar energy.

As noted by the National Center for Policy Analysis, solar power currently costs about twice as much to produce as coal and natural gas. The technology is still not mature, so simply requiring more solar power won't make it any cheaper to create.

In fact, NCPA notes, 27 percent of power in the U.S. is currently generated via natural gas. If 27 percent of power was suddenly generated by the sun, Americans' electric bills would increase, on average, by 25 percent. True believers such as Harrington and President Obama (who just issued industry-killing, energy-sapping environmental regulations via the EPA that will cost Americans more money) might not care much about that and think it is simply the "price of a cleaner world." However, for American families already teetering on the edge economically, these rules would be financial disasters. Families by the scores would be forced to cut back on other things (like consumer spending, which drives the vast majority of the U.S. economy) in order to just pay their monthly electric bill. Keep in mind that we pay Obama's electric bill.

Environmental friendliness needs to be responsible

Bolstering our oil and natural gas industries, by comparison, has created millions of the type of high-paying jobs that Obama can only dream of (and lie about) when he touts solar industry jobs, which NCPA notes average less than $40,000 a year.

As Real Clear Markets notes, if Obama were to allow approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, it would immediately create 20,000 long-term jobs and further U.S. energy independence while helping out a long-time friend and ally, Canada, where the pipeline is already under construction.

Harrington, like most emotional environmentalists, complains in her piece that solar power would far and away best oil and natural gas and that the government ought to impose it. However, she neglects to discuss a glaring deficiency in her logic. So far, a true "solar-powered car" has not yet been economically developed and mass produced. If or when it does, it will still need a backup power source for those long, rainy months that those in places such as Seattle or Britain experience. Of course, that's only a concern if those cars will even be capable of traveling at the same speeds as gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to develop technology that spares the environment, and our readers know we are very interested in such developments. However, we have to do so in a smart, non-cult-like, economically feasible manner in order to support families and working Americans rather than impose a solution on them prematurely that will ruin budgets, destroy jobs and wipe out entire industries.

Right now, imposing widespread solar power would do all of those things.