NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 6, 2007

Energy legislation being pushed by Senate Democrats reads like a wish list for those who support government funding of "clean" energy sources -- sources that, were they economically viable, would find investors in the market, says the National Review. 

For instance:

  • The legislation authorizes $1 billion in new spending to promote "clean energy" in developing countries.
  • Precisely what this means is never defined, though in practice it will likely bring about such things as solar panels and windmills for China.
  • It is preposterous, however, to think that China will take non-renewable energy sources offline, or stop adding new ones, simply because we have built it a few windmills.


  • The legislation would also increase taxes on oil and gas companies by $15 billion in order to pay for tax credits for renewable energy.
  • But, as is almost always the case with corporate taxes, they would be passed on to the consumer, especially the poor.
  • As Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis, points out, families earning more than $50,000 per year spend just 4 percent of their income on energy, those earning between $10,000 and $25,000 per year spend 13 percent.

But as bad as the legislation is, it could get even worse:

  • The bill could be amended to require that utilities generate 15 percent of their power using solar, wind, and other renewable-energy sources by 2020.
  • Southeastern states could have problem with this since wind power has a poor track record and would be incapable of generating sufficient energy.
  • Members of Congress from southwestern states, meanwhile, worry that the provision could spark fights over already-scarce water for hydropower.

Source: Editorial, "Energized to Defeat This," National Review, August 3, 2007.


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