Keystone XL vs. Solyndra

November 28, 2011

The two big energy stories of the moment are the Obama administration's announcement that it will wait another year before making a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, and the continued pummeling of the Department of Energy and Energy Secretary Steven Chu for their handling of the $529 million loan guarantee to Solyndra.  A comparison of these two projects, in the context of the Obama administration's decision to fund one and delay the other, is enlightening: it allows the American public to understand the priorities of the president and the motivations for his policies, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

  • The Keystone XL is a $13 billion project that doesn't depend on federal loan guarantees or production tax credits from the federal government.
  • Keystone could create about 13,000 construction jobs in the United States, along with 7,000 manufacturing jobs -- this contrasts strongly with the 1,100 workers who lost their jobs with the Solyndra bankruptcy.
  • Keystone would have supplied 700,000 barrels of oil each day towards the nation's energy mix (which is 37 percent oil).

In these terms, it becomes bewildering that the Keystone XL pipeline is being subjected to another year's worth of scrutiny despite its numerous benefits, while Solyndra was able to receive a public loan without a thorough look at its ability to compete in an international marketplace.  The egregiousness of this pair of decisions becomes even more serious when discussing each project's contribution to national energy.

  • The Keystone's 700,000 barrels of oil each day, at 1.64 megawatt-hours per barrel, would have generated 380,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per day.
  • Meanwhile, all of America's solar panel and wind turbine production for the last year amounted to 94.6 million megawatt-hours, translating to 260,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per day.
  • Therefore, the Keystone project would have generated 46 percent more energy each day than the entire country's solar and wind output.

Source: Robert Bryce, "Energy Smackdown: Keystone XL vs. Solyndra," National Review, November 21, 2011.

For text:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/283587/energy-smackdown-keystone-xl-vs-solyndra-robert-bryce?pg=1

 

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