Green Energy Fuzzy Math

Mike Evan
From Energy Biz: "Renewable energy generation has grown nationally by 27% in the past three years, largely due to federal policy support and favorable tax policies, recently released data show."

The numbers speak for themselves - notwithstanding politically-inspired criticism, the pro-renewable energy policies pioneered by the Obama Administration have generated dramatic growth rates during the past three years, vastly outpacing those of all other energy sources," said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.

No.  The numbers don't speak for themselves!

First, according to the EIA information being used, Figure 10.1, they lump in all renewables, which include hydroelectric, as the number-one source (unaffected by Obama), and wood and biofuels as numbers two and three (both emit CO2 like crazy).  Together, these constitute 78% of all the renewables.  Yes, renewables have grown, but the underlying messages 1) that it's all because of Obama and 2) that a corresponding reduction in CO2 has occurred simply don't match their rhetoric.

Second, in a historically robust recovery, with a growth rate of 4%-8% higher (even according to Paul Krugman), renewable energy would pale in comparison with fossil energy needed to energize such growth.  From Table 1.3 of the EIA report, we see that renewables accounted for a paltry 8.8% of total energy consumption.  The 27% increase is largely insignificant even in the lethargic economy we face today!  How much more so would be the case in a booming economy?  It is highly unlikely that private money would be directed into alternative fuel sources (which take time to ramp up) when we have cheap, abundant energy resources available now.  This is particularly true when alternatives like wind produce most of their energy during off-peak hours -- it is very unlikely that added wind capacity could keep up with peak demands in a robust economy.

Thirdly, there are certainly pressures against the production and transportation of North American fossil fuels in the de facto off-sea drilling moratorium still in place, the rejection of the Keystone  Pipeline project, and onerous regulation placed on new (already clean) coal-burning power plants.  These have been designed, at least in part, to bolster renewable energy consumption.

They can spin the numbers all they want, but that's all it is -- spin.

From Energy Biz: "Renewable energy generation has grown nationally by 27% in the past three years, largely due to federal policy support and favorable tax policies, recently released data show."

The numbers speak for themselves - notwithstanding politically-inspired criticism, the pro-renewable energy policies pioneered by the Obama Administration have generated dramatic growth rates during the past three years, vastly outpacing those of all other energy sources," said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.

No.  The numbers don't speak for themselves!

First, according to the EIA information being used, Figure 10.1, they lump in all renewables, which include hydroelectric, as the number-one source (unaffected by Obama), and wood and biofuels as numbers two and three (both emit CO2 like crazy).  Together, these constitute 78% of all the renewables.  Yes, renewables have grown, but the underlying messages 1) that it's all because of Obama and 2) that a corresponding reduction in CO2 has occurred simply don't match their rhetoric.

Second, in a historically robust recovery, with a growth rate of 4%-8% higher (even according to Paul Krugman), renewable energy would pale in comparison with fossil energy needed to energize such growth.  From Table 1.3 of the EIA report, we see that renewables accounted for a paltry 8.8% of total energy consumption.  The 27% increase is largely insignificant even in the lethargic economy we face today!  How much more so would be the case in a booming economy?  It is highly unlikely that private money would be directed into alternative fuel sources (which take time to ramp up) when we have cheap, abundant energy resources available now.  This is particularly true when alternatives like wind produce most of their energy during off-peak hours -- it is very unlikely that added wind capacity could keep up with peak demands in a robust economy.

Thirdly, there are certainly pressures against the production and transportation of North American fossil fuels in the de facto off-sea drilling moratorium still in place, the rejection of the Keystone  Pipeline project, and onerous regulation placed on new (already clean) coal-burning power plants.  These have been designed, at least in part, to bolster renewable energy consumption.

They can spin the numbers all they want, but that's all it is -- spin.