Green Energy is the Perfect Scam

Green energy is an incredible money-making scam. The promoters of green energy make billions of dollars promoting dumb energy schemes that are completely useless. What makes the scam extremely clever is that the scammers have convinced the public that the purpose of their scam is to improve the environment. The scammers pretend to be earnest environmental advocates.

Any really good scam needs endorsements from authoritative sounding sources. In the case of green energy, the authoritative sources are in on the scam. The beneficiaries of the green energy scam go way beyond the wind and solar industries.

Non-profit environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, need to be seen as fighting against an urgent looming catastrophe. If they don’t have something dreadful to fight against, no one is going to join their organizations or give them money. Global warming, allegedly caused by carbon dioxide, is the looming catastrophe and green energy is the solution. When the globe failed to warm they renamed the looming catastrophe climate change in place of global warming. Now they blame every instance of bad weather on climate change created by burning coal and oil. What were formerly acts of God are now the fault of the oil and coal companies.

Scientists are a special interest group largely financed by the federal government. Global warming is a magnificent gift to the science industry. The industry has been corrupted by pathological science that is primarily intended to increase flow of money from Washington. Science directed toward discovering truth is out of fashion. The many scientists that are global warming skeptics don’t exist as far as the science industry is concerned.

Government agencies, and the politicians that give the agencies money, have embraced the threat of climate change. It gives them something to do that is more  noble, even romantic than  highways and making the trains run on time. The government spends billions on subsidizing wind and solar energy.

Ironically, electric utility companies love wind and solar green energy. They know perfectly well that wind and solar are useless because wind and solar generate electricity erratically and have to be backed up by reliable conventional electric generating plants. The only economic benefit is the fuel saved in the backup plants when wind or solar is actually generating electricity. But the cost of the wind or solar electricity is much higher than the benefit of fuel saved. Thus, the more wind or solar that you have, the more money you lose. But, electric utilities are regulated by public utilities commissions. The amount of profit they are allowed is calculated as a fraction of the utilities’ capital investment. So, the utilities want to make capital investments, even if those investments are wind and solar plants that waste money on a grand scale. The electricity consumers bear the cost and the utilities are allowed a larger profit.

In some parts of the country rooftop solar is fashionable. Homeowners who install rooftop solar often save money because the reduction in cost of electricity from the utility is greater than he cost of the solar electricity. These homeowners brag to their friends about how clever they are, and the purveyors of rooftop solar place advertisements claiming that rooftop solar is cheaper than buying electricity from the electric company. This is part of the scam. Rooftop solar is profitable because it is heavily subsidized and because the electric utility is forced, by the governmental authorities, to provide a connection to back up the solar without compensating remuneration. The real cost of rooftop solar electricity, exclusive of subsidies, is around 30-cents per kilowatt hour and the real benefit is around two cents per kilowatt hour from fuel saved in the utility’s backup plants. The subsidy, financed by taxpayers and electricity consumers, is greater than ninety percent.

Hundreds of thousands of home owners, under the delusion that they have discovered cheaper electricity, are walking and talking advertisements for solar energy.

The biggest victim of the green energy scam is the public in general. Everybody pays more taxes and pays more for energy as a consequence of the scam. But the waste of billions of dollars may not be noticeable when spread over the 320 million Americans. The public has been exposed to relentless propaganda promoting green energy as beneficial and less expensive. The public is the greatest victim, but most people don’t know that they are being victimized, so there is little incentive to organize against the scam.

There are certain other victims such as the coal industry and coal miners. But these groups mostly don’t understand that they are victimized by a scam. Due to the propaganda they may actually believe that burning coal is undesirable and dangerous. Thus, they lack a clear mandate to organize against the scam. (Modern coal generating plants are environmentally clean.)

The manufacturers of fossil fuel generating plants are beneficiaries, not victims. Wind and solar don’t reduce the demand for fossil fuel plants because wind and solar have to be backed up by traditional plants. A campaign against coal, by the Sierra Club, has resulted in the closing of many coal plants. The closed plants are typically replaced by new natural gas plants. Due to the strain imposed on the electric grid by erratic wind and solar there are many commercial opportunities for upgrading the traditional components of the electricity grid. Rather than hurting the manufacturers of fossil fuel generating equipment, the green energy movement actually helps them.

The green energy scam is the perfect scam because the beneficiaries include many influential individuals and institutions, while the victims are dispersed among large numbers of unorganized people. The few concentrated groups of victims, like coal miners, are psychologically handicapped by propaganda that has convinced them that they, rather than the scammers, are at fault.

Wind and solar are truly useless, like having a 6th toe or an appendix. A detailed exposition on the uselessness of wind and solar is given in my book – Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy.

Green energy is often justified on the grounds that it reduces carbon dioxide emissions and thus prevents global warming. Of course, global warming, now called climate change, is itself a scam. The science on which the predictions of global warming doom are based is incredibly weak. But, the weak science is presented as if it is reliable by self-interested parties. In any case, wind and solar are very expensive methods of reducing CO2 emissions. Other, far more practical, strategies for reducing CO2 emissions are available.

Anyone who criticizes the green energy scam is ruthlessly attacked. Critics are often accused of being in the pay of fossil fuel companies. Fossil fuel companies are too timid to risk the wrath of the green movement, so they hardly ever give money to the critics of the green movement. A favorite line of attack is to accuse the critics of using tobacco company tactics to cover up the danger from using fossil fuels. Critics are often depicted as being mental cases, as when Al Gore said that critics of his global warming promotions were like people who think the moon landing was filmed in a Hollywood studio or think that the Earth is flat. James Hansen, often considered that father of the global warming movement, suggested that executives of fossil fuel companies should be sent to jail for crimes against humanity.

Green energy is the perfect scam because it is disguised as a do-good movement and the victims are dispersed, unorganized and disarmed by propaganda. Green energy is endorsed by government agencies, environmental non-profits, and scientific groups. These are people that are often seen as sources of reliable information but that, in reality, work to promote their own parochial interests. This is a scam that needs to be exposed.

Image credit: Max Pixel

Norman Rogers is the author of the book Dumb Energy and writes often about political and environmental issues.