“The sun in Spain shines brightly on the plain”
Here’s Barack Obama, speaking in January 2009:
Think of what’s happening in countries like Spain … where they’re making real investments in renewable energy. They’re surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in these new industries.
…and here’s a report on what’s happening in Spain currently:
Only two years ago, Spanish solar energy companies feasting on generous government subsidies expanded at a feverish pace, investing €18 billion (then worth roughly $28 billion) to blanket rooftops and fields with photovoltaic panels. They briefly turned the country into the top solar market in the world.
Spain’s subsidies for solar were four to six times higher than those for wind. Prices charged for solar power were 12 times higher than those for fossil fuel electricity. Germany and Spain received about 75 percent of the world’s photovoltaic panel installations that year.
Suddenly facing a deep recession, a collapsing housing market and a ballooning budget deficit, the Spanish government cut the rate paid for photovoltaic power by about 29 percent last year and put a limit on new solar installations at 500 megawatts per year. It is now considering additional tariff cuts that may reach as high as 40 percent and may even be applied retroactively, according to local newspaper reports.
(link via Glenn)
American politicians and journalists have been deeply dishonest about the realistic economics of “alternative” energy. Many companies, too, have enthusiastically gone along with the hype in the hope of attaching feel-good greenness to their brands and also in some cases of selling a lot of equipment.
Changing the mix of electricity to include a substantial amount that costs 10X or 5X or even 3X the cost of conventional sources would have a devastating effect on American’s manufacturing base, as well as its direct impact on individuals and families. And this is true regardless of how much of the cost is paid directly and how much via government subsidies.
Anyone want to add a few lines to the “poem” I started at the top of the post?