Recent days bring reports of Tea Party Conservatives teaming up with the likes of the Sierra Club to champion so-called “green energy” development. Bad idea.
We fervently hope they do so unwittingly, but Tea Partiers—and others—who fall for green energy claptrap about creating jobs and liberating consumers from utility monopolies achieve little besides image-making for an industry that would rapidly collapse without massive taxpayer subsidies.
And did we mention this planet-saving green energy comes at a steep price in…environmental damage?
Solar energy is not uniquely harmful. We’ve always been repelled by the idea of growing food to burn in our gas tanks, but the environmental costs of corn ethanol are so severe even the Huffington Post has now taken notice.
Wind farms? Why disfigure immense land areas to produce volumes of energy you could get from a natural gas-fired turbine that would fit in a good-sized barn?
Wind and solar work fine on the scale of an eighth-grade science fair project, but contribute microscopically to the needs of a modern economy. The UW-affiliated Energy Center of Wisconsin acknowledges that wind turbines sited in this state actually deliver the power attributed to them less than one-fourth of the time.
But the dirtiest secret is that without continuous backup, unpredictable green energy would crash the grid. That means running fossil generation all the time but utilizing its output only when renewables quit; that is, wasting fossil fuels while continuing to produce fossil-fuel emissions, just to humor believers in pretend clean energy.
We aren’t the first to use the word “watermelons”—green outside, red inside—to describe the environmental subsidy-seekers who manipulate people’s desire to do right by the planet. It would be a shame if Tea Party Conservatives allow themselves to be taken in.