|Sunny, but very expensive dreams
By Alan Caruba
New Jersey has a multi-millionaire Governor, Jon Corzine, whose monthly energy bill is not a problem. That leaves the rest of the State's citizens out in the cold because, as the largest daily newspaper recently noted, "New Jersey already is one of the most expensive states for business" and, may I add, for auto insurance, property taxes, and a sales tax.
So naturally, the Governor is all for a mandate to require more solar power with the aim of having at least two percent of the electricity consumed in New Jersey coming from solar panels by 2030.
The New Jersey Governor is not alone in his support for these sunny, but very expensive solar and other energy-related dreams. In early September, the National Governors Association committed itself to "promoting clean energy policies across the nation." Among its goals were to "use our existing energy resources more wisely through efficiency and conservation." Let me translate this for you. This is Green talk for not permitting the extraction of oil, the mining of coal, or the exploration and use of natural gas to warm people's homes and keep the engines of the economy functioning smoothly and affordably.
Just to make sure you understand what the governors want, another policy they advocate would "promote non-petroleum based fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel." This policy ignores the way the mandated use of federally subsidized production of ethanol is driving up the price of corn and thus of food and countless other products for all of us.
The governors also want to "take reasonable steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" when the so-called science behind the global warming hoax continues to be debunked to the point where most people understand that the earth's climate is largely driven by the activity of the Sun. Requiring the installation of solar panels will not change this, but for the average home in New Jersey, it costs an average of between $48,000 and $60,000.
Lastly, the governors want to "accelerate the research and development of advanced, clean energy technologies." We already have "clean" energy. It's called nuclear energy. The use of nuclear and other energy resources is the reason the United States is an economic superpower.
An example of how dense the National Governors Association is was a letter signed by thirteen governors sent to automotive corporations asking them to support the governors' commitment to address climate change. American cars are already miracles of technology. Fighting "climate change", code words for "global warming," is the least of their problems in the marketplace.
The largest circulation New Jersey daily newspaper published an editorial urging "Caution on solar plan." The Star-Ledger noted that "A healthy economy and a clean environment are both crucial to the quality of life in New Jersey…Unfortunately, not only is it not easy being green, it is also expensive."
For a multi-millionaire Governor, that is not a problem. "The problem is that the solar program is founded on a complex web of economic assumptions that may or may not prove realistic," opined the newspaper's editorial. "Solar costs will have to drop sharply to become more competitive." No kidding! The State has already spent $4.6 million in rebates designed to promote solar power. The mandate for increased use of solar power by 2030 is estimated to cost electric ratepayers "an estimated $11 billion, according to the state Office of Clean Energy."
The new plan "would scale back a current rebate program that provides homeowners and businesses grants to cover up to 70 percent of solar installations. The grants are funded by a small surcharge on every utility customer's bill. So, if you live in New Jersey, you're paying for solar energy whether you use it or want it.
So far no one has stepped forward to say this is yet another idiotic Green proposal that will raise the cost of living and doing business in New Jersey with no economic benefit to anyone except those who manufacture and install solar panels. Indeed, as the managing director of one solar installer, said, "The industry can start selling again in New Jersey. It has been virtually shut down."
I wonder why? Could it be the high cost of solar panels and their use as opposed to the cost of inexpensive alternatives that already provide abundant electricity? Could it be the only way the solar panel industry can survive in the capitalist, competitive business environment is to find ways for government to require its use? Could it be just another Green pipedream and program to deny access to the abundant resources of coal, oil, and natural gas known to exist in the United States and its continental offshore areas?
If this moronic mandate is not removed from the backs of homeowners and businesses in New Jersey, I am going to start sending my monthly utilities bill to Governor Corzine. He can afford it even if New Jersey cannot.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His latest book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", is published by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, October 2007