Over the last three decades, author, journalist, and public speaker Robert Bryce has published more than 1,000 articles and five books. His byline has appeared in dozens of publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and National Review to the Sydney Morning Herald and New York Times. In 2010, he published Power Hungry: The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. His most recent book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, was published in 2014 by his longtime publisher, PublicAffairs, and is now available in paperback. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he lives in Austin.
“Clean energy” is the political darling of the moment. President Obama has made promotion of clean energy one of the centerpieces of his administration and his reelection effort. The Democratic National Committee claims that “clean energy” investments are “helping pave the way to a more sustainable future, creating new jobs and entire industries here in America.” Last month, the Center for American Progress, a leftist think tank, released a report that touted the need to build a clean-energy economy.
(This article was co-authored with Steven F. Hayward)
If legislators need any more evidence that American energy policy is broken, they need only look at how some of the world’s biggest corporations used “green” energy projects to snatch billions of dollars under section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the federal stimulus bill).
Between 2009 and late 2011, $9.8 billion in cash grants was disbursed under the stimulus bill, and the vast majority of that money — $7.6 billion — was received by the wind-energy sector. An analysis of the 4,256 projects that won grants from the Treasury Department under section 1603 shows that nearly half that sum — $3.25 billion — went to just eight companies, all of which are board members of the American Wind Energy Association. The biggest winners were two foreign companies, theSpanish utility Iberdrola and the German energy giant E.On.
Rising gasoline prices are hurting President Obama’s re-election campaign, and like most politicians grappling with a complicated, unpopular issue the president has opted to torture some numbers in his quest for a snappy talking point. Last week during a press conference in the Rose Garden at which he called for more policing of oil-trading markets, the president said “we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.”