Since the country needs to cut its spending, a good place to start is the Department of Energy, which, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget, has a budget of $29 billion a year that I believe it wastes on failed projects, some of which are listed in this column. The DOE was started by President Jimmy Carter to make the U.S. energy dependent. Now we are more dependent than ever on foreign oil.
Instead of allowing oil companies to take advantage of the existing energy supplies that we have here, the DOE attempts to force alternative energy on us, which is unwanted and impracticable. For example, windmills take up a lot of acreage, and they take a long time for a payback in relationship to the energy output. Solar panels are expensive and limited to certain areas of the country for effectiveness. Electric cars are limited as to the distance that they can travel and are expensive.
On the other side, the United States has the world’s largest supply of coal, which we now sell to China. China realizes the low cost of using coal to generate energy. Our country also is estimated by the U.S. Geological Service to have greater resources of oil both below the ground and offshore than any Mid-eastern country. Yet, the DOE prevents these sources from being exploited, keeping us dependent on foreign oil, which supports terrorist countries.
Instead of using the resources, which are plentiful, the DOE pushes alternative sources of energy. Bloomberg Businessweek stated in an article that the DOE supports corn ethanol with a $6 billion subsidy. The former “car czar,” Steve Rattner, notes that the real cost to American consumers is even higher than the subsidy because 40 percent of U.S. corn production is diverted by mandates toward ethanol, which raises the cost of animal feed, thereby food costs.
In Sen. Harry Reid’s state of Nevada, the DOE announced in September that the Tonopah Solar Company got a $757 million DOE loan, which will create 45 jobs at a cost of $16 million a job, as reported by the Free Republic. It’s no wonder not many jobs are created by the government. One of the investment partners is Pacific Corporate Group, whose executive director is Ron Pelosi, husband of Nancy Pelosi.
The DOE gave a $730 million loan to Several, a Russian company, led by multibillionaire Alexi Mordashov, who is alleged to have close connections to the Kremlin and is worth $18.5 billion, according to Forbes Magazine. Does he really need our tax dollars?
What does it tell you about the DOE when it loans money to three energy companies that went bankrupt after receiving the loans? The first was Evergreen Solar, based in Massachusetts, which blamed the bankruptcy on increased competition from solar-panel makers in China. SunPower Corp. and First Solar Inc., two large panel manufacturers, have to reorganize because of China’s low prices. What’s wrong with this picture?
Then Solyndra went bankrupt after receiving $535 million in DOE loans, followed by Beacon Power Corporation, which was given a $43 million loan guarantee, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
The DOE throws climate change at us as a fear tactic. Throughout the history of the world, there have been climate changes brought about by natural forces. Mankind will never be able to affect these changes.
Congress passed Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act, providing support for the DOE’s smart grid project, which would allow a utility to monitor the activity of all appliances in your home, meaning your living activities. A utility then could re-align your power usage to conserve energy. This already has started as Coastal EMC and Georgia Power have installed smart meters at some homes in Liberty County. This technology presents an invasion of privacy, a security risk and a possible health problem.
The definition of insanity is to repeat the same action over and over, expecting the outcome to be different. What does this tell you about DOE?
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and for 30 years has written articles for trade publications in various fields.