by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
Despite what President Obama has been telling us about how the corporate welfare sustained solar and wind power industries are the “energy sources of the future,” his own Department of Energy is singing a different tune. The graph below, using DOE projections, tells the story. Despite all the job killing subsidies and coercive renewable energy programs like North Carolina’s Senate Bill 3, in 2040 fossil fuels will still be providing us with about 80% of our energy with renewables providing about 10%. This is just about what it is today. Writing for the American Enterprise Institute, University of Michigan economics professor Mark Perry, invoking DOE data, notes that:
Last year, fossil fuels provided almost 84% of America’s energy, which was nearly unchanged from the 85% fossil fuel energy share twenty years ago in the early 1990s. Even more than a quarter of a century from now in 2040, the Department of Energy forecasts that fossil fuels will still be the nation’s dominant energy source, providing more than 80% of our energy needs.
In other words, most renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind power, are not economically viable and will continue to be unsustainable without taxpayer subsidies for the foreseeable future. In spite of this, legislatures, like North Carolina’s General Assembly, continue with economically destructive programs meant to prop up this desperate industry. Ultimately, there is only one logical explanation for this — special interest control of the legislative process. Once subsidies start flowing to an industry, they are almost impossible to eliminate, regardless of how nonsensical the subsidies are from the perspective of sound public policy. (I dealt with this in one of my recent newsletters.)