In the wake of the earthquake in Japan and the resulting threat of nuclear disaster in that country, right-wing media have attacked renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, arguing that it's a waste of time to pursue these sources as possible alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear power. However, studies show that the use of wind and solar energy is increasing at a record pace, and continuing investment in wind and solar will yield significant economic benefits.
Conservative Media Dismiss Wind, Solar As Viable Energy Sources
Fox's Bolling Bashes Renewables By Pointing To Birds, People "Killed By Wind Turbines" And Installing Solar Panels. On his Fox Business show, discussing the nuclear crisis in Japan, Eric Bolling turned to what he said "the left wants to talk about -- a wind turbine," and showed footage of a hawk flying into a spinning wind turbine and being knocked to the ground. He then followed with footage of what appeared to be a crime scene: barrier tape in front of a solar panel sitting on the ground next to a house, and the chalk outline of a body on the ground.
BOLLING: Here's Japan with an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and it survived -- not a death. You can't say that about some of the other things that the left wants to talk about. They want to talk about a wind turbine. Take a look at this. Oh!
BOLLING: All right, a wind turbine versus a beautiful hawk, innocent hawk spinning away in the sky -- wham! No more hawk. Even experts in the renewable energy point out that dozens, dozens of people have been killed by wind turbines, including one poor woman who parachuted into one. And workers have been killed falling off roofs while installing solar panels.
BOLLING: Here's the point. The point is everything comes with dangers. And Leslie, all of them. All forms of power come with danger.
LESLIE MARSHALL: They all do.
BOLLING: However, there's never been a death directly associated with a radiation leak ever in the history of North American power generated from nuclear. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 3/11/11] [http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201103110043]
Limbaugh: "Wind And Solar Aren't Capable of Producing Anything -- They're Just Dreams Of The Environmentalist Wackos." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated:
LIMBAUGH: What is U.S. energy policy? U.S. energy policy is to shut down -- you know, the -- here's something fascinating. You know, this -- folks, things do have a tendency to work out in strange ways. Would it be a safe bet that since wind and solar really aren't capable of producing anything -- they're just dreams of the environmentalist wackos. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/14/11]
Limbaugh: Solar And Wind Are "Just Not Practical." Citing the work of his "official climatologist" Roy Spencer, a scientist with the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Limbaugh further stated on his radio show:
LIMBAUGH: Practical energy sources -- see this is the thing. Practical, it's such an important word and it is so absent. Practicality takes a long vacation during an event like this.
LIMBAUGH: As Dr. Spencer, our official climatologist, Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama-Huntsville, points out, practical energy sources are inherently risky. There is risk associated with virtually everything, particularly in energy production. And the reason is, is that we need so much of it. There's no way to provide it without using concentrated forms of it. Petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear -- those are all -- think of concentrated frozen orange juice in your can, and the way you make it is you dump that into a pitcher of water and you stir it.
Our energy sources, before we refine them and prepare them for practical use, are really concentrated in their power -- a barrel of oil, natural gas, coal, what have you. Solar and wind never compete because they produce so little energy when you look at it, say, per acre of land required. It's just not practical. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/14/11] [http://mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2011/03/18/14959/prn-limbaugh-20110314-practical]
Limbaugh: "The Wind Will Stop Blowing. The Sun Will Be Obscured By The Clouds." Limbaugh also said:
LIMBAUGH: We get less than 1 percent of our nation's energy from solar and wind, even now. Thirty percent in this country comes from nuclear. The rest, sorry to tell you, fossil -- all natural gas and all the derivatives. And we have an appetite for it. And we better be producing it to meet our demand and grow, otherwise our economy is going to stagnate. We cannot have a growing economy and stagnating energy production at the same time -- cannot happen. We cannot grow an economy with wind energy or solar. It isn't practical. There is no concentrated form of it.
You can't even guarantee it. The wind will stop blowing. The sun will be obscured by the clouds. So all of our energy sources, all of our options have dangers, have risks inherent to their existence. Look at the deaths due to coal mine disasters. That's all in the name of fulfilling our energy needs. Natural gas explosions. Even the occasional oil rig explosion, the occasional oil tanker springing a leak. And in the context of all this, nuclear really is our safest option in the long term, especially with newer technologies. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/14/11] [http://mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2011/03/18/14959/prn-limbaugh-20110314-practical]
Fox's Varney Dismisses Renewable Energy: "It's Not An Answer For The Whole Country." Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney hosted Bob Deans, director of Federal Communications for the Natural Resources Defense Council, to discuss the nuclear energy crisis in Japan and what it might mean for the United States. Varney subsequently dismissed renewable energy, saying, "It's not an answer for the whole country." From the show:
VARNEY: You want to extend the time frame for getting new nuclear plants online. We're probably gonna be shutting some of these coal-fired electricity plants -- and you really don't like oil. Where do we get the juice from?
VARNEY: Now, demand's gonna go up. We all know that. Demand is going -- you've got a flat-screen TV. I'm sure you do. Demand is going up and you want to reduce the -- what we get from nuclear power. You want to reduce what we get from coal power. Come on, where do you get the extra supply of juice from? Tell me.
DEANS: We need to do two things, Stuart. We need to invest in efficiency gains in this country so that we're doing more with less.
VARNEY: That's not going to do it, Bob. That's not gonna do it.
DEANS: Our economy grows. It won't get us all the way there, but what can help us, too --
VARNEY: It won't. Nowhere near. Nowhere near.
DEANS: -- are renewables. Stuart, you know, in Texas, you've been there lately, 8 percent of Texas electricity -- Texas, the oil capital of the world -- 8 percent of its electricity is now coming from wind turbines on ranches, on farms. They're helping to keep these family ranchers and farmers viable and intact, and preserve --
VARNEY: It's not an answer for the whole country, though, is it? By the way, did you bike to work today?
DEANS: Stuart, I've been fighting a cold but, normally, I do bike to work and I've been doing it for about 10 years, and I would -- I tell you, I've got a tandem and the next time you're in Washington, I'll swing by and pick you up. We can ride in together.
VARNEY: Nicely done, young man. [Fox Business, Varney & Company, 3/17/11] [http://mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2011/03/18/14947/fbn-vc-20110317-varney_nuclear]
Fox's LaJeunesse: Nuclear Power "Cannot Be Replaced By Wind And Solar, Which Are Subject To The Weather." On Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent William LaJeunesse reported on how experts believe that in a "worst-case scenario," the Japanese nuclear crisis "could disable the [nuclear] industry for decades, creating a power shortage, driving up prices." He added: "You know, what's important about nuclear, like coal, it provides something called base-load power: It's reliable, it's constant, it's immediate and it cannot be replaced by wind and solar, which are subject to the weather." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/15/11] [http://mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2011/03/18/14946/fnc-ff-20110315-lajeunesse_nuclear]
Big Journalism Contributor Horner Calls Wind, Solar Energies "Stupid, Costly And Harmful." In a post on Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism website, Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote:
[T]here is also that long trail of aspirational comments, well beyond vowing to cause electricity prices to 'skyrocket', indicating this steady gas price hike is their objective, even if overseas developments are causing problems for them [helping the rise advance too quickly such that people pay attention, with these developments adding to the price hikes the admin have built in, with much more obviously undone but hopefully on the way]. As I detailed with many more admissions ten months ago in Power Grab.
Obviously, this is one of the items worrying Team Obama, along with their foreign policy fecklessness. And -- in lieu of gimmickry to redirect voters' gazes from policies that contribute to this, such as by releasing Strategic [NB: not 'Political'] Petroleum Reserve crude -- Obama cheerleaders (like Politico) note he could take the opportunity to push his "Clean Energy Standard".
That's one of the "other ways to skin the cat" after cap-and-trade failed legislatively. Of course, for one, that is an electricity standard, adding windmill and solar panel mandates that are superfluous to a GHG rationing scheme like EPA's backdoor cap-n-trade. Because we drive wind- and solar-powered cars. Or something.
But speaking of EPA's involvement in all of this, Speaker Boehner jabbed at it yesterday when co-incidentally rolling out the Republicans' energy arguments, "American Energy". This follows up Newt Gingrich's chosen talking point -- which of course draws no line to exclude stupid, costly and harmful 'American energy' like ethanol, windmills or solar panels, any more than that previous stab of "All of the Above". Sigh. Will someone please stand up and yell "Stop!"? [BigJournalism.com, 3/11/11] [http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fbiggovernment.com%2Fchorner%2F2011%2F03%2F11%2Fobamas-presser-and-gas-prices-which-time-were-the-left-lying%2F]
Wind, Solar Energies Continue To Grow At Record Pace -
Energy Information Administration: "Wind Power Has Been The Fastest-Growing Source Of New Electric Power Generation For Several Years." According to data from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA), "[w]ind power has been the fastest-growing source of new electric power generation for several years." The EIA further stated:
In 2009, generation from wind power increased 33.5 percent over 2008, bringing the share of total generation to 1.9 percent. This followed year-over-year generation gains of 60.7 percent in 2008, 29.6 percent in 2007, and 49.3 percent in 2006 (See the "Electric Power Annual" Table ES.1). Wind capacity in 2009 totaled 34,296 megawatts (MW), as compared to 24,651 MW in 2008. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011] [http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eia.doe.gov%2Fcneaf%2Fsolar.renewables%2Fpage%2Fwind%2Fwind.html]
The EIA also included the following graphic showing the ascent of wind generation versus capacity:
Solar Energy Industries Association: "2010 Was A Banner Year For The Solar Energy Market In The United States." In its "US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010" report, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that "2010 was a banner year for the solar energy market in the United States." SEIA continued:
In contrast to U.S. GDP growth of 2.8%, the U.S. solar market grew 67% in value in 2010. Not only did the market expand greatly, but it showed substantial diversity across market segments, geography, and technologies. Solar is growing quickly across the U.S. at the residential, commercial, and utility scale levels. It is powering and heating buildings in all fifty states, and using a variety of technologies to do so. The rapid growth and unique diversity has made the U.S. market a focus of global industry attention for the first time in many years. In 2010, the U.S. solar market grew to reach $6.0 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2009.
2011 will be a pivotal year for the U.S. PV market. While installations in the U.S. are likely to double the 2010 total, the global market will experience slower growth. As a result, much of the global PV industry is turning its eye toward the U.S. with great expectations. On the whole, the demand picture for the U.S. market appears strong. Project financing remains available at attractive terms for some projects, new markets are emerging and showing strength, and incumbent markets continue their rise. [Solar Energy Industries Association, "US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010," 3/10/11] [http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.seia.org%2Fgalleries%2Fpdf%2FSMI-YIR-2010-ES.pdf]
SEIA CEO: "This Remarkable  Growth Puts The Solar Industry's Goal Of Powering 2 Million Homes Annually By 2015 Within Reach." The day SEIA released its "Year-in-Review 2010" report, the organization's president and CEO, Rhone Resch, stated:
"This report shows that solar energy is now one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, creating new opportunities for both large and small businesses. Every day, Americans across the country are going to work at well-paying, stable jobs at solar companies, from small installers all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.
"This remarkable growth puts the solar industry's goal of powering 2 million homes annually by 2015 within reach. Achieving such amazing growth during the economic downturn shows that smart polices combined with American ingenuity adds up to a great return on investment for the public. The bottom line is that the solar energy industry is creating tens of thousands of new American jobs each year." [Solar Energy Industries Association, 3/10/11] [http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.seia.org%2Fcs%2Fnews_detail%3Fpressrelease.id%3D1292]
EIA: The U.S. Solar "Industry Hit A Record High In 2009." According to an EIA report released in January, "The U.S. photovoltaic (PV) industry hit a record high in 2009, shipping nearly 1.3 peak gigawatts of cells and modules. This represents a nearly 30-percent increase from 2008." The report further stated:
With overall shipments of 1,282,560 peak kilowatts of cells and modules in 2009, the PV industry saw increases in shipments from existing companies as well as new companies entering the PV market. The number of active PV manufacturers and/or importers that ship PV cells and modules increased 53 percent, from 66 companies in 2008 to 101 companies in 2009.
In addition, several manufacturers are planning to introduce new photovoltaic-related technical products in the next calendar year. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011] [http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eia.gov%2Fcneaf%2Fsolar.renewables%2Fpage%2Fsolarreport%2Fsolarpv.html]
Renewable Energy Research Shows Sector's Promising Future
Energy Department Study Concluded That Distribution Of Renewable Power Across Large Geographic Area Would "Mitigat[e] The Unpredictability Of Mother Nature." As The New York Times reported, a 2010 Department of Energy (DOE) study that focused on renewable power's "clearest drawback ... unreliability" concluded "that intermittency -- long considered a major shortcoming -- may have little impact on the potential for wind to power much of the electric grid in the western United States." The Times further reported:
The study, released in late May , found that the power grid for five western states -- Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming -- could operate on as much as 30 percent wind and 5 percent solar without the construction of extensive new infrastructure.
Wind power proponents have long faced skepticism that renewables could ever displace conventional power sources in a meaningful way, with critics asserting that large coal or nuclear plants would always need to stand ready to provide backup power whenever the wind ceased to blow or clouds blocked the sun.
The authors of the N.R.E.L. [National Renewable Energy Lab] study tackled this supposition head on and found it largely baseless. It concluded that in the West, the broad distribution of wind turbines and solar generation would essentially smooth out the supply of renewable power.
"When you coordinate the operations between utilities across a large geographic area, you decrease the effect of the variability of wind and solar energy sources, mitigating the unpredictability of Mother Nature," Dr. Lew said. [The New York Times, Green, 6/1/10] [http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fgreen.blogs.nytimes.com%2F2010%2F06%2F01%2Fa-sanguine-view-of-wind-power-out-west%2F]
[... continue reading the article by clicking the link at the top of this post ...]
The article continues with information about the growing investments and uses of renewable energy, including polls which show the MAJORITY of United States residents supporting the expansion of alternative energy sources.
So, why are Republican Party members against renewable energy? Fascism is the process where private wealth dictate public policy, and the Republican Party "works" for the oil and nuclear industry!