President Obama's energy policies: gasoline prices are only the tip of the iceberg.

Via our good friend William Teach, we find this, from Politico:

(President )Carter ended up owning high gas prices in many voters’ eyes — a fate Obama no doubt wants to avoid.

“When the guy who’s at the top of the food chain here can’t fix the problem, you got a lot of people that are irritated,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee who criticized Obama for not doing enough to eliminate roadblocks to energy production. “This is one where if the public doesn’t feel like he’s responded on this issue, I think he wears it.”

That’s the conclusion of an article noting the similarities and differences between Presidents Carter and Obama in their responses to high energy prices. President Carter put on his cardigan, ordered the thermostats turned down in the White House and government buildings, and basically told Americans tat they’d have to live a poorer lifestyle. When 1980 Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan asked the voters the simple question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” it plugged right into President Carter’s “malaise” approach: no, we were not better off, and President Carter even told us we shouldn’t be.

President Obama is a better politician than President Carter was: he’s at least savvy enough not to don a sweater and tell Americans that they needed to live poorer. But if he isn’t telling us that, his actions say something different from his words. As Ed Morrissey noted on Leap Day, Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, when directly asked by Representative Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), “is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, Dr Chu responded:

No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy. We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.

Mr Morrissey continued:

The Heritage Foundation jumped all over Chu’s comments:

As shocking as his remarks are, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Chu has a long record of advocating for higher gas prices. In 2008, he stated, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Last March, he reiterated his point in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, noting that his focus is to ease the pain felt by his energy policies by forcing automakers to make more fuel-efficient automobiles. “What I’m doing since I became Secretary of Energy has been quite clear. What I have been doing is developing methods to take the pain out of high gas prices.

As opposed, of course, to trying to lower energy prices.1

Let me be very blunt about this: President Obama and his Administration don’t want you to pay less for energy;2 they want you to pay more, and have said so very directly.

Dr Chu wants us to drive less, and to drive more electric cars; the Obama Administration has been giving all sorts of subsidies and loan guarantees to companies which produce electricity from solar energy — companies which are failing, as it turns out — but as the President and his Secretary of Energy push electric cars on the American people, it should be remembered that President Obama also wants to increase the price of electricity!

And President Obama seems intent on keeping that promise. From Mr Morrissey again, in an article today:

Five PA coal-fueled power plants to close due to Obama administration regulation

posted at 3:05 pm on March 1, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

We get on President Obama’s case for neglecting to keep his campaign promises, so it’s only fair to note when he fulfills them.  In January 2008, Obama promised to bankrupt coal-fired power plants with his new environmental regulations.  Consider this a promise kept:

GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close five of its older coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania over the next four years.

The company, based in Houston, said Wednesday that tough new environmental rules make it unprofitable to operate the plants, which generate a total of 3,140 megawatts of electricity. The plants are in Portland, Shawville, Titus, New Castle and Elrama. Two plants in Ohio and one in New Jersey will also be closed. The company said the timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions.

The Sierra Club cheered the announcement, of course, claiming it will prevent 179 premature deaths a year.  The Sierra Club is located in San Francisco, California, of course, and not in Pennsylvania, which will have to find some way to replace the production of 3140 megawatts of electricity each year.  The lack of production will make electricity even more expensive in the Rust Belt state where unemployment is 7.7% (about midrange for the US) and rising fuel prices will hammer the middle class already.

As the Obama administration continues its aggressive push to get more electric vehicles on the road — a goal of 1.5 million by 2015, when these plants are going to be shutting down — how exactly do they plan to generate enough electricity to meet current demand, let alone the increased demand as a million or more people plug their cars into the grid?

Well, it’s simple! President Obama wants us to go solar. How well is that working out? Here are the solar makers that shuttered or closed factories in 2011:

Company Action Date
BP Solar Announces it’s shutting down December 2011
Energy Conversion Devices Announces temporary suspension of all factories November 2011
Evergreen Solar Declares bankruptcy August 2011
MEMC Electronic Materials Idles one factory December 2011
REC Cuts silicon wafer production in Norway January 2012
Satcon Technology Closes inverter factory in Canada January 2012
Schott Solar Closes cell factory in Germany December 2011
Solar Millennium Files for insolvency December 2011
Solland Solar Exits cell production January 2012
Solon Shuts down U.S. factory. Declared insolvency. December 2011
SolarWorld Shuts U.S. factory September 2011
Solyndra Declares bankruptcy August 2011
SpectraWatt Firesale for $4.9 million
Stirling Energy Systems Declares bankruptcy September 2011

This President and this Administration really do believe that we have to live poorer. They want to push to the end of coal-fired electric power plants, but coal-fired power plants produce half of our total electricity, and the United States has the largest reserves of coal in the world, “capable of meeting domestic demand for more than 250 years at current rates of consumption.” And the energy reserve we have in greatest abundance is the energy reserve President Obama wants to simply throw away!

I’ve noted this before: I like Star Trek as much as anyone,3 and I’d absolutely love it if we had a cheap, abundant and completely clean source of energy like is depicted in those several television series, but I still recognize that Star Trek is fiction. It doesn’t exist now, and won’t exist anywhere in the foreseeable future. Perhaps some day it will, but all of us will be long dead by the time it happens. And we need energy between now and whenever/ if ever that future arrives.

The current spike in gasoline prices gets the most attention, but this President and this Administration has a totally cockamamie energy policy:

  • The Administration wants more solar power production, and has pushed money toward solar power panel producers, who still can’t make it because the Chinese pay their solar panel manufacturing employees in one week what our solar company employees make in an hour;
  • The Administration wants more electric cars on the road, and is subsidizing them to the tune of $7,500 per unit, and wants to increase that to $10,000; but
  • The Administration doesn’t like dirty coal-fired power plants and is pursuing policies to make the source of half of our electric production much more expensive, and eventually drive them out of business completely.

The change for which I hope? A change toward realism, a change toward realizing that we live in this world, today, and we have needs which have to be met today.

  1. Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters noted that none of the three major networks has publicized Dr Chu’s remark that the Administration’s overall goal is not to get gasoline prices down.
  2. It’s quite possible that the President would like to see you pay less for energy right up until November 6, 2012, but after that, no.
  3. But no, I’ve never attended a Star Trek convention, period, much less dressed up like a Klingon warrior.

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