The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Using Taxpayers’ Dollars to Convince Them What They Need

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The South Carolina Energy Office has been awarded $109,000 by the federal government to help generate market acceptance for offshore wind energy development in South Carolina and Georgia.

The SC Energy Office will collaborate with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, utilities and other in-state partners, according to a press release.

“The project will focus specifically on an outreach effort educating the public on wind energy potential. It will also provide technical assistance on wind policy options, aid economic development efforts and encourage collaboration between state and regional partners, utilities and trade associations,” according to the release.

“State and federal officials believe that a concerted, multi-faceted effort from various statewide stakeholders will be necessary to obtain public support for offshore wind energy development along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia,” it added.

One has to be just a little wary when government officials admit “a concerted, multi-faceted effort from various statewide stakeholders will be necessary to obtain public support” for any program.

Wind, of course, is among a handful of panaceas being touted by the government as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, there are a few facts that wind proponents are downplaying:

  • According to The Chicago Tribune, wind currently produces only about 1 percent of the United States’ electricity today, so it would take an immense uptick in development to make any sort of significant impact in terms of helping meet our nation’s energy needs;
  • Offshore wind turbines aren’t cheap. Their foundations are much more costly than those built on land and must be designed to handle both wind forces and wave forces. In addition, there’s a need for undersea cabling, integration, etc. In Europe, countries pay significantly more for power from offshore wind than onshore; and
  • There are also issues related to the environment, shipping, fishing, coastal scenery and even seabed ownership to be considered.

The bottom line is this: Despite the multi-billion dollar expenditure of taxpayer funds by government and the “renewable energy” industry during the past 35-plus years, the results have proven disastrous in economic terms, according to The Virginia Land Rights Coalition.

“The Department of Energy and other federal and state agencies have spent over $40 billion on ‘energy research and development’ and subsidies, not including private R&D costs, yet virtually nothing has been ‘developed’ that is technologically, economically or environmentally sound,” according to a report by the organization.

But hope springs eternal in the Palmetto State, apparently.

“Development of renewable energy is not only important for South Carolina’s environment, it could also lead to a new offshore wind economy that creates jobs and enhances South Carolina’s renewable energy infrastructure,” SC Energy Office Director John Clark said in the release.

Yes, potentially, it could. Or it could simply end up being a wasteful expenditure of tax dollars, like hydrogen and ethanol have largely been over the years.

As with any of these energy-related proposals, if they have economic merit, government assistance would be unnecessary and investors would willingly pour money into them and profits would be made. But if there’s no economic merit, no amount of subsidy is likely to provide it.


Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

June 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

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