In Germany the country is setting records in its reliance on alternative energy sources like solar power and record wind power installations. Japan is now building the country’s biggest solar park which make it one of the world’s largest markets for solar power (Newscientist). Here in the United States, of course, we continue to let the world take the lead in such efforts. Mitt Romney’s campaign has announced that he intends not only to reject calls for greater investment in our wind power industry but to actually kill federal support for wind power.
Romney wants to end long-standing tax credits for wind farm projects. This would result in the death of the production tax credits (PTCs). Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign, says killing PTCs is merely creating “a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.” That would be good news for our oil and coal industries.
I understand (and generally agree with) the preference to rely on the market to favor the most efficient industries. However, our reliance on oil and coal has produced continuing environmental harm and oil imports fund some countries with extreme policies on civil liberties as well as terrorism ties. Our European allies have seen the value to investing heavily in these alternative and clean energy sources. Cost/benefit analysis is only as accurate as the underlying data. When the myriad of benefits are considered, these credits are highly efficient. Indeed, the ability to maximize our use of alternative and clean energy is both a public health and national security priority.
With the world rushing forward, we appear to be rushing back (lead by an army of lobbyists).