Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar gave an interview to Westword yesterday where he said his renewable energy policy was "on steroids."
We couldn't have thought of a better metaphor for Barack Obama and Ken Salazar's New Energy Economy, writ national.
Steroids create artificial short-lived growth in muscle mass. But a well known side effects of steroids is pronounced shrinkage in other, uh, vital organs. According to www.drugfree.org:
"Side effects (of steroid use) specific to men can include testicular atrophy or the shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, and the development of breasts."
Nice going, Ken.
The trade off…big biceps in the short term, but shrunk down and shriveled out "parts" in the places it matters most…a perfect metaphor for the renewable energy industry if ever there was one!
In the case of Salazar's juiced-out New Energy Economy, the photo ops (like Mark McGuire's biceps) are big and bold, but the number of jobs and the amount of energy resulting from all this sound and fury is…how to say this…shriveled.
Looking at the last numbers produced by the Department of Energy on subsidies and power generation by the solar industry displays the, um, diminished capacity of the 'roided out renewable energy field. In 2008, with subsidies of almost $25 per megawatt hour the solar industry created a piddling 1 million megawatt hours of electricity. By comparison, the coal industry created 1,946 times as much electricity at a subsidy of only 44 cents per megawatt hour.
Even with all those government 'roids, "green" job creation has lagged behind the economy by a significant margin, with the liberal Brookings Institution, using a very wide definition of the "green" economy, finding only 3.4 percent growth since 2003, compared to the 4.2 percent growth of the economy as a whole.
Salazar's own braggadocio about a hulking commitment to a national renewable program revolved around the unveiling of a series of projects that couldn't even generate enough power to keep the lights on in the southern portion of Colorado. One coal or natural gas power plant would exceed in one EZ Swoop the amount of power created from all the national programs that Salazar wind-bagged about yesterday.
Even people who live in areas which Salazar wants to jack up with government steroids, like the San Luis Valley where an industrial solar project was proposed for a 20,000 acre plot on federal land, don't like it. Take it from an enviro testifying against the proposal:
"Not only will the lands on which these projects occur be affected, but they will mandate the construction of expensive new transmission lines not addressed in the PEIS, further unnecessarily degrading our open space.
And who will pay for these expensive boondoggles? The electric ratepayers."
Or how about another San Luis Valley resident who recognizes the shrunken capacity of this boondoggle to actually do anything for energy prices or jobs:
"And so, the way it's set up right now, all of the profits from our solar farms here, in the Valley, are going out of the Valley, back to New York or somewhere; that, there is not a dime of it here, other than the one-and-a-half employees that they have created.
So, if we're going to do this here in the Valley, we need to figure out some way that Valley people can benefit from this. It's not helping our energy costs one dime. My utilities keep going up, even though we have got solar farms here."
Ken Salazar's steroid celebration is the latest gaffe from the Administration's leading gaffe machine. For our part, we can't wait til Salazar, like the loins of Barry Bonds, just shrivels away.