In 2010, Californians again elected paleo-liberal Governor Jerry Brown. This after Brown in his previous gubernatorial terms enacted laws to unionize government worker whose salary and benefit demands now shackle the state’s economy with chronic government deficits. Brown has also promoted other radical, job-killing environmental mandates such as for renewable energy and California’s unproven carbon cap-and-trade climate tax regulations that go into effect 2013.
Last week, Brown signed several more fanciful “green” bills. Some of these laws would subsidize solar panels with reduced residential building permit fees, others promote biofueled public power plants for “renewable” source credits, another would require U.S. military facilities and activities in California to adopt state renewable energy mandates.
Californians should learn from the perils of progressive-socialist energy policies that are causing chaos in the European Union (E.U.). Since the enviros pushed the E.U. adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, climate controls and renewable energy requirements have caused energy short falls, reversion to traditional fossil fuel power sources, and national economic security concerns.
Here are some today’s E.U. energy challenges reported by The Global Warming Policy Foundation , September 29, 2012:
• Greece is forced to support its electricity market operator with new taxes on renewable power producers and by extending emergency loans. The electricity system came close to collapse in June when its market operator was nearly bankrupted by subsidies it pays to green power producers promoting solar energy.
• Solar power slumps have Sharp Corp. ending production and sales of solar cells in the U.S. and Europe as part of a restructuring. Osaka-based Sharp plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs, or about 18 percent of its workforce, and is in talks to sell plants as it tries to return to profit.
• The amount of electricity produced from “green” energy sources in Scotland fell by almost half for a period earlier this year because it was not wet or windy enough. These data prompted concerns that Scotland could be left in the dark if the “wind isn’t blowing.”
• Switzerland will have to charge higher end-user power prices and resort to new natural gas-fired plants to fill the supply gap created by its planned nuclear phase-out prompted by Japan’s Fukushima accident. The average household electricity bill, estimated at 890 Swiss Francs ($950 U.S.) a year, was due to rise in line with higher costs for renewable energy and to cover the costs of investment in the grid. Fukushima also prompted a controversial nuclear phase-out in Germany.
• U.K. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has indicated that he expects natural gas — not renewables — to continue to play a major role in the U.K.’s energy mix for at least the next two decades, revealing 20 new gas-fired power plants are likely to built over the next few years.
Renewables — wind, solar and biofuels — have been the focus of the E.U. since 2005 under Kyoto Protocol regulations. Today, with E.U. long-term unemployment (11.3%) similar to the austere levels in California (10.6%), E.U. countries are dropping renewable energy targets, subsidies and investments as to costly. California Gov. Brown’s doubling down on renewables in signing more green-pandering California laws will further kill jobs and drive businesses out of the state. The E.U. is a compelling example of progressive green policies run amok.
Subscribe free to this Column by clicking the blue-highlighted +Subscribe line below author’s title.