The Answer Really Isn't Blowing in the Wind

By: sebastianjer , 11:56 AM GMT on April 18, 2012

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The Answer Really Isn't Blowing in the Wind

By William Sullivan

Ninety billion is a rather large number. To get a gauge of just how large, consider that 90 billion minutes ago equates to roughly 171,090 years, the moment in history when scientists believe our ancestors began preening their bodies of lice.

Three hundred thousand kilometers per second is the speed of light. We all know that's pretty fast. Well, 90 billion kilometers per second is the speed of light-squared.

And the vast, seemingly infinite yonder of the entire universe, some scientists postulate, is 90 billion light-years across.

In the natural world, 90 billion goes a long way. But as we've discovered, a $90-billion investment to subsidize renewable energy sources in the natural world does surprisingly little. This amount, allocated in 2009's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to subsidize green energy initiatives, has thus far yielded today's bustling "renewable-energy sector" that employs roughly 140,000 Americans. And even that dismal figure is wildly inflated. Consider that according to Hans Bader of the Examiner, "most of America's existing green jobs predate the Obama administration, which did not create them."

That is not to say that this investment our politicians made on your behalf did not have positive results -- it just didn't have positive results for you. In the first year of this green stimulus, an estimated 79% went to foreign nations; among the larger of these payments went to Babcock & Brown, an Australian company that went bankrupt just two months after the passage of the stimulus bill. Couple this fact with notorious domestic failures like Solyndra and Beacon Power Corp., and the obvious conclusion is that this administration's green energy initiative has been a spectacular failure to this point.

But in no other floundering green energy sub-sector is that failure so strikingly apparent as in wind energy. According to Andy Sullivan of Reuters, the wind industry has actually "shed 10,000 jobs since 2009 even as the energy capacity of wind farms has doubled." Andy then takes the liberty of giving us context for those results by reminding us that meanwhile, "the oil and gas industry has added 75,000 jobs since Obama took office." And one can only imagine how much larger that figure could be if the president had not cauterized job growth in that time frame with a senseless drilling moratorium to appease environmentalists.

To punish their success, the Obama administration is now seeking to hamstring the oil and gas industry further with a bevy of new taxes. The clearly impotent wind industry, on the other hand, may enjoy continued subsidization to the tune of $3.5 billion per year.

Of this prospect, Louis Woodhill of Forbes has a different suggestion for Congress. "First, we end the subsidies" to the wind industry, he says. He continues:

This will stop new turbines from being built, and, over time, cause all of the existing ones to shut down. Second, we allow the free market to replace the electricity obtained by wind energy with power produced by burning cheap natural gas. Third, we hire 17,500 unemployed veterans at $100,000/year each, and put them to work as snipers to kill the 400,000 birds (including 70 golden eagles) that are now hacked to death by wind turbines each year. Voila, the same results as wind power, and a savings of $1.75 billion/year for the taxpayers.


Clearly, the devotion to wind power is not due to the fact that it's a lucrative investment. It's a Western fallacy that is the fiscal equivalent of selling your home to buy a much less efficient one for twice the price. And beyond being economically wasteful, global events have proven this fallacy to actually be deadly.

In The Independent, Kevin Myers relates that on a weekend in late January, widespread blizzards hammered Europe. During this time, the Russian natural gas company, Gazprom, was unable to meet the demand, and 300 people died in the conditions. He asks, "Did anyone even think of deploying our [Europe's] wind turbines to make good the energy shortfall from Russia?"

"Of course not," he says. "We all know that windmills are a self-indulgent and sanctimonious luxury whose purpose is to make us feel good. Had Europe genuinely depended on green energy on Friday, by Sunday thousands would be dead from frostbite and exposure."

Europeans, like American environmentalists, have an affinity for anything green. But that warm and fuzzy feeling that they get when they think about the good that wind turbines do for the planet will not keep them warm and "alive" when natural disasters strike and reliable electricity is the difference between life and death. Wind, he says, is "not so much a Renewable as it is an Unusable, and also an Unpredictable, an Unstorable, and - normally when it is very cold - an Unmovable."

In frigid temperatures, wind typically does not blow, meaning turbines do not generate power in such conditions. Even when wind is generating power, there is a need to plan for the risk of those times it does not, meaning that you will still have to create "a parallel and duplicate energy supply to provide cover for when the wind stops." So the only way to possibly view wind power as a reliable energy source is to have another, more reliable power source readily available with a greater potential for delivery. And that should immediately raise the question as to why unreliable wind power is expected to be relied upon at all.

Europe's devotion to the doctrine of environmentalism has compromised its energy independence -- much like American devotion to environmentalism has compromised America's energy independence through environmentally justified sanctions on domestic drilling. "To play such games with our energy systems to satisfy the whimsical gods of climate change," Myers offers, "is as intelligent and unscientific as the Aztec sacrifice of the young."

And he is right. Thankfully, we in America have not become so devout in our efforts to appease the gods of climate change, and legislatively, we are in an earlier stage of transition to these inefficient and costly "renewable" systems. We can only hope that the winds of change are blowing in 2012, and with them we can put an end to the crippling subsidization of "renewable" systems like wind power -- until such time that free-market innovations dictate that they can be a viable addition to our energy infrastructure.

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12. nykid84
12:44 PM GMT on April 20, 2012
If they arrest leaders based on flimsy charges of inciting racial violence, then I believe you're going to see some real fireworks reminiscent of Watts in '65 and LA in '92.
Member Since: August 26, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
11. seflagamma
12:56 PM GMT on April 19, 2012
Good morning Jer,

Hi everyone,

very interesting reads here today...food for thought..

thanks!

Patti
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 301 Comments: 40944
10. sebastianjer
11:19 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
Quoting mobal:
A few thoughts on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin controversy:

Why is my local news concerned, we have enough of our own issues to take care of.

Why is the national news telling me about it, I really dont care

I wasnt there, I have no idea what really happened, that is what juries are for.



Tom

The problem is that this case should never have reached a jury, the reason it did is that it made national news when it should not have and that is why it is on your local news.

The fact that it is a national story and on your and my local news is because the news is not the news anymore and truth is less important than ideological narratives that put those who promote them in positions of power. That is why we should all care, the fact that we have not for so long is why we find ourselves watching such stupidity on our local news instead of what is truly important. IMHO

Jer
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
9. Ossqss
2:58 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
I am doing my best to stay on topic.....


Wind resistance
MIT analysis suggests generating electricity from large-scale wind farms could influence climate — and not necessarily in the desired way.


The paper for those who wish to actually read the item.

http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/2053/2010/acp-1 0-2053-2010.html

Interesting none the less.

How do you like the looks of this type of proposed energy replacement?

Look at all those trees and protected species flying in that picture. Beautiful, no?



Solar is better, no?



Ya gotta like Californication, no?

The ugly battle between rural residents and alternative energy mandates in California

Math?

Why mitigating CO2 emissions is cost-ineffective

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
8. latitude25
1:48 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
#6....mobilize the base

God only knows what would happen if we elect another white guy.............or hispanic
Member Since: August 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3654
6. mobal
1:16 AM GMT on April 19, 2012
A few thoughts on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin controversy:

Why is my local news concerned, we have enough of our own issues to take care of.

Why is the national news telling me about it, I really dont care

I wasnt there, I have no idea what really happened, that is what juries are for.

Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 482 Comments: 5333
5. theshepherd
7:51 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
"And Bondi needs to announce that if Sharpton or anyone else does incite racial violence, the agitators will be arrested and prosecuted under state laws."

*************************************************

That may be inferred, but she'll never include Sharpton's name.

Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10147
4. theshepherd
7:46 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
3. sebastianjer 8:52 AM EDT on April 18, 2012 +0
Walking Papers? The Incredibly Thin, Speculative Zimmerman Affidavit

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Not convinced she'll loose her job over this.

But, some friends and I did find the early dismissal of the Grand Jury as "a quandary" as I've stated before.

Suggests maybe things weren't looking good for a filing of information "as determined by the Grand Jury".

Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10147
3. sebastianjer
12:52 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
Walking Papers? The Incredibly Thin, Speculative Zimmerman Affidavit

Angela Corey's filing against George Zimmerman bears the hallmarks of a career-ender.



read here
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
2. sebastianjer
12:45 PM GMT on April 18, 2012


Stand Your Ground, America

By Peter Ferrara

A sober look at the case against George Zimmerman.

How do you stand your ground if you are lying on your back getting pummeled in the face?

That one question alone shows that Stand Your Ground laws are not at issue in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin controversy. But the tragic death of young Trayvon is only seen by those on the left as a valuable media opportunity to further exploit the millions of gullible Americans to advance the left's political interests and agenda. Indeed, we have some people in positions of influence, both leading politicians and figures in the major media, who see their interest as exploiting the death to incite race unrest across America.

There is only one solution to this budding insurrection. Enforce the damn law!! That applies most directly in Florida now, where conservatives are in power, and they have to start acting like it.

The Perfect Resolution for Zimmerman
Enforcing the damn law is exactly what is happening now in the Zimmerman case, and it's the perfect resolution for all concerned.

This case needs to be resolved by a jury, and can only be resolved by a jury, which is the only way to satisfy the public interest in this matter. There are too many people in America today who will not listen to the evidence, and will follow only their own racial prejudice.

But the evidence needs to be laid out in a court of law, and resolved by a jury of Zimmerman's peers. That is the only way to satisfy the fair minded that justice has been done. I will discuss those who are not fair-minded below.

Despite what I say about the evidence below, this is not too much of a burden for Zimmerman. Even staunch advocates of gun rights and self-defense need to recognize that if someone is shot and killed even in self-defense, the ensuing investigation is not going to be easy for the shooter, in any event. Indeed, it should not be. Moreover, a jury trial gives Zimmerman the opportunity he needs to clear his name.

But based on what the established evidence on the public record indisputably shows, Zimmerman is going to be easily found innocent of the charges. That is more than well proven by eyewitness testimony and the physical evidence, despite what those who think they will benefit politically or socially from race turmoil want to believe.

Zimmerman himself is from a ethnically mixed family. He has a history of positive relations with African-Americans, even voluntarily tutoring black children at his own expense. He also has a distinguished history as a neighborhood watch captain, providing evidence leading to the capture, arrest, and conviction of criminals before.

On the night of the shooting, Zimmerman going to the store himself observed a black youth, 6 foot plus, high school football player walking alone in the rain and looking around, possibly for opportunity, in a gated community that had been robbed many times before. Zimmerman knew the community's residents, and correctly identified the youth Trayvon Martin as not one of those residents.

Zimmerman properly called 911 to report a suspicious person in the neighborhood. When Zimmerman indicated he was following the youth, the operator told him, "You don't need to do that." Zimmerman was not legally obligated to obey that suggestion. There is nothing illegal about following what you think is a suspicious person in your neighborhood. Based on these facts, this is not even a case of racial profiling.

But Zimmerman obeyed the suggestion anyway. The taped conversation with the operator showed he left the trail to go find an address so a cop could come by and pick up the investigation. While Zimmerman was walking back to his car after reporting the address to the 911 operator, as he later told police, Trayvon Martin came up behind Zimmerman and asked Zimmerman if he had a problem with him. Zimmerman whirled to say "No." Martin replied, "You do now," and proceeded to punch him in the nose, breaking the nose and knocking him down.

Martin then jumped on top of Zimmerman, grabbing his head and repeatedly slamming it into the ground. Zimmerman is recorded on a 911 call repeatedly screaming "help!"

Zimmerman was licensed with a conceal and carry permit to carry a handgun, which he had with him that night inside his waistbelt. One news report stated that Martin saw the gun and said, "Now you're dead," going for the weapon. But Zimmerman got there first, using it to shoot Martin in the chest once, killing him.

These facts are corroborated by the physical evidence as well as eyewitness testimony, medical and police records, and taped recordings, including Zimmerman's own uncontradicted testimony, which is part of the record. The police report recorded the broken nose and head injuries, which are apparent in a video tape of Zimmerman at the police station thereafter. The police report also records grass and grass stains on the back of Zimmerman's shirt. The coroner's report stated that the gunshot was at close range.

Regardless of the facts, we can say that it was a tragedy that the young Trayvon Williams died in any event. But the boy was not well served by a national social culture that led the cute kid we see in the photos celebrated in the national media to identify with gangsta culture as he matured into his later teens, which is also confirmed by photographic evidence.

We will see the full evidence at trial, but I don't know of any evidence that even contradicts the above statement of the facts. And if these are the facts, then what Zimmerman did was fully justified under the law of self-defense to save his life. That does not involve any stand your ground defense. As noted at the outset, Zimmerman at the time of the shooting was flat on his back struggling for his life, not standing his ground. So stand your ground is not even an issue in this case. What is involved is just standard, common law, self-defense.

Moreover, the legal standard for conviction is beyond a reasonable doubt. There is just no way that standard can be met with all of the evidence supporting the above facts. In addition, note that for a conviction the jury must be unanimous. It takes just one juror to insist that the evidence does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for the defendant to go free. You can't stuff the jury box with votes from illegal aliens to win.

I predict the prosecutor will argue that in following Martin, Zimmerman lost his right to self-defense. Under the law, an attacker cannot claim the right to self-defense for what ensues thereafter. But a neighborhood watch patrol captain following a suspicious person in the neighborhood whom he reports to the police has not committed an attack that forfeits his right to self-defense under the law. That would amount to saying that when Zimmerman was attacked by Martin he had a duty to die. That is the position of Al Sharpton and Joy Reid, and the Washington Post and the New York Times. But that is not the law. Such a ruling would effectively hold that every neighborhood watch volunteer in America loses his or her right of self-defense just by monitoring the neighborhood.

Zimmerman has worthy defense counsel. They need to ensure that the case is decided by a multi-racial jury with each member of the highest intelligence possible. If the prosecutor tries to eliminate all Hispanics (Zimmerman's mother is South American) from the jury, such a discriminatory practice has already been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The judge will instruct the jury that they must unanimously find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict, and on the legal standard for self-defense.

The Justice of Stand Your Ground
Over a century before the NRA began promoting Stand Your Ground laws in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court held in 1895 in Beard v. U.S. that an innocent person under attack was "not obliged to retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground, and meet any attack upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force as… [he] honestly believed, and had reasonable grounds to believe, was necessary to save his own life, or to protect himself from great bodily injury."

Stand Your Ground laws only became necessary when states began to adopt laws, through either the legislature or the courts, imposing a duty to retreat whenever possible on victims of violent attacks in public. At least one state, Massachusetts, even adopted that duty to flee when attacked in your own home, which is the rule in England.

The point of Stand Your Ground laws is to eliminate the duty to retreat when you are attacked in public. That has now been adopted as the law in half the states. Almost every state I believe has adopted the Castle Doctrine, which says you do not have the duty to retreat from your own home when attacked there.

The duty to retreat would not apply to the Zimmerman case in any state, however, because the duty only applies when it is possible to retreat. For Zimmerman lying on his back with a 6 foot 3 high school football player sitting on top of him slamming his head into the sidewalk, there was no possibility of retreat. So Zimmerman would qualify for self-defense under the laws of every state, even Massachusetts.

Stand Your Ground laws only involve the simple logic of justice. The attacker does not have the legal or moral right to attack the victim. The victim has the moral and should have the legal right to remain where he is if he wants to do so. But the duty to retreat says the violent attacker has the legal authority to impose a legal obligation on the victim to flee the scene. That is not moral or just.

Liberals argue that if victims will just flee when possible then that will reduce deaths or injuries to violent attackers. But the violent attackers can eliminate any possibility of their injury or death from such incidents by simply choosing to stop attacking innocent victims.

Moreover, economist John Lott, an expert in applying regression analysis to use of guns and violent crime, rightly argues that the most important issue is, "Did the [Stand Your Ground] laws increase total deaths? More criminals might be killed in justifiable self-defense, but if the number of innocent lives lost falls by more than the deaths of criminals rises, is that really a bad thing?" The answer to that question is not only no, but Hell No!

Lott reports that the latest edition of his book, More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2010), includes the only published, refereed academic study of Stand Your Ground laws, which "found that states adopting Stand Your Ground/Castle doctrine laws reduced murder rates by 9 percent and overall violent crimes by 11 percent. That implies an annual drop in murders that is about 10 times more than the entire measured increase in civilian justifiable homicides from 2000 to 2010 -- and it isn't even clear that there was an actual increase."

Lott argues the supposed increase in civilian justifiable homicides since 2000 is due to increased reporting of that statistic from states and jurisdictions within states, not because of an actual increase. He notes as well that between 2000 and 2010 the much more numerous justifiable homicides by police increased by 25 percent, and that statistic does not suffer from any change in reporting practices during that time.

Lott further explains why the Duty to Retreat imposes an unreasonable burden on victims, saying, "There have been many cases where victims have been chased and knocked down a couple of times before firing in self-defense, but prosecutors thought that the victim still could have done more to retreat before firing their gun." He adds, "forcing victims to take time to retreat puts their lives in jeopardy," which is supported by the above statistics showing that replacing Duty to Retreat with Stand Your Ground actually reduces overall deaths sharply.

Enforce the Damn Law
Florida is governed by top notch conservatives, such as Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has tremendous future political potential, and Tea Party Governor Rick Scott. They are the ones with the clear duty now, to enforce the law and maintain public order.

What is on the horizon is that race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panther Party will attempt to intimidate judge and jury by agitating mob violence. Even more obvious is the threat of extreme mob violence when the jury acquits Zimmerman.

What Bondi or Scott or both need to do is to hold a press conference and announce that the public order will be maintained and mob violence will not be tolerated. They may think they are in a tough spot now, but their political futures will be obliterated if they stand by while Sharpton, who has incited mobs to kill before, and/or Jackson or the New Black Panther Party incite racial riots that result in the death of innocents.

Scott needs to announce that the integrity of the legal and jury process, and public order, will be enforced by the National Guard if necessary, which will be armed and on high alert until after the jury trial is completed. And Bondi needs to announce that if Sharpton or anyone else does incite racial violence, the agitators will be arrested and prosecuted under state laws.
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
1. sebastianjer
12:27 PM GMT on April 18, 2012


A Dark Day for Solar Power

By Ross Kaminsky

"Renewable" energy subsidies have become an unaffordable feel-good luxury.

First Solar Corporation was indeed first at something: It was the first solar company to lose more than $15 billion of market value. FSLR's stock plummeted from $140 per share a year ago, and $170 a few weeks before that, to under $21 per share early this week before rebounding modestly on Tuesday. In fact, $15 billion substantially understates the peak-to-trough drop in the company's value, as the stock traded above $250 per share for most of 2008, briefly peaking over $300. As of Tuesday, the company's value was just under $2 billion; at its all-time high stock price, that number was over $25 billion.

In a press release on Tuesday morning, the company announced that a massive decline in its business, especially its European business, will cause it to record about $300 million in restructuring charges while firing 2,000 employees, about 30 percent of its total work force. This is due primarily to Germany's recently cutting its solar subsidies, following a similar move in Spain.

According to the company's Chairman, Mike Ahearn: "After a thorough analysis, it is clear the European market has deteriorated to the extent that our operations there are no longer economically sustainable, and maintaining those operations is not in the best long-term interest of our stakeholders."

Further: "The solar market has fundamentally changed, and we are quickly adapting our market approach and operations to maintain and build upon our competitive advantage," said Ahearn. "After a period of robust growth, First Solar is scaled to operate at higher volumes than currently exist following the reduction of subsidies in key legacy markets. As a result, it is essential that we reduce production and decrease expenses to reflect the smaller volume of high-probability demand we forecast."

As usual, one has to wonder about certain stock analysts, with one firm reiterating a buy (how much has that cost the firm's clients so far?) and Goldman Sachs cutting from buy to hold (in a business where "better late than never" is not a wise approach). Amusingly, the Goldman analyst's cut preceded the stock's biggest percentage gain in months, as "short covering" and a sigh of relief that the company is at least recognizing that its business is a shadow of its former self brought buyers into the game. (Fully one third of the company's "float," the number of shares issued and available to trade, has been sold short, representing bets on the stock price falling.)

As worldwide government balance sheets have worsened in recent years, "renewable" energy subsidies became an unaffordable feel-good luxury. Particularly in the U.S., with our massive natural gas supplies, it is unlikely that solar power could ever be a competitive electricity source in terms of cost per kilowatt-hour without even larger subsidies than we have already seen -- and which are not likely to be tolerated by voters in this time of Solyndra and trillion dollar deficits.

There are physical limits to improvements in solar technology so that Moore's Law, which has described improvements in computer technology (or more specifically transistor density) over recent decades, does not apply despite the use of silicon in both. Gains in solar efficiency, both in how well panels work and how much it costs to make them, are limited by laws of physics, at least with all current solar technology. In other words, most of the gains in the price of solar electricity generation have already been achieved, and the industry still cannot compete without subsidies.

Most Americans probably know that "renewable" energy sources receive handouts of taxpayer money. These are true subsidies, not the common tax deductions used by oil companies, along with many other companies, which the left terms "subsidies." But do we understand the scale of these numbers and how fast they have been growing?

According to the Institute for Energy Research, subsidies for renewable energy (related to electricity generation) jumped 186 percent during the three year period from FY 2007 to FY 2010. Wind was the dollar leader in terms of picking taxpayers' pockets, going from $476 million in 2007 to $5 billion in 2010, making it the largest energy subsidy recipient. (Nuclear power came in second, at half the level of wind, and coal came in third, at less than one quarter the level of wind.) Solar, in fourth place in absolute dollar subsidies, made a very large percentage jump as well, going from $179 million to $1.1 billion over that same time frame.

The above data only include federal subsidies, however. Solar power receives state and local subsidies, including from utilities which pass those costs along to ratepayers, far more than other sources of power. In fact, there is a whole database of "State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency," where you can find your particular state's waste of money on the solar swindle.

What really demands examination, however, is the subsidy per amount of electricity produced, and by that measure solar is the undisputed champion. Consider the top four recipients of subsidy dollars: wind, nuclear, coal, and solar: Coal's subsidy equates to 64 cents per megawatt hour and nuclear comes in at just over $3. Wind subsidies cost a shocking $56 per megawatt hour. But even that is a tremendous bargain when compared to solar which -- and again this is only the federal subsidies -- costs taxpayers $775 per megawatt hour. (What wind lacks in apparent costs, it makes up for in slaughter of birds, showing the true hypocrisy of so-called "environmentalists.")

A 2010 study by the Commonwealth Foundation of electricity costs in Pennsylvania showed that in 2009, electricity generated by wind cost 150 percent of the average electricity cost in the state while solar-generated electricity cost an incredible 706 percent of the average. Furthermore, while natural gas and oil prices declined from the prior two years, solar and wind power costs jumped 65 percent and 92 percent, respectively.

Another IER analysis determined that states which require a certain percentage of their electricity production to come from renewable sources have electricity prices "nearly 40 percent higher than states that do not have similar mandates."

Natural gas is more difficult to export than oil or coal because it has to be compressed or liquefied before it is shipped. But at a 13-year low price of $2 per million BTUs, the cost is so low that more international trade in natural gas will become economical, putting even more pressure on solar and wind power and highlighting the absurdity of subsidies, even without travesties like Solyndra.

Highlighting this near-revolution in energy markets, Cheniere Energy announced on Tuesday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved its Sabine Pass liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal in Louisiana, making it the nation's first approved large exporter of natural gas. Two other companies, Sempra Energy and Energy Transfer Equity, also aim to build export facilities in Louisiana. Sempra announced on Tuesday that it will spend $6 billion on its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, which will be able to export 1.7 billion cubic feet of LNG per day beginning in late 2016.

Tuesday was a dark day for solar power, though a day that was obviously on the horizon. At least it would have been obvious to anyone willing to admit that solar (and wind) has only gotten as far as it has due to massive subsidies implemented by government members of the Cult of Global Warming, also known as the Algore Enrichment Society.

Unsurprisingly, some of the most committed, unquestioning (two of the several traits of cult members) followers of the Cult such as the Sierra Club -- a group with enough political clout, along with its co-religionists, to convince Barack Obama to block the Keystone XL pipeline -- are already opposing LNG exports. (According to energy author Robert Bryce, the amount of energy that the pipeline would transport in any given time frame would exceed the total energy produced by all solar panels and all wind turbines in America, combined. So much for an "all of the above" energy strategy.)

Like Energy Secretary Steven "I don't drive a car" Chu, these are people for whom adherence to the Cult trumps the ability of ordinary Americans to affordably cook their food, turn on their lights, or heat their homes. This comes from the top, of course, as Barack Obama has made no secret of his desire to make electricity prices "necessarily skyrocket." If that is your goal, requiring solar power to be an important part of the national energy mix is a great start.

Staying in the realm of economic know-nothings, House Resources Committee Ranking Member Edward Markey (D-MA), with unfortunate moral support from T. Boone Pickens, says that we should not export natural gas because it might increase prices here. They ignore that foreign substitution of natural gas to replace oil or coal for electricity generation will lower the prices of those other commodities, as well as lower the atmospheric carbon dioxide (aka "plant food") concentrations that seem to concern them so greatly. They also ignore that even if natural gas prices doubled from here, it would still be a cheap form of energy, especially compared to the cult objects of solar panels and "bird blender" wind turbines.

First Solar's troubles remind us of Herbert (father of AmSpec's own Ben) Stein's wisdom that "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." When it comes to subsidizing renewable energy, we are now witnessing the realization -- including remarkably by European governments -- that the subsidy insanity cannot go on forever.
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