Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Speaking at the Bloomberg Energy Finance Summit, US Secretary of State John Kerry thinks new breakthroughs are required to bring the renewable revolution “to the finish line”. My question – if the technology is not yet fit for purpose, by Kerry’s own admission, why is the Obama administration wasting so much US taxpayer’s money, funding production scale renewable projects which won’t deliver value?
… I think it’s fair to say that here in the United States, President Obama is leading as no other president has yet dared to do. His Administration put in place fuel standards that empowered automakers to invest in more efficient automobiles. We’ve finalized rules that limit the amount of carbon pollution coming from new and existing power plants, making investment in harmful energy far less attractive than investment in cleaner alternatives. And this past winter, in a hard-fought win, Congress did pass a five-year extension of the production and investment tax credits for solar and wind installations, in order to make it easier to get new clean energy projects up and running. And they did that with bipartisan support, both sides of the aisle recognizing that leaving aside their differences and their fight over the evidence, investing in clean energy just makes good business sense.
Now, since President Obama took office, wind and solar power have grown by more than 200 percent. Costs for these technologies continue to plummet and today more than four times as many Americans are employed by renewable energy companies than by the fossil fuel industry.
Let me be clear. Government can provide the structure, the incentives, the framework. But I know – and so do you – that it’s the private sector that will ultimately take us to the finish line. And it will be the private sector – innovation, entrepreneurial activity, maybe something we haven’t discovered yet – the breakthrough on battery storage, a breakthrough on a clean fuel burn – I don’t know what it is, but I trust in the ingenuity and the capacity of the American people and of our allocation of capital and our capacity to make this work.
Solving climate change will require perhaps the largest public-private partnership the world has ever attempted. At its core, the Paris agreement that President Obama and I – and so many of you here, and Mike and others worked for – is about ensuring public-private energy collaboration in every part of the world, for generations to come. Together, what we did was create a framework – based on ambitious, individually determined emissions-reduction targets – that is designed to become even more ambitious as time goes on and energy technology evolves. And the legally binding component of that agreement is the part that requires the review and the technology updating as we go along. …
The people in Kerry’s audience know that renewables don’t work. Even the legendary engineers at Google Corporation tried and failed to make renewable technology viable.
But now we know the US government is also aware, that current generation renewables are not up to the job.
Even if you believe renewables are the future, surely it makes more sense to spend money on research, rather than wasting vast sums building production scale systems which don’t work. If the billions of dollars currently being wasted on unviable renewable projects was diverted to research, there might actually be some useful breakthroughs.
Funding production scale projects which everyone knows will fail is just a colossal waste of taxpayer’s money.