Romina Boccia

Proponents of the Act argue that it would increase jobs in the green energy sector, which would help get the economy back on its feet. A study by the German Institute of Energy Research refutes that argument, showing that green energy job subsidies by far exceed average wages, at a per-worker cost of $240,000. This is a waste of resources. Those workers would be better off in more productive positions, which actually help the economy grow rather than in jobs that can exist only with massive government support.

Not surprisingly, the biggest winners from the legislation are wind and solar power industries which have been lobbying heavily to use the coercive power of the state to force U.S. businesses and consumers to buy their products. We've seen how this works in Germany, where the electricity market is largely deregulated and whose renewable energy consumption was at 16 percent in 2009. In Germany, it took a legislative Act in 2000, obliging electricity companies to buy renewable energy at a government set fixed rate, referred to as feed-in-tariff, to get to those levels. The Act has increased German consumers’ energy bills by close to 10 percent of which only 35 percent are reflected in energy bills and the rest is taken in taxes. The FAZ, a leading German newspaper, paints a glum picture, suggesting that there are no signs that renewable energy will get any cheaper in the foreseeable future.

Most U.S. states have already implemented renewable energy standards, often times in order to prop up green energy businesses in their state. California’s recent ballot decision on Prop 23 is a perfect example of the process that supports these mandates. Venture capitalists invested in green energy technology financed opposition to Prop 23, because a reduction in green energy subsidies and renewable energy standards would hurt their investments. Those in the green energy business won the day in California, and California consumers will be paying the price. The Senate's new legislation aims to force those 15 states that have so far resisted the push for higher-cost energy to jump on the bandwagon.

Americans know that the term cap-and-trade is synonymous with high energy prices. The term “renewable energy standards” isn't yet political poison, but it is the same kind of coercive government policy that would force American consumers and businesses to pay higher prices for energy and subsidize less efficient energy sources. Voters are bound to learn the truth, which is something for the new Congress to consider as the new campaign for 2012 gets underway.

Romina Boccia

Romina Boccia is a Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum.