Taxpayers Will Lose the Battle of the Energy Cronies
Senate Democrats are on a green energy blitz, reports Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller:
Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Mark Udall of Colorado introduced a bill last week that would require that 25 percent of the country’s power come from renewable energy sources by 2025.
Another bill introduced by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey would require the country to get 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025. Like the Udall bill, the Markey legislation would allow companies to purchase renewable energy credits to comply with the mandate. Companies that don’t comply would be forced to pay a fine.
Mandates like this, which includes the individual mandate in Obamacare, are always sold as benefiting consumers. The truth, however, is that consumers only get the benefit of higher prices and fewer choices. The real winners are the politically connected producers of the goods which consumers are being forced to purchase.
However, renewable energy mandates have been criticized for raising energy costs across the country. Earlier this year, conservative state legislators in 16 states led an effort to repeal or weaken state mandates, arguing they raised energy costs.
Natural gas prices, they argue, have plummeted and can provide cheaper, more reliant energy than solar and wind.
While natural gas certainly appears to be the better choice for consumers at the moment, there’s no guarantee it will remain so. As Veronique de Rugy has pointed out, the natural gas industry has thus sought their own crony handouts to help solidify their position. The point is thus not that natural gas should be favored over so-called renewables, but that neither should receive government handouts.
Government energy mandates are a waste of taxpayers dollars and a means only to favor industries that fit the preferences of politicians. The market should be left alone so that it may instead reflect the needs and desires of consumers.