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June 7, 2022

Biden’s Not-So-Bright Idea on Solar Power

Invoking wartime powers to show favoritism to “clean” energy is not the way to secure American interests.

Democrats love to repeat the mantra of fairness and equity all while they’re putting a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of their own hand-picked winners. Joe Biden’s emergency order yesterday tilts the scales in favor of an old ecofascist favorite: solar panels.

Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to allow duty-free imports of solar parts from several Southeast Asian nations. American solar panel makers rightly complain that tariffs put them at a disadvantage against Chinese competitors, who use forced labor and ChiCom government subsidies to dominate the market with cheaper products.

The irony, however, is that Biden’s order may end up helping the Chinese. For one thing, it undermines a Commerce Department investigation to determine how the ChiComs are circumventing legal trade process. “By taking this unprecedented — and potentially illegal — action, he has opened the door wide for Chinese-funded special interests to defeat the fair application of U.S. trade law,” complained Mamun Rashid, chief executive of Auxin Solar Inc. in California.

Naturally, the administration doesn’t see it that way. “How is this not a gift to Chinese solar manufacturers?” asked one reporter. To which inept White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre replied, “[This] is about one country and one country alone, and it’s about the United States.” The global economy doesn’t work that way.

Another senior administration official insisted it will “spur domestic manufacturing,” adding, “It’s going to put wind in the sails of construction projects all around the country that are employing folks who are making a good wage, and it’s going to do all of that while cutting costs for our families and tackling both climate change and environmental injustice.”

“Wind in the sails”? We thought these were solar panels, but whatever.

Most of the good-paying energy jobs killed by the Biden administration have been in the fossil fuel sector. Rightly blamed for the skyrocketing gas, diesel, and other energy prices caused by his policies, Biden compulsively resorts to his one-trick-pony messaging about “clean energy” and all the jobs he can create by subsidizing wind and solar. The trouble is that many, if not most, of the jobs created by this boondoggle end up being in other countries.

Counteracting that is the real reason for this order, not being “an even stronger partner to our allies, especially in the face of Putin’s war in Ukraine,” as the White House boasts.

The way to counter Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping and generally secure American national security interests and energy needs is to get the federal government out of the way of fossil fuel and nuclear production.

The wrong policy is to litter the whole country with windmills and solar panels.

Not only are renewables not as reliable, leading to power outages, but green energy really isn’t all that green.

We’ve said that before, but economist Stephen Moore really delves into it with his latest column. We’ll quote a few key points he makes:

Right now, the United States gets about 70% of its energy from fossil fuels. To go to zero over the next 20 years would be economically catastrophic and cost tens of millions of jobs.

Some environmentalists are pointing to a little-noticed study by the World Bank showing that moving toward 100% solar, wind and electric battery energy would be just as destructive to the planet as fossil fuels.

That’s due to all the money for millions of tons of raw materials, all while leftists want to “shut down mines.”

Then, the land space is needed for the windmills and solar panels. Bloomberg reports that getting to zero carbon by 2050 would require a land area equal to five South Dakotas “to develop enough clean power to run all the electric vehicles, factories, and more.”

A nuclear plant takes up at most 1 square mile of land. Wind and solar farms require hundreds of thousands of acres. So, to provide enough electric power to keep Manhattan lit up at night would require paving over nearly the whole state of Connecticut with windmills and solar farms.

To sum up, solar and wind are inadequate for our energy needs, already resulting in rolling power outages, unless we take up huge swaths of land for panels and mills to meet demand. The manufacture of these products demands concerning amounts of mined material, and it primarily benefits the Chinese. And to accomplish more of this, Biden is resorting to a wartime law enabling executive meddling in the American manufacturing sector.

What’s not to like?

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