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Barack Obama Doesn’t Care About the 97 Percent

By Patrick Hedger, a Policy Analyst for FreedomWorks

With unemployment at 7.5%, the national debt approaching $17 trillion, a floundering national takeover of health care, and a flurry of federal scandals threatening civil liberties, President Obama is diverting attention away from his failed policies on the ground, and towards the air instead.

The President will outline his plans to fight climate change this Tuesday, which will undoubtedly call for stricter regulations on power plants, and higher green energy standards.

The White House has foreshadowed some energy policy shakeups in recent weeks, most recently during the President’s lackluster European tour. Consider the President’s tidbit about energy and environmental policy in his Berlin address last week:

“In the United States, we have recently doubled our renewable energy from clean sources like wind and solar power… But we know we have to do more — and we will do more,” the President pledged.

White House watchers have labeled this the proof-positive of major environmental legislation and regulation anticipated to come this July. But don’t be fooled. While the rhetoric of the President’s Berlin speech sounded noble and worldly, his presumptions on the energy market are narrow and naïve.

Like its greatest cheerleader, President Obama, renewable energy is an empty and expensive promise.

Take electricity produced from renewables like wind and solar for example, which ‘doubled’ to produce 1,326 trillion BTU in 2011. The “trillion with a T” total is dwarfed compared to that same year’s national energy consumption total of 97.3 “quadrillion with a Q” BTU.

In fact, combined totals of wind and solar production in the United States amounted to an uninspiring 1.36 percent of energy consumed 2011. What’s more, the President’s own administration doesn’t project the renewable powered future is going to be any brighter.

According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), wind and solar are projected to produce to 3.04 quadrillion BTU by 2040. That’s only 3.1 percent of the energy we need today, and only 2.8 percent of what EIA projects we’ll need by 2040.

In other words, eliminating fossil fuel production will cost the United States a devastating 97 percent of the energy we currently need.

The same data from the EIA projects that within US borders alone, there’s enough economically accessible oil to meet today’s demand for another 3 decades, natural gas for 7 decades, and coal for another 4 centuries. Of course, none of that can be put to use given the current administration’s unabashed assault on fossil fuels. Current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are slated to close 280 coal-fired power units, not to mention whatever else is up President Obama’s sleeves for July.

The President claims that the switch to wind, solar, and other renewables must be done “for the sake of future generations.” But the immediate threats to the Millennial Generation are the added costs that Obama’s oppressive energy regulations will tack on to the $17 trillion-and-counting in national debt.

Current Environmental Protection Agency regulations cost roughly $350 billion. Power plants that provide the vast majority of our energy needs are being closed by the hundreds, while the alternative energy expected replace them is prohibitively expensive.

Generating electricity from some renewable sources can be 2-3 times as expensive as fossil fuels. Transmitting wind and solar energy from where it’s generated, to where it’s needed, can quadruple and quintuple the price despite billions of dollars in federal subsidies. The one-year expansion of the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit passed this past January cost taxpayers $12 billion alone.

President Obama may be concerned about future generations, but we “97-percenters”are more concerned with how we’re going to shoulder these costs and debt with only 3 percent of the energy our economy will need.

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