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Obama’s Wrongheaded, Lame, Wasteful, Pointless Energy Plan

Other than that, it sucks.

Obama’s website http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/newenergy outlines the detail of his energy plan. It reeks of Central Planning and is committed to the core Democratic value of Solving A Problem By Throwing Dumptrucks Full Of Money At It.

The centerpieces of the Obama-Biden New Energy Plan are: a Windfall Profits Tax/Middle Class Tax Credit that will never happen; $150 billion/10 year/5 million job make-work plan that is woefully short on specifics; CAFE Standards and Tax Credits designed to save 3 million barrels a day over the next 10 years; a commitment to renewables in electricity generation that offers little over and above the path we’re currently on; and a complete wuss-out on the subject of nuclear energy.

Oh, and we’re going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Yeah, right.

Obama’s plan counts on expensive fossil fuels. Without expensive oil, there are no Windfall Profits to Tax. Development of alternatives is even more difficult to justify under a moderate pricing regime for coal, gas and oil, which along with nuclear energy currently comprise 93% of the country’s total energy consumption.

Energy Pie Chart

Provide Short-term Relief to American Families Obama and Biden will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on the Obama-Biden long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief.

Wait a second — this proposal was first floated back in the spring, during the Dem primaries. Oil was around $140 per barrel; the idea was to impose a tax on the difference between the current price and a “reference price”, presumably the “fair” price, whatever that is. IIRC, $80 was floated as the reference price.

With oil currently trading in the $80 per barrel range, the proceeds of this tax would be precisely zero.

And as twisted as the Dems’ interpretation of Econ 101 can be, I have yet to hear the pretzel logic that explains how a Windfall Profits Tax does anything to help domestic energy supply. In fact, it will encourage American companies to explore elsewhere.

Invest In A Clean Energy Economy and Help Create 5 Million New Green Jobs. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will strategically invest $150 billion over 10 years to accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial scale renewable energy, encourage energy efficiency, invest in low emissions coal plants, advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, and begin transition to a new digital electricity grid. The plan will also invest in America’s highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and manufacturing centers to ensure that American workers have the skills and tools they need to pioneer the green technologies that will be in high demand throughout the world. All together these investments will help the private sector create 5 million new green jobs, good jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Sounds like a make-work program, Senator. There are damn few specifics here, except that you specifically plan to flush $150 billion down the s##thole.

Eliminate Our Current Imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years

Oh, my word! That would be quite an accomplishment, seeing as how in July 2008 we imported 2.5 million barrels a day from the Persian Gulf countries and 1.34 million barrels from Venezuela. That would be 2.84 million barrels a day of savings! How do you plan to do it, Senator Obama?

Increase Fuel Economy Standards. [CAFE Standards - oh, boy! Now there's a fresh idea. How 'bout a Federal Tire Pressure Administration (Cabinet-level, naturally), while we're at it?]

Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015. [Out of a vehicle fleet of 250,000,000? And the first Plug-In Hybrid rolls off the assembly line in 2010?]

Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles. [So we get to help Ed Begley, Jr. buy a new car?]

Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard. [And that helps save oil exactly how?]

A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases. [News flash: Every lease already has a drill it or lose it provision, Senator. All leases were not created equal, that's why we need to find out what's in the hundreds of millions of acres we currently have in the LOCKBOX.]

Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas. [Blah-blah, Bakken Shale, blah-blah, Barnett Shale, blah-blah, NPR-Alaska. These are buzzwords that will not have a measurable impact on the country's energy supply picture.]

And all this stuff is going to save almost 3 million barrels a day?! That’s ludicrous.

Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.

According to the Energy Information Agency’s Annual Outlook for 2008, renewables currently account for 8.4% of electricity generating capacity. The current forecast for 2012 is 10.4%. Details here.

So Obama’s not even promising anything over and above the forecast of the current administration. Whoopee.

And how’s this for tepid?

Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy. Nuclear power represents more than 70 percent of our noncarbon generated electricity. It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power as an option. However, before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation. Barack Obama introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to establish guidelines for tracking, controlling and accounting for spent fuel at nuclear power plants. To prevent international nuclear material from falling into terrorist hands abroad, Obama worked closely with Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) to strengthen international efforts to identify and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction. As president, Obama will make safeguarding nuclear material both abroad and in the U.S. a top anti-terrorism priority. In terms of waste storage, Barack Obama and Joe Biden do not believe that Yucca Mountain is a suitable site. They will lead federal efforts to look for safe, long-term disposal solutions based on objective, scientific analysis. In the meantime, they will develop requirements to ensure that the waste stored at current reactor sites is contained using the most advanced dry-cask storage technology available. [emphasis mine]

This is one of the most mealy-mouthed positions yet. “We can’t meet our goals if we take it off the table.” Puhleeze.

Dollars to donuts, the sole source of “advanced dry-cask storage technology” is some Big-League Democratic contributor.

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