So, you won’t find it on the best-seller list anytime soon, but a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is somewhat interesting.
And, yes, we’re just like you.
Until last week we didn’t even know there was a U.S. Energy Information Administration. But there is and it turns out they actually had some information of interest.
This being a government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is not called by its name – instead it has letters. It is known as the EIA. Not as well-known as the FBI, perhaps, but less maligned.
So the agency reported last week that solar and wind energy resources provided some 3% of the United States total energy consumption.
Fossil fuel energy resources provide 81% of the energy consumed in this country. Both those figures are for 2018 – the most recent year for which data are available.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, it doesn’t take a calculator to cipher that 3% ain’t much. But you might need a calculator to tally all the subsidies paid to the solar and wind industries.
The same EIA report shows that some $50 billion has been paid over the last decade. While that number is plenty big – hence the calculator – under current government policy it will grow much faster going forward.
Some $8 billion more is being spent to subsidize wind and solar energy development every year.
Yet after a decade of massive government subsidies, solar and wind energy resources provide just 3% of our consumption – about the same as it was 10 years ago.
You know, before the subsidies.
If that’s not bad enough, six years from now we will have spent yet another $50 billion. That triggers the old saw about insanity: doing the same thing repeatedly yet expecting different results.
And yes, we know that there was a time when we thought other sources of energy were needed. You might remember, it was about the same time the really-smart-set was hollering about the impending ice age.
Anyhow, the story back then was that we were at peak oil. Peak oil, you will remember, was yet another prediction by the smart-set that we had exhausted the oil supply.
As it turns out, the smart-set was wrong.
Instead of freezing, now they say we are all going to die of heat. And the domestic supply of oil and natural gas has never been greater.
The energy renaissance in the U.S. is the biggest business news of the past decade – and probably the next.
Not only does the oil and gas industry employ thousands and thousands of Americans in high-paying jobs, but it throws off billions and billions in tax payments.
Add to that the many billions more being invested to capitalize on this energy bonanza, with additional billions being invested in infrastructure to export natural gas - and the industry’s role in the U.S. economy cannot be overstated.
Technology backed by brilliance and innovation have made the U.S. oil and gas industry the envy of the world.
Whether it can survive Democrats and their Green New Deal, remains to be seen.
What is certain is if their Green Dream – Nancy Pelosi’s term – is implemented, taxpayers will be on the hook for billions more in subsidy payments.
There is hope.
With enough money, perhaps we could count on solar and wind for a full 5% of our energy needs.
DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.