June 21, 2013

Politico’s Restuccia Understates Renewable Energy Production Increase, But Ignores Its Insignificant Slice of All Production

In a tired Politico item on how President Obama plans to carry out his January State of the Union threat to go around Congress on “climate change” — no surprise, his moves will be a “power plant clampdown,” pouring more money into solar, wind, and geothermal, and micromanaging lamps and refrigerators — Andrew Restuccia quoted a statistic on the production of certain “renewable” energy sources which actually understated their degree of increase during the past four years. He cited a “60 percent increase in renewable electricity produced from wind, solar and geothermal sources between 2008 and 2012.”

The increase is much greater than that. But Restuccia shouldn’t gloat. As seen after the jump, those three renewables still represent a pathetically small percentage of all U.S. energy production, and he should have informed his readers of that quite inconvenient fact:

EnergyProductionStats2004to2012

Production increased by twice as much as Restuccia reported. But the far larger point is that after all of the billions in tax credits, subsidies, and failed loans the government has thrown at renewable sources during the past four years, its production only increased by about the same percentage as it did during the second term of you-know-who. Yes, the absolute amount of production increased by more between 2008 and 2012 compared to the previous four years, but it still made up only 16 percent of the increase in all energy production during that time, compared to 14 percent of the analogous 2004-2008 increase.

It’s also more than reasonable to believe that wind may have peaked as an energy source, especially because, as Restuccia points out, one of its main avenues for potential growth is offshore installations. Resistance to this idea will be fierce, perhaps even from environmentalists (recall how the late Ted Kennedy fought offshore wind for years before his death). Another indicator that wind’s best days are behind it: early advocate T. Boone Pickens is “abandoning his long-planned wind farm.”

The fact is that the Obama administration is throwing lots of, well, energy into something with very little potential for meaningful growth. Politico’s Restuccia owed his readers that context, and failed to provide it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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