You wanna schplain that one to us, Mitt?
Mitt Romney made an astonishing promise today: he told a crowd of coal miners that he will have the USA energy independent from sources outside North America by 2021.
It’s particularly astonishing given that he is against subsidizing renewable energy sources.
So, how is he going to get us off foreign energy sources? That’s a fine question and one that Romney hasn’t really answered.
This, of course, surprises exactly nobody.
His website says this:
As president, Mitt Romney will make every effort to safeguard the environment, but he will be mindful at every step of also protecting the jobs of American workers. This will require putting conservative principles into action.
Significant Regulatory Reform
The first step will be a rational and streamlined approach to regulation, which would facilitate rapid progress in the development of our domestic reserves of oil and natural gas and allow for further investment in nuclear power.
The United States is blessed with a cornucopia of carbon-based energy resources. Developing them has been a pathway to prosperity for the nation in the past and offers similar promise for the future.
Research and Development
Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.
So, Romney’s going to magically get us off non-domestic energy sources by starving renewable energy of the needed early investments to let it get off the ground, continuing to subsidize environmentally harmful carbon-based fossil fuels (choosing winners despite the fact he says we shouldn’t) and, strangely, by conceding that “government has a role to play.” That last bit is pretty astonishing in and of itself, considering his “government IS the problem” platitudes throughout the campaign.
He also likes protecting the environment and stuff but, you know, not if it gets in the way of making money.
It’s worth noting that his hatred of American-sourced renewable energy is a new Mitt Flop. There was a time when he loved him some renewable energy investments:
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney created a fund to invest in green energy, said alternative energy could generate jobs and approved bills allowing cities to build fields of solar panels.
“Now is the time to refocus its assets in such a manner that it can become a major economic springboard for the commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector,” Romney said in 2003 of the state’s energy trust fund that year.
Eight years later, it appears Romney, as he seeks the Republican nomination for president, has had a change of heart.
In his new economic plan released Tuesday, Romney called spending on green jobs a waste of money and an “unhealthy” obsession by President Obama to reshape the nation’s energy markets.
Meanwhile, today the Department of Justice released a report (pdf) that shows just how far our country has come in the area of renewable energy production. From the DOE press release regarding the report:
The Energy Department released a new report today highlighting strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011, increasing the U.S. share of clean energy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs, and underscoring the importance of continued policy support and clean energy tax credits to ensure that the manufacturing and jobs associated with this booming global industry remain in America. According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, the United States remained one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets in 2011, with wind power representing a remarkable 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the United States last year and accounting for $14 billion in new investment. According the report, the percentage of wind equipment made in America also increased dramatically. Nearly seventy percent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year – including wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears, and generators – is now from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35 percent in 2005. President Obama has made clear that clean, renewable wind energy is a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy that aims to develop more secure, domestic energy sources, while strengthening American manufacturing.
This refutes a claim by Republicans that most of our renewable energy investments are benefiting overseas companies. Have a look at this remarkable chart. It shows just how widespread wind energy equipment manufacturing has become in the USA:
Click for a larger version . [Source]
President Obama talked about renewable energy production during a stop in Iowa today:
We’re at a moment right now when homegrown energy, like wind energy, is creating new jobs all across Iowa and all across the country. And guess what, Governor Romney said let’s end the tax credits for wind energy production. Let’s get rid of them.
He said that new sources of energy like wind are “imaginary”. His running mate calls them a “fad.” During a speech a few months ago, Governor Romney even explained his energy policy this way — I’m quoting here — “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.” That’s what he said about wind power. “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.” Now, I don’t know if he has actually tried that. I know he has had other things on his car.
But if he wants to learn something about wind, all he has got to do is pay attention to what you’ve been doing here in Iowa. If he saw what you’ve been doing, he’d see that there are places like Newton, where a few years ago the Maytag plant closed down, jobs dried up. Folks are now back to work manufacturing these enormous new towers and blades for some of the most sophisticated, high-tech wind turbines on the planet. The wind industry now supports 7,000 jobs here in Iowa — 75,000 jobs across the country. These jobs aren’t a “fad”. These are good jobs, and they’re a source of pride that we need to fight for.
And if Governor Romney understood what you’ve been doing, he’d know that we used to have to import most of the parts were used for wind turbines — they’re now being made here in America, by American workers in American factories. That’s not “imaginary” — that’s real. That’s part of what we’re fighting for in this election.
If he knew what you’ve been doing, he’d know that 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity now comes from wind, powering our homes and our factories and our businesses in a way that is clean and renewable. In fact, over the past 4 years, we’ve doubled the amount of electricity America generates for wind. Across America, we’ve built the equivalent of 12 new Hoover Dams’ worth of wind energy. Think about that. Think about that.
So Governor Romney may have figured out that you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it, but he doesn’t seem to know that America now has enough wind turbines installed to generate enough electricity from wind to power nearly 13 million homes with clean energy. That’s how we leave something better for the next generation. That’s worth fighting for. That’s what’s at stake right now.
So I want to stop giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies that are going to oil companies that are making huge profits and have been subsidized for a hundred years, and let’s keep on investing in the new homegrown energy that’s creating jobs right here in Iowa. That’s a difference in this election. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.
We’ve got a whole lot of differences between me and Governor Romney.
It’s a real choice we have here. It’s a choice between the pragmatic approach that invests in our homegrown industries and in our energy future from President Obama and the backwards-facing approach from Mitt Romney “Go Back Team” that invests nothing in our future, ensures even more environmentally harmful carbon emissions, and that continues to subsidize our Big Oil companies that have been making record breaking profits for decades.
Energy independence by 2021 sounds damn fine but it’s just another lie being told by the most prolific liar we’ve had run for president in modern times. And, given his “plan”, it’s a fantasy, as well.