Why does Brownback push RES?

September 22, 2010

By Steve Milloy
Kiowa County Signal, September 22, 2010

Will Sam Brownback’s last act as a senator be to sellout Kansas and the rest of America on capping greenhouse gas emissions?

Sen. Brownback joined Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and several other senators earlier this week in introducing a bill to establish a national renewable electricity standard (RES), which Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated he would try to make the consolation prize in this Congress’ final lame duck-clash over global warming regulation.

Sen. Brownback called RES a common-sense energy policy and said, “the beauty of this is it is not cap and trade.”

What is RES and why should Sen. Brownback not let an RES bill stain his senatorial legacy?

An RES would require that electric utilities generate a set percentage of their power from so-called “renewable” power sources, like solar and wind, by a certain date. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which was disastrous-for-House-Democrats, passed in June 2009 and would, for example, require that utilities generate 20 percent of their power from renewables by the year 2020. Sen. Bingaman’s bill would reduce the Waxman-Markey standard to 15 percent as per Sen. Brownback’s request.

But even a 15 percent RES would be quite the monumental challenge given that solar and wind power provide less than 2 percent of current electricity generation and require massive subsidies to do even that much. According to the Department of Energy, solar and wind are each subsidized at a rate 55 times that of coal, 97 times that of natural gas and 15 times that of nuclear power. Solar panels and windmills aside, it’s only the taxpayer wallet that makes these forms of energy “renewable.”

But cost is not the main reason for rejecting the arbitrary targets and deadlines of a national RES.

Imagine a utility that generates 100 percent of the electricity it sells by burning coal or natural gas . Impose the Bingaman-Brownback RES standard on that utility and, all of a sudden, only a maximum of 85 percent of its electricity can be generated by fossil fuels. In other words, the utility’s use of fossil fuels has been capped.

Since the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill, Americans have been up in arms against cap-and-trade. But the same reasons for opposing cap-and-trade can, and ought, to be applied to RES, which should be labeled “cap-and-subsidize.”

Under cap-and-trade, electric utilities would be compensated for higher generation costs by charging consumers more for electricity and by selling billions of dollars of carbon credits, received for free courtesy of taxpayers. Under RES, electric utilities would be similarly compensated for higher generation costs, courtesy of over-charged consumers and untold billions in taxpayer subsidies. So the difference between RES and cap-and-trade is merely a change in form, not a change in substance of an economy-killing consumer/taxpayer rip-off.

Sen. Brownback hasn’t yet figured out that the effort to regulate greenhouse gases is not spurred by good faith intentions to protect the environment as much as it is spurred by the left-wing political agenda to increase government control over the U.S. economy through energy rationing.

It is ironic that just as Kansas succeeds in beating back the radical green agenda — witness the likely permitting this year of the controversial Sunflower coal-fired power plant in southwest Kansas — Sen. Brownback would surrender the state and nation to the agenda of the Obama administration’s admitted socialists, energy czar Carol Browner and former green jobs czar Van Jones.

America has rightly rejected cap-and-trade and its associated political agenda. Sen. Brownback should too; and if he returns to Kansas as governor, he needs to leave such bad green ideas in Washington, D.C.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).

Tell Sen. Brownback that an RES is a bad idea and he’s being played for a sucker by Harry Reid.

8 Responses to “Why does Brownback push RES?”

  1. […] CES is essentially a national renewable electricity standard (RES), where nuclear power and so-called “clean coal” qualify to meet the RES. […]

  2. ghbontrager Says:

    The Hutchinson News

    10/14/2010 12:34 PM

    Abandoned values

    Insolated inside the Washington beltway, Sam Brownback and his fellow elitists will collect hefty pensions and free lifetime health care after failing to carry forward with the Regain revolution.

    Opening the door for the radical left to seize power, these apostate Republicans abandoned their values for special interest money while leaving the American people to twist slowly in the wind.

    Surrounded by court jesters like House speaker Mike O’Neal and Sen. Terry Bruce, what can we expect from Gov. Brownback? If you’re a corporate executive or illegal alien, your life just got easier. On the other hand, if you’re a working man or woman who was actually born in Kansas, you are about to be occupied by a regime that considers you a second-class citizen.

    Greg Bontrager



  3. fjarnold Says:

    Perhaps he sees it as a financial windfall for Kansas. Not only does it create construction jobs in the short term, but over the long term, there is a huge profit waiting to be made by selling electricity to other states — especially if it is generated without producing carbon emissions. His father was a farmer – and he used to be Secretary of Agriculture — maybe he sees that wind is a new “crop” for Kansas farmers.

    • jrh7 Says:

      So called “carbon emissions” aren’t bad. They aren’t even “carbon” (CX) but are actually CO2. CO2 is what plants breathe and turn into O2 (Oxygen) which is what people breathe (as well as all animals)!
      Get your information correct and quit believing all the political propaganda!

  4. jrh7 Says:

    Climate change is a hoax!
    There is zero evidence for this.
    Even if all the glaciers on the earth were melted, it would only raise the sea level much less than a foot.

    • jrh7 Says:

      Well, I certainly hope you were able to pass 5th grade science. If so, you would understand that CO2 and C aren’t the same thing and therefore wouldn’t call CO2 “carbon” emissions and that they certainly don’t constitute a pollutant.
      Also, I assume that you would realize that CO2 is only a tiny part (5% of the total) of the “green house gases” in the atmosphere and is hardly affected by any human generated CO2.
      From there could you possibly make the giant leap of calculating the total volume of the world’s glaciers vs. the total surface of the earth’s ocean and seas and realize how small an impact of their melting would have upon the sea level?

  5. cnuge33 Says:

    How can even the most hawkish conservative be against renewable energy?

    Renewable energy can siphon the nation away from being dependent on nations that are funding terrorism and do not believe in our way of life.

    It is patriotic to push for more renewable energy. Government mandates are not my favorite either, but they are needed to boost growth.

    Don’t tell me that oil, gas, and especially nuclear energy companies can compete without massive government subsidies!

    It is the 21st Century! Get on board please! We need everyone to make America free of foreign oil addiction!

    • larrytrick Says:

      I am in the energy business, and I assure you this is not the answer especially in our latitute, and especially for the acount of electricity.

      We so not rely on any foreign nations for resources to provide electricity.

      Why would we believe Brownback if he was one of the politicians that voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

      What evidence do you have that they will stop relying on foreign oil? There are no plans to do that. They ahve been using that old argument since the 1970’s.

      They are leading the lambs to slaughter.

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