Archive for December 14th, 2010

Cap-and-trade rebranded as ‘clean energy standard’?

December 14, 2010

We now know how cap-and-trade will be rebranded for the start of the 112th Congress — and we also know the Republican weak spot in the Senate.

As reported today by Energy & Environment News,

[A] proposal for a clean energy standard, which has been batted around for years and introduced most recently by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), has created a buzz on and off Capitol Hill in recent weeks.

What is a “clean energy standard” (CES)?

Graham’s CES is essentially a national renewable electricity standard (RES), where nuclear power and so-called “clean coal” qualify to meet the RES. Reportedly, Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Tom Carper (D-Del), and Energy Secretary Chu are open to it.

Why should a CES be opposed?

  1. A CES is a carbon cap. Like an RES, mandating that a certain amount of electricity is “renewable” means capping the amount of electricity that can be produced by burning fossil fuels. We just spent the last 12 years killing cap-and-trade — the last two years of which the beast had us by the throat — why would we now support just “cap”?
  2. CCS is a pipedream. So-called “clean coal” depends on the commerical viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS). As we have pointed out before, CCS is a technical and political pipedream. It will never happen on a significant scale — and everyone knows this except the fools on Capitol Hill who are being serenaded by unscrupulous electric utilities and too-stupid-for-words coal companies. The utilities are for CCS because they want the billions in taxpayer largesse that would be floated their way. The coal companies that are for CCS hope that it will buy them peace with politicians and the public. Though CCS may be promised in a CES bill, the enviros will work to make sure that CCS projects are never actually come into operation. Properly seen, CCS is little more than a bait-and-switch tactic to get coal-burning utilities and coal companies to agree to “cap.”
  3. Nuclear power is a pipedream. Environmentalists are committed to ending nuclear power — that’s why no new plants have been constructed in more than 30 years. While utilities, politicians and the public will be teased by the prospect of more nuclear power in a CES bill, crafty enviros will make sure that no law guarantees the construction of more nuclear plants. As now, the enviros will make sure that they can use the regulatory process and the courts to halt new nuke plant construction.

So here’s our problem. While the GOP-controlled House will have knee-jerk reaction to anything called “cap-and-trade,” members may not have the same reaction to an unfamiliar beast called a “clean energy standard.” The enviros, of course, will work to liken opposing a “clean energy standard” to opposing food and shelter for orphans. Then there’s the clean energy industry which will be working harder and throwing around more money than ever. The 112th Congress is do-or-die time for the wind and solar rentseekers.

Energy use in America is already clean. If the enviros need something to do, they ought to go pester their fellow communists in China, where energy use is anything but clean. We should be all in favor of the ChiComs “winning the race for clean energy.” Then they can put it to good use at home.