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  • Green Energy, Green Jobs and Green Guarantees

    It’s no surprise the stimulus bill is loaded with green energy initiatives. Ideally, the bill can kill two birds with one stone by creating green jobs; it can solve our environmental and recessionary concerns in one fell swoop.

    But what have we learned so far?

    1.) A green jobs initiative may actually hurt the economy by slowing growth and increasing unemployment. It’s a net job killer – see California.

    2.) Green jobs don’t necessarily mean good jobs. A recently released report shows that many green jobs do not pay well. And where do low-paying jobs often go? Out of the country. So to stimulate our economy, we’re not creating jobs, but instead displacing them with low-paying jobs that have a higher probability of being outsourced.

    3.) NEPA: Yet Another Reason the Stimulus is Guaranteed to Fail

    4.) Non-Existent Unemployed Climate Modelers Get $140 Million

    Also included are loan guarantees in which alternative and renewable energy sources are eligible, including nuclear energy. Undoubtedly, this has raised some concerns among environmental groups and other anti-nuclear activists. Do they have a point? The answer is yes but for the wrong reasons.

    For the activists and environmentalists that argue nuclear energy is an outdated technology, it’s not clean, it’s not safe and it’s expensive – they’re simply wrong. They use these arguments to argue against loan guarantees for nuclear, but it is important to understand how loan guarantees could help or hinder nuclear power or other energy sources. Heritage Research Fellow Jack Spencer outlines how loan guarantees distort the market:

    They remove incentives to decrease costs. The loan guarantee discounts the cost to build a project, and this artificial price reduction allows the recipient’s project to be market viable at a point where it otherwise would not be.
    They stifle competition and innovation both between sectors and within sectors. The loan guarantee artificially reduces the cost of capital, which allows a recipient to offer its product at below actual cost. This removes the incentive to look for less expensive or more competitive options.
    They perpetuate the regulatory status quo. Because each nuclear technology produces a unique waste stream that has its own characteristics, some reactor types would be more attractive than others depending on how the waste was being managed. But so long as nuclear operators do not have to consider waste management, reactors with attractive waste characteristics can be ignored.
    They suppress private-sector financing solutions. Companies invest in major projects with substantial risk all the time and do so without government loan guarantees. If they believe that the potential reward justifies the risk, they figure out a way to secure financing. This might include forming a consortium with other firms to share risk or developing an industry insurance scheme of some sort. Numerous companies exist in the private sector to insure large projects. Finding a way to develop an investment is at the heart of capitalism.

    We at The Heritage Foundation aren’t automatically pro nuclear energy. We do often write about the advantages of nuclear (see here), but like any other product, it should able to live or die in the free market. The reality is we don’t know what would happen to nuclear energy industry if the market were truly free. Nostradamus doesn’t work at The Heritage Foundation but if we had to shake one of those magic eight balls and ask it if nuclear energy would succeed in the free market, we’d expect to see an answer like this: All signs point to yes.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Green Energy, Green Jobs and Green Guarantees

    1. Kevin Tanner says:

      Nick, the rivers next to power plants in England are so radio active they promise to destroy all fish habitat across the southern UK and Ireland. The government can not shut it down because with cost over runs it cost them over 4 billion dollars. Now take the cost of storing nuclear waster for a minimum of 10,000 years. Normally about 50 thousand years before you can get next to it with out causing really big heinous cancer tumors. I can only imagine that you had a really bad childhood? Your parents probably used you as a sex toy and beat and tortured you. A man with your view would have to be some sick sadistic idiot.

    2. Brian J. Donovan, Ta says:

      Louisiana will create jobs by growing ethanol demand, specifically hydrous ethanol demand, beyond the 10% blend market.

      Governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law the Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative, the most comprehensive and far-reaching state legislation in the nation enacted to develop a statewide advanced biofuel industry. Louisiana is the first state to enact alternative transportation fuel legislation that includes a variable blending pump pilot program and a hydrous ethanol pilot program.


      The legislature found that the proper development of an advanced biofuel industry in Louisiana requires implementation of the comprehensive Field-to-Pump strategy developed by Renergie, Inc.:

      (1) Feedstock other than corn:

      (a) derived solely from Louisiana harvested crops;

      (b) capable of an annual yield of at least 600 gallons of ethanol per acre;

      (c) requiring no more than one-half of the water required to grow corn;

      (d) tolerant to high temperature and waterlogging;

      (e) resistant to drought and saline-alkaline soils;

      (f) capable of being grown in marginal soils, ranging from heavy clay to light sand;

      (g) requiring no more than one-third of the nitrogen required to grow corn, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of the waters of the state;

      (h) requiring no more than one-half of the energy necessary to convert corn into ethanol;

      (2) Decentralized network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities;

      (3) Variable blending pumps in lieu of splash blending; and

      (4) Hydrous ethanol.

      Renergie looks forward to working closely with the Obama-Biden administration to:

      (a) reduce U.S. dependency on imported oil;

      (b) repeal the ethanol import tariff;

      (c) maximize the environmental benefits of ethanol-blended transportation fuels; and

      (d) create jobs in rural areas of the United States by growing ethanol demand, specifically hydrous ethanol demand, beyond the 10% blend market.

      Please feel free to visit Renergie’s weblog (renergie.wordpress.com) for more information.

    3. Thomas Gray South Ca says:

      I have the answer, they can shut down the nuclear power plants in the U.K. and buy NG from Russia to make electricity.

    4. Barb -mn says:

      With the proper procedure and safety measures you'll be nuclear cancer free, Kevin. You must have been educated by government. Grow up!

    5. Darvin Dowdy, Housto says:

      Hey Heritage! Why don't you get the word out to Republicans like Sarah Palin who just started a radical green initiative in her state. More so than California. Would you please stop being so nicey nice and go after some of the Rino's? Let them know that one of the reasons they lost on 11/4/08 is because the GOP Base wants them to go on an all out offensive against these radical environmental whacko's. Not join them!!

      You know Heritage, why don't you get some fire in your belly? Of course we know what to expect from the democrats. Stop telling us what we already know! Over and over and over. Lets nail some of these wayward Repub's for a change. Get the party back on course. Show a little backbone HF. Darvin Dowdy

    6. richard weirton says:

      Let's see now, is it 14 biofuel plants that have already gone bankrupt? Why is this? Is biofuel going to be the next Amtrak…40 years has not turned a profit?

      I used to live in Minnesota, where 10 percent biofuel was manditory. I got 12 mph and it ran really bad, was about to trade it in, when I moved to West Virginia, where they sell real gas.

      Car now runs so much better, and now gets 30 mph on highway…In 1976 I had a station wagen that got 41mph, but then government got in the way, and mileage has dropped ever since.

    7. Barb -mn says:


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