Yesterday, I posted that instead of declaring wind energy a winner, we should allow technological advances and the free market to determine winners and losers. Today’s Wall Street Journal has a telling quotation in an article on personal wind turbines (“Wind Power’s Early Adopters Soothe The Conscience, but Save Few Bucks,” subscription required).
Andy Kruse, Vice President of Business Development at Southwest Windpower Inc., commenting on the lack of wind resources near Senator Sam Brownback’s Kansas home: “The economics aren’t there. But it’s not always about that.”
It’s true. Unfortunately, in today’s world of going green, carbon footprints, and polar-bear jeopardy, energy policy is driven less by sound economics than it is by politics, emotion, and symbolism.
This reminds me of remarks by Davis Guggenheim, director of An Inconvenient Truth, about carbon offsets: “All of us knew when doing offsets that the theoretical and symbolic quality to doing this is as important as the practical quality.” If that doesn’t reveal the mindset, I don’t know what can. To those like Guggenheim, symbolism is as important as real results and doing things that actually matter.
But symbolism doesn’t generate electricity. Symbolism does not lower your bills. We need a realistic energy policy. One that doesn’t put politics ahead of technology and economics. One that lets the market pick winners. One that lowers costs for producers and consumers by removing federal and state handouts. One that gives us reliable, affordable energy. Symbolism does none of these.