High Cost of Green Energy Looms over Middle Class in Obama's Second Term

Two of the world's leaders in green energy production also have the world's highest residential energy costs.

Danish academic and writer Bjorn Lomborg posted a graph on his Facebook page highlighting the high cost of electricity in countries with a big commitment to green energy:

Denmark leads the world in wind power per capita. Germany is the world leader for solar power per capita. Both energy forms require heavy subsidies. Not coincidentally, Denmark and Germany lead the world in highest costs of electricity for households, with the lowest cost in the US.

In a related post, Lomborg adds, "Real German electricity prices for households have increased 61% since 2000. One quarter of household costs now stem directly from renewable energy." You could say that, thanks to green energy, residential electricity prices have skyrocketed.

This is timely because in his second inaugural speech Monday, President Obama indicated that green energy and climate change would be priorities in his next term. He even warned that the "path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult." There is every reason to believe this is a promise he will keep.

Prior to his election in 2008, Obama told a group of journalists that under his cap and trade system, "if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them..."

The cap and trade system never made it through Congress, which was busy with Obama's healthcare reforms, but new EPA restrictions on coal-powered plants have led to shutdown announcements around the country. According the Sierra Club, which opposes coal use, 55 plants have announced intentions to shut down by 2015.

In his first term, Obama also disapproved, temporarily, the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. A revised path for the pipeline was approved by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman on Tuesday, meaning the last hurdle is the State Department's decision to allow it to cross the US-Canadian border. A final decision is expected some time in March.

The pipeline would add tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S.; however, environmentalists have waged a campaign against it. Canadian writer Ezra Levant has called the multi-million dollar environmental campaign "industrial sabotage." Obama may see the sacrifice of these jobs as part of the pain along the "path towards sustainable energy."

We won't know how Obama plans to put meat on the bones of his environmental promises until at least March. Based on his track record and the high cost of green energy in Europe, it's possible skyrocketing electricity prices are a promise Obama will decide he needs to keep this time around.


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