Goss Column: Green Energy Alternatives Hit The Poor Hard
Between 2008 and 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans making less than $20,000 increased the share of their paycheck going to cover utility and fuel bills from 25% to 29%. During this same period of time, Americans earning more than $70,000 decreased the proportion of their income spent on utilities and fuel from 5.4% to 5.0%.
That is, the percent of income devoted to utilities and fuel is significantly higher and rising for low income consumers, but substantially lower and falling for higher income consumers. At the same time, electricity generation by solar/wind grew by 73% but by fossil fuels declined by 4%. This occurred despite the fact that according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the costs of solar electricity generation is approximately double that of conventional coal and almost triple that of natural gas.
In addition to higher direct costs, all taxpayers are picking up the tab for the failure of solar energy companies. Federal tax supported Solyndra, Evergreen Aolar, and SpectraWatt filed for bankruptcy in August 2011 alone. In fact according to GTM Research, one-fifth of tax subsidized U.S. solar panel manufacturing folded as of August 2011.
Germany has demonstrated the folly of current U.S. solar policy. Despite 2013 renewable subsidies in Germany of 16 billion Euros ($21 billion), electricity prices have soared by 17% over the past 4 years. No wonder just last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed a plan to cut German’s green energy subsidies while the U.S. moves steadfastly into the costly solar abyss.
Unfortunately, the U.S. taxpayer and consumer, especially those of low income, are getting scorched by the expansion of solar electricity generation with no end in sight.