Four Wind Energy Firms Got $2.6 Billion in Grants
The Obama administration has consistently promoted subsidies for “clean” energy technologies like wind and solar while charging that the oil and gas industry benefits from excessive taxpayer support.
But in fact subsidies for the oil and gas sector aren’t all that large when compared to the amount of energy being produced, while the “green” economy is not creating large numbers of jobs, according to a new report by Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
President Barack Obama’s budget proclaims: “We should not devote scarce resources to subsidizing the use of fossil fuels produced by some of the largest, most profitable companies in the world. That is why the Budget eliminates inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to address the threat of climate change.”
The reference to the “largest, most profitable companies” reflects the administration’s antipathy toward the hydrocarbon sector, Bryce asserts.
Apple Inc. has a market capitalization of $475 billion and a profit margin of 25.8 percent. Meanwhile, BP, the biggest producer of domestic oil, has a market capitalization of $147 billion and a profit margin of 6.8 percent.
Apple is three times as large and nearly four times as profitable as BP. Apple has virtually no manufacturing jobs in the United States and imports nearly everything from China. Meanwhile the domestic oil industry last year exported about 1 billion barrels of crude oil and refined products.
The administration shows no such antipathy toward the “clean” energy industry. In fact, between 2009 and late 2011, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the administration handed out $2.6 billion in tax-free grants to just four companies, all them board members of the American Wind Energy Association, Bryce discloses.
Two of those firms are foreign-owned — the Spanish energy company Iberdrola, which got $1 billion in grants, and German giant E.ON, which received $542 million.
A third firm, Terra-Gen, is building a wind farm in California that will create only about 50 permanent jobs — that works out to around $9 million per job.
The oil and gas industry, on the other hand, received “subsidies and support” totaling $2.82 billion, and that was spread among the 14,000 oil and gas companies operating in the United States.
The report notes that domestic oil production is now increasing, natural gas production is surging, driving down prices, and over the past five years about 158,000 new oil and gas jobs have been created, many of them high-paying.
Bryce concludes: “The Obama administration continues to vilify the very industry that’s helping spur eco¬nomic growth. America doesn’t need more slogans about ‘clean’ energy. It needs more cheap, abundant, reliable energy.”