Harry Reid Looks to Resurrect RES During Lame-Duck


Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010, 11:22 AM PERMALINK

Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made news Tuesday when he announced that he would try to pass an energy bill during the lame-duck session. This comes as a surprise to most as Reid pulled his energy bill right before recess began as he couldn’t muster up the requisite votes. Even more surprising is that Reid said a key component of his lame-duck bill would be a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), a contentions policy amongst Members.

RES requires that a percentage of a state’s energy production be derived from “clean” energy sources, generally understood as wind and solar. Government imposed RES are necessary because wind and solar are not economically viable, they need government subsidies and mandates to compete with cheaper forms of energy.

While some think this is a political move to drum up support from the environmental lobby--Mr. Reid is currently involved in a heated primary debate with Republican Sharron Angle—let’s take Reid at his word. What are the economic implications for a national RES?

Heritage Foundation scholars crunched the numbers and found that instituting a 35 percent RES by 2035 America would loose 1,000,000 jobs.

Don’t take their word for it; look at Europe. In Spain, government subsidies for the wind and solar industry prevent 2.2 jobs from being created in the private sector and have contributed to the country's high unemployment levels.

Domestically, the DeSoto Solar Center in Florida was supposed to be the “largest solar power plant in the United States,” according to President Obama. The Center received $150 million from the Recovery Act. After using 400 construction workers to build the site, the Solar Center now employs only two people. So while the transition to new energy sources creates jobs, many of them are temporary, a distinction many on the left fail to make.

With unemployment already hovering around 10 percent, the last thing we need is from soon-to-be jobless Senators is an unnecessary energy bill. Implementing an RES during the lame-duck is bad policy, undemocratic, and appallingly arrogant.

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