Guest Column appearing in Missoulian (MT) 10/19/12. http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/romney-would-cost-businesses-hobble-goal-of-energy-independence/article_abc2eb76-19f5-11e2-a934-001a4bcf887a.html
When Romney ridicules Obama's commitment to slow climate change, he overlooks how excessive fossil fuel use causes sea level rise. Guess Romney doesn't care if water swamps those off-shore islands where he stashes his cash.
That callous attitude is not the only flaw in Romney's "business" model. It leaves US business stuck with unneeded energy costs while other countries rapidly embrace clean technologies that don't have fuel and pollution control expenses as a component of electricity price.
The European Union already has 94 gigawatts (GW) of wind-generated capacity; China has 63 GW--ahead of the US (50 GW). Chinese wind-turbine capacity will rise to 200 GW by 2020--enough to power 55% of US primary homes.
By 2020, China will get 15% of its electrons from non-fossil fuels; Denmark (already producing 32% of its electricity with wind turbines) will increase that to 50%.
Eighty-three nations use wind power for commercial purposes. The cheaper electricity there makes it even tougher for US businesses already struggling to compete with cheap foreign labor.
Meanwhile, Romney and some Republicans propose to hobble us further by eliminating the bi-partisan production tax credit (PTC) for US wind projects. Several major companies want congress to extend the PTC. They rely on a Navigant Consulting study. It estimates that extending the PTC to 2016 will result in 95,000 wind-supported jobs. However, killing the PTC will result in the loss of more than 37,000 American jobs in 2013. If he knew how to create jobs as he claims, Romney would not be waging war on wind projects.
The PTC on wind energy goes away when it is not needed. That happens after a turbine operates for 10 years and installation costs are covered. The credit has ranged from 1.5 to 2.2 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh). However, those tax breaks actually repay themselves by driving energy costs down.
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