Oh dear. Check out the caption on the accompanying picture:
A vertical access wind turbine, left, is on a movable platform at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. | Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/MCT
Like the anemometer to the right of the platform the turbine is indeed mounted on a vertical axis. Sigh…
What has America gotten so far from President Barack Obama’s spending on clean energy, and has it been worth the cost?
The multibillion-dollar outlays of the past four years had equally big goals: putting people to work right away, but also future jobs in a growing global endeavor to cut pollution and the risks from climate disruption.
The federal spending has become an issue in the 2012 campaign. Republicans say the federal government squandered taxpayers’ money, whether it was on $27-a-gallon biofuels for a test of an aircraft carrier battle group last month, subsidies for renewable energy or the taxpayers’ loss of $535 million to the bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra.
Four years ago, the Democrats’ promises on clean energy were all about jobs. As Obama took office seeking nearly $1 trillion in spending and tax cuts to boost a free-falling economy, he wanted to include green energy spending and he stressed the job benefits.
“We’ll put nearly half a million people to work building wind turbines and solar panels, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to new jobs,” he said on Jan. 16, 2009, in a speech pitching the stimulus proposal.
On jobs, the promise fell short. The White House said its clean-energy stimulus funds created 224,500 jobs. An independent study this year concluded that 70,000 jobs were added to clean technology industries from 2007 to 2010. That study was done by the Brookings Institution, the Breakthrough Institute and the World Resources Institute.
Obama and his team argued that spending on clean energy would have other benefits. They said it would help the United States get some of the renewable energy manufacturing that otherwise would go to China, where energy technology is subsidized. It also would create jobs in the future and help the environment.