As we head into the spring and summer of 2012 with gas prices soaring President Obama and Nobel prize-winning Energy Secretary Steven Chu have pledged to do everything they can to help you save money on gas. You might think that means they will reverse course on the energy policies of the last three years that have brought us to $4 a gallon gas still surging with no end in sight. You might think that, but of course you would be wrong. This administration has their foot firmly on the alternative energy pedal with a policy of pouring tax dollars into failed green enterprises.
A quick visit to the Department of Energy Website reveals their focus, and it is not increasing the supply of fossil fuels. No it is a perverted love affair with all things green. They are especially proud of awarding a $10 Million L Prize to Phillips Lighting for developing an exceptionally high-performance, ultra-efficient LED alternatives for a 60-watt incandescent lamps. The winning bulb will hit store shelves this spring at a price of $50 per bulb. This makes the $40,000 dollar GM Volt sound like a bargain. Chu is not done though, he has another $5 Million for the next phase of the L Prize for an energy-efficient alternative to PAR 38 halogen bulbs. The key takeaway is that whether it is gasoline or light bulbs, the goal is not to keep the cost down but rather to reduce carbon emissions no matter the cost. Just look at their justification statement explaining the L Prize program;
“The L Prize competition challenges the best and brightest engineers and scientists across America’s lighting industry to drive innovation in new, more efficient products and boost our nation’s competitiveness in manufacturing,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The winning products will help expand lighting choices for consumers, reduce our nation’s energy use, and save money for American families and business owners.”
There are approximately 90 million PAR 38 light bulbs installed in the U.S., in both residential and commercial applications. The Energy Department estimates that replacing them with bulbs efficient enough to win the L Prize would save the country 11 terawatt-hours of electricity per year – approximately equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Washington, D.C. – and avoid 7 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Replacing 90 million bulbs at 10 to 50 times the cost will take billions of dollars out of our economy and with the Obama pledge to skyrocket electric rates, consumers are not likely to see any real savings on their power bills.
There is no shortage of Energy Department money for solar energy boondoggles, undaunted by high-profile failures like Solyndra and Abound Solar, Chu has launched 2020 Sun Shot, another utopian initiative to bring the total costs of utility scale solar energy systems down about 75% – to roughly $1 a watt – by 2020. An initiative likely to fail in spite of a DoE $27 Million dollar award to nine science fair type solar projects focusing on strengthening the U.S. supply chain for solar manufacturing and on commercializing cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies, the very same focus of the failed Solyndra and Solar Abound government funded enterprises.