By Sebastian Balasov
The recent American energy boom has brought the United States one step closer to energy independence. New technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” have allowed the US to become the top producer in natural gas, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Oil production has also risen, making the US the third largest producer of crude oil in the world. Instead of letting these industries prosper in a fragile economy, Obama wants to punish them by taking away tax credits that “they don’t need.”
Obama’s energy record has consistently been flawed. One of Obama’s failures was the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer was given a $535 million loan from the US Department of Energy. However, the company went bankrupt, costing taxpayers over half a billion dollars.
Obama personally visited the solar company, and the initiative was part of his plan to purse an “all of the above” energy policy. Solyndra was not his only government supported alternative energy company that failed. Solar energy companies such as A123 Solar and Ener1 received grants approved by president Obama and also went bankrupt.
Renewable energy sources (excluding hydropower) account for just 5% of generated electricity, and in the US, solar energy accounts for just 0.11%. It doesn’t make sense for the government to fund an industry which isn’t yet capable of powering the country. Instead the free market should decide the winners in order to provide the cheapest and most convenient energy for the consumer.
Pundits against the oil and natural gas industry argue that if we don’t change our energy sources from CO2 emissioners to alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, “global warming” will change the way we live. However in recent years coal plants have produced less CO2 because of strict EPA standards. Also natural gas and nuclear energy sources which produce 49% of energy have very low carbon emissions, therefore don’t have a significant impact on climate change.
Germany is experiencing a similar situation as the government is converting its main energy source, nuclear, to green energies. The nuclear phase out, which required closing all nuclear plants by 2022, has backfired. According to the New York Times, the power plants closing has put more reliance on coal plants, increasing carbon emissions. New solar plants and wind farms simply aren’t capable of producing massive amounts of power, since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. The German people are now paying the price and the cost of electricity has skyrocketed.
The Obama administration shouldn’t intrude on the American energy boom by raising taxes on the industry, nor should it invest in industries that don’t work. Instead the free market should be allowed to run its course, and alternative energy might eventually catch up.