Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has a negative position on wind and other clean energy technologies, much to the dismay of some members of the Republican party who support clean energy.
Romney’s energy policy focuses on more oil drilling and decreased clean-air regulations. He is opposed to government support for wind and solar energy projects in the U.S., a point he is becoming more vocal about as his campaign gains momentum.
Last week at a campaign event staged in front of the defunct Solyndra solar factory in California, Romney slammed President Obama’s clean energy policies. He said the government-backed loans for the now-bankrupt solar company are an example of “crony capitalism” and proof that renewable energy is unrealistic.
In March, Romney said in an interview, “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy.”
Romney said that Obama’s clean energy vision has failed the country.
Maryland Republican Representative Roscoe Bartlett is disappointed to hear Romney’s criticism of clean energy. Bartlett says that Romney acts as though “faith in free markets” will bring the renewable energy industry along–without the government’s financial support–but that’s not going to happen.
“I think the market signals will be too late and inadequate and that we will face very serious energy shortages,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett is co-sponsoring the American Renewable-Energy Production Tax Extension Credit Act of 2011, a bill with bi-partisan support in Congress. Supporters include Republican representatives from states such as Texas, Illinois and Oklahoma which have come to depend on the wind industry in particular as a crucial source of jobs in a depressed climate. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) as well as many other private sector companies and organizations have endorsed the bill.
The bill would extend a .2-cent-a-kilowatt-hour credit for electricity produced by wind turbines, biomass, geothermal, landfill-gas plants and solar energy.
But not everyone in Romney’s party disagrees with his position on clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s refreshing to see a presidential candidate show up in a state like Iowa and not kowtow to the wind and ethanol industries,” Kansas Republican Representative Mike Pompeo said. “Eventually you’ve got to take the training wheels off.”
Pompeo said he wonders about the jobs in the natural gas and coal industries that have been lost due to the government’s support of the wind industry, for example.
“I like wind, but the prediction of doom and gloom is overstated,” he concluded in an interview.