Alexander Calls for National Clean Energy Policy Instead of “National Windmill Policy”

July 29th, 2009 - WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today told the American Enterprise Institute that he “challenges … the idea that deliberately raising energy prices will somehow be good for job growth and the economy,” saying that “deliberately raising the price of energy through an expensive cap-and trade program drives jobs overseas looking for cheap energy.”

Alexander, a member of the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, said that our nation’s energy policy should accomplish several goals. It should create “green jobs” without sending “red, white, and blue jobs” overseas in search of cheaper energy; clean the air; reduce carbon emissions; keep “America … leading the world in creating new technologies”; prevent dependency on foreign nations for our energy needs; and avoid “energy sprawl" caused by renewable power such as wind and solar “occupying vast tracts of farmlands, deserts, and mountaintops with energy installations that ruin scenic landscapes.” The senator said that the Waxman-Markey bill passed by the House of Representatives accomplishes “none of these goals.”

“The Waxman-Markey bill started out as a bill to reduce carbon emissions in order to deal with climate change,” said Alexander. “It has ended up as a $100-billion-a-year energy tax nailed to a renewable mandate that will saddle consumers with expensive energy for years to come. Instead of a broad-based, national clean energy policy, Waxman-Markey has given us a narrow, expensive ‘national windmill policy.’”

“Instead of following this simple … strategy—to conserve energy and use our nuclear, gas and oil resources until we figure out how to make renewable energy work—the Obama administration wants to spend billions covering an area the size of West Virginia with wind turbines while it squirms uncomfortably at every mention of nuclear power.” Alexander pointed out that though wind energy makes up 1.3 percent of our nation’s electricity generation, “windmills are being subsidized at 30 times the rate of other renewables. So, instead of a clean energy policy or even a clean, renewable energy policy, what we have in practice is a national windmill policy.”

Alexander outlined his blueprint to build 100 new nuclear power plants in 20 years, which he said will “create jobs, lower utility bills and put the United States within the goals of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming by 2030 without the expensive cap-and-trade and renewable mandates passed by the House of Representatives.”