Subsidizing Stupid

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN January 25, 2013

I don't want to buy any windmills and I don't want to buy any solar panels. Most especially though - I don't want to pay for other people to buy them either. But my government is taking my money and giving it to them. I don't like that. I don't like it one bit. If hippie greenies are foolhardy enough to pay more for their heat and electricity because it's "green," they're free to do that. It would be none of my business as long as I didn't have to pay for their silliness.
I don't want to buy an electric car either - and I don't want to pay for other people to buy them. But again, my government is taking my money and giving it to people who manufacture those cars - and more of my money to still other people who buy them. I don't like that. It annoys me greatly.

There are lots of reasons why windmills don't cut it as a power source, but the biggest is this: calm days. Sometimes the wind doesn't blow. Sometimes it doesn't blow for several days running. Ergo, no electricity. Whatever activities require it are not possible until the wind blows again whenever that may be. Sailboats have the same trouble; that's why they're only used for recreation now.

Here's why solar panels don't cut it: the sun doesn't shine at night and days are often cloudy. What do we do on calm, cloudy days? We have to use the good old coal, oil, or natural gas generators. We have to keep that whole infrastructure in place and maintained on calm, cloudy days. Hippie greenies haven't solved those problems and probably never will, but that doesn't stop them from voting for "green" politicians who siphon money from my pocket to pay for their ridiculous notions.
There's yet another major problem with windmills: When the wind blows hard for a day or two, the power generated - which the electricity utility is forced by government to buy at above-market rates no less - could burn up the whole grid causing extensive, long-term blackouts! Because of this, Maine utility companies have to spend $1.4 billion to beef up transmissions lines against those windmill surges driving up their transmission rates by 19.6% as of July 1, 2012. Transmission costs are about half my total monthly electric bill here in western Maine. In spite of enormous, long-term government subsidies - money from me and you, that is - windmills remain the most expensive way to generate electricity by far, and there's nothing on the horizon to indicate that will ever change.

I have a generator to use when the grid shuts down, but I don't want to generate my own power because it's cheaper and more reliable to buy it from Central Maine Power (CMP). However, even when I send checks to CMP each month, much of that money goes to greenies and their windmills. That's because CMP is forced by government to buy excess power from their windmills whether it's needed or not and at inflated price as well! That means self-righteous hippie greenies can buy power at market rates when the wind doesn't blow - and sell it at above-market rates when it does. This infuriates me.

I don't want ethanol in my gasoline either, but I cannot buy gasoline that doesn't contain it. Hippie greenies have forced that on me too. Worse, government is making me pay for ethanol even though it costs more than gasoline - and I get less energy from it. I have to pay for its subsidies in my taxes and I have to pay for it again when I pump it into my gas tank. I know government does dumb things, but I especially hate it when it forces me to cooperate in its stupidity. We've known since at least 2005 that it takes at least 29% more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than you get from it when you burn it. Worse still, it damages small engines like my chainsaws, lawnmowers, four-wheelers, generators, and every other small gasoline engine most of us have. Can we please, please stop this ethanol craziness? Please?

Maine's Governor LePage is negotiating with Quebec Hydro to buy cheaper, more reliable electricity, but his biggest opponents are the hippie greenies who want to keep their windmill gravy train rolling here. Since the November election, they're back in control of Maine's legislature and likely to thwart LePage's efforts. Greenies love President Obama because he wasted somewhere between $80 billion and $90 billion of taxpayer money on "Green Energy" development, while doing his best to shut down cheaper, more reliable, more dependable sources of energy from fossil fuels.


Looks like I'll be forced to subsidize all this greenie government foolishness for the next several years at least. Sometimes I wish I were as stupid as they are, because then it wouldn't all piss me off so much. Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.  Email him at


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