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ideas > Hawaii State Government, Renewable Energy, and Ridiculousness

Hawaii State Government, Renewable Energy, and Ridiculousness
Today (July 8, 2007), I read the following article in the Honolulu Advertiser: "Lingle wants government to use renewable energy". In this article there were many fanciful statements made that don't wash. One of my favorites is listed below. It shows the lack of economic intelligent that our elected officials have here in Hawaii. This statement was made by the DBEDT director, Ted Liu.

"The state must 'Lead by Example' in the efficient use of electricity and by purchasing electricity from renewable sources," said DBEDT Director Ted Liu. "We need to take a proactive stance to accelerate the use of renewable energy in order to gain all their potential benefits, such as lowered overall cost and reduced pollution, while creating local jobs."

I have several questions for Mr. Liu.

First, why do we need to take a proactive stance to accelerate the use of renewable energy? What is his justification? It is always easier for government to force consumers to use one kind of fuel over another, especially when they don't have to pay for it. The reason we use oil and gas in our economy is because it is the cheapest, easiest, and most efficient form of energy. It isn't the most pollution free, but it is the cheapest and most efficient form of energy we have right now. Sure the government can pass laws forcing us to use other energy sources, but these laws will cost us more money. And I don't see how using fuels such as ethanol is better than oil. It costs more and it uses a lot of water to grow it. What happens if there is a drought? Isn't it much safer and more cost-effective to continue to explore for oil, with over 90 percent of the ocean floors never having been explored for oil?

Second, what are all the potential benefits that we can gain from renewable energies? There really aren't many. You could say pollution would be less, but how much air pollution do we have in Hawaii? Very little, if any air pollution. The only benefit I can think of really is that we depend less of oil, but at an economic cost and at the risk of relying on a supply of energy that could be affected by adverse weather patterns. So is the tradeoff really worth it. We also would have to pay more for renewable energies.

Third, how exactly will renewable energies lower overall costs? And what overall costs are you referring to? Just because Mr. Liu says it is so doesn't mean it is so. This is typical government behavior to make a decree and people assume it is true. If renewable energy were cheaper, then don't you think we would already be using it here in Hawaii? We have no vested interest in oil companies here. But the truth is that renewable energy can't generate the amount of energy we need at an affordable price.

Fourth, how exactly will it create local jobs? It might create local jobs in areas such as growing sugar cane for ethanol, but since these things cost more than other forms of energy and that cost will be passed onto the consumer, then wouldn't it actually cause an overall loss of jobs in the whole scheme of thing.

Mr. Liu's little statements are typical of politicians and heads of government agencies, they are full of inconsistencies and half-truths and they are rarely ever questioned by the media who seemingly trusts these men and women who often do not have any experience (other than what they have seen on the news or some talk show or read in a magazine) about what they are talking about. What exactly are Mr. Liu's experiences in relation to renewable energy? Where does he get it from? The true costs of using renewable energy will be born by the citizens of this state. You want to pay more, then fine, pay more; but I want to pay less for energy and see no problem with burning fossil fuels here in Hawaii. Quit make my life more expensive here in Hawaii. I'd bet that Mr. Liu and others like him have air-conditioned homes and large cars. If they truly believed in their causes of renewable energy, they would get rid of these things and find better ways to be more efficient with their energy use.
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