Sunday, May 19, 2013
Oil-driven protectionism kills solar energy worldwide
A couple of decades ago, Big Oil and GM killed the electric car (EV1). Now, BO is killing the solar energy industrial - globally.
For over a decade, China's aggressive push for the renewable energy industry has resulted in a glut of solar energy products whose supply has outstripped demand. My question here is whether the supply is too high or the demand is too low?
Considering that humanity must wean itself of dependency on oil, the demand for alternative energy should be almost infinite, as long as the supply is affordable, and the mass production in China has made it more than affordable. Unfortunately, the Western powers have slapped heavy tariffs and duties on Chinese-made solar panels to keep the prices high in the N. American and European markets, to the point of pricing solar energy out of reach of the average consumer. This has caused the demise of major sectors of the Chinese solar industry.
The excuse for the tariff is "unfair trade practices", citing heavy subsidy by the Chinese government to promote the Chinese solar industry, thereby out-competing the Western solar industry. On the other hand, while there is some subsidy in the U.S. for the American solar industry, the lion's share of U.S. energy subsidies go towards the oil industry, thus keep gasoline prices relatively low and solar energy products relatively high, which of course is not conducive to Americans switching from oil to solar.
I don't see this happening with other Chinese products. Thus the reason is pressure from the oil industry.
A wise and courageous government would shake off the yoke of Big Oil, match the Chinese by transferring all subsidy into renewable energy, thus lowering the price of American-made solar panels, rather than raising the price of Chinese-made solar panels. Thus, the American people would switch from oil to solar on their own accord.
All in all, the global consumer prices solar energy remain sky high, the Chinese solar energy industry is stagnated, and Big Oil continues to sit on the throne, a throne in the master state-room of the global energy and environmental Titanic.
For more reading:
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)