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Gov., Former Sen. Brownback Incorrect on Promise, Economics of Renewable Energy

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Friday, September 9, 2011
Contact: Paul Chesser,

American Tradition Institute today called attention to the many fallacies in a column written by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and published yesterday in the Bloomberg Government newsletter (subscription required), in which the former U.S. Senator touted the “long-term benefits” and “job creation” ability of renewable energy, predominantly with wind power.

Apparently Gov. Brownback has overlooked the horrid results of efforts in recent years to spur the economy and employment with government renewable energy “stimulation” from taxpayer dollars. He wrote for Bloomberg, “Experience has taught us that investments in the renewable energy economy is creating jobs across all employment sectors, including construction, engineering, operations, technology and professional services, in both rural and urban communities.”

“Unlike most of his fellow Republicans, it sounds like the governor continues to support President Obama’s failed initiatives to create ‘Green jobs’ in a hopeless attempt to save the U.S. economy,” said Paul Chesser, executive director of American Tradition Institute.

The lessons of failure with government mandates in pursuit of a renewable energy economy are not hard to find. A Spain study showed for every alleged “green” job created in that country, 2.2 jobs were lost elsewhere. Now that nation is deeply in debt due to “investments” in renewables, and it cannot extract itself from its fix for fear of a banking crisis. Spanish newspaper La Gazetta reported in May of last year that “Spain admits green economy sold to Obama is a disaster.”

And American Tradition Institute released its own study in January that showed a potential federal renewable energy standard — like one co-sponsored by Gov. Brownback when he was a U.S. Senator — would have devastating economic consequences. For example, the study found that under the 15 percent federal renewable mandate proposed by then-Sen. Brownback’s “Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010,” the U.S. economy would experience a hit of as much as $528.8 billion over a 20-year period, and electricity prices for consumers would rise by as much as 11.3 percent.

Gov. Brownback also asserted in his Bloomberg piece that investments in renewables, especially wind power, show “you’re doing your part to protect the environment” and that “you will be able to meet your future energy needs.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

As shown in a study by BENTEK Energy, LLC and illustrated in a three-part series of short videos by ATI, wind energy — because of its intermittent nature — requires backup power generation from natural gas or coal. When those fossil-fueled generators are employed in that fashion, required to repeated ramp on and off in response to wind’s constant fluctuations, they pollute more than if they ran consistently on the electrical grid without the presence of wind.

Don Quixote and his Windmills

“Unfortunately Gov. Brownback and his advisers have not done their due diligence in investigating the serious problems with renewables mandates and wind power,” Chesser said. “All they need to do to discover that truth is to remove the mandates and massive government subsidies these alternative energy schemes enjoy, and let them stand or fall on their own.”

“Otherwise they will just delay the inevitable economic crash, while citizens get soaked with hidden taxes through government handouts and mysterious increases on their electricity bills.”

See ATI’s Study of the Effects of Federal Renewable Portfolio Standard Legislation on the U.S. Economy:

See ATI’s three-part series of short videos that explain why wind energy creates more pollution than it prevents:

For an interview with American Tradition Institute executive director Paul Chesser, call (202)670-2680 or email

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