Political scholars use the term “baptists-and-bootleggers” to describe the coalitions of do-gooders and mercenaries that gather around such agendas. The pitch wouldn’t be complete without claims about how, with enough transmission (after all, the sun is always shining and the wind always blowing somewhere), renewables are a real answer to America’s energy needs, not just a costly indulgence.
Yet funny how the bootleggers’ interests are the only ones that end up being served. Notice, for instance, that though shale gas has done more than wind or solar to reduce America’s CO2 output by displacing coal, the green lobby has had to attack shale because it accentuates the high cost of wind and solar.
And now that Obama is back, so are the “green energy” tax write-offs.
Of course, it might be more accurate to say President Obama is back, and solar is riding his coattails. The fiscal-cliff deal extended an accelerated write-off for “renewable” energy investments and protects (at least for now) the Treasury’s “1603” program, in which taxpayers hand green developers 30% of their project costs in cash. Mr. Obama’s new Treasury chief will be Jack Lew, once a K Street lawyer for alternative energy interests.