Wow. Just wow. Just when you thought Rush Limbaugh couldn’t possibly be any stupider (as most of you know, his vile, disgusting and misogynistic comments on Sandra Fluke have worked out so well for him), he decided to double down on the dumb.
The problem with the Chevy Volt [the reason Limbaugh started his alternative energy rant in the first place] is just like all of Obama’s green energy, there’s no business there yet. There’s no solar energy business yet. There’s no wind energy yet. It’s not there yet. But we can’t have more oil. We can’t have cheaper gasoline prices.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the actual clip of the remarks for your listening pleasure (it’s only 16 seconds, but you’ll be gobsmacked at the amount of stupid packed into such a short time):
Now those of us who have listened to Rush practically at the beginning know that he has made his living being mendacious, angry and crude, but the fictional Snerdley should have warned him how ridiculous the above statement was.
Let’s start with our personal passion, the solar energy industry.
1. There’s no solar energy business yet.
Really, Rush? Really? Did Snerdley not alert you to this study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Greentech Media? Or this announcement by Rhone Resch? Or this report from The Solar Foundation, which reports that there were more than 100,000 jobs in the American solar industry as of August 2011? Is that enough evidence for you that not only does the solar industry exist, but that it’s one of the few bright spots in an otherwise painfully slow recovery?
How about these facts from our friends at SEIA:
- The U.S. solar market grew to a $6 billion industry in 2010, up 67% from $3.6 billion in 2009.
- Solar electric capacity installations reached 956 MW in 2010, more than double the installations from 2009.
- At year end 2010, the U.S. had 2,593 megawatts (MW) of installed solar electric capacity. This included about 2,086 MW of photovoltaics (PV) and 507 MW of utility-scale concentrating solar power.
- Solar water heating capacity grew 5% in 2010, as 2.4 million square feet of solar water heating capacity was installed at homes and businesses throughout the country.
I don’t know about you, but that sure as heck sounds like an industry (and a thriving one at that) to me. Rush, you should have done some homework so you didn’t sound like quite such an idiot.
2. There’s no wind energy yet.
My colleagues over at Windpower Engineering and Development could probably speak to this more effectively than I can, but here are some of the stats on Limbaugh’s “non-industry,” courtesy of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):
- The fourth quarter of 2011 saw 3,444 MW of wind power capacity installed, bringing total installations in 2011 to 6,810 MW.
- The U.S. wind industry now totals 46,919 MW of cumulative wind capacity through the end of 2011.
- There are over 8,300 MW currently under construction involving over 100 separate projects spanning 31 states plus Puerto Rico.
- The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity over the past 4 years, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined.
- Today, U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20% of the world’s installed wind power.
- The U.S. wind industry represents not only a large market for wind power capacity installations, but also a growing market for American manufacturing.
- More than 400 manufacturing facilities across the United States. make components for wind turbines, and dedicated wind facilities that manufacture major components such as towers, blades and assembled nacelles can be found in every region.
Add to that the nearly 75,000 jobs currently in the wind industry, and you can see that Rush yet again proves to the world that he won’t let facts get in the way of a good lie.
3. But we can’t have more oil. We can’t have cheaper gasoline prices.
This is a common complaint amongst conservatives: If we just opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. coastline (which Obama has, in fact, done) or processed shale oil, we could rid ourselves of the scourge of being dependent of foreign nations for our energy supplies.
This, of course, is a straw man and ignores the central fact of oil production (and, by extension, gas prices). When the United States or any other country extracts oil and puts in on the market, it doesn’t stay in the country of origin. So no matter how much oil the United States produces (unless we happened to be sitting on oil reserves like Saudi Arabia or Venezuela — the evidence suggests we are not), it wouldn’t lower the price of gas one bit.
Our oil would be swept up into the international oil market, where the prices are still controlled (in large part) by OPEC and speculators on the commodities markets. Extracting more oil wouldn’t bring down gas prices, no matter how much Limbaugh and his friends want it to — and there would be significant environmental dangers instead (as we found out to our own detriment two years ago).
So what have we learned from this, apart from the fact that Senator Al Franken may have been right? We’ve learned that we need to be ever-vigilant as the solar industry, and when people lie about us, we need to fight back — and fight back hard.
I would request that all of you take a minute of your time to email Rush (his email address is the ever-so-modest ElRushbo@EIBnet.com) or post a comment on his Facebook page, letting him know (rationally and politely, please) that the solar industry not only exists, but is alive and well in this country — and we won’t take his lies lying down.