Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy recently released a poll that purportedly shows great interest in Kansas for clean energy sources. Looking at the poll, however, leads to little confidence in its results.
Some of the results the poll produced are totally meaningless. For example: “Results show that most voters (almost two-thirds) think the price of coal will increase over the next 25 years.” Is this poll relying on Kansas voters as experts in coal futures? This result is probably more the result of the Kansas press repeatedly reporting the wishes of radical environmentalist groups.
The poll also asks questions that produce results like this: “88% of Kansans feel that it is important that Kansas become energy independent by developing natural gas and wind resources that already exist in the state.”
“Energy independent” sound like a good thing, doesn’t it? It conjures up the fear of the United States being reliant on Iran or Venezuela for its energy. But we’re not talking about enriching rogue countries. We’re talking about our neighbors in Colorado and Texas, for example. Have we declared a trade war with these states? We happily export beef, wheat, and airplanes to our neighboring states. What if Texas decided it didn’t want to be dependent on Kansas for airplanes?
One of the poll questions asks Kansans how important it is that Kansas’ electricity production in the future “will help stimulate the state’s economy and create jobs.” The poll question doesn’t state this, but it clearly alludes to the environmentalist lobby’s mistaken belief that a switch in energy policy will create thousands of “green” jobs and drive the economy forward. Jobs will be created, to be sure. But wealth and prosperity, which is what we really want, will not be created.
This green jobs myth is dangerous. Ask Spain. As reported in Green energy policies causing harm in Europe, each “green job” created in Spain cost $774,000. Academic Study Challenges Projections of Green Jobs provides additional information.
The same question asks Kansans whether it’s important that future electricity sources “can be provided at a long term fixed price.” The future cost of the renewable energy sources that GPACE supports — wind and natural gas, mostly — can’t be predicted. They are both already much more expensive than coal, and their future cost is unknown. This question may be alluding to the threat of taxes or caps on carbon emissions. These policies will affect natural gas power production too, although to a lesser degree than coal.
It is certain, however, that taxpayers will have to continue to subsidize wind power production, or it would not be used. But this poll didn’t ask a question like “should Kansas’ future energy policy include a power source that is so costly that it must be subsidized?”
The same question also asks if it’s important to produce energy in a way that doesn’t cause climate change. Who wouldn’t agree with that? The question, however, ignores important factors of cost. There’s also the realization that anything we can do in Kansas is virtually meaningless in the context of the entire world, as shown in KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual.
As reported in other stories here, GPACE has a history of asking misleading questions. The results of this poll may be read by clicking on Wind Energy, Net Metering, and Kansas Energy Sources.