Fox's Varney Falsely Claims "Virtually Nothing" Has Come From Wind, Solar Subsidies
Research ››› ››› KAREN FAMIGHETTI
On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that subsidies for wind and solar power have resulted in "[v]irtually nothing." In fact, reports show that wind and solar power are rapidly growing sources of electric power in the United States.
Stuart Varney Dismisses Benefits Of Wind And Solar Subsidies
Varney: "We've Had Subsidies For Wind And Solar For What, 30 Years, At Least? What Have We Got For It? Virtually Nothing." From The O'Reilly Factor:
VARNEY: We've had subsidies for wind and solar for what, 30 years at least? What have we got for it? Virtually nothing. Spent a fortune on it. Nothing has come out of it, except the irrational pricing of energy. America should stop hating oil. I love oil. It kept us free. We can get outside, drive our cars wherever we want to go, with whomsoever we wish to travel. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/25/11]
Wind, Solar Energies Continue To Grow At Record Pace
Energy Information Administration: "Wind Power Has Been The Fastest-Growing Source Of New Electric Power Generation For Several Years." According to data from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA), "[w]ind power has been the fastest-growing source of new electric power generation for several years." The EIA further stated:
In 2009, generation from wind power increased 33.5 percent over 2008, bringing the share of total generation to 1.9 percent. This followed year-over-year generation gains of 60.7 percent in 2008, 29.6 percent in 2007, and 49.3 percent in 2006 (See the "Electric Power Annual" Table ES.1). Wind capacity in 2009 totaled 34,296 megawatts (MW), as compared to 24,651 MW in 2008. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011]
- The EIA also included the following graphic showing the ascent of wind generation versus capacity:
[U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011]
Solar Energy Industries Association: "2010 Was A Banner Year For The Solar Energy Market In The United States." In its "US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010" report, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that "2010 was a banner year for the solar energy market in the United States." SEIA continued:
In contrast to U.S. GDP growth of 2.8%, the U.S. solar market grew 67% in value in 2010. Not only did the market expand greatly, but it showed substantial diversity across market segments, geography, and technologies. Solar is growing quickly across the U.S. at the residential, commercial, and utility scale levels. It is powering and heating buildings in all fifty states, and using a variety of technologies to do so. The rapid growth and unique diversity has made the U.S. market a focus of global industry attention for the first time in many years. In 2010, the U.S. solar market grew to reach $6.0 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2009.
2011 will be a pivotal year for the U.S. PV market. While installations in the U.S. are likely to double the 2010 total, the global market will experience slower growth. As a result, much of the global PV industry is turning its eye toward the U.S. with great expectations. On the whole, the demand picture for the U.S. market appears strong. Project financing remains available at attractive terms for some projects, new markets are emerging and showing strength, and incumbent markets continue their rise. [Solar Energy Industries Association, "US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010," 3/10/11]
SEIA CEO: "This Remarkable  Growth Puts The Solar Industry's Goal Of Powering 2 Million Homes Annually By 2015 Within Reach." The day SEIA released its "Year-in-Review 2010" report, the organization's president and CEO, Rhone Resch, stated:
"This report shows that solar energy is now one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, creating new opportunities for both large and small businesses. Every day, Americans across the country are going to work at well-paying, stable jobs at solar companies, from small installers all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.
"This remarkable growth puts the solar industry's goal of powering 2 million homes annually by 2015 within reach. Achieving such amazing growth during the economic downturn shows that smart polices combined with American ingenuity adds up to a great return on investment for the public. The bottom line is that the solar energy industry is creating tens of thousands of new American jobs each year." [Solar Energy Industries Association, 3/10/11]
EIA: The U.S. Solar "Industry Hit A Record High In 2009." According to an EIA report released in January, "The U.S. photovoltaic (PV) industry hit a record high in 2009, shipping nearly 1.3 peak gigawatts of cells and modules. This represents a nearly 30-percent increase from 2008." The report further stated:
With overall shipments of 1,282,560 peak kilowatts of cells and modules in 2009, the PV industry saw increases in shipments from existing companies as well as new companies entering the PV market. The number of active PV manufacturers and/or importers that ship PV cells and modules increased 53 percent, from 66 companies in 2008 to 101 companies in 2009.
In addition, several manufacturers are planning to introduce new photovoltaic-related technical products in the next calendar year. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011]