The White House held a “Solar Summit” Thursday, continuing to promote subsidies for solar panels just days after a new nonpartisan government report showed restrictions of drilling on federal lands.
The Energy Department announced another $15 million in “solar market pathways” to fund local governments’ use of solar energy. Further, the administration announced at the summit plans for a “Capital Solar Challenge,” directing federal agencies, military bases and other federally subsidized buildings to use solar power.
Solar power took a severe public relations hit after the politically connected California-based Solyndra solar power maker collapsed after getting $600 million from the Department of Energy. But on Thursday, the White House stood firm.
“As part of the president’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, solar energy is helping families and businesses throughout the U.S. access affordable, clean renewable power,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. “The Energy Department is committed to further driving down the cost of solar energy and supporting innovative community-based programs – creating more jobs, reducing carbon pollution and boosting economic growth.”
But a report by the Congressional Research Service found that “all of the above” might not include a commitment to drilling, despite the administration taking credit for the increased oil and gas production overall despite a big uptick in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on private lands.
Oil production has dropped by 6 percent on federal lands and natural gas production has declined by 28 percent with fewer drilling permits from 2009 to 2013. During that same period, fracking helped lead to an increase of 61 percent on private and state-owned property, while gas production increased 33 percent.
The Solar Summit at the White House to promote a product that survives on government subsidies contrasts perfectly with the CRS findings on a product that is “market inspired,” said William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“It is really depressing when you compare government’s posturing on oil and gas, which Americans want, but the Obama administration wants to inhibits, with solar,” Yeatman told TheBlaze. “They are continuing to throw good money money on green energy. They want to prohibit energy that works and subsidize energy that doesn’t work.”