Saturday, March 17, 2012

When Ideology & Crony Capitalism Trump National Security

Nothing, not even Solyndra, can compare with the government intervention into algae based biofuels and the insidious use of our military to create a guaranteed market for those fuels. It is made doubly worse in that it comes at a time when Obama is in the process of defunding our military.

This from the Hill:

the Navy’s push to develop biofuels to run its fleet of planes and warships could devolve into a “Solyndra situation” for the Pentagon, a top Republican senator said today.

During Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) compared the now-bankrupt solar energy company, into which the White House sank $535 million in loan guarantees, to Navy-led efforts in alternative energy.

McCain hammered away at Navy Secretary Ray Mabus during the hearing over the Navy’s continued investment in biofuel technology.

The Navy has spent more than $400 per gallon for roughly 20,000 gallons of algae-based biofuel for testing, McCain said. [emphasis added]

That kind of substantial investment in green fuels, especially during a time of shrinking defense budgets, is simply unacceptable, he said. . . .

"I think that we cannot afford not to do this," Mabus told the committee. "We cannot afford to be dependent on a worldwide commodity that has the price spikes and the price shocks that we have." Further, the Navy's operations accounts will likely suffer as the service continues to deal with the constantly changing price of foreign oil, Mabus pointed out.

That said, the Navy would never purchase any kind of alternative fuel at $400 per gallon, according to the service secretary. The Navy would only start buying biofuels en masse if alternative energy firms could provide that fuel at a commercially competitive price, Mabus said.

But Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) pointed out that even at a competitive price, the Navy’s plan to use a “50/50 blend” of diesel fuel and a biofuel supplement would still cost $15 per gallon. Traditional JP-5 jet fuel used in the Navy’s fighter aircraft runs $4 to $5 per gallon on average, Inhofe said. . . .

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), a member of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, took Mabus to task in February over the service’s plans. “Shouldn’t we refocus our priorities and make those things our priorities instead of advancing a biofuels market?” Forbes asked at the time. Before Mabus could respond, the Virginia Republican took a clear shot at the secretary: “You’re not the secretary of the Energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.”

Mabus's claim about being dependent on foreign oil is simply ludicrous, given that our dependence is in large measure a function of the left's refusal to drill for our own natural resources. As to the "price spikes," how much would oil have to spike to make algae cost competitive with JP-4? Given that algae biofuel is at least four times as costly as oil, and given $100 a barrel oil prices today, that means that we would have to see oil spike in price by four times or more its current price in order for algae biofuel to start becoming cost competitive. There is no historic justification for that claim.

Of all the horrendous things the Obama administration has done, this is, to me, one of the most unforgivable. If Congress doesn't stop him, he will significantly weaken our military, even while he uses the military as the vehicle to create a market for incredibly cost inefficient algae biofuel.

1 comment:

Guy in Ohio said...

It's all about ideology with these people. Reality doesn't enter into the equation.