Renewable Fuels: A Conspiracy Theory

By August 23, 2007Energy

Below we write about the renewable fuels portfolio mandate that passed the House and the broader issue of economic development incentives.

The renewable fuels mandate — 15 percent from alternative sources like wind, solar, biomass — would hit the southeastern states particularly hard; geography works against them, and they simply cannot produce that much alternative energy.

We wonder. The southeastern states are succeeding more than any other region in attracting good manufacturing jobs — the automative industry being the prime example. There are many reasons: They’re right-to-work states, labor costs are generally lower, proximity to markets, and energy is competitive.

Perhaps policymakers in the regions that are losing out — the Northeast and parts of the Midwest — have decided to change the balance of power. They want to succeed not by becoming more competitive themselves, but by making the Southeast less competitive. Push a big increase in the cost of energy to manufacturers, and the southeastern states become less attractive.

Not a wise strategy in a global economy with fierce competition, but within the realm of possibility…right?

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