Thomas Friedman continued his one man assault on the realities of world’s energy sector today. As part of a much larger attack on John McCain for missing some votes on energy legislation, Friedman writes:
Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits — which expire in December — to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile.
The genius of this paragraph is that it is so barely not false it does not merit a correction, but it is terribly misleading. Yes, on the margins some people will choose not to add solar panels to their home or business if these tax credits expire. But to say these decisions would “have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile” mocks reality.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) wind and solar contribute a combined less than 1% to our nation’s energy needs. Whether or not Friedman’s favored alternative tax credits get passed will not change that fact in any significant way.