Texas Gov. Rick Perry is swimming upstream in his quest for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, primarily from his weak performances during several debates. To improve his odds, last Friday he gave his first policy speech, titled Energizing American Jobs and Security.
Energy is that important. And it is a breath of fresh air that Perry’s analysis and prescription is 180 degrees from President Obama’s government-knows-best approach to energy and energy/environment.
The Governor’s plan focused on four objectives that promise economic growth and numerous jobs in America. In Perry’s words:
A recent opinion-page editorial by a Ray Hankamer Jr. in the Houston Chronicle, Government as Referee for Society, espoused big government to promote basic protection in a modern society.
Such is the romantic view of government; the Good Government and We the People view of democracy where the body politic is all of us (not us versus them). But the real world is different from this all-to-common textbook view.
“Leave the market alone and it will self-regulate just fine.” “Stop taxing the people and let them spend their own money instead of letting the government take it and waste it on ‘meddlesome bureaucrats and business-stifling regulators.'” This is the viewpoint of the tea party and many Republicans. But wait a minute: How would such a philosophy really work if implemented?
In Solar Energy Tough Love, I described the perverse impacts of government industrial policy on the solar energy sector in its vainglorious attempt to choose winners and losers. That policy is failing, Solyndra aside.
The market gods hate to be trifled with, and they respond with thunderbolts and torment. Solar’s pain will continue until grid parity is reached. In the meantime, the solar energy sector must purge itself of government subsidies and address its weak financial performance.
So when I read the story in the trade press about SunPower’s wider Q2 losses I decided to get beyond the numbers to look at some of the market factors tormenting the solar business and holding back its true potential.
One key fact is that solar energy demand is up, but so are input costs for solar panels.