Even Karl Rove supports wind energy. Will Romney get on board?

An old style windmill is pictured with newer and larger wind turbines in the background, at a wind farm near Milford, Utah May 21, 2012.
An old style windmill is pictured with newer and larger wind turbines in the background, at a wind farm near Milford, Utah May 21, 2012.
George Frey / Reuters

Karl Rove threw his support behind renewing wind energy tax credits during an appearance at the annual Windpower 2012 conference in Atlanta. Rove called the renewal of the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) a “priority.”   

“My hope is that after the election people say, look, let’s start making some priorities and find some things that we can agree on, and maybe one of them is the production tax credit,” Rove said, according to a round-up released by the American Wind Energy Association.

Rove, an adviser to former president George W. Bush and the founder of the American Crossroads super PAC, is in line with his party in making such comments. Republicans generally support an extension of the credit. Rove suggested that even conservative Republicans could get behind PTC if they can recognize “this means jobs to my district and a resource we’ve got plenty of.”

Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney, though, has yet to take a position on PTC, and his general comments on renewable energy are perhaps best characterized by his continued hammering of the government’s role in Solyndra, a failed solar company.


Bloomberg points out that Romney’s comments on renewable energy have maintained a scornful, or at least skeptical, edge.

That echoed comments he’s made elsewhere. “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy,” Romney said in a March 5 editorial in the Columbus Dispatch. “This vision has failed.”

He’s pledged to amend the Clean Air Act to exclude greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that scientists say causes global warming and would shift renewable-energy funding to basic research instead of subsidies for power projects.

Romney’s demonstrated energy policy thus far has emphasized oil and drilling more often than renewable energy solutions. For example, in an early general election TV ad, Romney promised on his first day in office to approve the Keystone Pipeline project, a favorite of Congressional Republicans. The Environmental Protection Agency has raised concerns about the environmental impact of the project. 

The Romney campaign website offers a clear indication of the candidate’s priorities where there is no “environment” listed under his top issues, but only an “Energy” tab. (The Obama-Biden site lumps the two issues together under “Energy and the Environment.”)

From the Romney campaign site:

Unfortunately, the first three years of the Obama administration have witnessed energy and environmental policies that have stifled the domestic energy sector. In thrall to the environmentalist lobby and its dogmas, the President and the regulatory bodies under his control have taken measures to limit energy exploration and restrict development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs….

As the Obama administration wages war against oil and coal, it has been spending billions of dollars on alternative energy forms and touting its creation of “green” jobs. But it seems to be operating more on faith than on fact-based economic calculation. The “green” technologies are typically far too expensive to compete in the marketplace, and studies have shown that for every “green” job created there are actually more jobs destroyed. Unsurprisingly, this costly government investment has failed to create an economic boom.