Fox's Stephen Moore Preemptively Debunked On Clean Energy By Video Affixed To His Column
Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
Fox News contributor Stephen Moore declared in a May 10 column that "[t]he green energy movement in America is dead," but a video airing directly above Moore's column on The Washington Times website makes clear that his characterization of the U.S. clean energy industry is blatantly false.
The video read from an April 27 article by Environment & Energy Publishing's ClimateWire titled "Strong Future Forecast for Renewable Energy," which pointed out that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) "forecasts renewable energy will be the fastest-growing power source through 2040." The video (and ClimateWire article) also noted that an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows "[n]ew investments in renewable energy rose from $9 billion in the first quarter of 2004 to $50 billion for 2015's first quarter," and that "the volume of installed photovoltaic systems in the United States has grown every year since 2000."
Moreover, the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 likely understates the growth that renewable energy sources will experience in the coming years. As Greentech Media reported in April, the EIA's annual forecasts "have long been criticized for failing to account for the real-world price declines and growth rates for wind and solar power," thereby "lowballing" their potential growth. Greentech Media further noted that the most recent EIA outlook does not account for the EPA's Clean Power Plan, the "single most important policy proposal" that could impact "the grid's future balance between fossil fuels and renewable energy." According to EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, a follow-up report accounting for the Clean Power Plan is expected to be released at some point in May.
In his column, Moore sought to bolster his attacks on clean energy by misrepresenting a different analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Moore egregiously distorted quotes from the IEA to falsely claim it "concedes that green energy is in fast retreat" and that the clean energy industry "is getting crushed" by low fossil fuel prices. But far from being in "retreat," the IEA actually stated that "[u]tility-scale solar PV and onshore wind are now competitive with electricity generated by new conventional power plants in an increasing number of locations," and "the cost gap between electricity from renewables and that from fossil fuels is narrowing."
From the IEA's Energy Technology Perspectives 2015, with the portions Moore quoted in bold:
While the recent drop in fossil fuel prices changes the short-term economic outlook of energy markets, using it to justify a delay in energy system transformation would be misguided in the long term. Short-term economic gains and delaying investment in clean energy technologies will be outweighed by longer-term costs. In fact, shifting to clean energy and achieving more efficient energy production and consumption can provide an energy security hedge against future market uncertainty. Deployment of innovative technologies that exploit clean domestic sources would reduce dependence on resources exposed to market price fluctuations.
Utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind are now competitive with electricity generated by new conventional power plants in an increasing number of locations. While the cost gap between electricity from renewables and that from fossil fuels is narrowing, fossil plants still dominate recent capacity additions.