Did Mitt Romney Just Embrace Solar And Wind Energy?

Mitt Romney

Photo: Getty

Mitt Romney’s energy policy whitepaper contains some subtle, curious items.The headline, as we reported earlier, is that he will seek to make the U.S. energy independent by 2020, partially by expanding drilling on federal lands and offshore.

But if you dig deeper, the document is far cry from “Drill Baby Drill.”

On p. 19, in the “Innovation” chapter, Romney’s camp endorses expanding solar, wind and other renewable forms of energy:

“Instead of distorting the playing field, the government should be ensuring that it remains level. The same policies that will open access to land for oil, gas, and coal development can also open access for the construction of wind, solar, and hydropower facilities. Strengthening and streamlining regulations and permitting processes will benefit the development of both traditional and alternative energy sources, and encourage the use of a diverse range of fuels including natural gas in transportation.”

What’s more, Romney says the the government should play an active in investing in new forms of energy:

“The federal government has a role to play in facilitating innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to investments in basic research that have produced breakthroughs to benefit entire industries.”

And he is in favour of maintaining the current renewable fuel standard, which calls for an increase to 36 billion gallons of renewable blend by 2022 from 9 billion gallons in 2008:

  • “Support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources by maintaining the RFS and eliminating regulatory barriers to a diversification of the electrical grid, fuel system, or vehicle fleet”

Romney has previously said he would oppose a one-year extension of a tax credit for wind energy. So how does he square these two views?

Here, he is a bit more ambiguous:

“Instead of defining success as providing enough subsidies for an uncompetitive technology to survive in the market, success should be defined as eliminating any barriers that might prevent the best technologies from succeeding on their own.”

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