The Danger of “Clean Energy”

By Paul Gipe

When clean energy doesn’t mean what you think it does.

On 2 August I posted a piece on the 2016 Democratic Party Platform in response to its frequent use of the ambiguous, focus-group derived term “clean energy. I warned then, as I have repeatedly since this term was created—and it is a coined term—that it is deliberately misleading.

The platform uses the term clean energy 14 times versus the use of the more descriptive term “renewable energy.”

I warned then that the term clean energy can be used by establishment Democrats to also mean nuclear power and “clean” coal. Most of the rank-and-file Democrats and independents who support the party think that clean energy means wind and solar energy. It doesn’t.

To help me prove my point, New York State passed its Clean Energy Standard at the very time I was writing my commentary on the platform. Surprise, environmentalists were railing against the decision by the state’s Public Service Commission to include $500 million per year in payments to the state’s aging nuclear plants.

The state passed a “clean energy standard,” not a renewable energy standard, itself the new derived term for what was once called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

Advocates asked for a clean energy standard. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would provide a clean energy standard. And, he did.

You get what you ask for.