Eco-theocracy has swept America and Europe, resulting in governments devoting vast sums to build their Green Temples where “renewable energy” and “recycled materials” can be worshipped. High Priest Barack Obama advancing these themes in America often cited Spain as a nation that was leading the world in demonstrating how “green energy” could save the planet and grow the economy. As in the U.S., Spanish politicians from left to right rushed to expand government spending on these “noble” projects. President Aznar began all of this in 2004, launching the rapid development of renewables in Spain. Those programs were consolidated and expanded by subsequent governments led by President Zapatero. In the period from 2004 to 2011 expenditures on renewables grew rapidly, reaching €9 billion a year.
Zapatero’s Minister of Industry and Energy, Miguel Sebastian, was the first to reign in this program, in 2010. Sebastian acknowledges in his recent book The False Bonanza that in the midst of the economic boom:
Excited about [increased] economic activity and employment, we didn’t want to hear about the structural difficulties, of imbalances, or of sustainable growth.
Sebastian’s mea culpa regarding the renewables mandate: “We lost our minds with green energy.” The resulting excesses were partly to blame for the problems, including skyrocketing consumer prices that Spain’s electricity sector has recently experienced.
Witnessing these electricity cost problems led Sebastian to scale back payments to renewables, which in turn encouraged the next administration’s Ministry of Industry, Jose Manuel Soria, to axe the whole renewable program. In The False Bonanza, Miguel Sebastian criticizes over his own contribution to these “green investment” bubbles.
As Spain goes—can America be far behind? Still, perhaps their experience can encourage an earlier response to the fact that American politicians too, “have lost their minds.”