Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line
about some recent events in the quest for green energy. On Friday, the Huffington Post
reported that the lithium-ion batteries in the Chevy Volt have caught fire after being involved in crash tests. The fires did not occur immediately–in one instance the car was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Google has abandoned its quest for running its data center entirely on green energy.
The article reports:
Meanwhile, Google has quietly abandoned an alternative energy program that it launched with great fanfare just two years ago. Google’s “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal” project featured all the hallmarks of the pie-in-the-sky energy mongers, especially the “it’s-just-around-the-corner” trope. Google’s green energy czar at the launch, Bill Weihl, predicted that renewable electricity cheaper than coal would be achieved quickly: “In three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there.”
The article also reports on Google’s other investments in green energy:
“Google’s stakes in the wind farms are ‘tax equity’ investments, in which investors buy into a project and use federal tax credits granted to the project to offset their own taxes.”
Remember all the uproar from Occupy Wall Street about corporate welfare? This is what corporate welfare actually is–the government granting a tax break to a company that funds the government’s pet project. This is what crony capitalism is about. Taxes and government are being used to control the behavior of corporations. When you consider that many of the major investors in green energy companies are key players in Congress, this begins to look really ugly.
Green energy is a wonderful idea. I suspect we will see it actually work sometime in the near future. However, pouring government money into a technology before it is ready for prime time is not a wise move.