Wow, seems I started a firestorm and got caught up in it myself. Let me apoligize for losing it.
Patb, thank you for your passionate insight and responses. I do not disagree with the need for alternative energy. I, in fact, am setting up solar cells on my roof (though it is a very small system to start). I also recognize my need for a hybrid for my daily travel. You have graciously pointed out several government wins. I would also point out that I did not object to military R and D for advanced technology. Your examples also show that the transfer of the military technology to the free market can be done without government subsidies for the products (except maybe the alternating current in the form of oil tax abatements for the power generation stations). I object to the government subsidizing a private industry (automobile manufacturers and oil companies).
This is not new technology as the electric car is ancient. The batteries may be a source of R & D funding, but to give preferential treatment to a specific car is crony capitalism at best and a poor business model as the article was pointing out. Maybe the Lex report is bogus, but no one can really predict the future. In the end we may ALL be wrong about the type of energy we use for transportation.
So let the market decide how well the sales of the EVs will go. The best that the government could do is to keep out of it and don't pass any stupid laws. Unfortunately they don't seem to understand that. They let free-run those things that should be regulated and regulate almost to death those things that should have free run.
Probably we can thank lawyers and lobbyists for the situation.
path, the longer that government can be prevented from applying mandates the better off everybody will be. Those unsound mandates, pressed forward primarily by lobbyists, are a source of a lot of the governments stupider laws. So how about nobody can pass any law that they don't understand, and that they have not considered the secondary effects of that law. Not to limit their lawmaking privileges, but rather to try to eliminate a bit of stupidity. There really does need to be a lot more logic and a lot less emotion in our legislatures.
This discussion has veered off the EV topic completely. None the less, government sponsered green energy is not going to answer our energy demands. Government has neither the knowledge nor the resources. Government subsidy only distorts the market forces and our country no longer has money to afford placing unassured bets. When a green energy technology proves itself cost effective the market will see to its success inspite of the government.
My first freshman engineering class in 1980 was a study of alternate energy sources. Green energy we call it today. So I have been following the subject with some interest for awhile. I don't profess to be an expert this is not my field, but I have no confidence in any of the green energy terchnologies that are in the forefront.
Solar panels may be good in the southwest but that technology will never supply significant energy to the northeast or the northwest. Winters are long and cold and when winter demand is peaking, the supply is poorest.
At best, wind and solar are supplemental. They are too irratic to supply reliable energy without storage technology that does not exist. Beacon Power spinning masses was actualy a joke wasn't it? Spinning mass kenitic energy megawatt storage, really? I always thought it was impractical, just with the inherent losses due to friction, had they not heard nature abors a vacuum. It made more sense to push the mass up a hill. But the kenitic joke took in a cool $24 million federal stimulus grant and a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy and then filed for bankruptcy protection. 67 million out of the treasury. And for what? The list of similar failured ideas/companies is long if not distinguished; Solyndra, Walker Components, etc, etc.
The government tried to invent heavier than air flight. They invested heavily. They had their hand picked favorites. They heavily financed multiple teams including a team led by the Smithsoian that was believed to be a "sure thing". Then two outsiders, brothers of meager means came along with their own independent concepts and achieved what the government backed teams could not. These bicycle builders invented the flying machine 110 years ago and their flight control concepts remain the basis of all fixed wing aircraft today, virtually unchanged. The energy issue is at least as challeging as heavier than air flight. Who in government do you trust to pick the winner?
I suspect a new energy technology will emerge in the not too distant future that addresses our needs but it ain't going to be wind or solar. In India they dry cattle dung and burn it for fuel. Ammonia fumes are given off that have been known to blind people.
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