The Cleantech Crash
Uncle Sam Is No Venture Capitalist
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  • Fred_Unger

    You might want to consider this counterpoint by some folks who actually know something about clean tech:

    • Andrew Allison

      What counter-point? The point which TAI makes is not that we shouln’t be investing in alternative erergy, but that the taxpayers shouldn’t be pickin up the tab. If the taxpayers fund a private comany, they should acquire ownership under the terms as a private venture capitalist.

  • bigfire

    Now that our Lord and Savior Barack H. Obama Jr. have been safely re-elected, the media can afford to be a wee bit critical of his administration. I’d be more impressed if this have come out in 2011 when it was already clear as day that this greentech ‘investment’ is just another campaign donation payback.

  • rheddles

    Rather than directly funding companies looking to peddle cleantech, we
    should be funneling taxpayer money towards the research and development
    of the technologies that undergird the industry.

    You mean like with tax breaks for carried interest?

    • Doug

      No, with cash subsidies for R+D. R+D is a public good, which is why the government should pay for a lot of it. I don’t understand what that has to do with carried interest.

      • rheddles

        R & D is a public good? Better recheck that SBIR contract.

        As far as I can see, too much of federal R & D is welfare for underutilized and unproductive PhDs.

        Carried interest means somebody made an investment in R & D and it paid off. The tax advantaged treatment is a way of funneling taxpayer money to successful R & D as opposed to spending money on whatever.

  • Fat_Man

    “we should be funneling taxpayer money towards the research and
    development of the technologies that undergird the industry. In other
    words, we should be developing more efficient solar panels”

    No we would be wasting our money on that. The efficiency of solar cells is irrelevant to assessing the viability of solar electricity. Read the following:

    “Cold weather causes surge in demand on Texas’ electric grid” By Bill Hanna and Jim Fuquay on Jan. 06, 2014

    * * *

    “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the electric grid in most of Texas, briefly issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 early Monday morning, the last step before rotating power outages would be implemented. ERCOT canceled the warning about possible outages shortly after 9:30 a.m.”

    * * *

    “ERCOT said demand for electricity today reached 55,486 megawatts between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. That’s short of the record winter demand of 57,265 on Feb. 10, 2011, which produced rotating outages, and lower than peak demand during last month’s run of low temperatures, said ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy.”

    * * *

    “ERCOT was asking residents to set their thermostats no higher than 68 degrees and turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances. It was also advising individuals not to run large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours — between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.”

    * * *

    Why does this prove that the efficiency of solar cells is irrelevant? Because during the peak demand hours the sun will not shine. On Jan 6, 2014, sunrise at Dallas was 7:30 AM and sunset was 5:36 PM. Meaning that the sun was below the horizon for all but 1.1 hours of the 7 peak demand hours. A solar system would be useless.

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