Posts Tagged ‘technology commercialisation’

Subsidy madness in the name of environmentalism is unsustainable

July 6, 2012

I don’t believe in subsidies.

In over 30 years in power generation I have yet to see a convincing case of public subsidies in the market place actually helping to commercialise new technologies. I have seen cases where Government support at the research stage has helped to bring new areas into focus and which has eventually led to commercially driven investments which have deployed the technology. But temporarily distorting the market place by means of public subsidy is unsustainable and does not – in itself – help to make a new technology commercially viable. In fact an artificially distorted market in favour of a new technology only helps to cuccoon and insulate it such that there is no incentive left to make it competitive. Subsidies shift the focus from technology development to  subsidy maximisation and when subsidies begin to be removed all creativity is wasted on prolonging subsidies.

The case of subsiding the market place for the deployment of renewable energy is a case in point. Developing technology for wind and solar power is desirable but distorting the market place to deploy wind and solar is just plain stupid and unsustainable.

1. Der Spiegel

Solar subsidies cost German consumers billions of dollars a year and are widely regarded as inefficient. Even environmentalists are concerned that Berlin’s focus on solar comes at the detriment of other renewables. But the solar industry has a powerful lobby, and politicians have proven powerless to resist.

…… A new study by Georg Erdmann, professor of energy systems at Berlin’s Technical University, reveals just how far Germany’s current center-right governing coalition — made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) — has strayed from its own self-imposed goals. Erdmann has calculated the effects that the latest changes to the EEG will have between now and 2030. He believes that subsidies for renewable energy, including an expansion of the power grid, will saddle energy consumers with costs well over €300 billion ($377 billion). ….

2. BBC News

Fight on for wind power subsidies

Wind power firms warn they may take the government to court if they get caught in a political row over subsidies. After conducting technical studies, the energy department proposed a subsidy cut of 10% for power from onshore wind. But the chancellor is under pressure from back-benchers to scrap subsidies, and is said to favour a 25% cut.

The industry body, Renewable UK, says it may take legal action if the government makes a decision that overrides its own technical evidence. … 


California’s Green Suicide

New economic impact study on California’s Global Warming Solutions Act finds that the average California family will end up paying an additional $2,500 annually by 2020. In addition, the state is expected to lose an additional 262,000 jobs, 5.6 percent of the gross state product, and a whopping $7.4 billion through decreased annual state and local tax revenues as a result.

The California Manufacturers and Technology Association released a new report last week that suggests costs associated with AB 32 may be a lot higher than previously estimated. AB 32, otherwise known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger- propelling California to the forefront in the fight against global warming. Successful passage of the law effectively turned the state into one of the most stringent regulators of green house gas emissions in the nation and globally. Some would argue that the move all but eliminated California’s competitive edge in today’s market. ……

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