“Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.”
Folks, you are being treated like infants. While you are being robbed. Windmills and solar panels are not ‘innovative’, they exist only because some politicians have made icons of them and are wedded to the things as a result. Meaning so are all of us. But wind-powered electricity was commercialized in 1891. Solar cells were patented in 1888.
The modern solar cell was created in 1954. Jimmy Carter vowed to increase their subsidies in 1978, supported by promises that it would provide 20% of our electricity by 2000. It is still a fraction of one percent. Soooo close! And solar gets three pitches in the 2011 State of the Union address as some breakthrough waiting to happen. Sigh.
Coal-fired electricity was commercialized in 1882. Somehow it’s a dinosaur and the others are new. Please.
Windmills and solar cells to produce electricity are precisely, for all intents and purposes, as old or ‘new’ as coal-fired electricity, and as the automobile. Two of those four have succeeded spectacularly. And as a result are under assault by people who hate abundance, automobility, and otherwise freedom from reliance on them.
Those other two are dismal failures that cannot find markets and investors in a nation where the Snuggie and Vince the Sham-Wow guy did. That’s pathetic. And they and their enablers in Washington and state capitols snivel that they are ‘innovative’, just around the corner, ‘new technology’ and ‘nascent’ and therefore need welfare because otherwise they’ll go bankrupt.
The answer to that drivel is not only that you’re not new and being new does not in any way mean you therefore need welfare, but also: then go bankrupt. Because the rest of the sentence they didn’t tell you is that they’ll go bankrupt even if you do give them that wealth transfer. Just a little later. Until you give them their next one. They got bugs crawlin’ in their skin, man, can’t you see? They can stop any time they want but, just a taste, man, just a taste!
Windmills aren’t Sputnik, as he implies. They aren’t ‘big things’, as goes his closing line (unless you have to live near them…ask a Kennedy if there’s one at your viewing party).
They aren’t the internet, as he also risibly analogizes. The internet made people more efficient, allowed them to do more, to create more wealth with less. Windmills and solar panels are the opposite. They are woefully inefficient, are inherently less economic, would not exist but-for politicians deigning it be so, and in any other way do not deserve being in the same conversation with actual innovation like Silicon Valley’s. Except that if we had forced Silicon Valley to run on more expensive less reliable less efficient energy like that to which it is being analogized, it would have happened somewhere else.
Which brings me to something a colleague of mine says, made only more relevant by the current White House: do not despair, there will always be an America. It’s just that it may have moved to Asia.
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