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Should the feds subsidize green companies?

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User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 06/25/2010
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The WSJ reports on a debate over whether the US government should be investing in particular industries.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB2000142405274870468260457536925062513241...

The feds sank $!50M into an advanced battery plan in Holland, MI. Critics say this is a do-gooder waste of money at best, counterproductive pork barrel at worst. My 2c is that the government is constantly favoring particular industries, ranging from investment banks and car companies during the bailout to DOE and DOD funding of promising technologies as an SOP. Unless we're going to cut all the other guys off, I don't see a problem spending relatively modest amounts on businesses that are both energy efficient and possibly high-growth.

Anyone care to take issue with that?

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User offline. Last seen 3 years 19 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 07/16/2010
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Unfortunately, this is the system that was created and we are forced to function within it. As long as the Feds continue to subsidize grossly profitable fossil fuel enterprises, then yes, cleantech and renewable energy deserves equal benefit.

A better solution, in my opinion, would be to eliminate all subsidies and return to a true free market economy (won't happen in my lifetime). Enterprise that is dependent on subsidies and tax incentives is not sustainable. Let's observe the solar energy industry in Spain and see what we learn!

Joined: 12/02/2009
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Good point, Eric. Talking about Spain - their unemplyment rate is almost 20% and amongst the highest in the "developed" world. I agree that subsidies were granted, but did it fuel job creation? Isnt that what we are hoping to do with subsidies - to fuel job creation?

maybe the subsidies should be geared towards fueling innovation and then letting free market enterprise take over instead of focusing on job creation? If the innovation is feasible, it will lead to job creation and taxation...

Joined: 12/02/2009
Posts: 44
Points: 631

Stanley,

You have a valid question here. It is quite evident that there has been a lot of high-profile spending on dying business models such as investment banks and automobile industries. The way I look at it, it is these industries themselves who have put themselves in these situation by not changing with the times and as thy say, the Market has spoken and told them that we dont need you guys anymore.

But, instead of addressing their problems head on, they were pretty much given a blank check in order to kee doing what they have been.

On the other hand, I believe there has been a lot of news about spending on green technologies and job creation (see the linkage?). I subscribe to news from the DoE and ARRA and ARPA-E and get news flashes of all money that is being allocated. But what I am not able to assess is on what merit was thismoney awarded and was it the similar criteria used to evaluate the i-banks and auto industries?

Is there a co-relation to the amounts being allocated?

I also believe that Europe's innovation hasbeen spurred by massive spending and subsidzation by the governments there. The question is: WHAT would hapen WHEN it stops. Is the progress and innovation sustainable? Isn't this similar to what we saw with Airbus getting preferential treatment in EU?

Overall, I hope that the current spending is not stopped by us on green technologies.

OnGreen is a platform which can be used by communities to embrace greentech - i hope your message is heard by the right people very soon.

Your thoughts?