Blowing My Own Horn

Because no one else will. Me, in October:

I’m going to make a prediction right now. We’ve endured a .com bubble and a housing bubble. Bubbles are, unfortunately, inevitable in a free market.

I predict that the next big bubble is going to be alternative energy. Billions of dollars are going to be sunk into untenable technologies. Millions of jobs will be wasted on useless endeavors. There’s nothing wrong with this — so long as it’s the private sector and not the government — creating the bubble. But when governments doing it, we will get a catastrophe on par with the housing crash we’re experiencing now.

Now, the American Spectator has discovered the bleeding obvious:

You can see in all this the essence of how government meddling promotes economic meltdowns. What happened with the subprime debacle? The federal government became obsessed with the idea that home ownership was good for everyone. It subsidized mortgages among people who couldn’t afford them, assuming some of the risk itself and forcing banks to take on the rest. Pretty soon the whole thing comes crashing down, carrying the rest of the economy along with it.

What’s happening with alternate energy is the same thing. Governments have assumed that windmills, solar collectors, and biofuels are the wave of the future. Therefore the only logical course is to hasten that future by subsidizing it and forcing utilities to adopt it ahead of schedule. What’s lost in this is that windmills are producing almost no useful electricity and will become a huge drag on the economy — just as biofuels have done nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and have just led to hundreds of millions in wasted investments.

But it’s a stimulus! Oh, and then there’s this:

Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill after touring the solar panel installation on the roof of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

But as nice as those panels look, just how practical are they? Well, the Denver Business Journal looked into the project last summer and found that the 465 panel 100-kilowatt installation cost $720,000 and will produce about 130,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. According to the Journal, electricity from the solar array will replace between 2 and 12 per cent of the museum’s electricity demand. In fact, an internal museum report says the solar panels will supply only 1 to 2 percent of the museum’s electricity needs.

It will take 110 years to pay for itself.

110 years.

Green jobs, my aching ass.

One thought on “Blowing My Own Horn”

  1. Green jobs are a bit of a canard, even if you accept the claims at face value. When we say that green energy will create jobs, what we mean is that in order to produce the same amount of energy with green energy sources, we will have to employ more people, as compared to now. That’s not an argument in favor of green energy; it’s a strike against it. It may well be that the benefits of shifting to green energy (or the consequences of not doing so) make it worth doing anyhow, but all the jobs that will (theoretically) be created are not among those benefits; they are costs.

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