Why governments need to step back from green energy and focus on economic growth.
We need to let a bad idea die even if it has good intentions. Governments often don’t have the incentive to kill ideas and programs that aren’t producing intended results. Election cycles and social movements will often dictate initiatives of the parties and most will fall short of their intended result. Good ideas and technology don’t require government help, they will succeed because they are an improvement over the current model of operation. Interference from government bodies on things like energy pricing and modes of delivery has proven to cause a less competitive environment. A side affect of this could be less drive for innovation and could slow down the process to a greener energy market.
I feel the need to clarify at this point that I am a full supporter of renewable and alternative forms of energy, as well as fossil fuels. I think that the idea that these are mutually exclusive is false and leads to a narrow view the ingenuity that humans show. I have spent a great deal of time listening to different points of view about energy in the future and the only conclusion I can come up with is that technology and freedom are key. Articles like “Clean energy’s dirty secret” from the economist and people like Alex Epstein have pointed out some the road blocks faced by the Clean Energy Movement.
Wind and Solar are not new ideas, they have been around for several decades and have failed to make substantial contributions and require massive support from government initiatives. The more that governments get involved with energy markets the more innovation is driven out. Clean energy movements are not going to stop anytime soon but they will need some huge break throughs to solve the problems they face like intermittency, energy storage and infrastructure design. These problems will only be solved with technological innovation, and free markets have shown time and time again to foster innovation better markets with government interference. The incentives for cheaper cleaner energy already exist to consumers with out inefficient government programs. Don’t get me wrong governments serve a very important purpose of ensuring that the companies are following the rules and guidelines set out to protect the environment but that’s were it should end. Governments need to referee the game and not play in it.
Take for example the return on investment that you can see from things such as the carbon xprize. A contest sponsored by NRG energy and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance handing out $20-million in prize money to new innovations. Huge innovations are coming from this contest and making their way right into industry with minimal cost to current economies. The world is changing and as people become more connected and technology advances at break neck speeds governments need to simply foster human innovation. Great ideas are coming from everywhere and they need to be fostered by governments not driven away with regulation.
I know that this article may just be another kick at an already dead horse, most people have made up their minds on this issue and don’t need any more redundant talk or they only want to hear what supports their point of view. Living in Alberta, loving nature and the outdoors as well as working in the oil in gas industry seems to leave me no option but to follow this subject daily. Technology and innovation need freedom more than anything else, there was never programs to phase out type writers. The laptop I wrote this on took over from type writers for obvious reasons, when technology answers problems in society there is no stopping it. Government involvement will only hinder its innovation as its proven to do time and time again. When given the freedom to innovate, Clean Energy will clear the hurdles in front of it and when that happens there will be no stopping it, well that’s my opinion for what its worth.