I’ve been attending Alternative Energy meetings, forums, and briefings for a couple years now. I also evaluate a number of business plans, such as for Ann Arbor SPARK’s Accelerate>>Michigan competition.
I’ve continued to shake my head over how many companies are building (or preparing to build) charging stations for PEVs (plug-in electric vehicles). One forecast selling >60,000 charging stations to municipalities within 3 years. That’s just one company.
And, GM plans building 45,000 of the units in ’12.
So it came as no surprise to read this article in today’s WSJ: Charging Stations Multiply But Electric Cars Are Few.
No surprise. As with all the green energy programs I’ve looked at thus far, they can only be ‘economically’ viable with the existence of massive government subsidy. Green seems to be defined by the color of (our) money more than anything else.
Some might wonder if I’m painting with an overly broad brush when I say ‘all.’ The answer, Nope. Here are just some of the ‘green’ programs I’ve looked at in the last 18-24 months, none of which are economically feasible (for business or the consumer) without dramatic government subsidy (e.g. some as high as 30% of overall costs):
- Residential building retrofitting
- Commercial building retrofitting
- Plug-in Electric Vehicles
- PEV charging stations
- Home charging stations
And, the list is just what I’ve attended presentations on. It is far from exhaustive yet begins to hint at the large amounts of taxpayers money the government is using; using to drive us toward something we do not yet want.
I do seriously commend the many individuals working hard to compete in each of these areas. Unfortunately they’re also in industries that cannot exist without being propped up by the government.
So, in the end, what is my take on this? There are, very, select cases where government backing is necessary until mass market is able to carry the ball on its own. However, what we are seeing under the current administration is akin to throwing spaghetti at the wall—and seeing what sticks.
This is not a case of government taking decisive action and moving the nation forward. This is a case of a lot of money being freely dispensed under popular guise (e.g. ‘green energy,’ ‘renewable energy,’ ‘alternative…’); without any clear plan; without any clear expectations for outcome’ and, without notable accountability.
Further, given the lack of professional objective journalistic (i.e. media) review, one might wonder at that industry’s own complicity. Most of what we hear about ‘green’ is exceptionally positive. It takes only a short peek under the covers to realize the greenest thing about green energy, is the greenback supporting it.
(photo credit: Petr Kovar)