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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Renewable energy fiasco

Renewable energy is quickly shaping up as a case study in how government takes difficult problems and makes them worse. From a WSJ news piece:

The U.S. government stimulus package passed in February promised to reinvigorate the renewable-energy industry with new capital and programs, but the prospect of large flows of government money to the industry is holding up private-sector investment.

New incentive programs haven't yet been defined, and uncertainty about program rules has deterred investors from backing companies that also may get government money. At the same time, companies are holding off from accepting private capital because of the possibility of getting it more cheaply from the government.

"It artificially slowed the recovery," Matt Cheney, chief executive of Renewable Ventures, the U.S. subsidiary of Fotowatio SL, a Spanish developer of renewable-energy projects, said of the stimulus plan.

Bureaucratic inertia is the ultimate renewable.

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