WSJ 13 November 2017 “My Kingdom for a Renewable Energy Source” By Lee E. Ohanian and
In the referenced article, Ohanian and Temzelides point out that in 1894 The London Times wrote that horse dung, from their primary source of transportation at the time, would soon create an environmental crisis. The New York problem of 100,000 working horses created about 2.5 million tons of manure each day. What to do?
If government had stepped in to pick winners and losers, they would have push steam power engines, the only known mechanical engine of the time. Industries would have risen in response to government subsidies, but the world would not have had the internal combustion engine as soon as it did, which, of course, was the right solution for the dung-dumping horse problem. That solution came from private enterprise, the free market.
But in our day, government is pushing solutions for us. Are they the right ones? Solar doesn’t run well when the sun is down, which is when much of our electricity is needed. Same for the early mornings. Wind in most areas causes the same problem. Germany is now building new coal plants to solve the load following problem of over reliance on wind. So much for carbon reduction.
The International Energy Agency reports $100 billion are spent on renewable subsidies world-wide…each year! Don’t forget Obama’s Solyndra debacle in which you paid $535 million.
Bjorn Lomborg of The Copenhagen Consensus has long advocated spending our scarce resources on pure research to help private companies move forward on solving our energy problems. The Biz Bucks Guy has agreed in many of these posts.
In their final paragraph, Ohanian and Temzelides make it clear, “Nearly have century of subsides has not delivered the next energy revolution. The great manure crisis of 1894 suggests a far better way to advance clean, affordable and safe energy: open competition on a level playing field.
Dung is still piling up, but it’s not from horses’ waste, it’s from the waste of your tax dollars. Let markets work!