• Waiting for Gore

      This week’s episode of Stossel (plug) will be on the energy “crisis”.

      Will windmills make us energy independent? I doubt it. I don’t even think that energy independence is necessary.

      But Al Gore, T. Boone Pickens, and most Americans think it is. Pickens will be a guest on the show. Gore will not, unless he changes his mind and calls the special green phone I created for him. I doubt that he will. Gore likes to talk. He doesn’t like to answer skeptical questions.


      Pickens spends lots of his own money on ads that claim America can become electricity independent by building more windmills and natural gas. He wants subsidies for that.

      I’m skeptical of subsidies, and in this week’s Forbes, Joann Muller provides one more reason to be skeptical:

      -- Among the goodies handed out by the Feds in 2009 was $2 billion of stimulus money to promote the manufacture of batteries for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The sweeping gesture was supposed to restart the economy and save the planet. President Obama wants to see 1 million plug-in hybrids on American roads by 2015.

      Now everybody wants to be in the battery business--a rush that threatens to create a glut of batteries …. Buoyed by matching grants and other government loan programs, six companies have announced plans to build or expand battery factories in the U.S., at a combined cost of $3.7 billion. There's another $3 billion of battery-factory building going on elsewhere on the globe, and for the same reason (government handouts)…
      Will there be buyers for that many electrified vehicles in 2015? Not likely.

      So will our already bloated government then step in to bailout the battery companies by offering even bigger subsidies? Probably.

      -- Big batteries are expensive. The one going into a plug-in hybrid like the Volt costs $14,000, estimates the National Research Council. So it's unlikely that plug-ins and all-electrics will take off without huge government subsidies.

      Pre-October 2009