Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for June 15th, 2010

CEOs urge gov’t to spend on energy: Who benefits later?

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These captains of industry make some excellent points regarding why the U.S. government should increase spending on energy. In this economy and with our present budget situation, increasing spending on anything is a tough sell. But since energy is such a vital component of a healthy economy, and our energy matrix appears increasingly tenuous in the decades to come, it makes sound sense.

What may be difficult is to gauge to what extent this is private companies asking for government spending on technologies that are not now profitable, just so that they can swoop in and make money once we tax payers have laid the groundwork.

A perfect example is in the net neutrality discussions presently happening in Congress. Unlike phones lines and roads, which were paid for almost exclusively with tax payer dollars, the wires and other physical infrastructure for the internet were paid for by much more private investment. The innovation may have started with some government programs such as ARPAnet and, of course, Al Gore, but then companies invested in the infrastructure once the technology became feasible.

Now those companies that made those investments are saying they have every right to decide how much bandwidth should be devoted to which users, corporate, citizen, government, and otherwise. It’s hard not to agree. Those wires are not public goods.

Deciding how to deploy these systems in the pipeline, who pays and who profits, will require active citizen engagement to monitor government and private activities with technologies that may seem unintelligible or even uninteresting, but are so essential to all of us.

Corporate Heavies Urge Tripling U.S. Clean-Energy Funding

By MICHAEL BURNHAM of Greenwire
Published: June 10, 2010

A new council composed of General Electric Co. CEO Jeff Immelt, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and other corporate executives is urging the federal government to more than triple investments in clean-energy technologies to boost the nation’s economic competitiveness and protect the environment.

[…]

“We know from our business experience that if you only give a fraction of what’s required to be a success, you will not be a success,” said council member Chad Holliday, chairman of Bank of America Corp. and former CEO of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.

[…]

“The world is not going to wait for the United States to lead,” Immelt said. “This is about innovation; this is about competition; this is about energy security.”

Read the entire article here.