Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Government Spending’ tag

Gov’t Energy “Investments” Need to Be Structured for Returns

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Government investments in energy infrastructure, which I see as potentially very positive and soon maybe even absolutely necessary, should be structured so that there will be returns on those investments. Yeah, so obvious it almost goes without saying, but a quick look at government projects in the past shows diverse aims and results, with successful and woeful examples.

Similar or at least tangential to what I argued in a post earlier this summer, government is often necessary to lay the groundwork on worthy projects that may not be profitable for years to come but will be highly beneficial to our country’s citizens and our economy.

Airplane travel would not likely be anything like what we enjoy today were it not for massive government spending in aviation earlier in the 20th Century. The luxuries we enjoy with our cars would not be possible if not for government spending on roads and, as we are seeing ever more clearly, the auto industry.

Some might argue that government spending on the auto industry has been a disaster. This is my point exactly: If energy spending is not structured properly, it will simply be a drain on our tax dollars for decades. But if these government programs are strategically designed with the aim of gaining actual economic returns on tax dollars invested, they will be hugely beneficial to our country.

One could also argue that these examples of government spending have been an enormous and destructive drain on our energy resources. I can’t disagree with that point either, but that’s for another discussion.

  • OCTOBER 2, 2010, 6:50 A.M. ET

Obama Touts Clean Energy in Weekly Speech


WASHINGTON—U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday touted his administration’s energy policy agenda, predicting that his clean energy programs will create “hundreds of thousands” of new American jobs by 2012.


“There is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now—and growth in the coming years—than clean energy,” said Mr. Obama.

Read the entire article here.

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

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.

Chu: Energy Initiatives Could Bring Jobs to Colo.

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Sweet.Thanks, Dr. Chu, for forcing me to choose between my desire to work in the energy industry here in Colorado, and my fiscally conservative values. I’ll stay true to my values and maintain the confidence that I can get a job without massive government spending. And if I don’t get a job I can always eat those words…

US energy secretary: Renewables key to job creation but more investment needed

By SAMANTHA ABERNETHY Associated Press Writer
AURORA, Colo. February 19, 2010 (AP)
The Associated Press

Promoting Colorado’s renewable energy industry is key to generating jobs and easing dependence on foreign oil — but the U.S. is lagging behind China in its investment in renewables, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday.

“America has the opportunity to lead the world in a new industrial revolution,” Chu said at an energy jobs summit in Aurora. But he warned that China’s investment of $9 billion per month to diversify energy sources away from coal far exceeds America’s spending.

Read the entire article here.

DOE Delivers Its First, Long-Awaited Nuclear Loan Guarantee

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By PETER BEHR of ClimateWire
Published: February 17, 2010

The Obama administration yesterday pledged a conditional $8.3 billion loan guarantee to support the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia, which would be the first new U.S. nuclear plants in more than three decades. More commitments are on the way, officials said.

Administration climate adviser Carol Browner said yesterday that the Energy Department’s preliminary commitment to Southern Co. and its partners in the $14 billion Plant Vogtle development was hopefully “the first of many new nuclear projects.”

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

February 17th, 2010 at 7:05 am