>>More research, or full-bore development?
July 15, 2008, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Utilities

Andy Revkin’s Dot.Earth blog in the New York Times today contains a stirring discussion on “What Will Drive the Energy Innovation Revolution?” It includes thoughtful and passionately argued contributions by Joe Romm (Center for American Progress), Chuck Kutscher (of NREL), Roger Pielke Jr (University of Colorado’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research), and the usual assortment of deniers.

Key question now is whether spending billions for research on improved forms of renewable energy makes sense in the current emergency. Some advocates say that plays to the delaying tactics of the fossil fuel companies. Better to spend money now, as fast as possible, to accelerate deployment of existing technologies — wind, PV, CSP, smart grids, light rail and PHEVs — as rapidly as possible.

When we do spend money on either research or deployment, should that money come from “market” sources — that is, from investors and ultimately consumers — or from government — that is, taxpayers?

Where’s the argument that consumers and taxpayers are a single population? We’re already on record as wanting renewable energy developed quickly. As a taxpaying, ratepaying head of household, I don’t care whether the deployment is paid for via tax dollars or utility fees — just get the renewable infrastructure built.

Check it out.


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