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Alternative Energy Source Companies

Carol asks…

Why would alternative energy companies need tax credits if their technology was superior?

Re: this Yahoo article:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080831/ap_on_go_co/disappearing_tax_breaks

It always amazes me that companies which have been developing alternative energy technologies for OVER 25 YEARS, with tax credits and other government subsidies to make them a low-cost technologically superior reality, continue to demand special breaks and considerations even though they STILL have not proven to deliver on their promise.

If I had created the ultimate alternative energy, lets say, a Mr. Fusion thing like in the fictional “Back to Future” series, which takes garbage or any other material, and it produces a waste by-product of water, and it only cost $1000 to manufacturer with a retail price well under a few thousand, there would be no need to get government subsidies because myself and my investors would be gazillionaires within 2 years!

The issue is, and remains, that every single alternative energy idea that we’ve been pursuing for the past 25 YEARS, including wind, solar, and ethanol, have not caught on because they are PROHIBITIVELY EXPENSIVE.

And the excuse is always, “Yeah, but we need more money to make it cheaper.” Nonsense. If, after 25 YEARS, you still haven’t figured out a way to improve the technology, IT’S A DEAD END.

This is because the alternative energy debate is fundamentally flawed. Every single alternative was missing, from the very beginning, the very essential element to make it practical and successful.

“Can we find an alternative energy resource that is less polluting, more abundant, and SIGNIFICANTLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY CHEAPER than existing resources?”

Consider PC technology. It was IMMEDIATELY substantially cheaper than its mainframe alternatives. This is why it took off as a computing power alternative. No government tax credits were needed. No subsidizing was required. Competitors popped up left and right to invest heavilly in making it better and better.

And in the same period of time that we have been pursuing these alternative energies, PC technology has evolved enormously.

And if we were still using computers with 256Kb of memory and floppy disks and dot matrix printers, and it turns out they were more expensive than mainframe computers, do you think ANYONE would be saying, “All IBM, Apple, Dell, HP, Intel and AMD need is more money from the government.” ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Innovation is wonderful. But it has to be practical.

Any alternative energy source MUST be a substantially CHEAPER alternative FIRST and FOREMOST. Otherwise, we can throw trillions into the technology and it will never be accepted.

Private funding has already grown weary of the failures of these alternative energies to deliver on their promises.

Meanwhile, there are newer alternative energy ideas such as Fusion and Hydrogen that show great promise… but they are now in their infancy of development. In the meantime, we should take advantage of the cheaper resources we ALREADY have, and use those as a cost/value challenge for viable alternative energies.

Or should we continue to pursue and fund alternatives that no one will want to pay for?

admin answers:

Sorry, I cannot agree with you. Technology takes a long time to perfect.

Also tax breaks are NOT subsidies. Subsidies are a big fat check the Government sends out. Tax breaks are being allowed to write off the cost (all, or partial) on ones taxes. I can write off the interest I pay on my mortgage, ever year on my taxes. Thank heavens their are ways to recieve tax breaks.

Did you know Hoover Dam was built with huge funding from the Government (subsidies) and tax breaks. Do you believe the technology in Hoover Dam is “unproven” and doesn’t work?

Did you know the oil companies not only recieve TITANIC tax breaks from the Government, they also recieve TITANIC subsidies from the Government? Do you believe that oil and gas are unproven technologies? Or does your car do fairly well getting you from point A to point B? Perhaps you would feel better if the Government subsidies to the oil companies went away, so we in the U.S.A. Could pay $10-$12 a gallon for our fuel, just as the Europeans are?

There’s another slight problem with your argument. Wind, & solar have not been worked on steadly for the past 25 years. Everyone was ga-ga for wind and solar in the 1970’s during the first gas crunch. Then oil prices began to drop, and drop like a stone. Did you know that in the 1990’s the U.S. Could often purchase oil for $11 a barrel? Sometimes even cheaper. Oil and gas were so dirt cheap, there was no way to get funding to do research on wind and solar. Nobody saw any way that money put into researching wind and solar would ever be recovered.

Now the second gas crunch is here, and people are screaming for wind and solar. Those technologies has improved by leapes and bounds. My husband works on the commercial wind turbines.

There’s an old wind farm they are upgrading to the new, modern wind turbines. There are over 600 old wind turbines at the wind farm. For every new, modern wind turbine they put up, they rip out NINTY of the old ones! One modern wind turbine has the same energy output as 90 of the older wind turbines. That’s amazing! Imagine if our cars kept that kind of pace up! All cars would be getting a few hundred miles to the gallon.

The problem with the “cheaper resources” is they are all based on some form of fossil fuel (except nukes). Fossil fuels WILL eventually run out. I’d much rather see investment, and infrastructure into alternative energies right now, instead of waiting until it’s too late.

~Garnet
Permaculture homesteading/farming over 20 years

Lizzie asks…

What problems are utility companies having to face today in providing energy for more people?

What problems are utility companies having to face today in providing energy for more people?

It could be any kind of problems.

And are there alternative energy sources that companies can use?

admin answers:

The first and foremost problem is the red tape put in place to making it near impossible to get any thing done. Then when you get the paper work out of the way, then all the well meaning greenies protest it and halt any progress. Then when some hot shot gets out there and say this is the way to go, people jump on the band wagon with out the slightest knowledge if this source of energy is even plausible or cost effective.
To answer your last question there are good alt. Sources but they will not be used due to trumped-up environmental regulations.

Sandy asks…

WHICH alternative energy company did Warren Buffett invest $385M in?

Warren Buffett invested $385M in wind power and Bill Gates has placed millions in fuelcell, both of which are alternative energy sources. Does anyone know WHICH company, stock or shares that these guys have invested? Thanks!

admin answers:

Warren Buffett invested in Mid-American. They have some wind power in their portfolio. The company Bill Gates invested in, like everything else he touches these days, failed miserably…

Mark asks…

Is it true that energy companies have been buying/repressing patents for alternative energy sources for years?

admin answers:

I doubt it, patents have a limited life (17 years). Therefore if there were worthwhile patents from 1990 or before, they would be off protection and anybody could bring them to market.

Donald asks…

Would an alternative energy source be considered or accepted by trucking and airline companies?

I have noticed lately the high fuel prices have made trucking and airline companies desperate in attempts to cut fuel costs in order to make profit or just to stay afloat.

If some one was to present an plan or an idea to replace petrol
based fuels and combustion technology with a practical and low cost and existing or soon to be existing alternative energy technology to power their fleets, the executives of these companies would be more open to accepting and implementing such ideas due to the severity of their situation. When these big boys implement these technologies in order to save their bottom line and it works, then it would open the way for the rest of society accepting and implementing that alternative fuel technology in every day life. When the happens, that would solve the US’s foreign oil dependence and help the environment. A win-win all around.
My question is what technologies that are in existence or soon will be in existence that requires little or low investment in installing infrastructure or implementing these alternative energy technologies for these trucking and airline fleets? What safety risks would be associated with such technologies? How can such risks be minimized?

If not low cost, how could the owners of these companies make money by investing or installing these technologies in their fleet (give them copy rights or share of the patents so every time some one uses it, they get some money in return?)

How could people gain access to such people and sell the idea to them?
Forgive the long post yet I believe I had to post that in order to lead in effectively into my questions.

admin answers:

They lack the resources to make such long-term research investments. Some are willing to be early adopters of promising technologies. But most are slow to adopt even known, proven, practical technologies such as streamlining to reduce aerodynamic drag, low rolling resistance tires, and so on. Rail is already much more efficient than either trucks or planes, and we’re not even utilizing that technology well. Sorry, observation shows that your optimism is unfounded.

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