Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Politics of Energy #7 - Picking the Winners In Alternative Energy

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu (center) - UPS

Editor’s Note
A massive centralized government picks which major industries will survive and which will be forced out, or forced to merge with the winners – we must be China. Right? Wrong. (RLW)

Energy Secretary, Congress Collide Over Hydrogen Car Funds

WASHINGTON -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to kill research and development on cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells, but a spending bill approved by the House this month and another scheduled for a Senate vote this week would restore funding for the program.

Mr. Chu has said that hydrogen fuel cells are an impractical technology for vehicles, partly because they would require the creation of a network of hydrogen fueling stations. (Editor's Note: We have over 5 million gas stations in the U.S.)

Energy Secretary Steven Chu's efforts to overhaul federal energy research are encountering resistance in Congress, where lawmakers are moving to give him money for projects that he doesn't support while withholding funds for others he says are critical. Energy reporter Stephen Power explains.

A Nobel-Prize winning physicist and former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which conducts federal energy research, Mr. Chu argues that improved internal-combustion engines and plug-in electric vehicles are more realistic technologies for cutting oil consumption over the next 20 to 30 years.

Former President George W. Bush championed the development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, saying they could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The federal government has spent roughly $1.5 billion since 2001 on hydrogen fuel-cell research. (Editor's Note: Ah! Now we understand.)

Balance of article: The Wall Street Journal


Anonymous said...

Can ordinary gas stations be converted into hydrogen fueling stations safely?

Richard Wottrich said...

The technology and safety issues involved are no more dangerous than handling gasoline. RLW