Monday, October 7, 2013

Unintended consequences

2cents emails to point to this unintended consequence of green energy programs:

So what happens when your elected officials use your money and mine to make an investment attractive when it would otherwise not even be considered for any expenditure of capital?  Well, when you are talking about solar panels, what happens is that a bunch of bright entrepreneurs take money (with no consequences if they don’t pay it back) and pay themselves to build and operate solar panel facilities.  Of course, since there is no business or profit purpose behind the investment, they all go belly up and China buys them for 5 cents on the dollar.  Then people (really rich people in the highest brackets) take our tax dollars buy the panels (now from China) to put them up on the roof even though they would never have done so otherwise.

THEN, firefighters will not go on the roof of a burning building to put the fire out because they do not want to get hurt or shocked.

THEN the next obvious step is that everyone’s insurance rates go up on properties that have installed the panels because now the fire fighters are basically saying that they are going to let a lot of these buildings burn to the ground, so the magnitude of the claim amounts are going to skyrocket.

Then no one will put the solar panels up.  Unless . . .

The government starts a new subsidy to offset the underwriting of the increased risk, of course.
I remember an article in the Washington Post 20 years ago.  The environment reporter was more or less outraged that car companies were resisting a proposal to increase the gasoline vapor capture tank; this would reduce fume release when gassing up (reducing pollution), but the car companies "didn't want to spend the money".  It was not stated in the article (but was immediately obvious at the time) and gasoline vapor is explosive, and carrying more around would be dangerous and that was very likely the source of the car companies' reluctance.

But hey, math and engineering are hard.  Better to just focus on feelings of outrage.  How dare the world not fit in with the received Progressive Vision?  I blame George W. Bush.

1 comment:

kx59 said...

hmmmm. that does put a new twist on things doesn't it?
Now solar panels are right up there with having a boat load of ammo stored in your burning house.
My favorite thing about solar panels is the 20 year life span and the 80 year payback.