A big bet on big government; Al Gore, solar power, and corporate welfare 

The New York Times reports on the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and its “big bet on solar technology.” Read the post closely, and you’ll see that the success of solar technology companies is utterly tied to corporate welfare.

Scientific challenges, high costs and bankers’ wariness over financing cutting-edge technologies have resulted in the construction of only a small number of concentrating photovoltaic power plants, mainly in European countries that offer generous subsidies for renewable energy….

Demand for the technology has started to grow in the United States as the solar market has expanded and utilities have sought to meet renewable energy targets.

And who is Kleiner Perkins? For one thing, Al Gore is a partner. Vinod Khosla, whose investment strategy is buying up something nearly worthless — such as ethanol — and lobbying to subsidize it, is an “affiliated partner.” KPCB’s K Street lobbyist is Alix Burns, a former DNC official and Al Gore staffer.

Almost any time you read about people making money with “green energy” or the like, look for political connections. Fossil fuels are still the cheapest, most reliable way to get energy. To compete with them, alternative fuels need to be subsidized. I’ve written about this before regarding T. Boone Pickens’ windmills and natural-gas cars and on the ethanol bandits.

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Timothy P. Carney

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