Clean Tech is the way to go…ooops

Tim Blair

Tim Blair explains the folly of the Greens constant clamouring for “clean tech” and leading the world:

Bob Brown’s German solar vision for Australia:

Well, it is the way to go. The Greens have recently rescued the proposals for base load solar power stations, which will go in rural and regional Australia to make sure they are progressing … We want this country to be at the cutting edge. I repeat, the example is firm and true. In Germany, where they did this because the Greens were in the balance of power, they have created 350,000 jobs. It was the strongest component of the German economy during the recent recession. It’s good economics.

You bet it is:

The wave of bankruptcies in the solar industry continues unabated – and once again, investors lose a lot of money. Meanwhile, Germany’s large solar companies have lost almost 25 billion Euroson the stock market …

The crisis in the industry has also hit thousands of green investors. Solar stocks were once seen as the big hope of the stock market. The future belonged to solar energy, it was said. In the first years, the share prices of solar companies increased dramatically. For most solar shares the peak was reached in late 2007.

Germany’s solar industry remains at the cutting edge. Cutting jobs and share prices, mainly.


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  • Pohutukawa

    Couple of factors: the price of oil has dropped, which screws people and businesses involved in “green” activities. This is why it makes sense to fix the price of oil at say US$300/barrel because then these industries would develop instead of being slowly screwed by the oil-skew that exists globally in all economies.

    And, of course, the banks have really made a mess of the global economy, with Europe being disproportionally hit.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    You may be laughing but the Roy Morgan poll is not:

    Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll
    shows a fall in support for Prime Minister John Key’s National Party
    45.5% (down 2% since June 8 — 24, 2012). Support for Key’s Coalition
    partners has barely changed with the Maori Party 1% (down 0.5%), United
    Future 0.5% (unchanged) and ACT NZ 0.5% (unchanged).

    Support for Labour has risen 0.5% to 32.5% (the
    highest Labour has been since July 2011), Greens are 13% (up 1%), New
    Zealand First 4.5% (up 0.5%), Mana Party 0.5% (unchanged) and Others 2%
    (up 0.5%).

    a National Election were held today today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll
    suggests an election result would be ‘too close to call’.

    This is the reason, National needs Maori party in 2014 and it cannot afford to piss them off now. If NZ First crosses 5%, which I am sure it will, National’s position will become even harder.

  • WayneO

    You should see how much arsenic goes into creating photo-voltaic panels!! Green my arse.

  • Richard Watts

    It’s a tough market with a lot of competition. I don’t think for instance the fact that Sony and other electronic brands have lost a lot of money means that there isn’t a future in selling televisions. 

  • Caleb

    wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels, recycling, bio fuels… all these things are resource intensive.

    until the day we can split water into hydrogen and oxygen, for less than the input, then we are better with the tried and true, coal, oil and gas.

    obviously we need an alternative but there has to be some solid criteria before govenments spend taxpayer money into commercial applications.

    and ive got a bone to pick with our hydro dams. why the fuck does the electricity cost so much.
    they were built 50 years ago and the water just flows through them. the power should just about be free…

    • engineer

       It is partly because our pricing system is badly designed.  Also the dam might be 50 years old, but the rest of it would have been replaced at least once by now.

      If you think power prices are bad now, wait until the Greens have finished with it.

  • Tristanb

    Aside from the point that “green” technology is often worse for the environment than traditional methods, the government shouldn’t have anything to do with the particulars of what happens in businesses.

    If there’s so much money in “green” technology, then you can bet that companies would try to use this fact to make money. What has the government got to do with it?? Why should other taxpayers pump money into someone else’s business?

    If I could erect a cheap wind turbine and some panels on my roof and never have to pay a power bill again, then you can bet I’d do it. But that’s not the reality. Most solar panels still take more energy to construct than they can generate in their lifetime, and their efficiency will decrease with time.

    If I could plug my car into the garage and charge it overnight, and have this cheaper than petrol but just as easy to maintain, then I’d do it. But if it’s not as convenient or more dangerous in a crash, then I wouldn’t.

    Once these alternative technologies are good enough they’ll get cheaper. And once the oil starts to “run out”, it’ll get more expensive. So this is one of those cases where the market actually will sort it out. But it’s not the case at the moment, and probably won’t be for a long while.