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Other than the damage to the economy of the waste itself, the real problem with mandating and subsidizing non-viable energy technology projects is that this distracts us and diverts resources from other efforts to improve our energy production strategy.  Unfortunately, some of the arguments used to justify the mandates and subsidies are more political and emotional than logical.

An excellent article entitled “No time to abandon energy density” by Professor Colin McInnes FREng recently appearing on Ingenia Online indicates the following:

“When James Watt’s separate steam condenser began to displace Thomas Newcomen’s early atmospheric engine, it did not require government targets or financial incentives to encourage the take-up of the technology. Watt’s idea succeeded simply because it took less than half as much coal to deliver the same quantity of mechanical work. Watt’s innovation was part of a long-term trend in energy production; it was part of a continuous move towards using fuels of greater energy density and so lower carbon intensity………. 

………….Many forms of green energy are spatially diffuse and intermittent, making them inefficient and inherently expensive. Therein lies the need for feed-in tariffs and other support mechanisms. Green energy is set to grow, not because it is more productive, like Watt’s separate steam condenser, but because government mandates it and provides generous incentives. An energy transition that leads to more expensive, less efficient energy production is more a regression than a revolution………..

………….The era of cheap energy is over only if we choose so. If we use technical innovation to accelerate, rather than supplant, moves towards greater energy density, we can deliver energy that is both cheaper and more abundant. And, as a useful side effect, we will help de-carbonise our economy in the process.”

There is no doubt that we in the USA need to alter our energy strategy. The question of how we will change it, however, needs to be determined by scientific evaluation of fact and logical analysis of performance and economics; not by emotion, political considerations, and “feel good” methodologies.

About me:

I have held engineering positions in industry for over 30 years. The holder of bachelor of science and master of science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron, I am also a member of the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council at the University. I live in Ohio with my wife and three children; and recently retired from serving my community as a volunteer firefighter and EMT.

I have an active interest in researching and analyzing the technical and economic aspects of electrical power generation and energy strategy, and I document much of my activity on this blog site.


  1. Thank you for the analysis of the Blue Creek wind project in Ohio. It is hard to find such data, as an average consumer/taxpayer!

  2. Kathy Brake permalink

    Thank you for the information on the Iberdrola Blue Creek industrial site. However, I am concerned. I quoted the figure of $600 million paid into the project & have been told that is incorrect. I have read that in several articles – one being yours. Could you help me by providing any government links that would contain that information? If so, thank you so much. I am looking for one that I read earlier, but apparently did not bookmark it. :( The link that I posted in is provided for your better understanding of my situation & request:

    • Thanks for reading and inquiring.

      The figure of $600 million comes from the Blue Creek fact sheet provided by Iberdrola:

      The reply to your comment posted on Facebook is, however, technically correct………$600 million was the Iberdrola investment, not the “taxpayer” investment. This investment was offset, in part, by a federal stimulus grant for more than $172 million; and other government dictated incentives, such as Ohio’s SB 221 renewable energy mandates, played a key role.

      As I indicated in my article…….Unfortunately, once again, there is no hope of paying back the $600 million investment thru the sale of useful electricity at market rates……..As always, there must be heavy doses of subsidies from the taxpayer and individual customers to offset the losses and provide Iberdrola with a profit.

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