Sticking with the NYT's cutting and pasting, I was thinking about wind power the other day. People go on about the operational costs and Albertans tremble before the prospect of a viable source of energy that will lower the price of the windfall they sit upon. But has not there been a history in the west of benefit from massive infrastructure development ahead of the actual point of full return of investment? So so what if there is a lot of spending that will also be required?
planners calculate that if wind machines reach 20 percent of total generating capacity, the cost of standby generators will reach $8 a megawatt-hour of wind. That is on top of a generating cost of $50 or $60 a megawatt-hour, after including a federal tax credit of $18 a megawatt-hour. By contrast, electricity from a new coal plant currently costs in the range of $33 to $41 a megawatt-hour, according to experts. That price, however, would rise if the carbon dioxide produced in burning coal were taxed, a distinct possibility over the life of a new coal plant.Money, being the slippery thing it is, likes to be moved about and only replicates itself best when in motion. Wind will require transmission lines and even maybe a few power dams to have water pumped up behind when the wind is powerful so that the water may flow down when the air is still. Or hydrogen plants so that the wind power splits water so that the power can be later be released when the water is put back again.
At some point the decision will have to be made to simple accept that the investment will trigger both economies of scale and more innovation. And jobs and wealth. And the earlier you get in, the greater the share of benefit. So why isn't this the great bridging economic policy of our times - not for the goodness of a greener world environmentally but for the jobs, jobs, jobs?