Why the Obama administration is so recklessly determined to play venture capitalist and turn every endeavor that might legitimately lead to “green” energy into a race for rent-seeking, regardless of the costs and consequences, is beyond me. The federal government has already made a hot mess of the biofuels industry in general, catering to special ethanol interests and gumming up our cars for the sake of negligible-to-negative environmental results that jack up food prices at home and abroad, but heck — since that’s been such a resounding success, why not just keep doing more of the same, amirite?
Remember President Obama’s speech last year, in which he implied that it’s the government’s job to make the “investments” that will bring about the cleaner, greener energies that he has munificently determined will be the way of the future, including fuel made from algae? He was not kidding, CNS News reports:
On Thursday, the department announced “up to $10 million to help unlock the potential of biofuels made from algae.”
The money will go to research projects aimed at making algae cultivation systems more productive (getting more of it per acre); and developing energy-efficient and low-cost algae harvesting and processing technologies.
The Energy Department hopes the new technologies will speed commercialization of domestically-produced, cost-competitive biofuels from algae.
Researchers from industry, academia, and national laboratories are encouraged to apply for the federal funding.
If algae really has the potential to make it as a viable and efficient energy source, as plenty of research in recent years has suggested it very well might, then that’s great. If investors think that it can be outfitted for profitable and ergo voluntary and economy-boosting mass consumption, then the free market will do the legwork and the economy will innovate, just as it has somehow miraculously managed to do on its own since time immemorial. Government interference in the free market almost always creates more problems than it solves, and in this case is using our money to prop up untested technologies that may-or-may-not have a future, at an economic cost.