Monday, February 07, 2011
Tales of the No Energy Economy
To turn wood chips into ethanol fuel, George W. Bush's Department of Energy in February 2007 announced a $76 million grant to Range Fuels for a cutting-edge refinery. A few months later, the refinery opened in the piney woods of Treutlen County, Ga., as the taxpayers of Georgia piled on another $6 million. In 2008, the ethanol plant was the first beneficiary of the Biorefinery Assistance Program, pocketing a loan for $80 million guaranteed by the U.S. taxpayers.When we run out of fossil fuels, we'll always have hydrogen. Awful, difficult to store, expensive, weak tit hydrogen. But we'll have it. Till then, the sure bets are coal, natural gas and thorium and uranium. Everything else is hippie nonsense. Wasteful hippie nonsense.
Last month, the refinery closed down, having failed to squeeze even a drop of ethanol out of its pine chips.
The Soperton, Ga., ethanol plant is another blemish on ethanol's already tarnished image, but more broadly, it is cautionary tale about the elusive nature of "green jobs" and the folly of the government's efforts at "investing" -- as President Obama puts it -- in new technologies.