One of the most tenacious dumb ideas within the automotive industry is the claim that what electric cars really need to be successful are overhead power lines. The logic, at least, isn't difficult to follow: When it comes to power, cars need a lot of it, batteries store too little of it, and overhead lines can supply it. (images here)
Now Siemens, the German electrical and engineering giant as well as the country's leading rail-technology company, hopes to carry over the best features of rail technology to road traffic. The company has outfitted two heavy-duty Mercedes trucks with electric current collectors and a modified drivetrain capable of operating with two different systems. When an overhead line is available, these prototypes run on electricity alone, much like electric locomotives. When there's no overhead line, a diesel engine kicks in, powering a generator that continues to supply the electric system with power.
Germany's Ministry for the Environment (BMU) saw enough green potential in this hybrid truck to channel over €2 million ($2.5 million) in federal funding to the project. Siemens used the funds to help set up its first test track at an obsolete military airport north of Berlin. Overhead lines run above and along the roughly 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) track, supplying energy to the trucks whirring steadily along below. (continue reading at Spiegel Online, hat tip Marcus Wilder)
The above is almost -- almost -- as crazy as the 'green navy' the United States has launched - the Great Green Fleet. Blackfive asks:
This sort of stuff drives me crazy. Why is Secretary of the Navy Mabus fooling around with this sort of nonsense under the guise of being “necessary for national defense” when we’re in the middle of a oil shale revolution that shows the US with the most proven oil reserves in the world? Secondly and just as important, why during times of tight budgets is he willing to pay $27 dollars for biofuel when conventional fuel costs $3.60?
Obama is forcing his “green energy” agenda upon the U.S. Navy by forcing all non-nuclear powered vessels to use “bio-fuel.” (Noisy Room)
This month, a carrier strike group that is headed to the Pacific for a six-week multinational naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii, will have its non-nuclear powered escort vessels, which include a destroyer and a tanker, use a newly formulated 50-50 mixture of standard [diesel] fuel, and a cocktail of seeds, algae and chicken fat, according to a July 2, 2012 FOXNews article.
A Navy official stated that operating the so-called “Great Green Fleet” on this blend of alternative and conventional fuel is part of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ plan to have half the Navy fleet on alternative fuel by 2020.
Not so fast.
What will really ‘affect the readiness’ of our Navy is it having to file for bankruptcy–because this biofuel mixture was confirmed to cost $26 a gallon–more than seven times the $3.60 a gallon cost for conventional fuel.
First, naval vessels and other such massive ships measure their fuel usage by the ton, probably because the numeric value in gallons would not fit within the quantity field of an invoice.
More importantly, because President Barack Obama has already ordered $478 billion stripped from the Pentagon Budget already (but hasn’t touched a dime of entitlement programs), if the idiotic, automatic Super-Committee “sequester” budget cuts of another half-trillion dollars are allowed to take affect, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta isn’t confident that we can even maintain our fighting forces–particularly the Navy patrolling international waters protecting sea lanes all over the world. (continue reading at Noisy Room)
Last but not least by any means is this article from the New York Times "The Most Sensible Tax of All", which I cannot understand. There must be a catch that I'm not seeing. Sounds like pure propaganda to me. It helps to know the authors of the article: Yoram Bauman, an environmental economist, is a fellow at Sightline Institute in Seattle. Shi-Ling Hsu, a law professor at Florida State University, is the author of “The Case for a Carbon Tax.”.
You read it and let me know:
ON Sunday, the best climate policy in the world got even better: British Columbia’s carbon tax — a tax on the carbon content of all fossil fuels burned in the province — increased from $25 to $30 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, making it more expensive to pollute.
This was good news not only for the environment but for nearly everyone who pays taxes in British Columbia, because the carbon tax is used to reduce taxes for individuals and businesses. Thanks to this tax swap, British Columbia has lowered its corporate income tax rate to 10 percent from 12 percent, a rate that is among the lowest in the Group of 8 wealthy nations. Personal income taxes for people earning less than $119,000 per year are now the lowest in Canada, and there are targeted rebates for low-income and rural households.
The only bad news is that this is the last increase scheduled in British Columbia. In our view, the reason is simple: the province is waiting for the rest of North America to catch up so that its tax system will not become unbalanced or put energy-intensive industries at a competitive disadvantage.
The United States should jump at the chance to adopt a similar revenue-neutral tax swap. It’s an opportunity to reduce existing taxes, clean up the environment and increase personal freedom and energy security. (continue reading at NYT, hat tip Marcus Wilder)
Seems like the loonies are winning the battle unfortunately.