Alex Tabarrok on Innovation
By Arnold Kling
The U.S. Department of Energy, for example, estimates that small and environmentally friendly hydro-electric projects could generate at least 30,000 MWs of power annually. That’s equivalent to the generating capacity of about 30 nuclear power plants. Moreover, since 97% of U.S. dams are generating zero power today, these projects would not require building any new dams. So what’s the problem? The problem is that building even a small hydro-electric project requires the approval of numerous agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, State Environmental Departments and State Historic Preservation Departments. It’s simply too expensive, time-consuming and risky to build these projects when any of these agencies could veto it at any time. The net result is that we generate more electricity than necessary by leveling mountains, burning coal, and filling our air with dangerous particulates and climate-changing CO2.
It’s based on his recent e-book. Read the whole thing.