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Energy R&D

November 28, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 48

Why did the “expert panel” advise that Department of Energy R&D emphasis be redirected to transportation as opposed to stationary sources of clean energy (C&EN, Oct. 3, page 9)? The article didn’t say.

Is it not the automobile companies that should be investing in R&D for electrified vehicles? Give them R&D tax credits. DOE’s mission should focus on nuclear R&D (efficiency, safety, and environmental cleanup and storage), which is a very important mission that should not be diluted.

I can support some level of taxation to support energy-related R&D consortia looking 10–12 years out, perhaps managed by industry and universities (open to everyone), as long as the results of that research are made public within a year or two. But the government’s role should not be to pick the winning and losing energy technologies (or companies). No more Solyndras! Let petroleum prices be set in a free market, and let the government environmental regulations dictate that.

I think government has a role to play in enhancing and maintaining the distribution of energy via pipelines and electric lines (grids), but taxpayers definitely should not finance equipment for roadside service stations.

By Geoffrey Lindsay
Ridgecrest, Calif


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