Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian
This story in The Oregonian on Sunday about how the cost of the green energy tax credits are much higher than have been presented and how millions of dollars have gone to failed companies illustrates something that I have been arguing for a long time now to anyone who will listen: trying to create a green energy economy in Oregon is a mug's game. What will be the best technology: wind, wave, solar, geothermal, something else? Which companies are going to come out as leaders in the future? The answers to these questions are far from clear so trying to read the tea leaves and throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at a wall to see what sticks is not necessarily a good idea.
I am not against all government incentives, but the best investment the state could make if it really wants to promote economic growth in the state, green energy or otherwise, is in education, and if it is serious about a green energy economy, investing in research universities seems about as safe a bet as there is. You get research and technology spillovers that are centered in the state and you educate and train a new generation of entrepreneurs and workers to take those new technologies and run with them.
It seems that in Oregon these days the balance is out of whack...