Obama gives $2 billion to solar firms

There are a few things that are interesting about this story.  First, it was crazy to think – now in retrospect – that Umoe Solar would be putting a plant like this in the Miramichi.  There is way too much money being given out in the U.S. to these facilities (federal and state).  Even if Umoe put one here they would be at a huge competitive disadvantage to plants receiving hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars in the US.

Secondly, and you will excuse this line of thinking, it is interesting these two massive plants are being sited in Arizona and Colorado – relatively small US states – similar to New Brunswick in comparison to the size of the country.   If new facilities were like this were to be set up in Canada with massive federal dollars – there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hades they would be sited anywhere but Ontario or Quebec.    It might have something to do with the U.S. Senate (Colorado has the same clout as California or New York) or it might just have something to do with the the state-federal relationship but whatever the reason, there ain’t no way this type of plant would receive tens or hundreds of millions of federal dollars in Canada to set up in New Brunswick.  It hasn’t happened in New Brunswick – ever (there was a little of this with Michelin in Nova Scotia).

2 thoughts on “Obama gives $2 billion to solar firms

  1. Right as usual David. The Senate is a key cultural and political presence in the US, enjoying a status and influence second only to the President.
    They probably also have a stronger sense of national development. But it hasn’t always been this way. Remember the terms “regional disparities” and “regional development”. There even was a Department of Regional Development!
    How archaic. Now it’s every man (province) for himself, with the exception of special purpose agencies like ACOA, but then everywhere has one, and Ontario and Quebec also have in addition the federal Department of “Industry”

  2. Really? The federal government would never invest $200 million in a smaller province? (I say $200 million, as in most this Canada is 1/10 scale of the U.S. – adjust the figure to suit).

    I don’t think the evidence bears this out.

    $200 million is the size of the new container port being built in Sydney (not all Federal money, but it gives a sense of scale). The Prince Rupert port expansion is $770 million.

    $200 million is the size of WEPA, a fund dedicated to western Canada (notably, not Ontario and Quebec). The Atlantic Investment Fund is $300 million.

    $294 million is how much the federal government is spending on improving housing for low-income people in northern Canada (good for them, btw).

    $200 million is about what the government invested in the ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital initiative (ecoABC) in Calgary.

    The Sydney Tar Ponds cleanup is coming in at $400 million. Halifax harbour cleanup (ewww) is about $300 million.

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