Will Europe/Asia subsidize clean energy/tranport in the U.S.?

President Obama wants to implement some high speed rail projects in the U.S.; European/Asian companies are keen to get contracts to construct them and there has even been talk of foreign companies operating them and assuming the risk of financial losses, since American taxpayers have no appetite for picking up the tab. Now I hear there is a German envoy here in Tampa Bay Florida exploring the possibility of building a large solar energy generation facility and manufacturing plant. Solar energy is still more expensive than fossil-fuel energy and America is loathe to pay a premium for clean energy. Germany, meanwhile, is environmentally-minded and their economy has weathered the financial crises well and is growing robustly. Since they are reticent about taking on a larger role in global geopolitics, deposing dictators, etc. (cite: Bloomberg BusinessWeek), is it possible they are prepared/preparing to subsidize some of these forward-looking projects for which the U.S. lacks political will and/or funds?

it is possible that the Germans, and various others, are simply buying the bankrupt American government on a cash-and-carry basis. Next question?

A more interesting question would be, why are they doing that. I can understand why China or Japan might want to buy American government (different sides of the same security problem). But what’s in it for the Germans?


We’ve been handing out free lunches for 150 years. Looks like the tables are beginning to turn. yhihf.

There has also “been talk” that monkeys might fly out of my rectum.

High Speed Rail loses money in most of Europe and Asia. If they can’t make it work there, why should they think it’ll work here?

In road transport, according to Private Eye, it’s the other way around. In America the growth of biofuels is subsidised, while in Europe they subsidise biofuels at point of retail. Therefore imported American biofuels get the government hand outs at both ends, making them cheaper at point of sale than our native biofuels which only receive our subsidies.

Why exactly would they? Germany is going to have it’s hands full trying to phase out it’s nuclear reactors in the time frame they are talking about and keeping their own country and people supplied with energy (and may have to buy energy from neighboring countries to make up the difference). Why would they want to subsidize clean energy in the US??

Their economy is doing ok, but they have to worry about what’s going to happen with Greece and several other EU members, and as far as energy goes they now have a rather ambitious plan to get rid of all their nuclear reactors (which generate over 20% of their current electricity IIRC). They don’t have the resources to spend on subsidizing our clean energy initiative, even if they wanted too (which I’m not seeing…WE could and are building clean energy systems already).

What is the goal here? To build new solar plants or to, what? To augment our current energy system with solar (something we are already doing)? Replace our current coal based energy with solar? Or replace our nuclear power plants with solar?

Do you have a cite for any of this? Again, why would Europe or Asia subsidize HSR in the US? It makes no sense for them to do that. If they want contracts to build HSR then they should be lobbying in their own countries to expand the systems there, if they are going to be spending the money. If they spend the money to buy us HSR, how does that benefit the countries in question?? How would they justify it, considering that the US’s GDP is higher than any other single country on earth, and nearly as high as the entire EU combined??

I hear a lot of things. Do you have a cite demonstrating what you are hearing?


And yet it exists, so what you’re saying is that they have certain values other than just the Almighty Local Currency. And I’m saying it looks like they may be in a position to start exporting some of their values to the U.S., even at a monetary cost to them. The big question is how we would respond to the offer of foreign aid…will we be too proud to accept it even tho’ we are hurting economically?

Really? I’d be interested in some cites to back that up (that the foremost High Speed Rail systems are losing money). Thanks.


I’d guess the motivations are twofold: (1) to get a solar energy foothold in the U.S. and become established for future sales as the cost comes down, and (2) to help curb emissions contributing to global warming which affects them indirectly. Nuclear power production is probably not much more expensive in other European countries than in Germany so I don’t think it will be such an economic burden to buy it from elsewhere.

Siemens was doing quite a bit of HSR marketing here in Florida. The construction funding was to be provided by the U.S. Transp. Dept. but was refused because of the potential for operating losses to be borne by the state govt. Siemens could have picked up some of that out of construction profits but apparently weren’t willing/able to provide a full guarantee. Again, the motive is in the huge scope of work involved in building out HSR in the U.S. (in Europe it’s pretty much already been done) and in cleaning up our dirty transportation system.

No where does your cite say that Germany would be subsidizing this effort. They seem to be wanting to run this as a business…you know, for profit and all that. If I missed the part where they said that Germany and the German people would be subsidizing this effort please quote it.

I could see German companies wanting to build solar plants in the US to make money. That’s a bit different from subsidizing them with German funds, however. As far as emissions goes, they should worry about their own first, or if they really want to make a difference and are willing to spend their own money on someone else infrastructure they should build plants in China or India where energy needs are going up, rather than in the US where energy needs are pretty flat. China is, after all, now the largest producer of CO2 in the world, so their altruistic tendencies would be better spent there I should think.

As to the last, do you understand how much it would cost to buy 20+% of your energy from someone else? Or to build out that level of new capability for yourself?? It’s going to cost a LOT of money, so I’m thinking they would be better off spending German resources on building German infrastructure. Again, that’s not to say that German companies wouldn’t want to build solar plants in the US…on OUR dime. Just like US solar companies would probably love a shot at juicy German contracts to build solar plants in Germany…on THEIR dime.

Well, Siemens probably had the expectation that they would make a large profit on such a system from grants and subsidies from the US government, as well as the profit they would (theoretically) realize from selling HSR services to travelers and commuters. Again, that’s reasonable. Siemens paying for it, or Germany subsidizing it makes zero sense, and that seemed to be what you were getting at in your OP. If I misunderheard you then I apologize.


They would have to sell the solar power to the local utility at a loss, effectively subsidizing us (although in turn they would likely at least get some kind of incentive package for bringing jobs to the area). Sounds like the group is interested in proceeding based on what they’ve seen so far: