Saturday, September 05, 2009

Green + GE: Worst of Both Worlds

UPDATE: Jonathan Rauch in the October 10th National Journal.

Section 321 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 fills 14 pages in the official Statutes at Large (121 Stat. 1573-87). Subsection 321(a)(3), at 121 Stat. 1577, says the Washington Post:
effectively phases out the manufacture of traditional incandescent bulbs by the middle of the next decade. It does this by setting efficiency standards that traditional incandescent bulbs can't meet. Starting in 2012, for example, a bulb that gives off the light a 100-watt incandescent does today can only use 72 watts of energy.
The law -- signed by Bush! -- was pushed not only by environmentalists like candidate Barack Obama but by General Electric, America's largest light-bulb baker and among the top corporate lobbyists.

Tim Carney explains the consequences in the August 28th Washington Examiner:
GE is replacing the incandescents for now with compact fluorescent bulbs, which GE manufactures in China.

Last month, GE announced it will close the Winchester Bulb Plant 80 miles west of D.C. As a result, 200 men and women will lose their jobs. GE is also shuttering incandescent factories in Ohio and Kentucky, axing another 200 jobs.

GE blamed environmental regulations for the closing. The first paragraph of the company’s July 23 press release explained:

"A variety of energy regulations that establish lighting efficiency standards are being implemented in the U.S. and other countries, in some cases this year, and will soon make the familiar lighting products produced at the Winchester Plant obsolete."
So get ready for those annoying, ugly and crappy compact fluorescent bulbs--from Asia. BTW, China also has the hammer-lock on batteries for electric cars.

Conclusion: Don't believe the hype about American green jobs and climate change manufacturing.

(via Planet Gore)


OBloodyHell said...

More critically, all the patents on incandescent bulbs are no doubt run out, so the margins on them, thanks to competition, are forced to the bone.

CFLs are relatively new, and have room for innovation, no doubt -- which means the margins are notably higher because of limited competition.

Which is, no doubt, why GE was happy for such crap getting passed.

What I do find is hilarious is them claiming the plants must be closed because of enviro regs which they themselves were behind.

Government -- it brings out the worst in everyone involved.

Carl said...


Wry Mouth said...

I saw this coming awhile back.. unless fluorescents are phased out in favor of LEDs that can give us a light profile like incandescents. I'm stocking up on incandescents.

If nothing else, the missus will need them when she is putting on makeup; have you seen the light output of fluorescents and LEDs? Yucko.

Anonymous said...

It is way past the reasonable time for GE to remove the toxic PCB substances they contaminated the Hudson River with. Shouldn't the costs of removal of the PCB pollution of the Hudson River caused by GE be paid for by GE or do you prefer the taxpayers pick up the tab or just accept the environmental and human pollution that leads to sickness, misery and death.