State-House Hot Air Over Wind Power Grant?

It made the front page of the Boston Globe and aired on the local NPR affiliate: Massachusetts won a $2-million grant to help outfit a hangar facility in Charlestown for testing wind turbine blades. In announcing the deal, Governor Deval Patrick was joined at the State House by no less a figure than U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. A parade of energy officials expressed high hopes for what the grant portended.

I’m thinking, $2 million—so what? The country’s energy czar, who controls billions, flies up to Boston to gush over such a measly grant? The overkill seems indicative of a frenzy over everything green. I made a quick call to an energy expert I know, David Danielson, who founded the MIT Energy Club four years ago and is now technologist-in-residence at General Catalyst helping GC study the energy arena. Danielson called the grant a symbolic gesture, to be sure, but one that, combined with separate efforts now afoot, might provide the momentum to turn the U.S. around in alternative energy. “Two million is a drop in the bucket,” he says. “But if you got a lot of drops and the drops start precipitating, you can fill up the whole bucket.”

It’s an interesting forecast—what do you think?

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