Calif. loses Voltotopia to Tex.

Calif. loses Voltotopia to Tex.

Aug. 1, 2012

By John Seiler

California’s eco-fanatics have a lot of explaining to do!

Given how green-crazy California is, you would think it would have been awarded a special utopian village dedicated to the Chevy Volt electric car, what I’m calling Voltotopia. We have AB 32! We had Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the world’s No. 1 ambassador against global warming! We have Gov. Jerry Brown!

Nope. It’s going to Austin, Tex., reports Edmunds Inside Line:

“AUSTIN, Texas — Maybe it should be renamed ‘Chevrolet Volt-ville.’ The largest concentration of Chevrolet Volts in the country will play a key role in helping Texas residents in a 700-acre planned community as they test the impact of “smart homes” and other green technology, like electronic vehicles.

“GM calls it the greatest concentration of Chevrolet Volts in the world.”

I hope they have a good fire department because Volts tend to catch fire.

“Pecan Street is funded by a $10.4 million grant from the Energy Department and more than $14 million in matching funds from project partners. Although Pecan Street oversees the consortia, it also includes researchers from the University of Texas, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Environmental Defense Fund. It’s housed in the University of Texas at Austin.”

Why Texas?

So, why did the Volt dough go to Texas, instead of to an Obama-friendly Blue State, especially California? Was it because the Volt was conceived under President George W. Bush, who hailed from Texas?

No. I checked. The federal money was doled out under President Obama, much of it from his 2009 economic stimulus that blew $700 billion but didn’t stimulate the economy. I checked the Website of the Pecan Street Project, the official name of Voltopia. It contained a Nov. 5, 2009 article from the Austin American-Statesman, which read:

“Austin’s Pecan Street Project has won $10.4 million in federal stimulus money to create a smart-grid demonstration project at the Mueller development in East Austin.

“On Tuesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $620 million in clean-energy grants for 32 demonstration projects nationwide.

“Chu said the projects chosen — which include large-scale energy storage, smart meters, transmission system monitoring devices and a range of other smart technologies — will serve as models for the deployment of smart-grid systems on a broader scale.

“In Austin, the money will help turn Mueller — the city’s former airport, now a 700-acre community of homes, stores and businesses — into a smart-grid model community.”

Chu even is from California. He was a physics boffin at Berkeley.

I suspect that solipsistic California was just lazy. Those were the waning months of the Schwarzenegger administration, and Arnold, always slovenly about politics, long had turned over the reins of power to his wife, Maria Shriver, and his chief-of-staff, Susan Kennedy. The details are in Ian Halperin’s biography.

CARB Commissar Mary Nichols, leaders in the Democratic Legislature and others in California politics live in their own little worlds and couldn’t care less about getting a measly $10.4 million for our state for a dumb car. They’re more interested in that $3.5 billion in federal lucre for the Browndoggle.

It’s just as well. Let Texan drivers dodge flaming Volts.

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