American Elephants


The Energy Scandal Grows and Grows! by The Elephant's Child

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the government’s half-billion dollar loan to failed solar panel maker Solyndra. This is part of a nine-month investigation. The committee has reviewed 186,000 pages of documents from DOE, 10,000 pages from the White House, and another 1.000 from Treasury.

The Subcommittee Chairman, Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and other GOP Members charge that Obama administration officials rushed the Solyndra loan out the door without due diligence, ignoring the significant problems  and gave investors first rights over taxpayers in collecting the $75 million owed to taxpayers.

Secretary Chu’s testimony relies on an argument about the clean tech “race” comparing it to the “arms race” and the “space race” of the Cold War.  President Obama talks continually about our “competition” with China. Chu says that China is investing about $9 billion a month on “clean energy” and suggests that we are somehow falling behind. The idea is that if we don’t “invest” in our clean tech firms then China will win.

Chu has claimed that the only question is — who will invent, manufacture and export these clean technologies. America had fallen behind. If we just put enough restrictions on carbon, a steadily tightening cap, then that will drive investment decisions towards clean energy.

But China is roaming the world buying up interests in oil and coal.  Most of China’s electricity (80%) comes from coal.  China’s success in solar panels comes not from technological innovation, but from cheap labor.  They are not powering their economy with clean energy from windmills and solar panels.

There is a large bubble here. Wind and solar only exist with big subsidies from governments. European countries are reducing or eliminating their subsidies. Britain is looking at 60% hikes in the cost of energy, and a real problem of fuel poverty among the people. Wind and solar are inefficient ways of producing electricity, and require 24/7 backup from standard power plants because, as yet, we have no way to store the energy to compensate for the times when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow.

The new book by Peter Schweizer reveals that 80% of “green energy” loans went to top Obama donors, fundraisers, bundlers, and supporters, like Al Gore, John Doerr, Larry Page and Sergei Brinn (Google)  Robert Kennedy Jr.’s company BrightSource received a $1.4 billion bailout through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee of Kennedy’s, named Sanjay Wagle,  who is now a Department of Energy official. In 2010 BrightSource was deep in debt with $1.8 billion in debt obligations. The company planned to become the largest solar plant in the world on federal lands in California.  As Peter Schweizer notes, in Throw Them All Out, “a billion dollars in taxpayer money is being sent to wealthy investors to bail them out of risky investments.”

There are more bankruptcies to come —probably lots more. The administration’s energy policies make no sense. This chart proves it.  (click to enlarge)

They are shutting down known energy fields, known sources of oil and natural gas, the Keystone XL pipeline, to assuage Obama’s environmental supporters who are furious that he cancelled the EPA’s Ozone rule.  And, supporting instead, energy sources that produce little energy.

We have spent far more to produce energy from “renewables” than we needed to spend for higher quality energy like natural gas. Fewer Americans are working. The green jobs have proved ephemeral, and the jobs killed keep increasing as a direct result of government actions.

It was the government that was responsible for the financial crisis. Now it’s the government that is preventing a recovery.


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