Saturday, July 21, 2012

Green Energy: A Bust in the US, Europe, ...

Instead of trying to pick winners and losers, the private sector message to the Government is clear—create a competitive marketplace with fair rules, no subsidies and turn the private sector loose.  The genius of America is our ability to continuously reinvent ourselves to adapt to change.  The failure of government is impeding that disruptive innovative change. _Private Sector -- Not Government -- Creating almost all new energy

The Obama administration has compiled a long list of investment losers. These green companies gone bust, are only the tip of the iceberg of funds misallocated by the Obama administration in pressing its destructive green agenda:
Abound Solar consumed $70 million of its $400 million Energy Department loan guarantee. The company, based in Loveland, Colo., blamed Chinese subsidy payments and European subsidy cuts for falling prices in its thin-film-panel sector. On July 2, Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 liquidation and prepared to lock shop and fire its 125 employees.

Solar Trust envisioned Earth’s largest solar-power plant. DOE enthusiastically offered it a $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011, provided that it raised private capital. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the company’s groundbreaking in Blythe, Calif., and hailed “a historic moment in America’s new energy frontier.” Solar Trust missed DOE’s benchmarks, however, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 2.

Energy Conversion Devices, a solar-laminate supplier, received a $13.3 million stimulus tax credit in January 2010 to update its factory in Auburn Hills, Mich., and to hire some 600 people. ECD pleaded Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Valentine’s Day.

Ener1 received a $118.5 million DOE stimulus grant in August 2009. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Greenfield, Ind., to tour Ener1 on January 26, 2011. “Here at Ener1,” Biden said, “we’re going to harness electricity and bring it to the world, like Edison did more than a century ago.” The electric-car-battery company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 26, 2012, exactly one year after Biden’s visit.

Aptera Motors aspired to build three-wheel electric cars. DOE offered it a $150 million ATVM loan, conditioned on Aptera’s raising $150 million in non-government capital. Aptera never convinced private investors to finance glorified tricycles. So, on December 2, CEO Paul Wilber announced that “after years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today.”

Massachusetts-based Beacon Power Corp. received a $43 million loan guarantee in October 2010 — DOE’s second such subsidy. The energy-storage concern declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 30, 2011.

Solyndra, the most notorious of Obama’s green-energy baubles, filed for bankruptcy on August 31, 2011. Taxpayers are liable for this solar-panel maker’s $535 million in loan guarantees — the first that DOE made under Obama.

In death, Solyndra has proved anything but green. As San Francisco’s KCBS-TV reported in April, Solyndra’s facility in Milpitas, Calif., features metal drums marked “hazardous waste.” Cadmium, lead, unidentified black chemicals, and othertoxins haunt the premises. A company called iStar said it would remove these poisons — as soon as Solyndra pays its bills.

Solyndra also discarded still-valuable solar-panel components, even though selling them could have generated capital to reimburse its creditors, including America’s taxpayers.

In June 2009, SpectraWatt scored a $500,000 grant from the PV Technology Pre-Incubator project of DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In June 2010, it received $150,000 from the National Science Foundation. Facing stiff Chinese competition, this solar-cell manufacturer closed its factory in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., and dismissed all of its 117 workers in April 2011. SpectraWatt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 19, 2011.

Raser Technologies received a $33 million Treasury Department stimulus grant in February 2010. As its dreams of a geothermal plant in Beaver County, Utah, turned to steam, its payroll subsequently evaporated from 42 workers to 27 to 10. Raser declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2011.

Despite the bankruptcy of Mountain Plaza, Inc., in 2003, the EPA decided to inject$424,000 in stimulus funds for that Tennessee company’s “truck-stop electrification” technology. Nonetheless, Mountain Plaza again went bankrupt, on June 3, 2010. EPA officially awarded those funds twelve days later, despite Mountain Plaza’s insolvency and a related lawsuit. _TheGWPF

The same wasteful cycle of green investment and green collapse has occurred on an even larger scale in Europe -- and is likely to get much worse before it gets better.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said it may have to scrap some of its targets for shifting the source of its electricity supply, a move that would water down a commitment to bolster renewable energy in Europe’s biggest economy. Economy Minister Philipp Roesler told today’s Bild newspaper that Germany may readjust targets linked to the plan to exit nuclear energy-generation by 2022 if jobs are threatened.—Bloomberg, 17 July 2012
 Prices for UN-backed carbon credits sank to a record low in morning trading on Wednesday after doubts emerged about European Commission plans to prop up the bloc’s ailing emissions trading market. Carbon prices have fallen to fresh lows at several points over the past nine months as a glut in the supply of EU credits has been exacerbated by sagging demand due to weak European economic conditions.—Pilita Clark and Jack Farchy,  Financial Times, 18 July 2012[
 The end of the world is not going to happen within our lifetimes. That’s the word from Justin Deering, author of The End of the World Delusion: How Doomsayers Endanger Society. “We’re bombarded with end-of-the-world scares practically everywhere you look,” Deering explains. Deering doesn’t care whether the claims arise from religious beliefs or scientific concerns. “It doesn’t matter to me whether they’re a preacher or a scientist, a shaman mystic or an expert researcher. If they’re saying the end is near, they’re wrong.”—Watts Up With That, 18 July 2012
_Benny Peiser
Obama's "investments" that failed, were actually largely payoffs to cronies who helped Obama get elected. If one looks closely enough, he is likely to find a similar political cronyism involved in all areas where green faux environmentalism overlaps with big money politics and government.

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Blogger Colin Whitmarsh said...

I think taking advantage of the public sympathies to the green movement is more than a little base. When it's something that concerns every person on the globe, I don't think it should be used as leverage to gain a position of power. But then again, it's the perfect political tool because of that isn't it?

6:29 AM  

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