January 13, 2012

CBS News: "Department of Energy Loses Billions of Taxpayer Dollars in Bad Loans to Green Energy Companies"

Marc Comtois

From CBS News:

CBS News counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for more than $6.5 billion in federal assistance. Five have filed for bankruptcy: The junk bond-rated Beacon, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, AES' subsidiary Eastern Energy and Solyndra.

Government doesn't do a good job of picking winners. Even if--or especially if--they are in sexy industries like green energy.

Last November at a hearing on Solyndra, Energy Secretary Steven Chu strongly defended the government's attempts to bolster America's clean energy prospects. "In the coming decades, the clean energy sector is expected to grow by hundreds of billions of dollars," Chu said. "We are in a fierce global race to capture this market."

Economist [Peter] Morici says even somebody as smart as Secretary Chu -- an award-winning scientist -- shouldn't be playing "venture capitalist" with tax dollars. "Tasking a Nobel Prize mathematician to make investments for the U.S. government is like asking the manager of the New York Yankees to be general in charge of America's troops in Afghanistan," Morici said. "It's that absurd."

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Hey, I have an idea for how we can cut the budget deficit by $6.5 billion...

Posted by: Patrick at January 13, 2012 11:15 AM

Two years ago, I was offered a job in a division of the DOE that oversees many of these grants and loans. Besides the morally objectionable nature of picking winners and losers in the economy, I thought to myself, "They're flush with stimulus money now. But this agency might not even exist a few years from now." Looks like I was right to be cautious. I assume that the employees in these divisions will be silently shuffled to other Federal positions in the coming months.

Posted by: Dan at January 13, 2012 1:12 PM

Venture capitalism makes the assessment of whether or not an idea or product has a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding.

Venture socialism asks the questions - who do I need to pay off or who can I attract to my causes?

Venture capital investments are always risky but enough do pay off. Venture socialism is just thieving from us all.

Posted by: chuckR at January 13, 2012 11:54 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.