Another Dem President Wastes Taxpayer Dollars On Useless Green Boondoggles

solyndra obama visit

This past week, the Senate passed the Biden administration’s “Inflation Reduction Act,” which includes $368 billion for green-energy spending targeted to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030, a move that will almost certainly increase inflation.

In a repeat of the renewable energy project failures that the Obama administration financed with federal grants and tax breaks, the Biden administration is betting more potentially inflationary deficit spending against the odds that renewable energy will be profitable this time. [bold, links added]

Ironically, on September 4, 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden was the one who announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) had just finalized a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, LLC.

This green energy company manufactured “innovative cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels that provide clean, renewable energy.”

Biden enthusiastically noted the DOE loan guarantee aimed to finance the construction of Solyndra’s manufacturing plant.

He also bragged that the annual production of solar panels from the first phase of Solyndra’s plans would provide energy equivalent to powering 24,000 homes a year for over half a million homes during the project’s lifetime.

On September 6, 2011, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, suspended operations at its headquarters, and laid off 1,100 workers. Solyndra went bankrupt despite $535 million in federal loan guarantees and more than $700 million in venture capital funding.

The U.S. Department of Energy blamed the Solyndra bankruptcy on the Chinese, claiming the China Development Bank offered more than $30 billion in financing to Chinese solar manufacturers, “about 20 times more than U.S.-backed loans to solar manufacturers.”

On December 25, 2011, after analyzing thousands of memos, company records, and internal emails, the Washington Post provided interesting insights into Obama’s entire $80 billion clean energy technology program.

First, it concluded that the Obama administration gave preferred access to investors in Solyndra who had donated to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Some of these select investors even took jobs in the administration and helped manage the clean energy program.

“Documents show that senior officials pushed career bureaucrats to rush their decision on the [Solyndra] loan so Vice President Biden could announce it during a trip to California.”

The same article noted that Obama’s May 2010 stop at Solyndra’s headquarters, “like most presidential appearances,” was “closely managed political theater.

Second, it noted that Solyndra’s most substantial political connection was George Kaiser, a Democratic fundraiser and oil industry billionaire who happened to be an Obama campaign bundler in 2008.

Kaiser had hosted Obama at his home, and his family’s foundation owned more than a third of Solyndra. Kaiser “took a direct interest in its [Solyndra’s] operations.”

Peter Schweizer, head of the Government Accountability Institute, reported that 80% of the money spent in Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act on green energy companies went to companies with individual owners who sat on Obama’s finance committee for his 2008 presidential campaign.

Given the number of influential donors in Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign who have considerable financial stakes in green energy companies, Schweizer predicts Biden’s “Build Back Better” green energy program amounts to nothing more than “a wealth transfer to Biden’s biggest bundlers.”

By 2015, the Obama administration had used taxpayer funds to subside solar and other renewable energy in the United States at an average of $39 billion per year over five years, for a total of nearly $200 billion.

This massive investment in renewable energy resulted in less than 1% of additional electrical generation.

In total, the Obama administration financed some 34 faltering or bankrupt green energy companies, including the following: solar panel manufacturers Solyndra LLC ($535 million loss in federal loan guarantees) and Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC ($400 million loss); Fisker Automotive ($529 million), a green vehicles program; and green energy storage companies Beacon Power ($43 million) and A123 Systems ($132 million).

On May 5, 2021, Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso, M.D., the ranking member of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced an investigative report that the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources had released about a concept he called the “Solyndra Syndrome.”

The report contended Biden is heading down the same green energy path as Obama. Throwing billions of taxpayer jobs at various clean energy ventures didn’t work for Obama, and Barrasso argued it wouldn’t work for Biden either.

Moreover, like Obama, Biden was putting a stranglehold on the oil and gas industries, where jobs were being created.

The reality is that green energy is an expensive chimera. With today’s technology, it can’t come close to satisfying America’s energy needs.

In a perfect world, batteries the size of flashlight batteries could store enough wind or solar energy to light a city; and ten wind turbines placed a few miles outside a metropolitan area could provide all the electricity that the city and suburbs needed for a week, whether or not the wind blew.

If that technology existed, the entire world would instantly switch to these new, powerful solar batteries.

Instead, in the real world, renewable energy use in utility-scale electricity generation will remain dependent upon government grants and tax credits for the foreseeable future.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable fuels in 2020 were only 12% of all U.S. energy consumption [that includes hydropower].

When we break down the renewable energy category, solar and wind energy together were 37% of the renewable energy used, but only 4.44% of all energy the United States used that year.

These numbers would surprise those who consume only the mainstream media.

Read rest at American Thinker

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