• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Green Energy Backers Unwittingly Undermine Case for Federal 'Investment'

    Democrats determined to shield the administration from accusations of political cronyism are unwittingly undermining the larger policy vision that they themselves have supported, and the president has championed: the so-called “green energy economy.”

    Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Diana Degette (D-CO), ranking Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its investigative sub-panel, respectively, have released a trove of emails between administration officials regarding their support and financing for bankrupt solar company Solyndra. Their goal is to counter Republican suggestions that Solyndra received favorable treatment due to its investors’ political contributions.

    But in doing so, Waxman and Degette are revealing that the defects in the Solyndra loan were features, not bugs, of its parent Energy Department loan program. If there was no malfeasance on the federal government’s part, then all of its actions can be fairly presented as the program’s normal workings.

    The latest document dump from Waxman and Degette reveals that Solyndra was banking on additional support from the federal government, whether in the form of another loan guarantee of nearly the same size, or a cap and trade bill from Congress. When neither of these solutions came about, the company collapsed.

    Solyndra was hoping that Congress could pass an energy bill that would mandate a certain level of “green” energy production, National Journal reported Thursday. In emails released by Energy and Commerce, executives said they had hoped for “a renewable energy standard to ensure adequate U.S. market size.” That market world, of course, drive business to Solyndra and other solar companies.

    The company was also pursuing more direct means for federal aid. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a number of the emails showed that DOE “was still considering providing [a] second loan guarantee to the solar-panel manufacturer in April and May 2010, at a time when Solyndra’s auditors were already warning that the company was in danger of collapsing.” That loan guarantee totaled $469 million.

    These emails paint a picture of a company that could not survive without repeated government intervention. Whether through federal mandates for their product or direct financing from the government, Solyndra needed another federal intervention to sustain operations.

    Congressional Democrats’ quest to inoculate the administration from any allegations of wrongdoing seems to imply that such an arrangement between Solyndra and the federal government was wholly ordinary. And indeed, that has been the administration’s and its allies’ mantra on green jobs: government financing is needed precisely because its beneficiaries could not survive without it.

    “The government needs to stop trying to pick winners and losers in the marketplace,” write Nick Loris and Jack Spencer in a new Heritage research paper on the flawed idea of “green bank” to provide loan guarantees.

    The importance of green energy aside, supporters of the program seem to be throwing the federal government’s weight behind unprofitable and excessively risky companies precisely because they are unprofitable and excessively risky. That is not an investment model likely to provide a sustainable rate of return. The president’s protestations notwithstanding, such a program will by its nature levy greater costs on investors – in this case, taxpayers – than a financing mechanism driven by the pursuit of profit.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Green Energy Backers Unwittingly Undermine Case for Federal 'Investment'

    1. blueiris says:

      WHO IN THIS ADMINISTRATION EVER KNEW BUSINESS?
      Yes, in caps, for emphasis.

    2. Bobbie says:

      'green!' what convenience to crooks, cons and corruption. Last night there was a show called "the world in two hours." It started out with the big bang and ended up implying America to be the sole cause of everything bad. Simple set up.

      It's easy for men to be creative when their's is the agenda in focus. Men only speculate nature and can use the imagination anyway that's suitable to fit their agenda. This American government administration is making a colossal mess of things. Everything that exists is derived by nature. And if the big bang were true, there wouldn't be multiples of the same but different, like human life. Emotions wouldn't exist and either would our levels of mentality. Although the government is trying to equalize that.

      I just wonder what would've happened if oil was never extracted from the earth? Seems it would naturally erupt from the earth! hmm…

      "the world in two hours" is based on nothing but men's imagination, speculation and half truths which mislead. oh and the show exploited a fish from which we evolved! creative to where the vulnerable minds surely believe and that being too many minds!

    3. I have been wondering the same thing…why would anyone use a 'we are just really dumb, not criminal' defense, if you are trying to further justify the intervention of Government into the marketplace?
      Sadly, most of us believe that BOTH points are valid – a large level of 'dumb', combined with some level of either outright criminal activity or, at least, criminal negligence.

    4. dam1953 says:

      Ignoring millennia of human behavior, our never-insightful elected officials promoted ever more risky growth through governmental (a.k.a tax payers) support programs and guarantees. By their failure to recognize that eliminating risk incentivizes risky behavior, Washington has effectively promoted single parent households, dysfunctional families, drug-related violent crime, a crumbling educational system and most recently, a collapsing housing market and business fraud. If insanity is defined as repeating an activity while expecting the result to change then Washington needs to be institutionalized and we, the voters, need therapy because we keep putting the inmates in charge.

    5. Linda L Hill says:

      Quote: When Ignorance of the Law Mitigates
      If you are charged with falsifying a government record, your attorney may be able to argue that your lack of understanding with the paperwork warrants your charges being punished less. You are not disputing that you did the acts, but rather you are indirectly contesting the criminal intent associated with your actions.

      So, does this work of the Obama Administration, Professor Woe and the Energy Department? No. There is enough information to conclude that everyone knew what was happening and what might happen if it was found out. This is a Crime and Coverup of a Crime, definately.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×