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  • "No More Solyndras Act" Shows Addiction to Energy Subsidies Is a Bipartisan Problem

    The latest political squabbling over the No More Solyndras Act is a reminder that politically entrenched energy subsidies enjoy bipartisan support.

    The No More Solyndras Act prohibits any new loan guarantees from Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For applications that are already under consideration or have received conditional commitment, the bill would require the Secretary of the Treasury to make a recommendation based on the merits of the program. It would prohibit restructuring of the loan so investors can’t jump in front of taxpayers to recover money from a failed project.

    The bill could protect taxpayers even further by ensuring that recipients pay the full cost of the subsidy as determined by an independent, private financial risk assessor. This would provide the best information to determine the actual risk of providing the loan guarantee and ensure that the recipient is actually paying the subsidy cost as required by law.

    Nevertheless, the already-sound No More Solyndras Act has its Republican detractors. Republicans like loan guarantees (or tax credits or direct grants) if they support projects for their politically preferred sources of energy, such as clean coal and nuclear, or if they bring jobs to their districts that they can take credit for creating. But these programs do not create jobs. They misallocate labor and capital by shifting taxpayer dollars away from economical projects and toward political ones.

    If these projects were economical, they wouldn’t need help from the taxpayer. And if they are viable, the government is merely taking money from the taxpayers to bankroll private companies who don’t need it. As Heritage’s David Kreutzer testified earlier this month, “Private investors will finance risky projects, new projects, and projects with long payback periods. None of these conditions is an example of market failure or a call for loan guarantees.”

    Republicans and Democrats alike need to end their addiction to energy subsidies, or we’re going to continue down the same failed path of wasteful spending. While President Obama more than doubled down on subsidies for carbon-free energy, George W. Bush’s solar initiative sounds eerily similar to the one put forth by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and the Obama Administration. The recently bankrupted Amonix was one of 13 solar energy projects that received funding under President Bush’s Solar America Initiative. The DOE press release of the grants reiterates the goals of the Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI):

    President Bush’s AEI challenges Americans to change the way we power our nation. As an integral part of the AEI, the Solar America Initiative aims to bring down the cost of solar energy to make it competitive with conventional electricity sources in the U.S. by 2015. The SAI is also part of the President’s commitment to diversify our energy resources through grants, incentives and tax credits and; aims to spur widespread commercialization and deployment of clean solar energy technologies across America, which would provide long-term economic, environmental, and security benefits to our nation.

    Sound familiar? Looking at President Obama’s DOE solar program, the SunShot Initiative, it’s much of the same:

    The DOE SunShot Initiative aims to dramatically decrease the total costs of solar energy systems by 75% before the end of the decade. Reaching this goal will make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity without subsidies and enable widespread deployment across the United States. Under the SunShot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy will fund selective research and loan guarantees for high risk, high payoff concepts—technologies that promise genuine transformation in the ways we generate, store, and utilize solar energy projects.

    Conservatives need to get on board. We don’t need to fix the energy subsidy programs. We need to abolish them.

    Posted in Energy, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to "No More Solyndras Act" Shows Addiction to Energy Subsidies Is a Bipartisan Problem

    1. KJinAZ says:

      Republicans and Democrats need to end their addiction to ALL SUBSIDIES, not just energy subsidies. If it doesn't work in the free market, it doesn't work period!

    2. Bobbie says:

      I don't understand why Republicans would want subsidies going where the business is stronger than the need? This country's present and future can't afford the intentional, poorly made financial investment decisions that cater to the problem and the problematic, already! Don't give into democrats! Let the interests of the free market consumers choose what maintains! America!

    3. Chunky says:

      Who are the Republicans and Democrats who consistently vote for the subsidies?

    4. cemal adli says:

      Don't forget it Republican politicians brought us to this point.Do you think they'll ever wiseup?I have a bridge to sell.

    5. Joe Citizen says:

      Stop being so narrowed minded, it's not Demacrats, it's not Republicans, it's GOVERNMENT! And as long as we fight the party line we'll never fix the problem because we'll be too busy pointing fingers!!! This stuff is too serious, we have a spending government that just wants us to lay down and pay whatever taxes for wherever pet project they deem is helping us and lose freedom as it goes!

    6. CforUS says:

      Elect representation that doesn't consider "bringing home the bacon" a good thing. As long as our elected officials are spurred on by special interests, contributors and constituents that believe "pork" is only bad if it's going to someone else, we will remain in a vicious spiral to the basement. It’s time for all of us to consider what is good for the nation over what is good for the voting district. If that means not spending for the good of the nation as a whole, so be it.

    7. Guest says:

      Amonix is not bankrupt, but alive and kicking. Do you guys check facts? Or are these fictional pieces?

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