An Administration’s Green Fiascos Pile Up

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The Obama administration has spent three years and billions of tax dollars in efforts to jump start a “green energy” industry in the United States. The president says that “sustainable,” clean energy sources are the wave of the future, vital to America’s future security and the well-being of the entire planet. And yet, after all this time and all that money, all the administration has to show for those efforts are a series of spectacular failures that would make a less arrogant leader blush.

The Solyndra fiasco is the highest-profile of the president’s many green failures, but it’s hardly the only one. Barely a week goes by but that we learn of yet another government-funded “clean energy” boondoggle. Let’s consider a few examples.

Late last year, Beacon Power Company filed for bankruptcy protection. Beacon had previously received a $39 million government-guaranteed loan in order to fund research aimed at producing energy storage devices on an industrial scale. These kinds of “super batteries” are necessary solely to cover for the deficiencies and unreliability of solar and wind power.

Last Thursday, Ener1 Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection. Ener1 develops lithium storage batteries for electric cars manufactured by a company called Think Holdings, AS, which in turn has a manufacturing company located in Elkhart, Indiana. Ener1 received over $130 million in stimulus funds, and a $480 million loan from the Energy Department, promising to deliver 1,400 jobs to Indiana, while Think Holdings would generate a further 415 jobs. To date, Enre1 has created 275 jobs, while Think Holdings is down to 2 people who guard a plant at which about 100 electric vehicles – most of them unfinished – sit idly in storage.

A year ago, Vice President Joe Biden hailed Ener1 as one of “100 Recovery Act projects changing America.” “A year and a half ago, this administration made a judgment,” he said at the time. “We decided it’s not sufficient to create new jobs—we have to create whole new industries.” Unfortunately for Ener1, the free market did not share the Vice President’s enthusiasm. Demand for expensive, short ranged, small electric cars has not materialized, and thus Ener1 has no market for its product.

Even the much-ballyhooed Chevy Volt has turned into a disaster. Fire hazards aside, there is simply no demand for the vehicle beyond some arms of government, a few corporations with cash to waste and rich, tree-hugging celebrities who can afford the luxury of pretentiousness. Chevrolet hoped to sell 10,000 Volts in 2011. Actual sales amounted to 7,671 units. GM has temporarily laid off 1,200 workers on the Volt production line and is considering slowing down production. A recent study concluded that real cost of Volt – when you consider all of the government subsidies involved in developing and building the car – is about $250,000 per unit. To borrow one of the environmental movement’s favorite terms, it’s hard to see how production of the Volt could ever be sustainable in the free market.

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  • pierce

    The Obama administration will continue down this misguided path because they have some very arrogant people who have some impractical ideas that are very expensive to implement.

  • Big Irish

    Keystone Pipeline….what an absolute shame – so much oil – so many jobs – so much $$$$….we offered it to BHO on a silver – GOLD! platter…and all he does this arrogant pathetic excuse – is to spit in Canadas face – and the face of every American – lets keep giving our money to Chavez and the muzzies he so loves in the middle east… friggin sad.

    • wsk

      Don't worry. Warren Buffett's railroad will transport that oil for us. never mind the increased transportation costs and the increased carbon output (trains).

      • Don from BC

        Not to mention the increased risk of an oil spill.

  • G Dub

    Why has no one called out the elephant in the room?
    Why do the critics of these mis-adventures not say the obvious?
    Let's see: have not all of these failed "green" companies had as a major investor an OBlabla bundler or doner? Have we not seen that these companies fail some few months after a major infusion of tax-payer dollars? Have we not seen, as in GM and Solyndra, investors turned upside down in bankruptcy court such that the taxpayers are the LAST to be cut a check?
    Hey! Wake up! Follow the money. This is GRAFT. This is CORRUPTION on a grand scale.
    I believe that it is time for America to send OBlabla on another vacation.
    Can you say Leavenworth?

  • RAS

    The sad truth is that the “Green Extremist Movement” has played a significant role in our current economic woes as well as the collapse of our once spectacular industrial base. As an engineer in R&D, I watched as silly regulation after silly regulation, spawned by both the EPA and OSHA, reduced our productivity and our ability to innovate. The technically unqualified leadership that we are saddled with today, along with their self serving technical sycophants, is destroying us. The first issue a new Congress and President should address is to curtail the hundreds of stupid restrictions and regulations preventing sensible domestic energy development, including nuclear, and get government agencies like the EPA out of the way.

    • pagegl

      So, you think that our goverment should heed the Constitution and only Congress should have the power to make laws, unlike our current state in which various bureaucracies are allowed to create laws and regulations without the oversight of Congress. I agree.

  • mrbean

    Marxism was a fiercely industrial-rationalist faith that by nationalizing capital, productivity could be unfettered, unleashing an era of abundance. Ludwig von Mises poured cold water on that pipe dream when he demonstrated irrefutably in "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" that nationalization of capital must lead inevitably to a crisis of capital consumption, progressive impoverishment and eventual collapse, as later happened in Eastern Europe. Environmentalism responds not by abandoning the command-economy model, but by abandoning the idea that productivity and abundance are good. If socialism produces penury, then penury is good, and prosperity will destroy the world. A fiercely industrial-rationalist faith has degenerated into mystical nature-cult, a kitchy romanticist holism of "Blood and Soil."

    • ISAIAH5417

      Marxism in all iterations equals a godless utopia of twisted faith in science, technology & death. 200,000,000 souls perished during the 20th century Marxist struggle against 'the man'. Now the Obama Cohort wants to give Marxism a head-start in the new millennium. How many more must perish? Historian Robert Conquest's "Reflections on a Ravaged Century" offers a precise description of Marxism's intellectual folly. The Obama cohort views men like Conquest as their enemies. Marxism is a sickness of the soul.

  • ISAIAH5417

    As I type these words Obama is making yet another "speech" in Falls Church, VA surrounded by an enthusiastic cheering audience of Federal Bureaucrats who have been turned out (or else!) to support whatever lies Obama tells today. I am sick and tired of the Obama/Trumka unionized bureaucrat put-up job. AFLCIO president Richard Trumka is all-in promoting bureaucracy as the new go-go Big Labor market. I know this post does not relate precisely to the article's topic but in the larger scheme of things Obama's plan is to make "government" the biggest business in the U.S.A. and the EPA is one of the Obama cohort's favorite "growth industries".

  • DrBukk

    It's incredible hubris to think a human could make computer models that imitate the atmosphere's infinite influences. If an experiment has no control, no conclusion can be made.
    Then, another layer of mysticism and indulgences is piled on the fraud. It is mysticism to predict bad consequences of global warming, heck it might be great! A northern passage might make the entire planet temperate. The indulgences are the billions they waste while enriching themselves.

  • Fred Dawes

    All that you see is part of the plan to take down the USA WE Now have a puppet government we now have incest between globalist bankers and our so called government; we see the move to removing our human rights and the total Globalization of our lives meaning the mass killing of most of the worlds population down the road and the removal of our national benefits for the old, in other words we our really our, F, THE GLOBALIST Will see to that 80 trillion now owned to the world bankers and the poloulation of this nation state is about to get the old F-UP THE OLD A.

  • Brujo Blanco

    This green energy mantra is about politics and not science. Fielding unprovens devices without proper testing is a waste of time and money.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The Obama administration will continue down this path because the money is
    going to their supporters and ideological friends. The green power is simply
    false, in the end people pay much more for much less…………………William

  • NTN

    I just want to correct a couple factual errors in the article as it pertains to one of the companies mentioned, Beacon Power. Beacon Power is a company that provides a service to the electrical utilities called frequency regulation which is necessary to prevent the type of huge catastrophic blackout that occurred in the Northeast in 2003. Frequency regulation service is required for ALL types of power generators, not just wind and solar. it provides the service through very high tech flywheel energy storage (kinetic energy), which is NOTHING like a battery in technology.

  • NTN

    Addendum to last post if anyone is interested in a little hope for the taxpayer in this situation:
    It does so with a much quicker response capability than any other frequency regulation service provider, in addition to being more efficient and non-polluting. The electrical grid's infrastructure is sorely in need of upgrading to meet our country's growing needs for electrical power. Unfortunately, Beacon Power got caught in the political crossfire when Solyndra went bankrupt. It's a highly respected company in the electrical utility industry, and it's a shame it was forced into bankruptcy in large part because the DOE Loan Program Office stiffened the terms of Beacon's loan when the administration was catching heat for Solyndra's bankruptcy. The company's storage plant in Stephentown, NY that was built with the DOE loan was fully operational ahead of schedule and under budget and had never missed a loan payment when the DOE loan program office stopped the loan disbursements. The company is still operating, as is the energy storage facility built with the loan, so unlike Solyndra, this one may pay off yet.

  • phillyfanatic

    Amazing that the MSM covers for Bama on not only these 11 plus green frauds but apparently the Fast and Furious scandal too. So, anything goes for Obama. With 48% approval, the guy is now flying high. So he is a tyrant. So what? Now we see in MSM comments, the GOP is worried about losing Congress; all of it in Nov. No one cares about the military when it needs real energy like oil and gas. So Solyndra, Fast, and no energy systems domestically, so what? Obama is magic and supposedly voters will just worry about how horrid the Pubs, Mitt, Newt or whoever is. Yikes.

  • Tom James

    Adored the article. More research has proved that eating often does not really improve your metabolism and hence fat burning. It’s on pubmed and worth checking out. Thanks

  • cybergatis

    Who believes our gov wants lower food an fuel costs or even more jobs? The job of gov is to grow and this man made disaster is growing it faster than ever. Would this not further increase prices at the pump in the US?