United States Secretary of Energy Steve Chu did not exactly distinguish himself while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee about Solyndra, the so-called “green energy” company that received more than half a billion dollars in loan guarantees from the federal government.
That these same loan guarantees were refused by the Bush Energy Department in the waning days of that administration is only part of the story. That Solyndra is connected to major Obama donors and was permitted by the government to undertake a restructuring that allowed for private investors to be paid back before the U.S. taxpayers when the company went bust has made matters worse—and certainly increased interest in what happened—but that too is only part of the story.
There are lots of people in Washington who have identified Solyndra as part of a regime based on “crony capitalism” that has become the hallmark of the current administration. If that were all there was to it, things would be reasonably simple to sort out. In fact what happened at this one California-based company is only a symptom of a larger problem, one that threatens to grow over the next year and which reflects a fundamental flaw in the Obama energy policy: It is not based on anything reasonable.
The rush to create “green jobs” relies on technologies that have not been fully developed, have not proven their worth in the commercial sector and which, frankly, are more pie in the sky than anything else. That is not to say there is absolutely no role for solar and wind energy in the U.S. economy, but that the emphasis on these so-called renewables has come at the expense of traditional forms of energy. It also overlooks the very real fact that, as former Bush Energy Secretary Sam Bodman used to say, the most readily abundant source of new energy in the United States is that which everyday is wasted through inefficiency.
The Nobel prize-winning Chu and his associates would do well to consider that. Rather than try to create whole new industries using the tools of “crony capitalism” they might want to focus on ways to better utilize the energy the nation already produces. They would do well to take a look at what companies like Multistack, a Wisconsin-based privately held firm does.
Read More at US News By Peter Roff, USNews