The Solyndra Debacle
As Milwaukee radio commentator Mark Belling says, Solyndra isn't the tip of the iceberg in the unfolding green energy scandal. It's the cancer cell found by the doctor which leads to further tests that reveal a body – in this case the body politic – riddled with cancer. The subsidizing of alternative energy by the Obama administration is a textbook case of fraud and waste on an enormous scale. Among Belling's other points:
- No matter how much taxpayer money is plowed into these companies, they invariably go broke.
- Even aided by state government mandates specifying that given percentages of power come from so-called "green" sources, alternative-energy companies still can't support themselves.
- Solyndra received a fortune in the form of government loan guarantees. It also received enormous sums from private investors who interpreted government loans as a sign that their investments were safe.
- Yet Solyndra STILL went bankrupt. Why?
- The highly-touted technology in their signature product – thin solar panels – still isn't commercially viable. They're too expensive compared to traditional solar panels produced by such companies as First Solar, and by competitors overseas, especially in China.
- Yet the Obama Administration's blind admiration for thin solar panels – and its willingness to pour vast sums of money into them – continues.
- Now even the liberal mainstream media has begun, reluctantly, to take notice.
- We're learning that financial arrangements similar to Solyndra's have been made between the federal government and many other companies. They're leading to similar outcomes: paltry or nonexistent sales, corporate bankruptcies, and squandered taxpayer dollars.
- The government quest to invent an alternative power industry virtually from the ground up is quixotic – and therefore bound to fail. No amount of money, whether in loans or grants, can offset the fact that a market for expensive solar panels simply doesn't exist today.
- The widespread acceptance and use of solar energy is now and will remain a pipe dream until the cost per unit of power produced falls dramatically. We are many years – probably decades – away from such a time.
- By contrast, look at the economic growth which HAS occured over the last couple decades in America. Look at the startups that have achieved financial success in our time: Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay. None of them got a nickel from the federal government. They didn't need it. They were founded on ideas for which markets existed and for which venture capital players were willing to make calculated gambles.
- Eventually affordable alternatives to fossil fuels will emerge. Efforts are underway on a number of fronts. Plug-in hybrids are being produced. Vehicles running on gas and electric batteries. Compressed natural gas and full-time electric vehicles. No-one knows which of these will be successful. Perhaps all of them. Or some. Or none. Perhaps something entirely and unimaginably new will turn out to be the answer.
- As always, the driving force in all these efforts is the price of fuel. Customers feeling the pinch of high gas prices will someday reward someone who provides an economical alternative to fossil fuels. But the recipient of that reward will come from private industry – not from government. Entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, and the like are the pool from which tomorrow's energy industry leaders and titans will be drawn.
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