Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Green Energy Fiasco

From the Heritage Foundation, a list of “green energy” companies that have gone under.
1. Abound Solar

Government’s Bad Bet: $ 790.3 million

2. Solyndra

Government’s Bad Bet: $570 million

3. A123 Systems

Government’s Bad Bet: $377.1 million

4. Ener1 (EnerDel, subsidiary)

Government’s Bad Bet: $182.8 million

5. Range Fuels

Government’s Bad Bet: $162.3 million

6. Azure Dynamics

Government’s Bad Bet: $119.1 million

7. Energy Conversion Devices (subsidiary, United Solar Ovanic)

Government’s Bad Bet: $110.3 million

8. Evergreen Solar, Inc.

Government’s Bad Bet: $84.9 million

9. Beacon Power

Government’s Bad Bet: $77.4 million

10. Raser Technologies

Government’s Bad Bet: $33 million

11. Nordic Windpower

Government’s Bad Bet: $24.6 million

12. SpectraWatt

Government’s Bad Bet: $20.5 million

13. Konarka Technologies

Government’s Bad Bet: $13.6 million (Heritage’s calculations), $20 million according to Konarka’s website

14. Satcon Technology Corporation

Government’s Bad Bet: $17 million

15. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Co.

Government’s Bad Bet: $10.8 million

16. Stirling Energy Systems, Inc.

Government’s Bad Bet: $10.5 million

17. Thompson River Power, LLC

Government’s Bad Bet: $6.5 million

18. Cardinal Fasteners and Specialty Co., Inc.

Government’s Bad Bet: $480,000

19. Mountain Plaza, Inc.

Government’s Bad Bet: $424,000

20. ReVolt Technology

Government’s Bad Bet: $10 million
Now, a bit about details:
These numbers do not reflect the amount of government funding the company necessarily received or used—these are amounts the government was willing to risk. These figures do offer estimations of assistance provided by local, state and/or federal governments. This assistance could have been promised to the companies in a variety of ways, including tax credits, loans, loan guarantees, grants, and other forms of financial incentives and support. The numbers below are the best calculations possible given the incomplete, at times even inconsistent, information from the government and other sources.

Additionally, during bankruptcy proceedings, these companies could very well be purchased by another company and be brought back to life. However, their tombstone in the Green Graveyard will remain as a reminder of the darker days.
The problem here is not that green energy is forever and always a losing proposition. It’s that when politicians get to spend other people’s money, they lack the normal market incentives to spend it wisely.

It goes to things that sound good. It goes to political cronies. It goes to promote an ideological agenda.

If a given project can’t hack it in the market, that’s a signal that it’s not economically viable. Throwing taxpayer money at it isn’t going to make it viable.

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