Skip to comments.Green Energy Industry Staggers
Posted on 10/02/2011 11:38:41 PM PDT by neverdem
As the Energy Department hustled to get another $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for green tech companies out the door before time ran out and the program ended last week, yet another solar panel manufacturer was wilting in the sun, and the green jobs scam was looking more threadbare than ever. Says the WSJ:
Solar-power equipment manufacturer Stirling Energy Systems Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, adding to a wave of troubles in the solar industry amid soft demand, falling prices and difficulty raising money. [...] Both [of the company's plants] were sited on public land in California and obtained fast-track construction permits from the Obama administration.
The filing is the latest in a string of U.S. solar company bankruptcies, as soft global demand for solar power, falling prices and a glut of solar panels from Asia have hammered manufacturers.
Surprise, surprise: the American "green energy" industry faces much the same problems as everyone else in this economy. Solar firms still have to compete with Chinese labor (and massive Chinese government subsidies further enhanced by cheap Chinese currency).
But there’s another factor behind the failure of so many Obama administration initiatives in this field. Because alternative energy generation is expensive and inefficient, it requires some combination of subsidies, high energy prices and forced purchases to make these investments pay off.
The Solyndra guarantee and related programs were all developed back in the heady early days of the Obama administrations when delusional greens thought their global agenda was on the verge of being realized. Cap and trade and other aggressive energy policies would artificially jack up energy prices in the US to the point where demand for solar and other alternative energy would grow. The global carbon treaty would provide a permanent source of demand for green energy.
The political assumptions underlying the green investment boomlet turned out to be false. There will be no global carbon regime for the foreseeable future; there will be no cap and trade and no aggressive federal programs to raise energy prices during the deepest recession since World War Two.
Perhaps even worse from the green point of view, a cascade of discoveries and technological advances has dramatically increased the supplies of oil and gas in the western hemisphere — including huge new domestic energy supplies in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York. These discoveries are devastating to the politics of the environmental movement.
There will be the usual NIMBY-motivated opposition (some of it justified) to frakking and to oil and gas pipelines, but overall millions more Americans are going to be economically tied to domestic energy production and they will not want their congressional representatives voting against the industry on which their paychecks depend. Nor will they support presidential candidates who promise to eliminate their jobs. It will not just be the people who work in the extraction business who feel this way. Those who supply the industry, those who operate pipelines, those who sell goods and services to gas and oil workers: they will form a powerful phalanx of pro-oil and gas interests that will reach far beyond Texas.
At the same time, key environmental arguments will be seriously weakened. The western hemisphere looks set to become energy independent for the foreseeable future; the US is moving steadily away from the dependence on Middle Eastern oil that makes many national security experts think green. Importing from Canada just isn’t the same kind of problem as importing from Iraq.
The question of supply and peak oil will also recede; with new technologies and new discoveries coming so quickly, fewer people will feel the need to make large financial sacrifices now in order to prevent huge oil shortage and massive price hikes in the near term.
Increasingly, the climate change argument will be the only argument left to support subsidies for alternative energy generation. That argument has not been enough to make far reaching legal changes in the past when national security and peak oil worries supported it; there is not much to suggest that the climate change forces can win the political battle standing alone.
The collapse of the green political structure (cap and trade plus global carbon treaty) and the transformation of the American fossil fuel supply have dramatically weakened the case for alternative energy. Investors take heed.
It’s just a bit mystifying that no member of CONgress jumped up and down about these payoffs in the wake of Solyndra and the money funneled to Pelousy’s BIL
They left out the part where solar and wind based electric power is a complete delusion.
Tilting at windmills , so to speak.
“We hit it, it’s hurt! KEEP FIRING, BOYS!”
Countdown until Jackwagon leaves office: 474 days as of October 3, 2011.
It never caught so much as a spark.
Right now Green energy requires a subsidy of $26.40 per kilowatt hour, while regular and hated energy costs only $1.60 per kilowatt hour.
Hmmm, which makes more sense?
its one of the biggest frauds in world history...AND the USA went right along and elected a marxist snake charmer
They're getting money for nothing and checks for free!
Fraud is right! Where does Zer0 get the authority to play banker?
Where is the outrage from the MSM?Nothing but a money laundering scheme funneling money to the DNC. No success stories, just failure as planned by the left.
We could get oil,gas and coal starting today that would give us energy for generations but Zer0 has choked the supply.
This is NEVER reported in the MSM.
The simple fact is that there is no “green energy industry” and there never has been. “Green energy” is nothing but a fiction created by politicians and the MSM to get taxpayer money to politicians and their friends. It was never about supplying MMbtu’s and kwh's to energy consumers. It was about taking money from taxpayers.
The good news in the solar industry is that the sun still shines, anyone can have as much as wanted at no cost.
Bad news is that won’t turn a profit.
It's definitely a delusion on the scale they propose. Solar and wind-based power are probably viable only in very limited applications, but they are economically impossible on the scale our politicians (and get rich quick green energy aficionados) want.
Government is the real problem here. Many Americans and most of the political class don't appear to understand free market principles. Free market doesn't mean we let businesses do whatever they want, like pour toxic wastes in our waterways. It means we get government out of the way, so market distortions are reduced as much as possible.
The free market is the best way to pick economic winners and losers. If green energy technologies are good, they'll naturally rise to the top. It's simple economics. We don't even have to worry about peak oil. If oil starts running out, it should gradually become more expensive over time. The market, if permitted, constantly evaluates alternatives and produces the best possible solution for any given energy generation scenario.
On the other hand, it's probably more difficult to get rich quick without those mega-billion green energy government boondoggles.
who_would: “...money for nothing and checks for free!”
True! So true.
I need to correct my previous post. When I said politicians don’t understand free market principles, I was mistaken. I bet most of them understand the free market works best, but where’s the power and money in that??? As other FReepers noted, there’s a lot of government money to be made on global warming and green energy. It’s collusion on a massive scale. Our nation, our future, is being plundered right in front of us!
Clean and green, the energy system we aspire to, is subsidized like no other energy source in history. By whom? Us, and our progeny. All energy has historically received some type of public support to even out the volatility of high and low price cycles. The Energy Information Agency of the U.S. government's Department of Energy reports that, for 2008, natural gas was subsidized 25 cents per megawatt hour of electricity produced, coal received 44 cents per megawatt hour, nuclear $1.59. Oil was not reported in these numbers since oil is hardly a factor in electricity production. However, oil benefits from a variety of tax subsidies for dry well expenses and royalty holidays dating from the $10-a-barrel oil days of the late 1990s, which the administration promises to rescind. At the same time in the same year, wind energy received public subsidy of $23.37 per megawatt hour; solar energy received $24.34. These numbers do not include the additional subsidies we taxpayers have been compelled to pay for wind, solar and biofuels through the stimulus plan, the 2010 budget and the 2011 framework budget. These subsidies help support 2 percent of today's energy system. Their proponents promise to double and double again the amounts of subsidized supply from clean and green with no commitment to ending subsidies. That's not a new energy system.
Subsidies come from taxation, but our government no longer serves as the representation of the people or the best interests of the nation as a whole.
Con artists have found a better get-rich-quick hustle than a typical pyramid scam:
There are places where solar is beneficial but not in the mass consumer production arena. I have designed all kinds of neat little things that operate just fine on solar produced power but those are for small, remote and low consumption devices that are cannot or easily be connected to regular AC power. People see the benefit of this without considering the staggering amount of power being used today and try to equate one to the other. For the lay person, it is an easy leap to make not knowing what it takes to make it all happen.
Just like billiards looks easy enough, the sharks are always waiting in the shadows to pounce.
Oil and natural gas “subsidies” are not really subsidies. They are just tax treatments equivalent to what other industries receive. Traditional energy companies are taxed at a higher rate than other companies and face are substantial regulatory burden. They survive by providing a useful product to consumers.
“Green energy” is not and has never been economically viable. It is unreliable and far more expensive than conventional energy. The only purpose of “green energy” projects is to take money from taxpayers, NOT produce energy.
The dishonest misuse of the word subsidies when applied to conventional energy is just one more example of the fraudulent narrative that is used to sell “green energy to an uninformed public.
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