Side Splitter: Politico Says Jury Still Out On “Green” Jobs And DOE Loans

So says the headline

On green jobs and DOE loans, the jury is still out

Yet, the information they provide right at the beginning blows that lie right out of the water

The Energy Department’s clean-energy loan program hasn’t yet yielded the kind of moonshot-style success that President Barack Obama envisions would transform the U.S. economy. But its results also go well beyond the $535 million collapse of Solyndra.

With help from the $16 billion loan guarantee program, solar farms are spreading across the California and Arizona deserts, wind turbines are producing electricity in Oregon, and workers in southwestern Kansas are building a factory to convert inedible plant parts into ethanol. Some of the 26 projects aided by the program are even creating jobs – as many as 4,000 all told, according to partial figures provided by several of the companies that received the guarantees.

Doing the math, that comes to $4,000,000 per job. That is not a success. That is not a partial success. That is not “the jury is still out.” That’s a vast waste of money for projects that barely provide power, that people file lawsuits over having in their area (in the desert, in mountains, etc), and many are going bust.

It’s too early to tell whether most of the projects are successes or failures. DOE finalized 11 of the loan guarantees just last September as it was hurrying to sign off on billions of dollars before the program expired, so many of the efforts are in their early stages.

Still, the incomplete, muddled picture deters neither supporters nor critics of the program from speaking out.

No, not really. There have been a few wins, which Politico points to, one being US Geothermal, as their business model and technology works. Caithness Energy may be considered a “win”, however, they are attempting to get residents near their Oregon windfarm to sign waivers giving them the ability to complain about the noise from the wind turbines.

NRG/First Solar is supposed to be a “win”, which is weird, since FS announced in April they are laying off 2,000 employees. There’s also a huge class action lawsuit filed in March of 2012. Part of the reason for the suit was due to the defects in the solar panels. And the whole project was cronyism.

Divided States provides a list of 14 green energy fails, all of which received loans from the Obama DOE. American Thinker provides some numbers for so many of the failures. A big part of the problem is that Obama’s Stimulus pushed for green projects to be built, rather than pushing research to address the inherent problems and to make the projects feasible.

  • On-shore wind is a failure because the turbines are loud, they can only operate during certain wind speeds, the power cannot be stored for later use, the turbines are a blight on the landscape, and they kill lots of birds. They have a limited lifespan, and many have been knocked down and even caught on fire from…….wind. (off-shore has its own issues with birds, but none of the funds have been used for off-shore)
  • Solar panel makers were killed by the lower price of Chinese panels, as well as because they really didn’t work (poor design, shoddy construction), the power cannot be stored for later use, huge swaths of land had to be clear cut, environmentalists and others sued over putting them in deserts, they kill off the local wildlife and plant life, and, face it, they create lots of toxic chemicals when the panels are built.
  • Geothermal has a chance, if it is constructed in the right place.
  • Environmentalists not only block the construction of hydrothermal dams, but they are suing and advocating to have current ones torn down. The Stimulus did not push for any hydrothermal, though it is one of the best “green” methods.
  • Ethanol tends to use a ton of water and actually produces more CO2 for less power than gasoline. Oh, and corn based ethanol raises the cost of food.
  • Making cellulosic ethanol has its own concerns (Politico considers Abengoa Bioenergy, which is building a plant thanks to Stimulus funds a “highlight”), including the degradation of forestlands and other wilderness. The energy provided is so low compared to coal and petroleum that you need a LOT more. Plus, no one is really sure what the by-product of its use will be.

And I’m not even going to get into silly cars like the Chevy Fuego, er, Volt.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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