A little over a year ago I wrote about the continued disturbing trend in government subsidies of 'magic rocks' while claiming they were science - in that instance, commercial solar companies that were being propped up by American taxpayers, with little or no due diligence, because the president and his Energy Secretary said we were in a 'race with China' to produce cheap solar panels, when China has no unions and no environmental policies and therefore a much lower cost basis. The only way to make up that financial delta was to have government funding, we were told, but common sense people know it isn't really growth that way, no matter how the numbers are framed.
So during this election season people can coo about wind power but wind power for 2013 is non-existent for a simple reason: the government has not agreed to underwrite it. We can also brag about the $72 billion in other alternative energy porkbarrel we have on the public books, but we shouldn't. What looked bad 13 months ago would be a Special Prosecutor investigation in ordinary political circumstances today.
One example of no due diligence I discussed over the summer was Abound Solar. If you grab your favorite search engine and check them out, you will see them profiled numerous times by lots of mainstream news sites and extolled by the Obama administration in the 2009 video below. The company was created in 2007 by academics from Colorado State University. Like a dozen other companies now plagued by scandal, the green energy administration kept offering them to us as proof their alternative energy stimulus was working and the future was all science-y and smart if we would just write government checks today. So what if their cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panels used toxic materials and haven't been viable for any company in 50 years of research? 'We are Americans, let's throw money at it until it works'.
2009, President Obama discussed Abound and its 2,000 new green jobs, if they just got enough government help. H/T David Harsanyi at Human Events.
Well, it wasn't science-based or smart. Defunct Abound Solar closed in July and is now being investigated for securities fraud, consumer fraud and financial misrepresentation. Steve Raabe at The Denver Post notes that the District Attorney in the jurisdiction of Abound claims "officials at Abound Solar knew products the company was selling were defective, and then asked investors to invest in the company without telling them about the defective products."
Abound could have robbed American taxpayers of $400 million but it really only cost $60 million before they closed their doors. We're lucky they were so incompetent they didn't cost us a lot more, really.
Bankrolling solar panel companies has not worked very well so how did the government make America's future a clean energy one? By placing giant tariffs on Chinese manufacturers.
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