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.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health
- Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees
- Violence, Sex And Taboo: The Original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Back In Print
- Volunteer-Based Peer Review: A Success
- Bitcoin And Anonymity: User's Identity Can Be Revealed Much Easier Than Thought
- The BPA Paradox – Too Many Studies?
- Education: Stop New Age Thinking, Chalk And Talk Might Be The Best Way After All
- "I never thought of diminutive as having a positive or negative association. I often describe people's..."
- "For the most part, I found your article compelling. It reminded me of the time in graduate school..."
- "Indeed, my little experiment does not prove anything; it is not scalable. Not the $10, not the..."
- "Most students take it to battle tiredness and lack of focus, so they study a lot more on the drug..."
- "I am pleased your peer-review experiment worked so well! That is indeed a great example of how..."
- Endangered hammerhead shark found migrating into unprotected waters
- Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds
- Diagnosing deafness early will help teenagers' reading development
- 'Utter neglect' of rheumatic heart disease revealed by results from global study
- Sweet-smelling breath to help diabetes diagnosis in children