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Renewable Energy and Government Subsidies Go Hand in Hand (for Now)

by Dr. Kent Moors | published October 3rd, 2011

The Obama Administration is coming under fire for providing subsidies to renewable energy sources – such as solar, wind, and geothermal. And not for the first time.

The latest tiff results from a $528 million loan to Solyndra LLC. Despite the federal funds, the private, California-based solar panel maker went belly up on September 1, Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and laid off every one of its more than 1,100 workers.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has gotten more political flak from the loan program in recent months.

Political opponents claim it is an example of government waste in the making. Adding to the fodder are several other government-supported projects in geothermal and solar that are under pressure, too.

Since 2009, Washington has doled out some $16 billion in 28 loans. The Energy Department says this loan money has resulted in 60,000 jobs.

However, with $6 billion being committed in only the last few weeks (to beat a September 30 budgetary deadline), disasters like this one with Solyndra are something best avoided when Chu speaks on renewables.

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