Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised.
Nearly $1 billion in loans have already defaulted under the Energy Department program, which included the infamous Solyndra stimulus project and dozens of other green technology programs the Obama administration has approved, totaling nearly about $30 billion in taxpayer backing, the Government Accountability Office reported in its audit.
The hefty $2.2 billion price tag is actually an improvement over initial estimates, which found the government was poised to face $4 billion in losses from the loan guarantees. But as the projects have come to fruition, they’ve performed better, leaving taxpayers with a shrinking — though still sizable — liability.
Those numbers don’t include the opportunity costs of killing job producing projects like the Keystone Pipeline and supporting job-killing EPA regulations intended to kill the coal industry. They don’t include the real cost of every American having to pay higher priced for their energy.
President Obama’s main focus was on energy sources that have little to no chance of ever really contributing to the global energy demand. Wind and Solar are way too expensive, unreliable, inefficient, and have way too low energy density. As I like to say, “you will never fly a jet using wind power, and you will never power your home at night using solar power.” For all of 2016 non-hydro renewable energy accounted for 9.2% of all US energy production, and almost all of that production required a coal or natural gas powered plant as a back-up.
According to data released on Aug. 24 by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), renewable energy in the U.S. through the first half of 2016, including hydroelectric power, biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar (including distributed solar), provided 16.9 percent of electricity generation. In all of 2015, that number was 13.7 percent. NThe non-hydro renewable energy was 9.2 percent of U.S. electric generation through the first half of 2016. For all of 2015, it was 7.6 percent.
Wind and solar require reinventing the wheel, rebuilding the electrical grid and infrastructure, are highly speculative, and simply don’t have the physics or economics backing them…ever. Solutions like the Fischer-Tropsch Process are commercially viable proven solutions and produce “drop-in” fuels. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and make major changes to the existing infrastructure, all you do is build the plant. Everything works within the existing system.
There is also promising solutions like the one developed by a now bankrupt company named KiOR. It was Silicon Valley’s major attempt at producing a renewable fuel. Countless certain to eventually fail wind and solar projects were funded, yet President Obama let KiOR, with its extremely promising technology, die. Why? I can only speculate that it was because it wasn’t focused on the PC solution of wind and solar, and continued to support the dreaded internal combustion engine.
Over the last 8 years, had the Nation’s Energy Policy focused on real commercially viable solutions like the Fischer-Tropsch, built pipelines like the Keystone, embraced fracking, coal, and petroleum, and fully funded promising speculative technology like KiOR’s that worked well withing the existing infrastructure, it is highly likely America would be totally energy independent today. Instead, we are stuck with environmentally unfriendly, uneconomical eyesores killing birds and destroying sensitive desert habitats. It’s time we get serious about solving our energy problem, and wind and solar are more an obstacle than an assistance.
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