Obama backs failing alternative energy projects

Winningreen Issue Alert                                                      
Obama backs failing alternative energy projects with your money

By Gretchen Randall

Date: January 5, 2012

Issue: News flash  — another federally funded energy project has declared bankruptcy.  This time a wood-to- ethanol plant in Georgia owned by Range Fuels has failed after receiving millions in federal and state tax subsidies. It was bought Tuesday for next-to-nothing by a company that had received a $7 million federal grant from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Transportation according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Range Fuels had originally received a $76 million grant from the Bush administration with another $80 million in loan guarantees granted in 2009 under the Obama administration.  The state of Georgia added another $6 million while the county where the plant was built offered tax reductions to entice them to build.  All this in the hopes of making cellulosic ethanol.  When Range failed, it had not created the ethanol it had touted nor had it created the seventy jobs promised.

At first only $50 million of the original $76 million grant was paid to Range upon construction of the plant and production plans in place.  The remaining $25 million was to be paid when the next phase was competed.  The question is whether the one ethanol run completed just before the plant was shut down will qualify the owners to receive the remaining $25 million federal grant.

Readers probably remember other failures initiated by the Obama administration such as the Solyndra solar panel maker which received $535 million in loan guarantees before going broke. Another, Beacon Power of Massachusetts, received $43 million before declaring bankruptcy last year.  Or the Chevy Volt which has a battery that has caught fire requiring 8000 recalls of the Volt for which GM has received millions in subsidies to build.

Comment: Whether Bush or Obama, when government tries to pick winners or push people into buying a particular product the effort almost always fails.  We should just let the market make products that people actually want to buy.

Comment:  In a classic Catch 22, Obama’s EPA is about to start charging refiners for not using cellulosic ethanol . .  .even though it can’t be produced.

Links: Read “Georgia ethanol plant sold at taxpayers’ loss” at:  http://www.ajc.com/business/georgia-ethanol-plant-sold-1289567.html
as well as  “You can’t make this stuff up” by Tom Pyle at http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2011/01/21/you-can%E2%80%99t-make-this-stuff-up/

Contact: Gretchen Randall
Winningreen LLC
Chicago, IL
Phone: 773-857-5086
e-mail: grandall@winningreen.com