Perhaps Angus King and the Yale "Bayroot" Endowment Need to be Investigated Next

From the Washington Post's editorial board on privatizing profits and socializing losses.


Tell us please why it was was that Angus King's mature technology, the wind turbine, entitled him to a $102 million DOE loan guarantee. Tell us please everything that occurred in Washington, D.C. that made this transpire.


Editorial Board Opinion

The Energy Department’s loan guarantee program is the real Solyndra scandal

ENERGY SECRETARY Steven Chu appeared before a Republican-controlled House committee Thursday and immediately turned the tables on his GOP critics. Yes, it’s regrettable that a half-billion-dollar government loan to Solyndra went sour. But, Mr. Chu reminded the panel, the loan was part of a program that Congress itself authorized (during the Bush administration). Congress has set aside $10 billion to cover anticipated losses in the Energy Department’s $36 billion loan portfolio.


And, he noted slyly, he “appreciate[s] the support the loan programs have received from many members of Congress . . . who have urged us to accelerate our efforts and to fund worthy projects in their states.”

Well played, Mr. Secretary. Clean-energy loan guarantee programs have enjoyed bipartisan support. Financial loss is, indeed, an inescapable risk — and would be whether or not the money got dished out to the Obama administration’s political cronies, as Republicans imply but as the evidence so far does not prove.


So what is the scandal here? Well, the review process behind the Solyndra loan was not quite as diligent as Mr. Chu insists. The secretary claimed Thursday that the solar panel maker failed due to an unforeseen, and unforeseeable, “tsunami” of subsidized Chinese competition and low prices for its competitors’ raw materials. In fact, the administration knew, or should have known, of these threats to Solyndra’s business model before the loan closed in September 2009. The Office of Management and Budget warned about them in an Aug. 31, 2009, e-mail to President Obama’s staff.


But the real scandal is the loan guarantee program itself. The United States needs alternatives to oil, for reasons ranging from climate change to national security. Shoveling taxpayer dollars into profit-seeking manufacturing companies is not the way to develop them.


You can call it crony capitalism or venture socialism — but by whatever name, the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program privatizes profits and socializes losses. It’s an especially risky approach in the alternative-energy space, where solar energy is many years from being cost-competitive with fossil fuels for most uses — and history is littered with failed government attempts to back the next big thing.


Mr. Chu raised the specter of Chinese dominance in photovoltaics, a market he estimated at $80 billion globally and growing by leaps and bounds. Of course, Solyndra’s inability to survive without government funding casts doubt on this. Mr. Chu contradictorily noted that Solyndra failed in part because photovoltaic “demand has softened due to the global economic downturn and a decline in subsidies in countries including Spain, Italy and Germany.” Given their current financial woes, we’d be surprised if Spain and Italy could afford to restore solar-electricity subsidies anytime soon. The U.S. Energy Information Agency, an office in Mr. Chu’s department, noted in its most recent International Energy Outlook that, until 2035, “most renewable technologies other than hydroelectricity are not able to compete economically with fossil fuels . . . except in a few regions or in niche markets.”


As for the $10 billion loan-guarantee loss reserve, that’s $10 billion the country could devote to other uses, including more effective means of limiting carbon emissions or achieving energy security. We hope, as Mr. Chu does, that the losses don’t reach that level. Yet we’re also worried by the description of the department’s loan portfolio in a 2010 internal OMB e-mail. “What’s terrifying,” one staffer wrote, “is that after looking at some of the ones that came next, this one [Solyndra] started to look better. Bad days are coming.”



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Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on November 19, 2011 at 8:57am

boy oh boy Dan..I wish you could be at the oak field TIF meeting Monday- you really understand this stuff! I am encouraged that we got our first Oakfield signature on our petition yesterday and growing and that DEP is allowing letters and comments now until Jan 3-

and about the tax dollars if we could recover them- used for something useful and helpful- 

Comment by Dan McKay on November 19, 2011 at 8:20am

It sure would be nice to see the taxpayers recovering all this taxpayer money given to wind developers . There's a lot of money being hidden................................


Record Hill Wind has a direct stake in it's success by way of the taxpayers to the tune of $6.6 million dollars per year based on taxpayer subsidy of $53 per megawatt hour times 125,000 annual megawatt hours of production. They must have felt the generosity of this taxpayer gift when they offered a free 500 kilowatt/hours of electricity to every resident in Roxbury. Following is their statement, not mine :

           "   Our purpose in making this offer is to form a direct link between the existence of 
the Project and each resident’s positive experience of living in the town.  We want all residents to have a direct stake in the success of the Project "  .......          " this benefit would be worth about $600 annually to each year-round residence and about $200,000 annually to all residents collectively "
             So, your partner, Record Hill Wind, has offered you a "direct stake" in the success of producing electricity at a tremendous rate of 3% of this taxpayer gift. Santa Claus, or what ?
             BTW, some developers have contracted to sell their electricity for $99.70 per megawatt hour, adding even more to their success. 
              We have heard $60 per megawatt hour is required payment for wind to achieve success.The fuel is free. No Cost.  
               Even if Record Hill Wind paid for each resident's entire electric bill, $960,000 annually to all residents collectively, this represents a " direct stake " of only 14.5%.of the taxpayer gift. 
              The developer further states.........." it will provide  protection against rising 
electricity costs that result from higher fuel charges for natural gas, oil, biomass, and other fuels that have typically increased faster than the overall rate of inflation ".............He means to say his costs to providing electricity to all Roxbury residents will go down over time, It's blowing in the wind. Here's to your success, Record Hill Wind.

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on November 18, 2011 at 12:05pm

for sure and very yesterday...


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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