Why green energy startups are now 'toxic'

EXCERPT:

"The reason why those industries got venture capital is because there were government subsidies, artificial support to customers," said John Harbison, an active deal lead at Tech Coast Angels. "Those programs are going away. The political environment isn't there to support it." 

Why green energy startups are now 'toxic'

@CNNMoney August 21, 2012: 5:51 AM ET

 

Green energy startups aren't getting the kind of government help they've had in the past, and investors say that's reason for them to stay away from the industry.

 

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Green energy startups are feeling the sting of rejection by investors concerned about falling energy prices and the future of government support.

The boom in natural gas has hurt the competitiveness of alternative energy. And proposed budget cuts would force the government to dial back support of wind farms, solar panel manufacturers, ethanol producers and makers of alternative fuel cars.

 

In response, investors say they won't lend money to green energy companies, especially startups, because they haven't proven they can be profitable on their own.

Rosa McCormick, managing director of Wild Basin Investments in Austin, Texas, said that's particularly true for doomed solar panel makers, such as Solyndra and Abound Solar. U.S. companies can't lower prices enough to compete with solar panels imported from China, which provides big subsidies.

"The bottom fell out of that market," McCormick said. "No one wants to touch that. It's toxic from an investor point of view."

 

U.S. wind energy companies face a different set of problems.

A federal tax credit that pays 30% of costs for new wind farms is set to expire at the end of this year. If Congress doesn't renew it, new turbine construction could "dramatically slow," according to a recent Energy Department report.

Orders for new turbines for 2013 have already dropped, and the industry is in for "a significant shakeup," according to Matt Kaplan, associate director of IHS Emerging Energy Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Another headwind moving against that industry -- and the growth of green energy in general -- is the falling price of natural gas, which is less than half what it was just a few years ago. Why invest in alternative energy when natural gas is abundant and cheap?

Read the rest of this article here.

 

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

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(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 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From 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?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From 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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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