The DOE’s Awful Green Bank

by William Yeatman on February 18, 2011

in Blog

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My CEI colleague Chris Horner and I have a piece in today’s Daily Caller, on the Department of Energy’s awful green bank.

This excerpt aptly summarizes out take:

The point of a green investment bank is ostensibly to facilitate the commercialization of new, dormant or otherwise commercially unsuccessful technologies by providing easier financing than is available in the real world, where people scrutinize where they invest their money. It turns bureaucrats into bankers, but with your money, and no real-world incentives to “invest,” as the word connotes and denotes.

Critics argue that these bureaucrats are picking winners and losers. If only. In fact, they just pick from losers.

I especially like that last line, about how the green energy industry is a loser. As Chris and I have explained elsewhere, any industry, like green energy, that owes its creation to government handouts is fundamentally uncompetitive, and, therefore, will always be on the taxpayer dole.

The proof is in the pudding. Solar, wind, and geothermal energy have been heavily subsidized since the Congress passed the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act in 1978. For more than three decades, they’ve been “the energy of the future.” And despite 30 years of taxpayer supports, they are nowhere near close to being a viable competitor on the energy market. Instead, the wind, solar, and geothermal lobbies warn of catastrophic harm to their industries whenever the Congress reconsiders the generosity of green energy subsidies.

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