Maybe Warren Buffett’s purchase of a California solar farm will finally force a recognition of the potential of solar energy from an economic standpoint. Since the dissolution of Solyndra, oil-besotted conservative lawmakers have dismissed this potential, saying that the industry was simply unprofitable. When Buffett makes an investment, that becomes a harder sell.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday December 7, 2011 4:21 pm|
|By: David Dayen Wednesday September 21, 2011 2:00 pm|
Solyndra executives are being hauled before a GOP House Committee today, the latest props in the conservative right’s war on clean energy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee wants to bat them around a bit and also use them as a way to point out alleged White House corruption. But the executives will plead the fifth instead.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday September 20, 2011 12:30 pm|
Darrell Issa is a happy man. After flailing around for a while, he finally thinks he has a product to push, an example of Obama corruption, with the Solyndra story. There’s even another piece of it that has popped up in the form of LightSquared, a wireless startup which, according to allegations, was the subject of unfavorable testimony to Congress by Air Force Gen. William Shelton until the White House intimidated him into changing his view. Issa is ready to widen his investigation. Loan guarantee programs for clean energy have actually migrated to the subject of a potential government shutdown, with Republicans trying to cancel a program for hybrid vehicles to pay for disaster relief.
Republicans definitely think they have a winning hand by criticizing corruption in the clean energy realm. It’s a tailor-made Glenn Beck conspiracist rant where the corruption lines up with a philosophical view against climate change and a lucrative view in support of wealthy oil and gas company contributors over the clean energy industry. The government, you see, cannot “pick winners and losers” in the energy space. Can’t do it.
Unless those winners happen to be in Republican districts and states.
|By: David Dayen Thursday September 15, 2011 12:30 pm|
This stupid Solyndra circus is starting to remind me of the late 1990s, when any whiff of scandal was like catnip to the media. This is 1/80th of the total price of loans made from the Energy Department’s program, none of the other companies involved have failed, and yet this is supposed to be an object lesson in how green jobs cannot compete. Never mind the $40 billion in subsidies given to oil and gas companies or the hundreds of millions in loan guarantees propping up the nuclear industry. This notion of a free market in energy is ridiculous.
In point of fact, the domestic solar industry, a net exporter last year, happens to be booming.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday September 14, 2011 11:30 am|
This would not be the first time that the political and policy shops bicker inside a White House. But what’s the claim here? That there was a rash move to make a solar energy investment for political reasons without assessing the risk? Then you have to blame the Bush Administration, which started the loan process with Solyndra as far back as 2006 as part of a previous energy bill.
|By: David Dayen Sunday August 28, 2011 6:45 am|
The story is basically this. Oil production is static, if not falling, and emerging markets are increasing and broadening their wealth, leading more and more Chinese and Indians and Indonesians and Brazilians to desire a higher standard of living. Invariably this means oil demand goes up. Therefore, when global GDP growth increases, demand for oil and then the price of oil increases.
And around the world, but especially in a country like ours that’s extremely dependent on oil, this creates a price shock and a reduction in growth. The political cartoon of this would be a man named “economic growth” jumping to the ceiling and consistently hitting his head on “the oil supply.” So we’re in a constant cycle of low growth and stable oil prices, followed by higher growth and oil shocks, which knocks the economy back to lower growth.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday June 3, 2011 12:17 pm|
In one country, a government that campaigned on a move to green energy reacts to the nuclear crisis in Japan by reaffirming its commitment to nuclear power. In another country, a government that, only nine months ago, endorsed a plan to expand its reliance on nuclear power reacts to the Fukushima disaster by vowing to shut down all domestic nuclear reactors by 2022, and invest in conservation and alternative energy.
The latter of the two examples is, at present, actually the one more dependent on nuclear power for its domestic electricity production, so what can explain its more populist response to current events?
|By: David Dayen Sunday March 20, 2011 1:20 pm|
Nuclear plants are very large power generators and they eat up a lot of public and private dollars. The commitment there would not be easily reversed. And in the wake of Fukushima Daiichi, we have to think hard about that commitment.
|By: Gregg Levine Friday March 18, 2011 9:45 am|
Have you heard anyone in America begging the president to reassure them that the future of our nuclear power industry is sound?
|By: David Dayen Wednesday March 16, 2011 2:20 pm|
You do not have to weigh the costs of nuclear power against the health and environmental impact of fossil fuels. You have to weigh it against the costs of all other energy alternatives. And given that, it comes up well short.