September 19, 2011

Sen. Manchin is right about solar and coal | Charleston Daily Mail

SHORTLY after President Obama took office, White House officials pressured federal officials to decide on a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee for Solyndra, which wanted to make solar panels. The Bush administration hadn’t acted on the request.

Solyndra became the centerpiece of Obama’s green energy agenda. In a later tour of its plant in Fremont, Calif., the president said, “The future is here.”

Let us hope not. Two weeks ago, Solyndra shut down, sought protection from creditors in bankruptcy court, left 1,100 workers jobless, and stuck taxpayers with a $528 million loss.

Billionaire George Kaiser and the tax-exempt George Kaiser Family Foundation own about 35 percent of the company. Kaiser was a big fund-raiser for Obama.

Investigations have begun.

But the problem is bigger than Solyndra and two other solar companies that received loans under the program and have gone belly-up.

Obama’s $38.6 billion loan guarantee program, which was to jump-start clean technology, was to create or save 65,000 jobs. In two years, with half the money distributed, it has created only 3,545 jobs.

As Sen. Joe Manchin pointed out, the $38.6 billion loan-guarantee program could have been better used to develop technology to make coal cleaner.

That’s getting to the heart of the matter. This admin-istration, with favors green firms and ruinous regulation of fossil fuels, tried to stack the deck on the nation’s huge energy market.

Few politicians know more about energy than Manchin. He pointed out that the state uses more wind power than any state east of the Mississippi, and hydropower and biofuels as well.

But the Obama administration has virtually declared war on coal, the state’s mainstay energy source.

“We’d like to have our government as our partner and not our adversary,” Manchin said at a hearing.

The nation’s competitors will use coal, he said.

“We’re not going to change that,” Manchin said.

“What we could do is change, by proportionally putting money into research of clean coal technology, of CO2 capturing, and using the waste from CO2, as we did from SO2.”

Manchin is right. The Solyndra loan guarantee doesn’t just smack of crony capitalism, it’s bad energy and economic policy as well.

Coal can stand on its own and produces affordable power. Solar and wind power can’t stand on their own and produce expensive power.

By:  Editorial
Source: Money blown on solar subsidies could be making coal cleaner