Tag Archives: clean energy

DOE Loans Loaded with Red Tape

DOE...New Venture Capitalists?

Economist Milton Friedman once told an insightful anecdote concerning his trip to an Asian country in the 1960s.  He was shown a canal project and was shocked to see the lack of heavy moving equipment, which would have made removing earth, rocks, tress etc. much easier.  When he inquired about this, the government official accompanying him told him that this was a “jobs program,” to which Milton replied “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”  Government spending does not create jobs or spur economic growth, as this anemic recovery has brutally shown.

With the revelation that 80% of all DOE loans went to Obama donors, we should all be crying foul at the shameless display of crony capitalism. However, given news documents obtained by the Independence Institute, it also full of red tape.  So Obama helps out his buddy bundlers with some loans that are so burdensome it causes the companies to collapse.  I don’t know if this pure ineptitude or political astro turfing to show like he’s doing something about clean energy.  Either way, it’s bad politics.

Rob Douglas wrote on Watchdog.org on June 4th concerning one company, Colorado-based Abound Solar, detailing the regulations they had to abide by, including:

  • The Recovery Act;
  • The Davis-Bacon ActOffice of Management and Budget regulations;
  • Environmental laws (including those involving “air emissions, discharges to surface water or ground water, noise emissions, solid or liquid waste disposal, the use, generation, storage, transportation or disposal of toxic or Hazardous Substances or wastes, or other environmental health or safety matters”);
  • The Investment Company Act;
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act
  • Buy American regulations;
  • Lobbying laws;
  • Foreign asset control laws;
  • Prohibited person laws;
  • Prohibited jurisdiction laws;
  • Corrupt practices laws;
  • The Anti-Terrorism Order.

Scratch the surface of any one of the above categories and you find requirements like this one, in the OMB compliance section:

“OMB shall have certified in writing (in form and substance satisfactory to DOE) that the DOE Credit Facility Documents and the Project comply with the provisions of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, P.L. No. 111-8, Division C, Title III, as amended by Section 408 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009, P.L. No. 111-32.”

Keep in mind that’s just one provision in more than 100 pages of detailed requirements that span the breadth and depth of federal laws and regulations. And in case the loan guarantee agreement by the DOE is not suffocating enough, the following legal, financial and regulatory blanket — as revealed in the Abound Solar documents — is placed atop the specific, enumerated rules and regulations loan-guarantee recipients are required to obey:

The Abound Solar loan-guarantee documents suggest that a newborn company, which lays down with the DOE, runs the risk of being smothered by the federal leviathan before ever bringing a product to market.

Wow…talk about government efficiency.

EPA Mandates Cap and Trade 3.0/ Congress Remains Irrelevant

The Extreme Political Activists, (also known as the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency) of the Obama administration recently announced new carbon emissions limits for all future coal-fired power plants in the U.S.  that will require all new coal-fired power plants to cut their carbon emissions by approximately 50%.  Just how does EPA head environmental activist Lisa Jackson propose that these power plants acquire such a drastic reduction in carbon emissions?   By using CCS technology that requires the capturing of carbon dioxide, and storing it underground, which is a technology that in her own words, will not even be commercially available for 10 years. “Every model that we’ve seen shows that technology as it develops will become commercially available certainly within the next 10 years”, stated Jackson.  Apparently, back in 2008 while campaigning for President, when Barack Hussein Obama told a reporter that under his plan “energy prices would necessarily skyrocket” he certainly meant it.

Lord Moncton summed up the CCS technology Obama’s EPA is using as it’s main weapon in their war on affordable energy today as follows:

There are clear remedies that could be applied to conventional pollutants. The particulate issue can be rectified by covering stockpiles of coal, dampening and more efficient transportation. The toxic trace elements issue could be resolved by the introduction of ultrasuper-critical coal technology. This technology is not only greatly more efficient than all other forms of energy production but because it operates at such high temperatures it eliminates most of the real pollutants such as the oxides and mercury.

Coal companies are making a strategic error here. They should acknowledge and rectify the well-known coal-related pollutants, and argue the lack of merit of AGW theory, instead of hiding behind the chimera of Clean Coal or carbon capture technology [CCS]. The problems of CCS are obviously insurmountable: the energy required to capture the CO2 emissions when the coal is burnt requires about as much energy as the coal produces. Secondly, the final sludge containing the captured CO2 requires a storage space about 30 times the size of the quarry from which the coal was mined. To date CCS has cost the Australian taxpayers and the coal industry about $400 million. The coal industry could have solved the particulate problem and made a start on introducing ultrasuper-critical technology.
 The White House claims that the new rules will impact only new plants. But in fact, in the past three years, the Obama administration has hit the utility industry with new regulations on mercury emissions and cross-border pollution as well. This latest episode is just one of the many elements of the Obama administration’s war on affordable energy that will snowball into extremely expensive energy prices for the entire nation in the next decade. The Extreme Political Activists of the Obama administration must be reigned in immediately by the currently irrelevant [supposed] lawmakers of Congress. That starts with defeating Barack Obama in the November elections, and electing new members of Congress that will take a stand against the EPA’s unconstitutional mandating of Cap and Trade laws that were voted down by Congress in 2009.