Another Alternative Energy Scam

February/15/2011 16:41PM
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Since Jimmy Carter promised to end America’s dependence on foreign oil, carpetbaggers have found the Department of Energy to be the place to fill their bags up with cash. It started with Archer Daniels Midland. They have syphoned off billions for ethanol. You name it and they have come with the crazy schemes. Algae, switch grass, hydrogen, batteries, wood, etc.

Wouldn’t you like to know just how many billions of your tax dollars dropped into those bags over the years?How many politicians have had photo ops at places where the next solution will emanate, places now long abandoned. It would be great to drag each politician back and interview him or her about the cost of this loser to taxpayers.

Here’s just the latest example. George W. Bush, a man who should have know better, discussed using wood chips in his 2006 State of the Union message. He said that with the government funding cellulosic ethanol would be a usable fuel within six years. In came the carpetbaggers, led by a man named Vinod Khosla. I think I’ve seen his name on one of those e-mails from Lybia saying he needs my help getting his millions out of the country. He founded Range Fuels and got $76 million from the DOE. Bush handed out a total of $385 million for cellulosic ethanol.

Range would produce 20 million gallons in 2008. The New York Times and Forbes swooned. In 2007 Congress mandated that the US use 100 million of cellulosic ethanol yearly by 2010 and 250 million by 2011.

Private investors jumped on Range. When the California state pension fund jumped in everyone should have been suspicious.

When Range had produced nothing by 2009, Obama jumped in and gave them another $80 million. That must have been some great due diligence. Remember, Dr. Chu, head of the DOE(Energy), had $50 billion to spend and he wasn’t getting it spent.

In 2010 Range produced 4 million gallons. But, it wasn’t ethanol, it was methanol. A fuel that can easily be produced from coal and other sources, a fuel that does not excite the EPA. Meanwhile, the other company founded by Mr. Klosla, Cello, filed for bankruptcy. When will Range file? The reason given for the shortfall, Congress did not pass cap and trade. The Range plant is closing and all those green job employees are being laid off.

The EPA has lowered the 100 million gallon mandate to 6.6 million gallons. Range produced a grand total of 4 million gallons. So, we get 4 million gallons of cellulosic methanol for $162 million and we will never get another gallon or a penny back. We paid $41.75 a gallon, if the product was ever used, which is doubtful. And, if it was used, you can rest assured there was some further subsidy to make it price competitive.

This is just the most recent chapter in the same book. We have academic, environmental zealots making business decisions that no self-respecting businessman would ever make. There is no penalty for failure. Dr. Chu was probably rewarded for giving more money to Range.

Sometimes you wonder who is the worst villain when it comes to our future. The unions that have negotiated deals that we can’t afford, or the environmental lobby that causes us to go deeper and deeper in the hole on rational energy alternatives. The two together may destroy our country.

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