The Department of Energy managed to round up a couple more multimillion dollar renewable energy loan-guarantee failures for their already impressive running list just this month, but let that not deter the Obama administration’s most august bureaucrats from reviving the program’s temporarily dormant outlay activities. As I mentioned earlier this summer upon the administration’s announcement of their draft loan guarantee solicitation, however, the administration is looking to re-package the program as a supposedly more fossil-fuel friendly approach and as a direct antidote to the war-on-coal narrative freshly instigated by the EPA’s regulatory de facto ban on new coal plants — never mind that a casual $8 billion dollars is one heck of an expensive PR effort.
So now comes the “full steam ahead!” via the NYT, emphases mine:
The Obama administration has decided to revive a controversial loan guarantee program at the Energy Department, administration officials said on Thursday…
This time, though, the program would devote as much as $8 billion to helping industries like coal and oil make cleaner energy. Although the program, which does not require Congressional approval, would support a wide range of technologies, it could help coal-fired power plants find a way to keep their emissions from escaping into the atmosphere, department officials said.
Officials say the federal subsidies are necessary to support the development of technologies that are too complex, unproven and expensive for investors and private companies to pursue on their own, assertions that have already stirred criticism from opponents who see the program as too risky and a misuse of taxpayer money. …
Analysts and climate experts also questioned whether the program, which was originally established in 2005 and whose new guidelines will be completed this fall, could make the technologies economically viable on a mass scale. There are currently no ventures in the United States that achieve this, despite years of government-sponsored research and development, according to the Congressional Research Service. An ambitious clean-coal demonstration project called FutureGen, proposed by President George W. Bush in 2003, has yet to advance beyond the early development stages.
So, about that “too complex, unproven and expensive for investors and private companies” bit? We certainly wouldn’t want these technologies to languish simply because of their unfortunate lack of practicality and price efficiency, now would we — so it’s a good thing the government has taxpayer dollars to burn as an endless resource pool for their ideologically-driven “investments.” What’s a little/a lot/any amount of risk when the faceless American everyman is not only the taxpayer absorbing the added costs of that risk, but the consumer paying the price of those artificial signals injected into the market as well — am I right?