Back in July, President Obama said, “when I try something that doesn’t work, then I don’t try it again”

Yet the President continues to funnel taxpayer money to green energy companies that seem to fail month after month.

The Heritage Foundation’s Elinor Renner and Rachael Slobodien compiled a list of 19 green energy companies that received a total of $2.6 billion of taxpayer money–and failed anyway:

1. Abound Solar, Government’s Bad Bet: $ 790.3 million

2. Solyndra, Government’s Bad Bet: $570 million

3. A123 Systems, Government’s Bad Bet: $377.1 million

4. Ener1 (EnerDel, subsidiary), Government’s Bad Bet: $182.8 million

5. Range Fuels, Government’s Bad Bet: $162.3 million

6. Azure Dynamics, Government’s Bad Bet: $119.1 million

7. Energy Conversion Devices (subsidiary, United Solar Ovanic), Government’s Bad Bet: $110.3 million

8. Evergreen Solar, Inc., Government’s Bad Bet: $84.9 million

9. Beacon Power, Government’s Bad Bet: $77.4 million

10. Raser Technologies, Government’s Bad Bet: $33 million

11. Nordic Windpower, Government’s Bad Bet: $24.6 million

12. SpectraWatt, Government’s Bad Bet: $20.5 million

13. Konarka Technologies, Government’s Bad Bet: $13.6 million

14. Satcon Technology Corporation, Government’s Bad Bet: $17 million

15. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Co., Government’s Bad Bet: $10.8 million

16. Stirling Energy Systems, Inc., Government’s Bad Bet: $10.5 million

17. Thompson River Power, LLC, Government’s Bad Bet: $6.5 million

18. Cardinal Fasteners and Specialty Co., Inc., Government’s Bad Bet: $480,000

19. Mountain Plaza, Inc. , Government’s Bad Bet: $424,000

The problem is that the federal government is trying to pick economic winners and losers. That means the government is taking over the role of private sector venture capitalists, who decide if a risky investment is worth the potential benefits. But when the government plays venture capitalist, it tends to favor well-connected firms, which is cronyism. And unlike private investors, who are risking their own money, the government is taking risks with your money.

As Heritage’s Nicolas Loris explains:

 Policymakers need to end their obsession for energy subsidies, or we’re going to continue following the same failed path of wasteful spending. There is no need to reform the energy subsidy programs; we need to completely abolish it.

The United States should rely on market forces and the private sector to provide Americans with affordable energy rather than mandates, regulations and subsidies ordered by government. Policymakers should focus on allowing new supplies to come to market, reducing enormous regulations and eliminating energy subsidies.

Do you think the government should fund green energy projects?

Comments (23)

pete - November 30, 2012

The Federal Government has a poor business record. My recommendation is for it to focus on those things defined to be their responsibility: promote freedom and protect private property from the tyranny of the majority.

John McGuire - November 30, 2012

As an environmental engineer with 50 years of experience and the smarts to extract and interpret climate data from the likes of, I can assure any thinking person that the so-called man caused global warming is a fraud. Remember the sun – it’s heat output and our distance to it varies. Remember the last global ice age – mile thick ice melted by the sun in as little as 3000 years carved out the Great Lakes on it’s way north by thousands of miles. This fraud shouldn’t drive the funding of crony capitalism with our $ and those of our children and grandchildren. Demand a refund!!

jbsocal - November 30, 2012

Your article hit the nail square on the head! The government should not be subsidizing ANY private business — including GM. Don’t use OUR money in an attempt to pick winners and losers. The U.S. has provisions in place if a company can’t make a profit — e.g. bankrupcy.

John Waite - November 30, 2012


Patrick Guire - November 30, 2012

If the government does not inhibit free competition, market demand without government subsidies will more efficiently satisfy our energy needs.

Si - November 30, 2012

The best test of a new energy technology is how it competes in the marketplace. If it, like ethanol, needs subsidies for years, it’s likely not ready.

Unless however you want to FORCE it. That’s just stupid!

Nora Hernandez - November 30, 2012

The government should not fund or “invest” in green energy or any other business. Leave the markets to private investment. No business, from agriculture to banking should receive money from our government. This causes our elected representatives to be vulnerable to the special interests of their districts who try to curry favor, all of which leads to crony capitalism and the waste of billions of dollars year after year. The money taken in by the Treasury is the peoples money and should be used to protect and defend us not “invest” as our current president so often says. Our state and city taxes should be used for infrastructure, municipal services and education. Everything else in our society would be better off if run by private businesses and institutions. Of course there must be the rule of law and a certain amount of regulations to keep people honest. But our economy is suffocating under the amount of regulations the weight of the current government. We are losing our freedom and the pursuit of happiness that the Declaration of Independence promises. Our very Constitution is threatened. If we are not careful, we will lose everything America stands for.

Thomas Jacobs - November 30, 2012

The president & I don’t like calling him that should be in prison for fraud, he had no right spending that money with out talking to Crongress & the American people, that’s another violation of the law & another reason why he should be in prison. he’s boardering on treason if he hasen’t crossed that line all ready! I wish the goverment had a back bone & would do there job like they did with Bill Clinton & water gate.

Lu Bertotti - November 30, 2012

Absolutely No!!!!Enough money has been wasted, At this point in time, we need to use what we have and expend time and money on what we use now and know. The other is not viable at this time and in this economy.

don johnson - November 30, 2012

Let’s quit funding green energy boodogles and spent the money finding ways to get the 47% some jobs. They represent an great untapped resource of creativity and innovation.

Bruce - November 30, 2012

You are not mentioning the GM Volt Fiasco. These turkeys cost $89K each to build and they cannot sell them for $30K. This is what happens when the government trys to run a business. I do not understand why Romney didn’t bring this up in the debates and on the campaign trail when Obama claimed that he saved GM.

Carroll ndeerwood - November 30, 2012

The government should fund NO commercial projects, period.

Dennis Crouch - December 1, 2012

The government should only fund research and possibly development projects involving green energy. It should never fund the production programs. That should be left to the private sector to implement. When the technology is matured, companies will go into production if it’s warranted and profitable.

Jeff Yetter - December 1, 2012

Only in losing sight of the Constitutionally sanctioned activities ALLOWED the government would there be a discussion of this nature. Government has NO business in commerce, period.

Troy Dickenson - December 1, 2012

The state our economy is at this moment green energy ventures have no chance to sucseed need to get oil and coal working bring down fuel prices deregulate. Once the economy is running strong then these ventures my have had a chance to sucseed.

John Smith - December 1, 2012

No. If the green energy companies can’t stay up even with all that money, then let them die on their own without dragging us with them.

It is not our fault that they can’t create anything useful, so we shouldn’t have to suffer with them.

Mac - December 1, 2012

The government should fund for defense of our country including natural disasters, and border security. It also should fund upkeep of all interstate systems, IE roads and electrical grids etc. All else should be the responsibility of the states and local entities. Legal and civic (moral) oversight are the responsibility of both local and federal government. All government funding should be based a tax based on consumption with no exception. Finally there should be no unions allowed for government employees. “Green energy projects should be encouraged but not funded by government.

Donald DaCosta - December 1, 2012

“Do you think the government should fund green energy projects?” Of course! Look at the great “success” they had with the Community Reinvestment Act. The housing industry is “booming.” (Since the bomb went off.)

Government intervention, almost anywhere in the private sector, can rarely be honestly declared anything but a destructive intervention where they had no business imposing themselves in the first place. Despite the damning evidence this destructive process continues.

Despite the seemingly endless caterwauling and posturing from the conservative community, politicos on Capitol Hill remain dedicated to ineffectually proving themselves worthy while their increasingly outrageous and feckless economic policies, followed by an ever increasing appetite for more spending, proves the opposite true. And the ultimate arbiter, the electorate, yawns and looks the other way.

Ann Van De Water - December 1, 2012

No, I do not think government should fund green energy. Am also disturbed that there is not more of an outcry by Republicans/Conservatives about how the EPA under Obama’a direction is destroying the coal industry. Let’s here more vocal opposition to this on TV talk shows, and the newsprint media.

Karl R. - December 2, 2012


Louise Strauss - December 2, 2012

The Federal Government should not be investing in any private enterprise. It is not part of our political structure and they violate our values.

Jay A. Miers - December 6, 2012

The Federal Government should continue financially supporting, not totally financing, engergy research projects on a purely merit-based competition. When the application or production phase begins, private investment should take over.

C. Sadler - December 12, 2012

Government has no business in business. For example, the ethanol mandate. Ethanol plants sprang up all over the US and most of them have gone bankrupt. They can’t operate without government assistance and have driven the price of corn and milo up, raised land prices in some areas up to 700%, causing problems to producers in the area of taxes, thus threatening their ability to stay in business. This also translated into higher costs of feeding livestock.Ethanol has a negative energy output. The brand new 80 million dollar ethanol plant in our area just sold for 10 cents on the dollar, this was private investment with the operation subsidized by the government. It would not have been able to be built if the subsidies had not been there. The investors lost their shirts. In a free market system the plant would not have been built, the investors would not have been tempted to get involved in such a risky deal, and our corn and milo would be feeding our population at a reduced cost. Besides, Brazil can produce ethanol made from sugar cane and ship it to the US cheaper than we can produce it ourselves. Ethanol, like all the other green ideas, is not self sustainable and is very costly to us as a nation.

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