Obama Says Gov’t. Must Subsidize Green Energy That’s ‘Too Risky’ for Private Sector

By Fred Lucas | March 18, 2013 | 10:11am EDT

President Barack Obama listens learns about electric car technology during the president's tour of the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., Friday, March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama called for shifting American vehicles “entirely” off oil and said the government must finance green energy projects because they are “too risky” for the private sector. “We recognize there are some things we do together as a country because individually we can’t do it -- and by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive, it’s too risky,” Obama said. “They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines. So we’ve got to support it, and we’ll all benefit from it and our kids will benefit from it and our grandkids will benefit from it. That’s who we are. That’s been the American story.”

Obama’s remarks, delivered Friday in his adopted home state of Illinois, come after years of government spending on green energy projects that went bankrupt or out of business – such as Solyndra, Beacon Power and Ener1. The plan to wean the U.S. off fossil fuel also comes as the administration has stalled efforts to approve the Keystone Pipeline from Canada that proponents say could create tens of thousands of jobs.

“The only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks, off oil,” Obama said at the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill.

Obama called for establishing an Energy Security Trust that would be funded from revenue from oil and gas leases on federal lands to subsidize green energy projects to shift America off oil and gas. Obama said this would not add to the deficit because it’s from a separate fund.

Obama said the fund would finance scientists developing car batteries, new engines, and new bio-fuels.

Solyndra, a solar power firm that received $500 million from the Department of Energy, became the poster child for subsidized green-energy failures when the company declared bankruptcy. A review by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, found that 19 of the companies that received loans or grants from the Obama administration have filed for bankruptcy or are in the process of doing so.

These include Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solyndra, Beacon Power, which got $43 million; AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy, Nevada Geothermal, which received $98.5 million; SunPower, which got $1.5 billion from the government; First Solar, which received $1.46 billion from the federal government; Babcock & Brown, an Australian company which received $178 million from the administration; Ener1, a subsidiary EnerDel that received $118.5 million; Amonix, which received $5.9 million; The National Renewable Energy Lab; Fisker Automotive; Abound Solar, which received $400 million; Solar Trust of America; A123 Systems, which received $279 million; Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, which received $6 million; Johnson Controls, which received $299 million; and Schneider Electric, which received $86 million.

Also, Ener 1, the electric car company with a $118 million loan, also declared bankruptcy.

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