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Dec 30 2020

Jennifer Granholm to Oversee Green Energy Boondoggles

Remember when Obama stimulated the economy and saved the planet by redirecting hundreds of $millions of taxpayer money to campaign donors via green energy boondoggles like Solyndra? Hold onto your wallets; we are in for more of the same. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has been chosen to head the Department of Energy.

This is great news for Democrat donors, less so for taxpayers.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

[D]uring her governorship from 2003 to 2011, Ms. Granholm handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to politically favored startups to create “green jobs.”

For example,

fledgling electric-car battery manufacturer A123 Systems, which was awarded a $249 million DOE grant plus $125 million in state tax credits. Plagued by manufacturing problems, A123 went bankrupt in 2012. China’s Wanxiang Group bought most of its assets.

Granholm + Biden = plenty more of this:

Fisker Automotive … went bust in 2013 after receiving a $192 million DOE loan with the goal of manufacturing a hybrid at a plant located in Mr. Biden’s senatorial backyard. Fisker was backed by prominent liberal investors including Al Gore. “Lobbying by all local politicians is said to have won the day for the Wilmington plant,” the Washington Post reported in 2013.

In the green energy sector, you don’t need to provide a useful product. You just need to have the right friends.

Granholm also offered battery manufacturer LG Chem $125 million on top of the $150 million in federal stimulus dollars it received. While LG Chem is still in business, its employees at the time were caught watching movies and playing games on the clock because they ostensibly had little productive to do.

One of the benefits of “green jobs” is that if you can snag one of these rare positions, you might not have to do any work.

Then there was the biofuels startup Mascoma, which was awarded $20 million from Ms. Granholm and up to $100 million from DOE for a plant to convert biomass into cellulosic ethanol. The plant was never built. Ms. Granholm also approved $100 million for a renewable energy park that was scrapped.

What a tragedy that they never built the biomass plant. Think of the polar bears we could save by mandating that cars run on weeds (people should run on weeds too).

And don’t forget her dim solar-energy bets including United Solar Ovonic, Evergreen and GlobalWatt. According to the Mackinac Center, the Michigan think tank, only 2.3% of Ms. Granholm’s investments in the state’s main incentive program met their job creation promises.

With a record that stellar, they should have made her Green Jobs Czar, the position held by current CNN propagandist Van Jones under Obama.

Government is a lousy venture capitalist and, more often than not, misallocates scarce capital.

This is due not only to incompetence, but to a different objective. Real venture capitalists expect businesses to produce wealth. Bureaucratic venture capitalists are motivated by ideology and graft. A percentage of subsidies will come back as political donations, as with Planned Parenthood.

Investors these days are piling into electric-car and battery start-ups, betting on government subsidies and tougher emission rules by the Biden Administration that will force-feed electric vehicles. Startups received both during the Obama Administration but still failed because of technical problems and scarce demand.

The demand problem is easy enough to fix. Democrats will just regulate energy-efficient cars out of existence so that we have to buy the electric ones or go without.

Granholm is infamous for her sharp elbows and flakiness, but she may not be the nuttiest slice of the impending fruitcake administration:

Biden has also tapped North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan for EPA Administrator. Progressives are praising Mr. Biden’s choice of a black American after lobbying hard against California Air Resources Board director Mary Nichols because she was insufficiently concerned with “environmental injustice.”

Better find a piece of leather to bite down on. Whatever environmental justice might mean, it is guaranteed to hurt.

WSJ aptly sums up the policies likely to be inflicted in the coming years under the pretense of controlling the climate: “more subsidies for the politically connected, and more rules, mandates and taxes for everyone else.”

On a tip from Varla.


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