The GOP is attacking Solyndra, and making it a key point to kill Obama’s energy policies.
This indeed was a $500 million loan guarantee that did flop. As we all know, not all investments work out. However, we do need to put this in perspective. For instance, the GOP wants to keep offering subsidies for dirty fossil fuels. In fact, federal subsidies for dirty fossil fuels were $70.2 billion between 2002 to 2008. ( See chart below ).
Now the GOP wants to build a keystone Pipeline, which will tie us for another generation to fossil fuel, helping slow the switch to wind and solar.
Here are some things you may not know about wind and solar energy.
Reuters reported that the solar and wind deals in the US netted a record $53.5 billion last year, which is a 40% jump from 2010. Additionally, the total investment in renewable energy broke the record too, of $260 billion.
The US currently only generates 4% of its electricity from renewables. This figure needs to increase, but this will only happen when we change public policy.
Let’s take a look at Germany for a moment, and look at their energy policy. With a population of 82 million, they are the highest energy consuming country in Europe.
Currently, Germany generates 20.8 % of its electricity from renewables. Their goal is to have 35% of their energy coming from renewable sources by 2035. Right now, there are over 370,000 people in Germany who are employed in the renewable energy sector.
After Chernobyl, Germany passed a new energy law which made it so that the public utilities had to accept green energy from suppliers ( investors in green energy ) at a fixed price. The public utilities also had the obligation to take renewable energy into the grid.
The result was that the law created a new market. Because of the guaranteed price for the supplier, it provided an incentive where the more productive the suppliers are, the more they profit. That means the law is a strong incentive for technological improvement.
So how can we change energy policy in the US?
To start, we need to end Big Oil’s corruption in Congress. The oil industry has contributed $93 million to sitting members in Congress so that they can continue to receive their subsidies. You can help to end this corruption by going to http://act.350.org/survey/refs-in-district-hosts/ to see how you can help.