WashPost: Before Solyndra, a long history of failed government energy projects

“Perhaps the federal government is, as former Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers put it, “a crappy VC,” or venture capitalist.”

The Washington Post reports:

Solyndra, the solar-panel maker that received more than half a billion dollars in federal loans from the Obama administration only to go bankrupt this fall, isn’t the first dud for U.S. government officials trying to play venture capitalist in the energy industry.

The Clinch River Breeder Reactor. The Synthetic Fuels Corporation. The hydrogen car. Clean coal. These are but a few examples spanning several decades — a graveyard of costly and failed projects…

Perhaps the federal government is, as former Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers put it, “a crappy VC,” or venture capitalist. Or perhaps it should stick to funding basic research. But if more recipients of Energy Department loan guarantees falter, they will become part of a long, if undistinguished, history of failure.

Read the Washington Post article.

One thought on “WashPost: Before Solyndra, a long history of failed government energy projects”

  1. If it was a sure-fire bet, with a quick return, regular investment bankers would have invested in it long ago. Somethings require high risk investments with a long wait for payback.

    NASA is a great example. Terrible risk – no clear payback and yet, much of the technology it resulted in has changed our society.

    OTOH – the US military takes 20 times as much as NASA and results in thousands of dead Americans – who else would spend 45% of the worlds entire military budget, to protect 5% of the world’s population.

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