Should the United States Government be Permitted to Play the Role of a Venture Capitalist?

  

The United States government has made some very risky investments in areas such as green energy and electric vehicles.  As time as shown, the government’s ability to pick winners and losers has cost the United States taxpayers billions of dollars.

Green Energy, also known as renewable or sustainable energy, is energy that comes from resources which are continually replenished such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat.  According to Wikipedia, About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewable sources, with 10% of all energy from traditional biomass, mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from hydroelectricity.

 

These investments have instead provided a string of bankruptcies: Solyndra ($528 million in federal loans), Abound Solar ($400 million), A123 Systems ($279 million) and Fisker Automotive ($529 million), to name the most prominent examples.

Let’s begin with Solyndra, originally founded by Chris Gronet as Gronet Technologies in May of 2005.  The Company changed its name eight (8) months later to Solyndra and quietly began developing a solar module consisting of one glass tube nested inside of another.  Wrapped around the inner tube were 150 solar cells made from copper, indium, gallium and diselenide, rather than silicon.

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