My Questions for Chu

1.  Accepting for a moment that the purpose of the loan program under which Solyndra received its money was truly reduction of CO2 output and fossil fuel use, what is the metric the DOE uses to score these investments against these goals (e.g. tons of CO2 output avoided over the next 10 years per dollar of government investment).

2.  How did Solyndra and other companies that were accepted for the program score on your metric?  How did companies that were turned down score?

Of course there was no such analysis -- the government appears to have invested in whatever companies raised the most money for Obama or got Joe Biden's heart palpitating or both.  Even if one pulls the obvious politics out of it, it appears they invested in stories they found appealing, the same mistake many novice investors make.

The Left works hard to wrap itself in the mantle of science, and Republicans just let them do so.  If Chu wanted to take the high ground of  trying to do the right thing for US energy policy, questioners should have taken him at his word and challenged how well his internal process matched his bold words.   Politicians are too obsessed with finding some crime or smoking gun.  The underlying failure is that the loan process does not, never will, and in fact cannot match the stated ideals and goals of the program.

  • Matt

    You completely misunderstand the purpose of the program. The purpose of the program was to APEAR to be doing something about C02 emissions while lining the pockets of Obama's top supporters.

  • Anon

    "The Left works hard to wrap itself in the mantle of science, and Republicans just let them do so."

    It's in the script for tonight's episode of Kabuki Theater.

    Repubs can't point out the failure you recognize, Warren. They want to do the same thing, just for another set of cronies.

  • Ted Rado

    I have harped on this point before: There is no presently viable backup or energy storage scheme for intermittent energy sources, nor do studies show any to be even potentially workable. Yet the USG continues to pour money into projects that any engineer can show to be nonsnse.

    Before spending money on solar (or wind) projects, there needs to be a scheme on paper that shows that solar energy is viable in its totallity.
    1) Manufacturing the needed equipment (solar
    panels, etc.)
    2) building solar power plants.
    3) Energy storage methds - design and cost.
    4) Alternatively, backup systems.
    5) Connection to the grid and control.
    This whole system must be shown to be technically and economically viable before proceeding further.

    One can readily show that the OVERALL system is either not technically feasible, or is terribly uneconomic, or both. Why we plunge ahead working on one piece of the puzzle when we have no way to do the others is a great mystery. Building solar panel plants for a non-viable scheme is a total waste of money. Only a small amount of solar energy, perhaps at remote locations, is likely to be viable. The rest depends on huge subsidies and free backup, which cannot last forever.

    All this in addition to the question: why is the USG meddling in what should be a free enterprise endeavor?

  • me

    Meh. The left wouldn't understand Science if it hit them in the face with a pound of salmon. (Which, incidentally, is a bit no better than the right, which believes Science to be a haitian voodoo cult best fought hard at every opportunity).

    You get what you pay for, and in this case we have weasels of both parties in Washington, actively engaged in making the worst possible laws they can get on the books while reaping outrageous salaries from tax revenue. Never mind wasting the future of America on ensuring banker bonuses, killing lots of civilians in far away countries, wrecking health care once and for all, demolishing the constitutional protection of civil liberties. Just, as an example, consider the SOPA act being discussed now, and contrast with the 75% of Americans who have a pretty insightful intuition where it comes to appropriate penalties for using the internet in a less than savory manner.

    I am tempted to kick off a "we want you for congress" party campaign, which would create a new party promising to send a random selection of it's members off to congress based on the votes. Anyone is eligible to join the party, as long as they have not held any political office in the last 4 years.