Nov 17 2011
An article in the New York Times today covers Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu’s appearance in front of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding the bankruptcy of the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which had received a substantial loan guarantee from the government. Chu defended the decision to guarantee the Solyndra loan, arguing that the United States must stay competitive in the race for clean energy, while critics have accused the department of knowing that the company would go bankrupt in 2011, and of succumbing to political pressure leveraged by one of Obama’s fundraising “bundlers.”
What does the Solyndra affair mean? Are loan guarantees an effective use of taxpayer funds? Should the government be supporting “push” mechanisms to support the creation of a clean energy technology manufacturing market? Would taxpayer dollars be better spent on “pull” policies that stimulate demand for renewable technologies?
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