Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let Them Burn Wood

One thing that President Obama has been very clear about (let me be clear…) is his commitment to supporting renewable energy resources. Utilizing cutting edge technology to come up with innovative new ways to get the most out of renewable energy is not only good for the environment, it also helps reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources (like those evil fossil fuels). And expanding our renewable energy industries creates those haloed “green jobs,” which next to being a community organizer is about the highest calling one can aspire to in the Age of Obama. Renewable energy is clean, green, and even cool. It’s no wonder that the Obama Administration has been so forthright in supporting its on-going development with government funding.

U.S. to Seek Claw Back of Grant to Closed Montana Power Plant (WSJ-sub req):

The Treasury paid Thompson River $6.5 million in 2010 from a piece of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act known as Section 1603 that reimbursed developers of renewable energy with cash payments equivalent to 30% of their projects' costs. The program has given out more than $11 billion, the Treasury Department says.

A federal study in April estimated that the program created between 150,000 and 220,000 jobs between 2009 and 2011. Some of those jobs have disappeared, though it isn't known how many. In the case of Thomson River, they never were created.

The grant to Thompson River, majority-owned by a Minnesota private-equity firm, was to convert a coal-fired plant to burn wood, which is considered a "renewable" power source. But since receiving the money, the plant never operated either as a coal- or wood-burning plant, according to Montana regulators, and has produced neither power nor new jobs. It is now mothballed. It is not known how many new jobs the firm promised to create, or how many currently are employed at the plant.

Wood? I suppose it is a renewable energy source since we can always plant more trees. But probably not what the starry-eyed youth had in mind when they heard President Obama promise a glorious future of renewable energy and green jobs.

Six and half million taxpayer dollars up in smoke. No energy produced. No jobs created. Not cool.