Entries Tagged as 'Solyndra'

The White House Knew Solyndra Was Not Profitable

October 10th, 2011 at 3:41 pm 38 Comments

Today, ailment the Wall Street Journal disclosed and commented upon an e-mail to Larry Summers regarding the Solyndra loans:

Brad Jones of Redpoint Ventures got to the heart of the Solyndra economy in a December 2009 email to then-National Economic Council director Larry Summers: “The allocation of spending to clean energy is haphazard; the government is just not well equipped to decide which companies should get the money and how much . . . One of our solar companies with revenues of less than $100 million (and not yet profitable) received a government loan of $580 million; while that is good for us, I can’t imagine it’s a good way for the government to use taxpayer money.”

This e-mail is along the lines of a column I wrote last week which identified the reality that a company losing money on every sale is not going to make a profit by adding a second production line.

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Solyndra’s Solar Flame-Out

October 2nd, 2011 at 8:24 am 45 Comments

Basic question for Congress to ask: “Sir, Let’s start with the basics, don’t tell us what you were thinking, tell us if you were thinking.”

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Government is a Lousy Investor

September 30th, 2011 at 8:57 am 58 Comments

Jim DiPeso is right to draw attention to the Colony Shale disaster and the disastrous Synfuels government supported enterprise that helped make it happen. But there’s a broader point to be made: the government is utterly clueless when it comes to developing consumer products.

Aside from developing products used only by governments alone–fighter jets and spacecraft–governments almost always fail when they try to develop things that individuals (or even business) want to buy.

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Colony Shale, The First Solyndra

September 29th, 2011 at 2:56 pm 22 Comments

Solyndra is a lesson in how the substitution of wishful thinking for green eyeshades can stimulate the growth of costly energy carbuncles that emit malodorous political fumes.

Today it is Solyndra. Yesterday it was Colony Shale.

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Rick Perry’s Solyndras

September 16th, 2011 at 2:34 pm 31 Comments

“In Texas, we understand that high-tech companies don’t just happen overnight but are a product of forethought, sound vision and planning, and strategic investments by both the public and private sectors. Through our Emerging Technology Fund, we are bringing the best scientists and researchers to Texas, attracting high-tech jobs and helping start-up companies get off the ground faster.”Gov. Rick Perry

The Obama Administration is taking well-deserved heat for its clumsy dabbling in the venture capital business. The failure of a prominent solar tech company partially funded with federally guaranteed loans is drawing attention to the flaws of direct government investment in private firms.

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What Exactly is a “Green” Job? (Updated)

David Frum September 15th, 2011 at 11:43 am Updated45 Comments

Here’s a skill-testing hypothetical for you environmentalists out there.

Some future US government decides to impose a tax on oil to maintain the price above $125 a barrel.

Responding to this price signal, more Americans tell their real estate agents they want housing from which they can walk to work.

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Governments Are Awful Venture Capitalists

David Frum September 15th, 2011 at 12:00 am 42 Comments

In my Marketplace commentary I discuss why Solyndra’s bankruptcy shows why governments are not effective venture capitalists:

Government can contribute enormously to economic innovation by supporting basic scientific research. Government can support schools and universities to train future innovators. Government can mitigate recessions, suppress inflation, and otherwise keep the macro-economy humming. There’s lots of things government can do. Playing venture capitalist is the thing it cannot do.

A real venture capitalist has a single mission: earn a return. That mission is challenging enough, and venture capitalists often fail.

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