Government Bytes


Secrets to Green Energy Success

by Nan Swift / /

Need to make some serious money?  Childhood “firefighter by day, Batman by night” dreams not working out?  Here’s how to cash in on the green energy racket.

Step 1: Think of a “green” idea: renewable energy, plug in cars, $50 light bulbs.

Step 2: Get government funding, subsidies, and/or mandates.

Step 3: Roll around in your amazing new money pool.

Probably one of the best parts about this genius plan is that your green idea doesn’t even have to be that good.  It doesn’t have to work at all.  Your company can totally fail.  Sometimes, if you are lucky, the government will pay you NOT to work.  Best of all, the system is so bogged down in bureaucracy; it could be years before anyone even notices.  Here’s just one example:

From the Pacific Northwest, wind farms that are paid to shut down:

Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest -- built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced -- are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region's electricity grid says there's an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year.

Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year.

The extra payout means energy users will eventually have to pay more. 

"We require taxpayers to subsidize the production of renewable energy, and now we want ratepayers to pay renewable energy companies when they lose money?" asked Todd Myers, director of the Center for the Environment of the Washington Policy Center and author of "Eco-Fads: How the Rise of Trendy Environmentalism is Harming the Environment." 

"That's a ridiculous system that keeps piling more and more money into a system that's unsustainable," Myers said.

That is as good a deal as being paid not to farm!  And what makes this scam all the better is that even when wind farms are working, even with all the subsidies and renewable energy mandates, wind provides less than half a percent of the total energy generated each day worldwide.  This, of course, is shocking considering what a killing one could make off it.  And when I say killing, I’m referring to birds and bats.

Of course putting up giant windmills all day is hard work.  An even smarter way to grab taxpayer cash is to make big promises, get a giant loan from the Department of Energy, give yourself an enormous bonus and get out of town.  It is essential in this scenario that you are an executive, and not someone lower on the food chain who will simply be out of work in a tough job market.  ABCNews explains how Solyndra was far from an isolated incident, indeed it is practically a recipe for success in today’s corporate welfare world:

EnerDel, maker of lithium-ion battery systems, landed a $118.5 million energy grant in August 2009. About one-and-a-half years later, Vice President Joe Biden toured a company plant in Indiana and heralded its taxpayer-supported expansion as one of the "100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America."

Two months after Biden's visit, EnerDel corporate parent Ener1 paid $725,000 in bonuses to three executives -- including $450,000 to then-CEO Charles Gassenheimer, who led Biden on the tour. This January, Ener1 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

At least two other firms that benefited from Energy Department funding -- one a $500,000 grant, the other a $535 million loan guarantee -- handed out hefty payouts to executives and later went bankrupt.

This is a great time to be a not so great entrepreneur.  In the old days, you had to make something better or cheaper than others to compete in the marketplace.  Luckily, those uncivilized days are over and now all you need is someone in government to make people buy your product, or to give your business special treatment that others can’t compete with. 

Do you have a great product no one wants to buy?  Extra oil tanker bladders you need to get off your hands?  Not to worry, here are two simple ways to get someone on the inside to pull a few strings: donate money to their campaign, or make them stockholders. It’s just that easy.

Now go enjoy your new taxpayer funded money pool.