Ener1 Is No Solyndra

January 28, 2012 by James Greenberger

The losers in the Ener1 bankruptcy are those who invested in the common stock of Ener1. Their loss is unfortunate, but hardly novel among investors who buy high risk-high reward technology stocks. Their loss is of no consequence to U.S. taxpayers, whose $110 million grant was never intended to benefit the stockholders of Ener1, but rather was intended to support the development of technology and of a base of knowledge and experience in advanced batteries in the United States. By all accounts that technology and knowledge base appears secure and about to be doubled-down upon by $81 million of new investment. This is no failure.[read more]

Terry Engelder on the Federal Role in the Shale Gas Revolution

January 6, 2012 by Breakthrough Institute

As a part of the Breakthrough Institute's in-depth investigation of shale gas extraction and the role of the federal government in the development of many of the key enabling technologies, we interviewed Terry Engelder, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and one of Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers. Dr. Engelder has authored...[read more]

Report Forecasts 130% Growth in Asia-Pacific Solar Market for 2011

December 1, 2011 by Nathanael Baker

Once an after-thought in solar development, the latest data shows the Asia-Pacific region is becoming the industry's biggest market for photovoltaic solar power. According the research performed by Solarbuzz, and presented in its Asia Pacific Major PV Markets report, Asia's PV market is forecast to increase 39% in the final quarter of 2011. Looking at the numbers annually, between Q4 2010 and Q4 2011, the region's market will have grown 130%.[read more]


Financing Key Bottleneck For Sustainable Energy Development

November 23, 2011 by Amelia Timbers

Money, money, money, money! Energy!That's not how the O Jays' song goes. But it may as well, and its my mental soundtrack whenever I engage in discussions of green finance. Financing and funding is a key holdup in renewable development, and indeed, in almost ever sustainability policy effort I can think of.What's frustrating is that it's...[read more]

Is the Photovoltaic Price Trend Sustainable?

November 22, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

It has been widely assumed among pundits and policy makers that the continued expansion of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations will drive down PV costs until the electricity they produce is competitive with conventional power sources without the need for subsidies. This belief is grounded in both recent PV cost trends and the...[read more]

Government Energy Innovation: Well Worth It

November 21, 2011 by Walter Frick

The Washington Post ran a piece in its Outlook section this weekend on government investments in energy that is rightly getting significant push back. The question it poses is: “What does Washington have to show for these investments?” The answer, by all accounts, is Plenty. And plenty more would be gained by increased investment in energy innovation.[read more]

Overcoming Hurdles to Clean Energy Commercialization

November 21, 2011 by David Levy

Despite the mounting evidence of severe climate change, there is a funding crisis for potential solutions. The Department of Energy released data at the beginning of November showing that global emissions of CO2 rose 6% in 2010, despite the ongoing economic recession. This trajectory is higher than the worst case projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in it’s 2007 Fourth Assessement Report. The impacts are already being felt. A new IPCC report concludes that climate change is causing more extreme weather, especially heat waves, heavy precipitation, and coastal flooding (though the super-cautious IPCC hedged on hurricanes).[read more]

Solyndra Is Not The Failure It Appears

November 20, 2011 by James Greenberger

Properly understood the DOE’s loans and grants are investments in technology, not in individual companies. Individual companies may come and go. Ownership of the financed technologies may change. Whether the stockholders of Solyndra make a return on their investment or are wiped out in a bankruptcy matters little to the DOE or to U.S. taxpayers. What is important is that the technology that was financed continues to develop, that the domestic know-how with respect to that technology continues to build, and that a market for the technology begins to develop. Those are the measures of success for a government technology investment, not the success or failure of a private business that happened at one time to own the technology.[read more]

Despite Solyndra’s Death, Solar's Future is Sunny

November 11, 2011 by Robert Rapier

This week on R-Squared we have a guest post by Steven Pleging. Mr. Pleging is CEO/President of Quantum Solar Power Corp. I am in general agreement with the points made below; in fact I reiterated several times at this year’s ASPO conference that I believe solar power will be the renewable sector that makes the biggest long-term impact in...[read more]

Beacon Power Files For Bankruptcy; Boulder Contemplates Municipalization Its Power Assets & Other Energy Stories of Note

November 3, 2011 by Michael Giberson

Brief notes about energy stories in the news. Flywheel energy storage company Beacon Power has filed for bankruptcy. News stories have highlighted the point that Beacon was a recipient of federal energy technology loan guarantees, which will give an additional boost to Solyndra critics, but I predict the apparent lack of high-level...[read more]

Obama Cleantech Stimulus: Bad Policy, Bad Politics and Bad for Cleantech

November 3, 2011 by David Gold

The Solyndra debacle is no surprise to this cleantech venture capitalist. The inherent conflict between trying to get money out of the U.S. Treasury as quickly as possible to stimulate the economy and, at the same time, have government agencies that are ill-suited at making business decisions do just that was nothing other than a recipe for disaster.[read more]

How Many More Solyndras?

November 2, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

Another firm that received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy has just filed for bankruptcy. Beacon Power had drawn down $39.1 million of the $43 million authorized by the DOE for the construction of its 20 MW energy storage facility in Stephenstown, NY, but was still operating at a loss and unable to find additional backing...[read more]

CNN: Government to Thank for Technologies We Can't Live Without

October 26, 2011 by Breakthrough Institute

With the backdrop of solar company Solyndra's bankruptcy, the media has been running an endless stream of stories and op-eds seeking to discredit government investment in technology. CCNMoney, in an encouraging contrast, today published a blog post called "7 great government-backed inventions." From their story: It's under fire for...[read more]

More Lessons from Solyndra

October 15, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

I'll bet that those working and investing in renewable energy are even more tired of the steady stream of headlines from the unraveling Solyndra mess than the rest of us are. Today's crop includes more evidence of the political linkages to the overall process for determining the company's suitability for federal backing and the...[read more]

The Energy Glass Is More Than Half Full

October 5, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

A recent comment from a frequent reader got me thinking about the good news that has accumulated on the energy front, even as the rest of the economy has bogged down in pessimism. There's actually quite a lot of it, though perhaps it has been easy to miss, because most of these developments look like bad news from someone's perspective,...[read more]