Yesterday's announcement from A123 systems must be regarded in the context of the Federal Government support for clean-tech, to promote this sector and the performance of the industry as a whole.
Many more winners than losers
One of the main points of the Government programs in question is an important context: why promote investment, innovation and progress in important areas for the United States. Congress expected to see winners and losers, when it passed legislation in 2009, and has it seen so far as a whole far more winners than losers. As the Washington Post Brad Plumer, for example says:
So far 30 battery and electric drive have received corporate stimulus funds. You will find a complete list here. So far, two of them, A123 systems and EnerDel, have filed bankruptcy. (Have they still not disappeared, however: EnerDel continue to fully funktions sound and A123?s, stimulus-funded facilities under the deal with Johnson Controls remain open.)
18% Of the vehicle battery grants, which means that 82% still "run this portfolio" represent these two companies.
Also as context, Plumer offers another stimulus-funded program, which has received much attention but a still impressive performance so far:
The 26 clean energy projects that have received federal loan guarantees under a separate 1705 program, only three bankruptcy, Solyndra abound and beacon power have ranked similarly. (Although beacon is still in operation and has its state-backed credit largely repaid.)
Even the full amount by the three companies at risk adds up to 6% of the portfolio, which means that the performance of the investments is 94% of the whole.
The broader context
Taking into account these developments another context, where that happens generally with renewable energy. In short, the UCS President what pointed out Kevin Knobloch, have "during the economic downturn renewable energy supplied":
Response to targeted but limited investment (such as wind and solar production tax credits and stimulus spending) and instruments (E.g. renewable electricity standards, now in 29 States) have delivered emerging wind and solar industry. In the last five years the wind industry more than its current output and solar PV tripled its output more than quadrupled.
This summer our collective investment in wind power installed United States installed capacity to more than 50,000 MW, making enough to nearly 13 million homes - "as many as in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama and Connecticut combined," according to the American Wind Energy Association.
The story is similar to elsewhere in the world: renewable energy big guns goes worldwide, despite the global economic challenges.
Investment in renewable energy and clean technologies can bring jobs and other economic benefits with you. They are also key and climate change to move away from dependence on fossil fuels - oil, coal and natural gas - troubles they bring.
Beyond the political
Despite the claims on the contrary, support for clean-tech in the United States was and remains bipartisan, as Plumer and a UCS colleague point out. The same was true as the US Department of energy reports for A123:
A123 of promising technology has a long history of bipartisan support. In 2007 the company received a grant of $ 6 million as part of an effort the Bush administration advanced battery production to promote, and the company has used $132 million of 2009 financial assistance from the Department of energy.
Some want to politicize a few failed companies, but let's not deceive you. Investments in the clean-tech-private and public - are what we need, come to a good, viable, prosperous energy future that strengthens our economy our security increased, and addresses the challenge of climate change.
Our biggest investment risk is not courageous to invest enough.
John Rogers is a senior energy analyst with expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and policies. He active energy and water in a warming world initiative (EW3) at UCS, the with water demands of energy production in the context of climate change. He has a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor's degree at Princeton University.
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