3 Myths About America’s Clean Energy Future

From Forbes

By Manish Bapna

Now that the election is over, elected officials need to return to the important act of governing. Building a low-carbon energy future will be essential for the country’s continued prosperity and security.

Yet in recent months we have witnessed a heated national debate—and significant misinformation—about public investment in clean energy and the government’s role in America’s energy future. Below, we seek to inform a path forward on this critical issue by separating fact from fiction.

Myth 1: Funding renewable energy is a waste of taxpayers’ money

In fact, federal investments in solar, wind and geothermal companies, largely through stimulus funds, have proved to be a success.

Of the 26 companies and projects that received clean energy loan guarantees under the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), only three have failed—an impressive record given that venture capitalists cite a 70 percent failure rate as typical for start-ups.

Much has been made of solar manufacturer Solyndra’s collapse; yet this one high-profile example misses the point. According to a Bloomberg Government study, 87 percent of the companies that received loan guarantees were at low risk of default, as they were required to line up electricity buyers in advance. So the risk of a domino effect is slight.

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