Cross posted from Scaling Green
This evening, "60 Minutes" is scheduled to run a segment on the cleantech and renewable energy industries that appears, from the preview, to present extremely outdated, misleading, even blatantly false information. In advance of this possible hit piece on clean energy, the American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) Energy Fact Check program has put together a prebuttal fact sheet on the true state of these industries, demonstrating their strength and the speed at which they're growing. A few key points from ACORE:
- Despite a ginned-up "controversy" over the unique case of Solyndra, the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program actually has had a 97% success rate.
- The DOE Loan Guarantee Program has created over 55,000 direct jobs, in everything from electric vehicles to renewable energy (e.g., the Ivanpah solar thermal power project alone has created over 1,000 jobs).
- This past year alone saw an estimated $13 billion invested in U.S. solar power projects, a tenfold increase since 2007.
- From January to October of 2013, all-electric vehicle sales were up 448% year-on-year.
- In Q3 of 2013, 80 new clean energy and clean transportation projects were announced, creating more than 15,000 jobs.
UPDATE Monday 7:27 am: OK, I just watched the entire segment, and it’s as bad as it was billed, IMHO. Skewed. Ignorant (of economics, of cleantech, etc.). Totally ignores the fact that fossil fuels have received hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies since 1950 (and a lot more in indirect subsidies of all kinds, such as allowing them to pollute without paying, the U.S. military defending the oil sea lanes, etc.). Selective quotes, framing, everything to make it seem like there’s some big “failure” or even “scandal” here (with the added “bonus” of some serious xenophobia and cluelessness about capitalism thrown in).
The segment also fails to mention the fact that billions of dollars from the “stimulus” went into “unsexy” things like: a) an expanded credit to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient; b) moderninzing the nationa’s power grid/smart grid; c) making federal buildings more energy efficient; d) weatherizing modest-income homes; e) energy efficiency and conservation block grants; f) aid to states to help them invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy; etc, etc.
But why focus on all those success stories when you can say the word SOLYNDRA and talk, completely out of context, about how a few projects (out of many!) didn’t quite live up to their billing, or even failed completely. Also no mention of booming solar and wind production in the U.S. and worldwide, of plummeting prices for clean energy, and of a gazillion positive things happening in the world of cleantech. Utterly pathetic.
UPDATE #2: Also see 60 Minutes Hit Job On Clean Energy Ignores The Facts by former Energy Department official Joe Romm (now of Climate Progress), who writes, “Clean technology is booming by every key indicator – but you would never know that from Sunday’s absurd 60 Minutes piece touting an imaginary ‘Cleantech Crash.'” Romm notes that “It’s as if 60 Minutes did a profile of the venture firm Kleiner-Perkins and focused primarily on its failed investments with only passing mention of AOL – and no mention at all of Amazon.com, Genentech, Sun Microsystems or Google!” And he adds: “Every major independent review, including one by John McCain’s former National Finance Chairman, found the loan guarantee program was cost-effective for taxpayers. A review by Brookings found DOE’s loan guarantee program will likely result in minimal costs and large gains for taxpayers.'”
UPDATE #3: Also note a few words missing from the “60 Minutes” hit piece – “global warming,” “climate change,” “greenhouse gas emissions,” “the #1 reason we’re trying to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.” #FAIL