Today in Cleantech

Maybe it’s fitting that on a day when it was revealed that Obama’s former top economic aid, Larry Summers, had been critical of the DOE’s loan guarantee program, describing the government as a “crappy” venture capitalist, that the International Energy Agency called on governments to cut subsidies for fossil fuels. On the one hand everyone is saying that the $535 million that Solyndra got is evidence of how disastrous government support is (by the way, the loan program’s two largest loan guarantees were for a $8.3 billion nuclear project and a $5.9 billion guarantee for Ford). On the other hand the IEA is right to point out that the $409 billion in fossil fuel subsidies in 2010 are creating real problems in terms of managing energy demand. Not to mention the subsidies make it very difficult for renewable energy to compete. With an estimate that fossil fuel subsidies will reach $660 billion by 2020, suddenly the Solyndra loan guarantee doesn’t seem like the problem.

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Adam Lesser

Analyst Gigaom Research

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