Obama Vows to ‘Double Down’ on Green Investments Despite Solyndra and Volt Flop

February 23, 2012 - 6:30 PM

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President Barack Obama speaks during a fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) – Despite some green energy failures, such as the bankrupt Solyndra solar panel company and weak-selling Chevy Volt, President Barack Obama said that he wanted to “double down” on green energy spending, and would do what he could even without Congress to subsidize these companies.

Obama’s assertions, at the University of Miami on Thursday, come after numerous reports of green energy firms that received large sums of federal loans and grants but which have either declared bankruptcy or hit financial problems. In his remarks, Obama sought to draw a contrast between subsidies to green energy firms and $4 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

“A century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough,” Obama said. “It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.”

CBS News has reported that the administration directed $6.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to a dozen different green companies that now face financial ship. The most notable of these is Solyndra, the solar panel firm that got a $535-million Energy Department loan guarantee before declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy and being investigated by the FBI.

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President Barack Obama examines solar panel units on Mar. 25, 2010, at the Solyndra factory in Fremont, Calif. (AP Photo)

Among the 12 companies, five others besides Solyndra have filed for bankruptcy. These are Beacon Power of Massachusetts; Evergreen Solar, of Massachusetts; SpectraWatt of New York State; AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy of New York State and Ener1 of Indiana.

Obama acknowledged that not all companies backed by the federal government will succeed, but said he would not be deterred.

“The payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away. Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies will fail,” Obama said.

“But as long as I’m president, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy,” he said.  “I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington refused to make the same commitment here in America.”

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President Barack Obama test drives a Chevy Volt on July 30, 2011. (AP Photo)

“With or without this Congress, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy, so that our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world,” said Obama.

As CNSNews.com earlier reported, the Chevy Volt, touted by Obama as being the future of the government-owned GM and bailed-out Chrysler, was among the biggest market flops in 2011.

The Volt, Chevy’s entry into the government-subsidized electric vehicle market, came in as the third worst product flop of 2011, behind only Netflix’s disastrous Qwikster service, and a much-derided push-up bikini bra for preteen girls from Abercrombie & Fitch.