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Biofuel Project for Reno
Biofuel Project for Reno

AIR DATE: August 10, 2012

The USDA announced tens of millions of dollars to go to the construction of a biofuel plant in Reno. The project is expected to create more than 50 permanent jobs. The plant will take solid waste and turn it into biofuels. It is a plan to become energy independent and relieve pressure from future and current landfills. (Pictured on the right: Artist Rendering of Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC)
Dallas Tonsager, Rural Development Under Secretary, USDA

Clarification:  On this segment, host Dave Becker asks Dallas Tonsager of the USDA about the failure rate of federally-backed renewable energy projects. Becker references a study by the Heritage Foundation, which asserted that 80 percent of major renewable energy projects had failed. These included California-based solar panel manufacturer Solyndra and Amonix's solar panel plant in North Las Vegas. The Heritage survey focused on only 20 projects.

The number of government grants to renewable energy projects is actually much larger. Under section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the government gave $10.7 billion to "5,098 businesses for 31,540 projects" according to the Treasury Department. Recent projections given to Congress by independent analyst Gregory Kats, president of consulting firm Capital E, suggest that total defaults on renewable energy financing will be no more than $800 million. Kats concluded the program had a 96 percent success rate.




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    Of course, the basic laws of economics tell one that if this project were economically viable without a taxpayer subsidy, it would *already* exist via the private marketplace providing financing in return for the potential rewards. So, necessarily, taking a taxpayer subsidy means that this project is *not* economically viable, i.e. the private sector - the productive sector that produces the wealth of society - does *not* think that this project will be viable. Indeed, government selecting (and funding) companies that *need* taxpayer subsidies is a moronic premise, as by definition it is picking from among the likely "losers" in the overall marketplace.
    Tom HurstAug 9, 2012 13:23:52 PM
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