President Barack Obama’s administration rolled out a spending-heavy green energy package Thursday morning, just hours before the economically embattled chief executive will give his “jobs plan” speech to a rare joint session of Congress.
The new Department of Energy (DOE) program will spend $43 million over the next five years to “speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems,” according to a DOE release.
“The U.S. has an abundant offshore wind resource that remains untapped,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. “Through these awards, the Department of Energy is developing the critical technology and knowledge base necessary to responsibly develop this resource, enhance our energy security, and create new clean energy jobs.” (RELATED: Solyndra officials made numerous trips to White House)
The new spending package includes taxpayer funding for 41 different wind energy research and development projects. Funding recipients include several universities nationwide, consulting firms and energy companies like Duke Energy, a major democratic contributor.
Pennsylvania State University is among those recipients, taking in $1.2 million of taxpayer cash to “develop a computer model ‘Cyber Wind Facility’ to generate data over an entire wind turbine farm both on and offshore simulating wind and wave impacts on wind turbine structures.” Pennsylvania State University’s professor Michael Mann was at the center of allegations that he manipulated data to exaggerate climate change. An internal investigation by Pennsylvania State cleared itself of wrong-doing.
Another funding recipient, the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham, Maine, got $4.5 million to study the effects of offshore turbines on “bird, sea turtle, and marine mammal abundance and movement in the mid-Atlantic.”
Obama has taken recent criticism for his administration’s continued use of government spending to spur economic growth. Americans for Limited Government spokesman Rick Manning told The Daily Caller this new Energy Department spending resembles the administration’s efforts to use taxpayer money to prop up now-failing solar company Solyndra, which was raided Thursday by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
“After the failure of the Solyndra solar venture capital effort, it’s shocking that Secretary Chu continues to want to play venture capitalist with taxpayer money,” Manning said in a phone interview. “If he [President Obama] truly wants to create jobs, he should immediately move to open up Shell’s Arctic oil leases as well as the Gulf for an immediate stimulus to America’s economy.”
Institute for Energy Research state and regulatory affairs director Dan Simmons echoed Manning’s comments, adding that the Obama administration hasn’t learned its “green jobs” lesson yet. He said the program won’t create any “real jobs,” only ones that “survive as long as the government provides subsidies.”
“We tried to warn them two years ago that following the Spanish green jobs model will not create jobs, but will waste taxpayer dollars and lead to a higher deficit and we have been proved right,” Simmons told TheDC. “Just look at the jobs numbers.”
“There is a reason why private companies aren’t keen to invest in offshore wind and instead companies are turning to the feds for financing,” Simmons adds. “According to the Department of Energy’s own Energy Information Administration, offshore wind is twice as expensive as onshore wind and four times as expensive as advanced natural gas.”