DOE Investments as Job Engine

  Since when did the DOE – Department of Energy become the DOE – Department of Employment?   Perhaps it out to be renamed the Department of Permanent Job Creation?  I understand the angst about Solyndra’s quick dust to dust round trip but that was not unexpected.  When a group of government bureaucrats that denied a loan to a company suddenly finds the same company a good investment coincident with a change in administrations it indicates rational political choice not rational public choice.   Solyndra was a political decision – not an investment decision.   And the consequences are now political rather than practical.  To now hold Solyndra’s demise as a reason for suspending  further government funding of green technology is simply ludicrous.

The DOE must have a role in stimulating the development of energy production and especially in the development of clean energy alternatives.  And it must do so through loan programs and national labs and funding university research.  The measure of DOE investment criteria should be megawatts of power created, not number of permanent jobs created. 

But for the next few quarters (14 months to be precise) we are going to scrutinize any such investment activity by DOE or DOT or Department of X through the job creation lens.  It is understandable.  It is not appreciated.  As the graphic embedded above from DOE Mulls Green Energy Loans at $23M per Job (IBD) indicates, we are now examining investments in renewable energy projects by the number of jobs created.  And this has exactly what to do with substituting clean energy production for fossil fuel power generating stations?  Nothing.