U.S. Pledges $20 Million, and Counting, for African “Clean Energy” Projects

The Obama Administration has done such a bang up  job on promoting green energy, (the failed Solyndra deal), that it is now planning to spend $20 million of taxpayers’ money on similar projects in Africa — with “hundreds of millions of dollars” to follow, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.   More wasted money.

Clinton spoke at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, announced the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative, whose purpose, she said, is to “help clean energy projects in Africa get started.” The initiative involves three federal agencies: the State Department, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. “We plan to use an initial $20 million grant fund to leverage much larger investment flows from OPIC,” Clinton explained. “That will open the door then for hundreds of millions of dollars of OPIC financing, plus hundreds of millions of more dollars from the private sector for projects that otherwise would never get off the drawing board.”
“Clean energy,” she averred, “will bring new jobs, create new livelihoods, support education, new businesses, healthier and more productive lives, as well as reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change.”   New American

This is, of course, the same rationale that was applied to funding clean energy in the United States. The projects, so the government said, had great potential but were unable to get off the ground because of skittish private-sector investors.   So this left taxpayers footing the bill.  At least 12 green energy firms that received about $6.5 billion from the [Obama] administration now face financial troubles, … with at least 5 companies declaring bankruptcy.

Now this $20 million that the Administration is giving away so freely for African energy projects is just the beginning, as Clinton noted.  OPIC is expected to kick in “hundreds of millions of dollars” in financing; and while OPIC is at present self-funding, should too many of the projects it backs go belly up, taxpayers will undoubtedly have to bail it out, too.

But Clinton says the US government is committed to the project.  Yet there is also a problem:

In addition to being both unconstitutional and unwise, the aid disbursed under the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative “is being handled by the famously corrupt United Nations as part of [a] costly plan to conquer global warming,” as Judicial Watch put it in a blog post criticizing the program.  New American

Social planners, naturally, are in favor of such programs. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Council on Foreign Relations, an organization that has the best interests of neither Americans nor Africans at heart, has praised the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative as one of “Rio+20’s unheralded achievements.”

Clean energy, whether in America, Africa, or elsewhere, may or may not be a good investment. The only way to find out is to see whether private investors are willing to risk their own money on it without a taxpayer backstop.  So if taxpayer dollars aren’t needed, why then must they be put at risk?  With unemployment so high, these hairbrained projects across the world shouldn’t even be allowed.


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