The Obama administration is once again extending the American taxpayers’ far-reaching hand, this time as part of a mission to bring solar power to sub-Saharan Africa.
The effort is part of ‘Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development’ which, according to its website, is “a platform for donors and investors to develop Africa’s off-grid energy sector and coordinate investments to connect more households and businesses to electricity, faster.”
What’s the problem? The American taxpayer has become the unwitting and predominant donor of this project to the tune of $36 million, the largest investor by far. It’s a startup company, unproven and underfunded, and with very lofty goals. The program aims to be the catalyst for a marketplace of enterprises that devise off-grid solutions for the energy needs of the poorest regions of Africa, which currently rely on pollutant kerosene and diesel fuels.
Many are concerned this will be a repeat of the massively misguided investments made following the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, where now defunct U.S. green energy startups were given billions of taxpayer dollars, only to go bankrupt within a few years? Does anyone remember Solyndra? The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, two years after receiving $535 million from the U.S. Treasury. There was also ECOtality, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2013 after receiving $99.8 million, and Fisker Automotive, which suspended operations in November 2012 after receiving nearly $200 million.
The Obama administration is apparently optimistic, as it continues to fund similar experiments abroad. It claims the money is “seed funding” new businesses through private and public financing, such as the United States’ $4 million appropriation announced this week. While Americans at home struggle to make ends meet, put their kids through college, and provide warmth during the holidays, firms in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Zambia are getting hefty checks from the U.S. government.
And, the love doesn’t end there. Judicial Watch reports the U.S. is currently spending tens of millions of dollars closer to home, on projects like a green bus corridor in Mexico, bicycle highways in Colombia, and “combating climate change” in Guatemala.
H/T: Judicial Watch
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