We’re learning that President Obama’s ridiculous “green jobs” plan suffered another punch to the solar plexus this week. The nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, announced plans to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff.
The lab receives taxpayer cash to handle U.S. Department of Energy research and development programs–things that should be done by private enterprise.
According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration injected $200 million in “Stimulus” cash into the NREL in 2009. In 2010 the NREL’s budget was $536.5 million.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds. As we learned with Solyndra, a visit by Chu is a sure sign of future failure.
At the time of Chu’s announcment, the Associated Press reported that the “stimulus” fund grants included $68 million to build a demonstration model of an energy-efficient office building; $19.2 million for solar, geothermal and fuel cell equipment; $10 million for testing and evaluation of wind technology; and $45 million to research and test drive-train systems for wind turbines.
NREL spokesman Bob Noun blames Congress for the organization’s failures. The Denver Post reports that he believes the gridlocked U.S. Congress forced the NREL to find $8 million in new budgetary savings.
“We don’t see any budget scenario where the lab doesn’t face budget cuts,” Noun said. “We just want to be proactive in managing the budget so we continue our core mission.”
Amy Oliver of Colorado’s conservative Independence Institute said one way to look at these potential “green jobs” shortcomings is that the NREL is exaggerating its claims. Oliver told The Daily Caller that the government-funded lab has seen a surge in government funding in recent years.
“Their funding for 2008 was $328 million,” Oliver said in a phone interview. “In 2010 it was $536.5 million. They’ve had a 64 percent increase in their funding during the Obama administration.”
Question. Was the government involved in the development of coal, natural gas or petroleum as a source of energy? Was it involved in the creation of the combustion engine? No. These were game-changers that altered the course of human history and the government had nothing to do with any of it.
The Feds need to quit wasting our good money on fantasies, pipe dreams and chimeras. If solar, wind, and bio are so great, let the free-market develop, market and sell them to the public.