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Friday, October 28, 2016

60 Minutes’ Attack On Cleantech Was Terrible — And That’s A Great Sign For Renewable Energy

60 Minutes’ Attack On Cleantech Was Terrible — And That’s A Great Sign For Renewable Energy

60 Minutes took on the “Cleantech Crash” on Sunday night with a piece that surmised, “Despite billions invested by the U.S. government in so-called ‘Cleantech’ energy, Washington and Silicon Valley have little to show for it.”

SiliconBeat‘s Dana Hull was baffled by the story.

“First, there was absolutely no mention of climate change. None,” she wrote. “That’s the whole point of cleantech, after all: using the promise of technology and innovation to try to wean our economy off of fossil fuels.”

Instead, the focus was on retreads of arguments against the stimulus.

Lesley Stahl confronted a Department of Energy official with one of Mitt Romney’s favorite talking points: “Solyndra went through half a billion dollars before it failed. Then I’m going to give you a list of other failures. Abound Energy. Beacon Power. Fisker. VPG. Pfff…I’m exhausted.”

She’s not only exhausted; she’s exhausted most of the failures from that list. The clean-energy loans from the stimulus had a remarkable 97 percent success rate.

But even that fact misses the larger point, says Michael Grunwald, the author of the definitive book on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act The New New Deal and one of the first people to point out the DoE’s 97 percent success rate, which quickly became a quotable meme during the 2012 campaign:

As I explain in the book, just about everything Republicans have said about Solyndra is bullshit. But I do regret that the 97 percent meme has become such a big thing. For starters, more companies are going to fail. That’s what happens in a capitalist economy. And then critics are going to say, oh, look, now it’s only 91 percent, or 82 percent, or 74 percent. But the point of the program wasn’t cradle-to-grave assurance of success for all these companies; it was a jump-start, with the hope that some of these companies will change the world. And they are.

Grunwald offered his critique of the 60 Minutes story via Twitter. And he concluded that as bad as the segment was, it’s ultimately a sign that the fossil-fuel industry is now taking the booming clean-energy sector very seriously because it’s increasingly actually a viable threat to their bottom line. He also believes, of course, that Lesley Stahl should have read his book.






Screenshot: 60 Minutes

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  • 1olderbutwiser1

    We are only in the early stages of wind energy, in 3 years it will produce more than coal, and when we start using hydro energy in a similar (small sites) situation with high-tech grid interface, we’ll have so much electric we won’t know what to do with it. And cleaner air and water, to boot. How about artificial hydrological cycling using sound waves? The ultimate future solution.

    • BillP

      From what I’ve seen you write before I would usually disagree with you. On his topic I would definitely agree with you. Glad to read your comment on this.

      • 1olderbutwiser1

        Thank you !!!

  • Thomas Blue

    60 Minutes has hijacked Rush Limbaugh’s schtick for ratings. They need his audience. College educated non-geriatrics don’t watch their brand of network primetime infotainment. I expect a “All young women who take birth control are sluts” expose in the upcoming weeks.

  • Jenna Wentworth

    What is their demographic? I havn’t watched in years.

  • Bozeman

    Liberty is an adaptation to our own ignorance regarding much of the knowledge we make use of each day and the uncertainty associated with future events and circumstances.

  • Howdy Boyz

    Those worshiping collectivism fail to realize that aggressive human instincts were present long before liberty, prosperity, and profits.

  • TZToronto

    I haven’t watched 60 Minutes since . . . I can’t remember when. I used to be a regular viewer, but no longer. If this long-running show doesn’t get its act together, it won’t be running much longer. That’s what happens when a “news” show gets eaten by the entertainment division. . . . And the evening news? It’s looking more and more like Entertainment Tonight.

  • brickman

    60 Minutes has fallen victim to the new media paradigm. No one hires real journalists anymore. They hire personalities, not anyone who has actually covered a story. Reporters used to gain experience by working for local stations or papers by covering city hall and the crime beat. They learned to report facts and they developed bs detectors. They weren’t graduates of Ivy League schools or movement (left or right) superstars.

    60 Minutes has apparently viewed the Ailes model (not limited to Fox, right , NBC) and concluded that broadcasting talking points is the future.