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Monday, April 1, 2013

Investing in the Future

Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor by David Friedman of Union of Concerned Scientists -re the relative success of electric vehicle technology companies and skewed reporting on the subject.

While Kimberley Strassel claims the president's proposed Energy Security Trust ("Obama's Energy Security Trap," March 22) is merely a pivot after a supposed "string of taxpayer-funded bankruptcies," the evidence shows that the federal government's current track record on supporting clean tech is actually an enviable one, with far more winners than losers. 

Of the 30 firms that manufacture electric-vehicle battery and drive components that received stimulus funding in 2009, 28 continue to deliver, while 23 of the 26 renewable energy companies that have received taxpayer loans are still on track. That's more than 90% of the federally supported clean tech companies that continue to perform, which is much better than the market does on its own. In fact, a Sept. 19, 2012, article in the Journal cited research showing that 30% to 40% of venture capital-funded companies from 2004 to 2010 completely failed and were liquidated. 

Any emerging technology has its starts and stops. But despite the critics' naysaying prophecies, clean tech is on the rise nationwide, in large part due to federal investment that will save consumers money on oil, cut pollution, and create American jobs.

David Friedman 
Union of Concerned Scientists 
Washington