October 27, 2013

Federal Solar Auction Gets No Bidders; AP (Just a Local Story) and Politico (Deceptive Headline) React Predictably

Green energy is supposedly the future. Why, solar energy will break out and become a major energy source any year now, or any decade now. Or maybe never. It has been the subject of national attention ever since President Obama made it a cornerstone of his 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, what Obama claims is in energy policy has worked out to be more a of a growth-constraining, government money-wasting endeavor than anything else.

The Denver Post carried the original story on Thursday of how the federal government’s first attempt at a solar auction went. The headline was accurate: “1st auction of solar rights on public lands in Colorado draws no bids.” That’s right. Zero. Post reporter Mark Jaffe’s first sentence was charitable but acceptable: “The plan to auction rights to federal land across the West for solar-power plants got off to a rocky start Thursday when no bidders showed up for the first auction in Colorado.” Too bad that two establishment press outlets which were in a position to communicate this news to the nation failed to adequately do so.

From all appearances, the Associated Press failed completely, treating the the matter as a local story. Searches on “solar auction” and “solar Colorado” (each not in quotes) at the APs national site returned no results and no results, respectively, even though those those words are in that locally carried story:

APonColoradoSolarAuction1013

As was the case in August when it minimized the significance of almost no activist interest in promoting “Action August” agenda items at the permanent Obama administration campaign’s Organizing For Action, Alex Guillen at the Politico apparently felt the need to downplay the completeness of the failure. So in his Morning Energy report, he went with a deceptive headline:

BLM’S FIRST SOLAR AUCTION GETS CLOUDY RECEPTION: The Bureau of Land Management’s first-ever competitive lease auction for parcels in two Colorado Solar Energy Zones yesterday drew no bids, even though five developers expressed interest in the land.

According to the Post, those five developers “filed preliminary applications for the three San Luis Valley parcels.” Given their failure to bid, whether those entities ever had genuine expressions of interest is debatable.

Jaffe at the Post relayed the pathetic excuses (bolds are mine):

Uncertainties about the solar market and federal rules probably were major factors in the auction’s failure, industry officials said.

… “We are going to have to regroup and figure out what didn’t work,” said Maryanne Kurtinaitis, renewable-energy program manager for the BLM in Colorado.

“It is always tough to be the first out of the chute. This is a learning experience,” Kurtinaitis said.

The parcels are in solar-energy zones — areas designated for fast-track development because they have access to transmission and are not in environmentally sensitive areas.

The bureau has created 19 solar zones in six Western states covering about 300,000 acres.

The tepid response probably was the result of market uncertainties, said Ken Borngrebe, environmental-permitting manager for Tempe, Ariz.-based solar developer First Solar.

“It may come down to the lack of confidence in the market for solar today,” Borngrebe said.

Ya think?

The Obama administration’s failed attempts to force-feed alternative energy to a nation which mostly doesn’t want it or need it have been legion. Though this exercise doesn’t seem to have cost taxpayers large amounts of money like the legion of failed green energy loans, it is humiliating — which is why the AP and Politico engaged in the protection efforts.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: If this had happened in a conservative or Republican administration, the left would be complaining that the government didn’t try hard enough. What will they say now?

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