CNBC: GE’s Immelt Defends US Backing Ventures Like Solyndra

Thursday, 06 Oct 2011 08:37 AM

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Some are looking to the government's funding of now bankrupt Solyndra to unfold as a scandal. However, General Electric Chairman Jeff Immelt told CNBC “anytime you get into venture capital investing you're going to have some losses.”

The Huffington Post succinctly provided backdrop surrounding the controversy, explaining that “once touted as a model of green energy, Solyndra received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. government in 2009. The company has since laid off 1,100 workers and is now filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

There are a wide range of probes into details surrounding the deal.

Emails are being examined and records are being reviewed. Questions are being raised about when the government realized Solyndra was in financial trouble, whether they were considering a second loan, and whether the first loan was approved because of pressure from Obama campaign contributor George Kaiser.

An article in the New York Daily Times downplays scandal motives and points attention to President Barack Obama's stated green energy initiatives.

Obama's comprehensive New Energy for America plan, released in 2008, cites a projected investment of $150 billion of taxpayer money over 10 years to "catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future," the article says.

That's how we got to Solyndra — and its siblings. There are 15 similar green energy loan guarantees, worth $6 billion, that the administration approved at the end of September, the New York Daily Times piece adds.

Immelt told CNBC Solyndra failed because they didn't have the right technology and they had too high costs.

Those costs, Bloomberg revealed, included a plant the size of five football fields outfitted with whistling robots and spa-like showers.

Immelt told CNBC, “to get its confidence back, America needs less regulation and more innovation even if that means some failed ventures using taxpayer money.”

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