The Washington Times - February 29, 2012, 11:09PM



Obama administration Energy Secretary Steven Chu spoke to the Washington Times affiliated radio show America’s Morning News and myself on Tuesday about his views on gas prices, what his plans were after the 2012 elections, and the green energy companies that are failing in the business world. 

“Actually, since i have been Secretary of Energy, I have been doing everything in my power to make sure we control these prices and help the American consumer,” he said. 

Secretary Chu just walked out of a hearing where he was questioned by House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee members. He told members that higher gas prices would make the need for alternative energy more urgent. 

“We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers,” Secretary Chu said in the hearing.

Mr. Chu continued to defend the alternative energy companies that are failing. When I asked him about the latest round of green energy companies that did not make it, he said: “I’m disappointed when any company fails, but this is something which is part of going forward. Whenever there’s a rapid development of any technology, you expect something like that. It happened to…semiconductors—airplanes.”

Mr. Chu did not elaborate on whether or not he believed the tax payer should be forced to fund alternative energy companies and take the risk of a failure as opposed to business taking a financial risk by itself or with other private sector investors. 

In fact, Ron Suskind’s book “Confidence Men” shows that Obama’s own economic advisors told him that his green energy plan would not create jobs and grow the private sector. Essentially, President Obama has to destroy the oil and gas industry in order to have the green energy alternative step in to replace these fossil fuels: (H/T Eric Shierman at the Oregon Catalyst pulled a key quote from Suskind’s book - bolding is mine)

“But aren’t we already seeing excess capacity in housing?” he asked. “Aren’t values starting to plateau?”Then everyone at the table had something to say. Talk about housing values will do that. The presumption still existed that real estate prices were special, defying basic laws of economic gravity, but this view had begun to erode. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke had claimed a few weeks before that losses resulting from the subprime mortgage mess would not exceed $100 billion, about one-third the size of the 1990s savings-and-loan crisis, and spoke of how the Fed’s two-decade, liquidity-above-all policy would keep credit flowing and continue to buoy residential and commercial building.

Obama took a swig from his water bottle and sat up, ramrod straight. “Okay, in year two of my administration, when the housing bubble finally bursts, I come to you guys as my economic advisers and say, ‘What do we do!’ Well, what do we do?”

Feeling suddenly like advisers to the president, the group burst into a debate about where ten million low-to-moderately skilled male workers might go. Obama mentioned his energy policy, the current core of the domestic platform.

“Tops, we’d be producing just two million jobs, in all the areas: wind, solar, all renewable,” Goolsbee said. “And much of that will be offset by expected job losses in the oil sector, if we ever get that far.”

While it seems counter-intuiitive for any administration to want to abolish an industry that drives gas prices, it should be noted that this is the only way the green energy industry can go from being known as “alternative” to becoming the “dominant” energy source is to push Americans away from fossil fuels via circumstances they cannot control.

Chu would also not reveal if he had any plans to go back to his private life in academia after the 2012 elections were over. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner have both made their intentions known that they will not be returning if Mr. Obama has a second term. 

Secretary Chu would only say that issue remains a “conversation between (himself) and the president.”