There’s a myth out there that oil and gas companies are receiving all the money from the federal government and, “We need to do something about all these oil and gas companies making so much money!!”
You’ve probably heard that or something like it, and it’s generally followed by, “we should be investing more money in alternative and renewable energy sources! We need to invest in clean energy!”
Now, let me be clear… I’m not saying we shouldn’t invest in renewable energy sources. The myth I’m trying to bust is that oil companies get all the money and renewable companies get nothing.
That’s just not true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
And to be honest, financially speaking, renewable energy hasn’t been the best investment for the US government. (Or should I say the American taxpayers)
The myth is perpetuated by big names that spout off half-truths (or complete lies), and nobody actually takes the time to investigate or fact check, and before you know it there’s a false narrative out there that over half the country believes.
Take for example Elon Musk. As an entrepreneur, I’m a big Elon Musk fan. But sometimes it’s important to remember: Everything from his mouth is not true… and perhaps he has an agenda that drives what he says. (I’m not saying it’s a bad agenda. He just wants the best for his companies and investments.)
Here’s my example: Musk has repeatedly badmouthed fossil fuel companies. (I wonder why? Maybe it’s because he has an electric car company and a solar power company…) Now here’s where it gets dicey… Musk said, “if I cared about subsidies, I would have entered the oil and gas industry.” That’s a funny statement, seeing how his companies have received nearly $5 billion from U.S. taxpayers, and oil and gas companies haven’t received a dime of subsidies (See my previous article on the topic).
But, it’s not just Musk and his companies that are taking government subsidies. The former administration bankrolled dozens of companies that ended up in the gutter with the American taxpayers left holding the bill. Solar panel company Solyndra happily accepted almost $850 million in low-interest federal loans and tax breaks before kicking the bucket in 2011. A more recent example is solar and wind giant SunEdison. They’ve consumed over $1.5 billion in subsidies, and are currently walking the line between broke and bankrupt.
So, should the government stop funding renewable energy companies? I’m not saying that. All I’m saying is stop pretending that investments in alternative energies isn’t a money pit, and stop pretending that oil, gas and coal are getting all the subsidies and renewable is getting the shaft. Nothing could be further from the truth.