How should the Obama administration and Congress promote different sources of energy ranging from renewables to fossil fuels?
The failure of solar manufacturer Solyndra has triggered a debate in Washington over what role the federal government should play in promoting innovative--but risky--renewable energies. The company's downfall has triggered scrutiny of a host of other types of government incentives, including nuclear-power loan guarantees, tax credits to renewable energy companies, and tax breaks to oil firms.
What lessons from Solyndra can Washington policymakers apply to government support for energy production? Should a distinction be made between the types of support the government gives to nascent industries like solar and wind, and more established sectors like oil and nuclear? And how much risk should the government be willing to take with taxpayer dollars?