Less than a month after Evergreen Solar announced it was closing its plant in Massachusetts that had employed 800 people and had been built with the help of "$58 million in state grants, tax incentives and loans," now Range Fuels has closed a Georgia cellulosic ethanol plant that, when it opened last year, was touted as the nation's first producer of ethanol from wood waste. Reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle:
The federal government stepped up in a big way to support the plant, first with a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy and later an $80 million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture.
Don't just blame President Obama, either. President George W. Bush was a big booster of cellulosic ethanol and the initial Department of Energy grant was made in 2007 by President Bush's energy secretary Samuel Bodman, who said at the time, "Ultimately, success in producing inexpensive cellulosic ethanol could be the key to eliminating our nation's addiction to oil. By relying on American ingenuity and on American farmers for fuel, we will enhance our nation's energy and economic security."
The "addiction to oil" phrase made it sound like oil is a harmful substance, like crack cocaine or something.
Range Fuels founder Vinod Khosla, a prominent venture capitalist, was also quoted in the press release announcing the initial $76 million grant.