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"60 Minutes" About to Air Its Second Debacle in Under Two Months?

4 min. read

This evening, "60 Minutes" is scheduled to run a segment on the cleantech and renewable energy industries that appears, from  the preview, to present extremely outdated, misleading, even blatantly false information. In advance of this possible hit piece on clean energy, the American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) Energy Fact Check program has put together a  prebuttal fact sheet on the true state of these industries, demonstrating their strength and the speed at which they're growing. A few key points from ACORE:
  • Despite a ginned-up "controversy" over the unique case of Solyndra, the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program actually has had a 97% success rate.
  • The DOE Loan Guarantee Program has created over 55,000 direct jobs, in everything from electric vehicles to renewable energy (e.g., the Ivanpah solar thermal power project alone has created over 1,000 jobs).
  • This past year alone saw an estimated $13 billion invested in U.S. solar power projects, a tenfold increase since 2007.
  • From January to October of 2013, all-electric vehicle sales were up 448% year-on-year.
  • In Q3 of 2013, 80 new clean energy and clean transportation projects were announced, creating more than 15,000 jobs.
Broadly speaking, there's voluminous evidence that the marketplace has embraced cleantech and renewables, and that government investment has been overwhelmingly successful. For example, one can point to  Tesla's 9-year-early loan repayment, the  latest industry figures, the highly successful  2013 clean tech investing landscape, and stories from the  DOE Loan Programs Office website itself. To cite a few specific industry success stories:
Need more evidence for cleantech's success? Check out this piece by Clean Technica, which provides " 13 cleantech charts 60 Minutes seems to have missed." Those charts demonstrate that U.S. (and world) solar power capacity and generation are growing exponentially, that wind power capacity is ramping up fast as well, and that solar power prices have fallen by more than 99% since 1977.   Yet, somehow, "60 Minutes" manages to spin all this great, exciting news into the bizarre, 100% false conclusion that "[d]espite billions in taxpayer dollars invested by the U.S. government in so-called 'Cleantech' energy alternatives to fossil fuels, Washington and Silicon Valley have little to show for it."

It's mind boggling, but r emember that tonight's apparent hit piece on cleantech comes in the aftermath of the "6o Minutes" debacle over a story it did in late November 2013 on Benghazi. Perhaps, given all its own internal problems , "60 Minutes" should be more concerned about figuring out how its once high standards of journalism have "crashed," instead of slandering one of America's most successful sectors?