Sunday, April 13, 2014

Abengoa Atrocities, the Sequel: California Mojave Solar Project is ‘dangerous,’ engineers assert


PHOTO provided by Power Technology.com 

My last bombshell blog post chronicled the Spanish conglomerate Abengoa that snagged billions of U.S. green energy stimulus funds, exposing how this foreign-owned entity screwed over American taxpayers, workers and vendors. This included a long wrap sheet of chilling, unethical and potentially criminal activity that only came to light due to the testimony, coupled with substantiated documentation, by a whistleblower, whom had worked for Abengoa for three years, from 2010 until 2013.
In summary Abengoa:
  • Violated at least the spirit of the 2009-stimulus law as well as the Department of Energy (DOE) loan stipulations 
  • Conspired and blatantly broke U.S. immigration laws and engaged in employee favoritism with Spanish (and other foreign) workers, while discriminating against and mistreating American workers 
  • Committed insurance fraud 
  • Shorted many U.S. vendors 
Due to the tenacity of this informant, we do know that at least two federal investigations are moving forward: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Labor Department; however, other than Ryan Randazzo, reporter for the newspaper the Arizona Republic, the press on this is non-existent –– another travesty adding to the long list in this terrible tale.

Yep, we got screwed, but it gets worse….


Whistleblowers come out in droves: Contact the Green Corruption Files  

Since the release of this disturbing information, I was contacted by droves of former Abengoa employees via my blog, twitter, and emails, which prompted multiple telephone conversations, all confirming that these indictments are 100 percent accurate, but also of additional “Abengoa Atrocities,” including serious concerns over the safety of the solar project here in California.

Numerous former American engineers for the Mojave Solar Project have alerted me (again, substantiated with proof that they are willing to present to the appropriate channels) to the fact that Abengoa “took short cuts in its design.” This means that instead of clean, safe, efficient energy, we have an inefficient, expensive, and hazardous mess on our hands.

Before I get into the details of the danger at Mojave, let me set the record straight: In my last Green Corruption File I had assumed that the aforementioned offenses occurred at the Abengoa' Solar Solana Project in Arizona; however, I stand corrected. This foreign-owned firm committed these dirty deeds at all three clean-energy projects, and, what’s more outrageous is that this was done on the American taxpayers' dime: $2.6 billion in DOE loans and a reported $818 million in grants for two solar and one biofuel project.

Abengoa's top executives had the audacity to routinely bring in employees from Spain and Uruguay into the country for jobs that Americans could have filled –– and in hundreds of cases... illegally.

This new group of former employees not only confirmed the immigration violations, but also that discrimination against American employees were rampant at all three sites: the Arizona and California solar plants as well as the biofuel project in Kansas –– of which they also shared additional cases.

Immigration Violation


An engineer (from India) working on a special work visa was informed in April 2013, that he must leave the country, since his visa expired. His Supervisor, Mr. Diego Manuel Rodriguez Gonzalez told him to stay in Victorville, working out of his apartment, while the company worked on renewing his visa stay. The engineer would come to the office in Victorville, CA, to pickup his work assignments two to three times per week, and work at home. His pay was coming out of Spain and he wasn't paying income taxes. In addition, this employee was enjoying full medical coverage, while staying illegally in the USA.

Discrimination


Even when it comes to pregnant women, Spanish pregnant women were allowed to work, while American pregnant women were denied the right to work.

Additionally, I was provided with a long list of grievances that included examples of incompetence and lack of experience of the Spanish engineers, yet the American ones were ridiculed, demeaned and demanded to work extremely brutal hours. Other complaints ranged from Abengoa staff being dishonest, backstabbing, greedy, inhumane, destructive, etc. –– "they were just plain anti-American," I was told.

Abengoa “took short cuts in the design" of the California Mojave Solar Project: serious OSHA & CEC violations in question 

What these American Abengoa employees endured at the hands of this Spanish’s firm’s top managers at the Mojave project (Rafael Sanchez Mendoza, Nicolas Gallo Mass, Diego Manuel Rodriguez Gonzales, and Angel Pimentel Fernandez) is the most appalling part of this story; however, it is not the most shocking.

As I alluded to in the opening of this post, several former American engineers (some employed for more than 2 1/2 years), whom were directly involved in the development of the Mojave Solar Project located in the San Bernardino county here in my state of California, alerted me to the fact that Abengoa "took short cuts in its design."

What does this mean?

Abengoa's top management knowingly and willingly –– despite dire warnings –– did not comply with the proper requirements set by Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) or California Energy Commission (CEC). What these engineers are asserting (not alleging) is that “these serious violations produced a solar plant that is dangerous.” 

Last but not least, these engineers told me that Abengoa, at the California solar project, used older, inefficient, and more expensive technology –– thus not only wasting American taxpayers' money and critical natural resources, such as excessive amounts of water (what about the CA drought?), but also their concern is the hundreds of thousands of gallons in synthetic flammable and dangerous oil used in this technology.

It turns out that while Abengoa has gone through about thirty American engineers, those that refused to "sign off" on the poor design, were intimidated, "black listed," ignored, demoted, and withstood other abuses until they were pushed out –– some quit, while others were terminated and forced to sign a "gag order." 


Even as they fear retribution, these former employees are ready to break their silence –– although anonymously for now. They want their story told for America, for clean energy and for the safety of all. I’m honored to be a part of exposing these atrocities, but my hope is that the press, politicians, and government agencies will wake up, investigate and hold someone accountable.



Abengoa Atrocities: The technical details

OSHA violations 

Steam and oil piping and equipment at the plant carrying superheated steam for up to 738 degrees Fahrenheit, is suppose to be properly insulated to meet OHSA standards for outside pipe temperature not to exceed 140 degrees. Abengoa decided to use improper "design parameters", resulting in unsafe outside pipe temperature close to 160 degrees, creating unsafe conditions and violating OSHA standards. Basically, people will get burned if they trip and fall over piping and equipment all around the steam generator, where piping is not properly insulated.

CEC violations (California State Seismic code) 

Abengoa again used improper "design parameters" to design piping carrying synthetic oil with temperature about 738 degrees. Pipe supports and restrains do not meet the California State seismic codes. Based on Abengoa's design, and during an earthquake event, pipes out in the solar field will break / disconnect spilling close to one million gallons of synthetic oil, causing an environmental disaster. These errors will cost the state of California $10-15 million to repair if an earthquake hits the plant. By the way, this oil is flammable, and if the spill lands on electrical equipment, there is a possibility of a fire igniting over two-square miles. 

Abengoa used older, inefficient, & more expensive technology
  • This clearly wasted taxpayer money as well as critical natural resources, such as water 
  • Other technologies don't use oil or water. For example: Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo, California uses photovoltaic technology. Photovoltaic doesn't use hundreds of thousands of gallons in synthetic flammable and dangerous oil, or millions of gallons of much needed water in California. 
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) trough technology [of which Abengoa used] is more than 30 years old. It is based on using synthetic oil as the heat transfer media. Oil is circulated between the power block (where power is generated) and the solar field. The solar field for a 280 MW usually requires about 2000 acres of land. This is in-efficient design; since it requires lots of energy to operate the system and a whole lot more money to maintain it over the next 30 years. This power requirement to operate the equipment is called "parasitic load."

Simply put, if the plant produces 280 MW gross power, but requires 50 to 70 MW of power to run the pumps and other electrical equipment to produce the 280 MW, this will result in reduction to the plant's final output, or in-efficiency.

If you compare the "Trough Technology" with the "Solar Tower Technology" or "Photo Voltaic (PV) technology for internal plant consumption," you will see that the Trough Technology is very expensive and in efficient, in comparison with the Tower Technology that uses less pumping and less power consumption and the Photo Voltaic Technology that requires no pumping or power consumption (barely 1 percent in efficiency which means 99 percent efficient in American photovoltaic plants). Remember here, that we are comparing efficiency as the internal power consumption of the different plants, we are not talking about light to energy conversion, however, that also adds to the photovoltaic advantage as well. And we are not talking about the maintenance cost, where the solar thermal or CSP technology has a major disadvantage.

CSP price per megawatt breakdown example:
  • Topaz cost was $2 billion for 550 MW net output, while Mojave cost was 1.6 billion for only 250 MW –– so the cost to MW ratio is double. Mojave: 6.4 Million per Mega Watt (all jobs to Spanish) vs. Topaz: 3.6 Million per Mega Watt (I'm sure American jobs) 
  • Nowadays photovoltaic is even more cheaper: close to 2.3 million per megawatt.
In addition to all the above, maintenance cost to maintain all electrical and mechanical equipment, such as variable frequency drives, pumps, cooling towers, etc. will reduce the profitability of the plant, by reducing the net profit the plant's output. Add to that the waste of our natural resources, such as water. This plant consumes about 2,500 gallons of water per minute or 3.6 million gallons of water every day, while PV technology consumes zero water per day. Solar Tower technology requires water, pumps, cooling towers, etc. to operate. It is also inefficient.

Finally, the Department Of Energy (DOE) MUST ask and approve any plant design efficiency, instead of wasting our taxpayers' money and our natural resources.


Various Codes Violations

In some cases, engineers working for Abengoa's subsidiary "AGE" were copying technical designs from previous projects, which were done in Europe, and using the same design here in the USA (Solana and Mojave). A Chinese-American structural / civil engineer, licensed to practice engineering in California, was rubber-stamping construction documents and calculations produced in Spain. The engineer was not working hand-in-hand with the Spanish engineers to develop these documents. That was simply rubber-stamping someone else's work.
 
Financial fraud using U.S. taxpayer money 

I was also warned by a former Abengoa employee that this Spanish conglomerate, which has almost 600 subsidiaries, that operates throughout Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia, committed financial fraud –– using U.S. taxpayer money.

These serous accusations were revealed to me via a series of long telephone conversations, which made my head explode (similar to a Ponzi scheme of sorts), alleging that this whistleblower has proof contained in emails as well as contracts, documents, bids, etc. –– with even the engineers that quit and the ones that were let go as collaboration.

This informant's explanation is as follows:

The U.S. government issued loan guarantees to Abengoa as a part of the stimulus package to hire American workers, and purchase parts plus installation services from U.S. companies.

The loan guarantee program "essentially rained on Abengoa with free availability of billions of dollars in money," which covered projects such as Mojave's expensive $1.6 billion bill for just 250 MW power, but with strict rules to engage the American worker. Because of the financial clauses, Abengoa cannot hire non-U.S. workers or non-U.S. parts and services except if that service didn't exist in the U.S. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, because Abengoa broke the rule, hired a lot of Spanish workers and non-U.S. foreigners (even illegal ones). But it went further; Abengoa converted about 35 percent of the project loans into cash and straight into their pockets.

Read on to get the full picture...

And all the services were available in the U.S., even invented here, but were ignored.

Basically, this is how Abengoa converted the estimated 35 or more percents of the project monies into cash: Abengoa came here and started to create a lot of "1 to 5 person companies" such as Abengoa T&D, Inabensa, Nicsa, Abencor, and many others. Those paper companies went and hired real U.S. companies, and then those Abengoa paper companies (not real, no actual services) went on to engage in bidding and contracting with the EPC project branch of Abengoa called Abeinsa EPC.

So for example, Abeinsa EPC would contract Inabensa for solar fieldwork, for triple the cost, and get the cash.

Abeinsa EPC (of Abengoa) would get the bid from Inabensa (of Abengoa) and award Inabensa immediately. So, as with Abengoa T&D, Nicsa, and others. The other American bidders were chosen to be the most expensive (usually non local), with harsh financial restrictions such as non-payments for 6 months to a year on large contracts. Essentially, the paper Abengoa branches got hired to contract almost all the work in Mojave, and other projects.

The paper companies of Abengoa, such as Inabensa, after being hired by Abeinsa EPC (lots of names here) went ahead and hired U.S. or non-U.S. companies, South American companies, Spanish companies, etc, and make a large profit. This way the paper companies (essentially American but only on a piece of paper, again, so no real services) did create unnecessary profits for Abengoa, at the expense of the project.

Dire warnings 

This whistleblower also gave dire warnings that this type of activity is theft, and that they will continue to rip off American taxpayers, while mistreating American workers, along with their contempt for the USA in general. "The owners of Abengoa will keep doing this until Abengoa Solar (the branch that got the loans) declares bankruptcy. Then the owners of Abengoa will run away with huge profits from those paper companies," this informant declared.

The final caution is this: "Abengoa executives expect such article [mine for starters], and they have a plan already, because this article is too late. You see, Abengoa already made their cash: they will shuffle the papers, try to keep from drowning the loan by holding the branch of Abengoa Solar or around Abengoa Solar, until the loan holder branch declares bankruptcy. Then they will take all the cash. And they will run away."



Abengoa: The cost, connections & collusion

While Abengoa companies (subsidiaries) received $150 million from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for green jobs overseas, and more recently, $2 million from the SunShot initiative, here is a brief rundown on the stimulus funds (American taxpayer money) that Abengoa was awarded:
  1. Abengoa Solar, Inc (the Solana Solar Project in Arizona): Rating BB+ by Fitch dated 12/2/2010. On July 3, 2010, the $1.45 billion DOE loan was announced by President Obama, and just before Christmas 2010, it was finalized –– with a reported $455 million grant committed by the Treasury. 
  2. Abengoa Solar, Inc (the Mojave Solar Project in CA): Rating BB by Fitch dated 7/27/2011). In June 2011, the DOE announced a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, of which on September 14, 2011, it was finalized –– with a reported $340 million grant committed by the Treasury. 
  3. Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas LLC: Rating CCC by Fitch dated 8/26/2011. This $132 million loan was announced on August 19, 2011, and finalized on September 29, 2011 –– with a reported $23 to $30 million grant committed by the Treasury. 
In total these plants were funded with over $3.6 billion of green energy stimulus cash, of which $2.6 billion came from the DOE Loan Guarantee Program –– what I call their “junk bond portfolio.”

While former-Energy Secretary Steven Chu and those inside the DOE all claimed that these loans were based on "merit" (even under oath), we know otherwise.

Even though in 2011, we had our suspicions (Solyndra), the bombshell evidence became public in March 2012 when the House Oversight and Government Reform committee unleashed a damaging report revealing, amongst other incriminating facts, that it was all about "access and influence." Basically, cronyism and corporate welfare was the driving force behind these loans including Abengoa's.

The Green Corruption Files has exposed many times, how, in the process of doling out $32.4 billion of taxpayer money from the DOE's loan program (the 1703, the 1705 as well as the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program) –– that at least 90 percent of the recipients have meaningful political connections (bundlers, members of Obama’s 2008 National Finance Committee, large donors to the Democratic Party, and/or favored green crones) to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– in many cases, to both.

Meanwhile, President Obama in 2012, declared, "And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics;" however we debunked that fact when the treasure trove of documentation on the DOE deal making was unleashed (October 31, 2012) by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that included a memorandum as well as Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II.

This Intel proved corruption on many levels, and is where we discovered "significant White House [WH] support" and "WH intervention" were part of the decision making that went into awarding Abengoa $1.45 billion DOE stimulus loan for the Solana project in Arizona.

In our August 2012 reporting, we highlighted the cronyism behind Abengoa that comprises of the following Democrats: former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, former Vice President Al Gore, California Senator Diane Feinstein as well as the utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and various lobbyists.

PG&E is a big player inside this green energy scheme. So, it’s no wonder that this huge energy corporation has an invested interest in seven projects that won Energy Department stimulus loans worth $7.6 billion, including a contract to buy California’s required renewable energy from Abengoa –– all detailed in my April 2013 post, with an overview in my March 3, 2014 Green Corruption File and how it relates to the Mojave project is found in my SPECIAL REPORT on Abengoa.

However, since that time I discovered additional key payers such as Citigroup, former "climate czar" Carol Browner, and the former executive director of the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program Jonathan Silver. This and the detailed collusion that involved DOE officials and the White House in at least the Solana loan, again is all documented in my SPECIAL REPORT, which accompanied this Abengoa "whistleblower story" released on March 30, 2014.

We also know that in July 2010, President Obama touted this Spanish company as an “American jobs creator:
 After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America," the president heralded about Abengoa.
Well, the evidence in this case and copious others where this administration shipped out U.S. green energy taxpayer money and green jobs oversees, demonstrates a different perspective.

Moreover, the Mojave Solar project in California received “preferential treatment” from the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal land in a no-bid process, which involved Senator Feinstein, who early on, had written a letter on behalf of Abengoa.

Instead of getting further into the weeds, here is the Mojave Solar Project timeline:
  • On March 22, 2010, California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to the DOI on behalf of Abengoa asking the DOI to speed up the permitting process for accessing private land for DOE loan guarantees. 
  • 2010: Mojave Solar Project gets California Energy Commission “green light”: AFC Filed August 10, 2009, and approved September 8, 2010. 
  • June 14, 2011: Abengoa's Energy Department's $1.2 billion loan guarantee announced, which included praise from Senator Feinstein: "Today's announcement demonstrates the potential for the loan guarantee program to drive private investment for large-scale, clean-energy projects and create hundreds of jobs in California." Yet, this project is projected to create whopping 70 permanent jobs. 
  • July 21, 2011: Abengoa Solar gets BLM (U.S. Bureau of Land Management) permit approval by the DOI then-Secretary Ken Salazar, which previously included an “OK from the Department of Defense –– and at that time, an anticipated EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) permit. 
  • July 27, 2011: Fitch credit agency rates the $1.2 billion DOE loan as “speculative,” indicating “an elevated vulnerability to default risk.” 
  • September 2011: Abengoa's $1.2 billion DOE stimulus loan finalized
  • September 14, 2011, at the same time of this DOE loan approval, it was documented by PG&E: "Abengoa signed a power-purchase agreement with PG&E to buy the energy produced by the project for a period of 25 years" –– a deal that had been percolating years before. 
  • November, 2011: The California Public Utilities Commission approved Abengoa Solar’s power purchase agreement with PG&E for the electricity to be produced at Abengoa’s Mojave Solar Project. 
This is another Energy Department taxpayer-funded green energy project that forecasts, "830 construction jobs over the project’s anticipated 28-month construction period, and 70 permanent jobs when the plant is fully operational,” which means that if you just factor in the $1.2 billion loan, that would be $17.1 million per permanent job “created or saved."

As ridiculous as that seems, the question remains: how many of those 900 Mojave jobs are going (went) to foreigners?

The construction of the project started in 2011, and Abengoa states “the Mojave Solar Project will come online in 2014," which means that after three years, it is still not done. Nevertheless, as presented in this Green Corruption File, incomplete is the least of their issues: it's the safety factor and more nefarious matters.



Another Abengoa California solar project could get "green light": public meeting set for April 15, 2014, & I'll be there  

Now the cost ($3.6 billion of American taxpayer money), connections and collusion may not be a red flag for many, but the blatant disregard for our laws and how this Spanish conglomerate mistreated American workers should enrage every citizen of the United States. Moreover, building a dangerous facility on our public lands should infuriate all, including those clean-energy advocates.

Where’s the oversight?

Where's President Obama standing up for the American green jobs or Vice President Joe Biden for that matter? After all the White House lent their "support and influence" on behalf of Abengoa and Biden is supposed to be the "Stimulus Sheriff."

What about the new Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz, whom during his April 2013 confirmation hearing, promised to make the monitoring and oversight of the DOE's loan program a "top priority."

Why isn't Senator Feinstein writing a letter on behalf of these abused American employees?

If Governor Jerry Brown is so concerned about our drought here in California, shouldn't he know about Abengoa's wasteful technology –– using excessive amounts of water?

And somebody must know about the ICE and DOL investigations by now.

Tragically, like the press, none of these political figures are anywhere in sight. Maybe they'll wake up once a worker is burned or killed at the Mojave plant.

Or will it take an earthquake?

What's disturbing is that earlier this year, Spain’s Abengoa Solar partnered with California’s BrightSource Energy to jointly develop the two-tower, 500-megawatt Palen Solar Electric Generating System. According to the Desert Sun a few days ago...
Just how many millions of dollars the companies developing the proposed Palen solar project might have to pay to mitigate the visual impacts of its two 750-foot-tall solar towers on historic Native American trails and sacred sites could be the focus of a public meeting set for 1 p.m. Tuesday at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus.
Yep, that’s this Tuesday, April 15th –– and it’s a CEC meeting of all things. You know, the state's primary energy policy and planning agency, which Abengoa has no regard for. And while they are not seeking a billion-dollar DOE loan (YET), the CEC wants to spend $5 million of California taxpayer money.

Folks this is another Abengoa project in the works, of which government officials in my state of California may soon give a "green light" to. In fact, Desert Sun's K Kaufmann, who is following these solar projects closely, wrote this:
Following the release of the commission’s proposed denial of the project in December [2013], BrightSource and Abengoa requested that the agency hold off on a final vote to allow them to gather more information to answer the commission’s concerns.

The companies have now requested that the repermitting process be reopened.

A vote on that request is expected at a second meeting scheduled for April 16 in Sacramento.
An injured Northern rough-winged swallow found 
at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Plant.
(Photo: Courtesy BrightSource Energy)Taken from the Desert Sun

One of those concerns (and rightly so) is that BrightSource's Ivanpah facility (funded with a $1.6 DOE stimulus loan) located in the Mojave Desert of California has some environmental issues; they (and possibly other taxpayer-funded solar projects) are in the hot seat for burning and killing birds.
A small bird, barely the size of a human hand, had its wings reduced to a web of charred spines. No longer able to keep aloft, the bird was found on the ground after it had flown through the intense heat of a solar thermal project soon to go online in the California desert, Ms. Kaufmann reported last November. 
Nevertheless, what green energy advocates and animal activists should know is that "BrightSource may have paid $56 million to protect and relocate scores of desert tortoises. But, even that has not been enough to avert catastrophe. Animals were crushed under vehicle tires, army ants attacked hatchlings in a makeshift nursery, and other calamities have befallen tortoises made vulnerable by the project," explained the Heartland Institute in 2012 in regards to Ivanpah solar project.

And, I dare not get into the blatant hypocrisy related to green energy animal killings vs. oil companies. That just pisses me off!

Further, I won't distract from the focus of this important story (safety) and get too political, but it should be noted that BrightSource's green corruption tale is massive, of which I've shared many times, starting in the summer of 2012. This was due to its numerous ties to the Obama White House as well as key Democrats such as Majority Leader Harry Reid, and many other high-powered folks in D.C. 

What's relevant here is that BrightSource, like Abengoa, (both of their projects here in California), not only bagged huge DOE stimulus loans, but they were both part of the "lucky" seven that received special treatment from the Interior Department.

The charge as recorded in June 2012, by the Washington Examiner (and other news outlets) was this: then DOI Secretary Salazar "initiated a 'fast-tracking' process that allowed some companies to receive regulatory and environmental approval and permission to use government lands for clean energy projects without adequate vetting. Whereas the review process for establishing an oil or gas lease on federal land can take more than a decade, some of these favored projects were pushed through in less than a year.

So, are we to trust Abengoa and BrightSource on another massive solar plant: it's safety and protecting our environment as well as any small creature that may get in their way of building or profiting from such a site?

I don't.

Will this Palen project follow suit and allow Abengoa to break our immigration laws and discriminate against American workers? 

What about those approving this deal?

Let's not forget, there's also Kansas?

Seems that a part three on this Abengoa tale is in order.

In closing

As I affirmed in my last post: this is not a "blue or red," "left or right" issue, this is an American one that should unite us all –– even as I, a die-hard conservative, today stand in this fight with my "new green friends" as well as those innocent birds that are being burned alive.

These former Abengoa employees are pro green energy and were ecstatic when they were given the opportunity to lend their expertise and talent to the cleantech world, making an impact for a greener, cleaner USA. Even as most are Obama supporters, none have a political agenda, other than justice for America and the hundreds of employees that suffered under this Spanish firms regime.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

American Taxpayers, Workers and Vendors Screwed by Spanish Conglomerate Abengoa that Snagged Billions in US Green Energy Stimulus Funds


The backstory  

In the summer of 2012, when Marita Noon and I began our collaboration in exposing the entire green corruption scandal, we covered a favored White House Spanish conglomerate in our piece "How Democrats Say 'Crony Corruption' in Spanish: Abengoa."

Early this year, we received bombshell testimony, coupled with substantiated documentation, that Abengoa, at least at one of their three projects funded with billions of U.S. taxpayer money from President Obama’s 2009-Recovery Act, has broken stimulus laws and DOE loan stipulations. Worse, what we uncovered is that this foreign-owned firm has engaged in chilling, unethical and potentially criminal activity, including, but not limited to, a conspiracy between three top Abengoa executives (along with executives at the Spain and Uruguay offices) to break U.S. immigration laws, of which they executed on a big scale. Not to mention the misery that American workers endured at the hands of this Spanish company –– and much more.

While I'll get to the details of this new and disturbing information later, what’s key is here is that our original post was stirred on by the fact that Abengoa was one of seven DOE loans winners that also received “preferential treatment” from the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal land in a no-bid process (meaning that they were approved without adequate vetting).

In case you're not familiar with this Spanish group and the backstory, here's a summary: its U.S. division Abengoa Solar received approximately $2.8 billion in stimulus loans (five times more than Solyndra) for two large solar projects –– one in Arizona and the other in California –– with Abengoa Bioenergy awarded a $132 million DOE stimulus loan for a biofuel project in Kansas.

These loans were part of the Department of Energy's 1705 section, which was created by the 2009-Recovery act –– the trillion-dollar stimulus bill that was sold as a means to save the U.S. economy from the brink of disaster and create American jobs. Further, these three loans were also part the DOE's “junk bond portfolio," which were awarded between the summer of 2010 and the fall of 2011. Plus, it was reported that Abengoa also received $818 million in treasury grants for these three projects that came from another stimulus idea known as the 1603 Program, which as of December 2013 has dished out $19.8 billion of free taxpayer money...and counting.

In addition to the $2.8 billion in loans as well as the free taxpayer cash, Abengoa companies received $150 million from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for green jobs overseas, and more recently, $2 million from the SunShot Initiative.

In our August 2012 reporting, we chronicled the cronyism behind Abengoa that comprises of the following Democrats: former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, former Vice President Al Gore, California Senator Diane Feinstein as well as the energy giant PG&E and various lobbyists. However, since that time we have discovered additional key payers (all documented in my new Abengoa "special report") such as Citigroup, former "climate czar" Carol Browner, and the former executive director of the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program Jonathan Silver.

When the treasure trove of Intel on the DOE deal making was unleashed (October 31, 2012) by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that included a memorandum as well as Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II, proving corruption on many levels, we find that the White House was involved in ensuring that Abengoa received American taxpayer funds.
In January 2013, I unleashed some of the emails related to Abengoa, which contradicted the president’s 2012 public claim, "these are [green energy loan] decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics."

Moreover, these emails revealed that there was a "fast track process imposed at the POTUS level," and that DOE loans were rushed and approved for political reasons: visits, speeches, announcements, photo ops, and talking points for the president as well as to help those connected to the companies seeking the loans –– CEO's, investors, and Democrat politicians, which goes beyond subsidizing Nevada companies in order to help Senate Harry Reid win his 2010 reelection campaign.

There are many emails related to the Solana project in Arizona –– the focus of this scandal –– that received $1.45 billion stimulus loan (plus a potential $455 million Treasury grant), which are all detailed in my new report. This particular set started in May 2010, proving that the White House intervened on behalf of Abengoa. Also, the Solana project was used as a key talking point for President Obama’s July 3, 2010 weekly address.

Abengoa’s Solana Concentrating Solar Power farm in Gila Bend, AZ.
Photo credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Still, when the October 2013 grand opening of Abengoa' Solar Solana Project arrived (with the Spanish firm bragging about the jobs  –– a project that was reported to be “on time and on budget” –– where was the White House?

After all they intervened on behalf of Abengoa’s loan as well as the fact that during the president's July 03, 2010 weekly address, he touted that this billion-dollar Spanish deal as an American jobs creator.

After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs here in America,” said President Obama.


One would think that after the infamous Solyndra debacle, as well as the long list of Obama-backed green energy failures (32 and counting), this would be a perfect opportunity to show off the success of the Obama administration's $150 billion in green energy spending. But it seems that the Obama White House was MIA, which leaves many wondering if they intentionally distanced themselves from what has transpired since Abengoa got billions of dollars (over $3.6 billion if they got those stimulus grants) from American taxpayers –– all of which will make your head explode!

The informant 

After months of frustration over government bureaucracy, in early January 2014, we were contacted by a whistleblower, which had worked for Abengoa for three years (2010 to 2013). This source is an Independent voter and pro green energy, with no "political" ax to grind other than exposing the truth (anonymously).

While still employed at Abengoa, this informant had shared concerns over certain unethical practices within the company directly to what was deemed the appropriate channels: Abengoa’s CEO, COO and CFO  –– only to be told, “They were sick of the drama,” and claimed it was “exaggeration.”

In January 2013, our source reached out to the Energy Department, who then was in contact with Stacey Ford –– supposedly Abengoa's compliance office. She did nothing.

Contacting the ARRA whistleblower hot line (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) was the next attempt in being heard, which resulted in some ongoing interaction. Eventually, this scandal ended up on the desk of Energy Department staff (attorney) Stephanie Peters. This informant provided Ms. Peters with enough data to warrant at least an audit, but the DOE failed horribly. After many inspections of Abengoa that focused only on Davis Bacon compliance (an issue important to the president), the DOE remained oblivious to the myriad of violations –– even though they were provided evidence on an array of other issues.

After a series of dead ends, while forced to continue observing (and experiencing) the fraud and abuse, the decision to leave the company was the only course of action, yet the desire to get the story told lingered on. So, the next step was to alert state elected officials: both Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain were contacted. Regrettably (but not surprisingly), this source went unnoticed by McCain.

It turns out that other Arizonans (employees and vendors) complained to Senator Flake as well. Ultimately, Flake, on May 1, 2013, wrote a letter to the Inspector General Gregory Freidman, warning about the “concerns regarding certain of the company’s [Abengoa] practices.”

Because of the tenacity of this whistleblower, these interactions seemed to get things moving, and unbeknownst to all, the Energy Department had forwarded the case to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) –– eventually an investigation ensued.

Finally, on January 29, 2014, news hit that ICE was "investigating subsidiaries of the Spanish company that took a $1.45 billion federal loan to build a massive solar power plant near Gila Bend," wrote the The Arizona Republic. Of which at that time, ICE confiscated employee forms and visa paperwork.

Also, it was reported by The Republic, “The Labor Department has been investigating the power plant and Abengoa subsidiary Abeinsa EPC since [2013].” Additionally, “Abengoa also faces complaints from more than 20 subcontractors who say they were not paid promptly for their work in building the plant. About $40 million in disputed payments is outstanding.”

But where's the rest of the press?

Other than Ryan Randazzo, reporter for the newspaper The Arizona Republic, it's non-existent. Thus here we are today to alert the masses that because of one brave informant, at least we have an ICE and DOL investigation going forward.  However, there are more atrocities that this foreign firm has committed against American taxpayers, workers and vendors –– all proving that at the end of the day (or loan), “We got screwed!”

The charges 

Since our first encounter with this informant, we have had many conversations (they met with  Marita Noon as well) about the chilling, unethical and potentially criminal activity that occurred at the Solana project in Arizona. I personally, on February 3, March 29 and March 30, 2014 (today), spoke with our source. The verbal testimony, accompanied by extensive documentation, proves that Abengoa took billions of American taxpayer money, while committing the following violations  –– some of which could be continuing at the Solana site and possibly at their other two taxpayer-funded projects here in the United States of America: the Mojave Solar Project in California and their biofuel project located in Kansas.

Abengoa's Stimulus & DOE Violations 
  • Abengoa broke at least, the spirit of the 2009-stimulus law, which was sold as an American jobs creator –– as President Obama claimed: “good paying jobs that can't be outsourced...” Instead, Abengoa brought employees into the U.S. from Spain and Uruguay. Americans often lost their jobs so the expats could fill them. 
  • Abengoa broke DOE loan stipulations by not hiring locally first. Abengoa’s loan guarantees with the DOE require “local to global hiring”— hiring efforts were to be focused on getting unemployed Americans back to work. Abengoa routinely brought employees from Spain and Uruguay into the country for jobs Americans could have filled. 

Abengoa Broke Immigration Laws & Engaged in Employee Favoritism with Spanish Workers, while discriminating against American Workers 
  • There was a conspiracy (and execution thereof) led by Abengoa’s CEO Leonardo Maccio; Santiago Duran the COO and CFO; and Maria Eliset Techera, the Legal Director and the Corporate Secretary that most assuredly included executives at the Spain and Uruguay offices, to break immigration laws in the hiring process and paying employees under-the-table, evading payroll taxes. Over 200 individuals were brought into the country (via planes) on tourist visas and began working — routinely for three months and often as long as nine months — before receiving the proper visa to work in the U.S. They were paid out of the finance department (accounts payable) not out of Human Resources or the payroll department — thus not paying U.S. taxes. 
  • Abengoa played favorites with their Spanish employees who received better pay for the same job/qualifications. For example: Tanner Potterf, an activity manager at Solana and a U.S. citizen, was paid approximately $80K. Pelayo Domingo from Uruguay, also an activity manager at Solana, was paid $155K for the same job. Additional perks were also part of this favoritism; such as the fact that the CFO demanded employer-covered baby
  • Abengoa took it a step further by mistreating American workers. Spanish was the language used on the job sites and in the offices. American managers where given non-English speaking staff and non-English speaking supervisors were often brought in from Spain or Uruguay. When Americans complained about the gap in communication — with either supervisors or subordinates — they were told to go take Spanish lessons. After an employee lawsuit, Abengoa put an English teacher on staff to teach the foreigners English. 


IMPORTANT NOTE: as stipulated by the H. R. 1 law, known as the ‘‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," it states:

FIRMS IN VIOLATION OF IMMIGRATION LAWS
—No loan guarantee may be made under this section for a loan to any
entity found, based on a determination by the Secretary of
Homeland Security or the Attorney General to have engaged
in a pattern or practice of hiring, recruiting or referring for
a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing
the person is an unauthorized alien.

I wonder what the punishment (repercussion) is when a firm violates our immigration laws after they got a stimulus loan, which seems to be the case here.

Abengoa Insurance Fraud 
  • Abengoa committed insurance fraud for the Spanish staff. They received health insurance coverage before they were legal employees, which is in violation of the contracts Abengoa signed with the insurance companies. It seems that Blue Cross and Blue Shield is investigating this issue. 
Abengoa Shorted U.S. Vendors
  • Abengoa has been charged with shorting U.S. vendors, many of which are either struggling or have gone bankrupt, while awaiting payment for services rendered. Many vendors have filed liens and/or are involved in lawsuits against Abengoa. In fact, according to The Republic this part of "the heist" began in 2012, however, as of January 2014, "... Abengoa also faces complaints from more than 20 subcontractors who say they were not paid promptly for their work in building the plant. About $40 million in disputed payments is outstanding."

The conclusion

While most of these offenses, which demonstrate blatant disregard for our country, occurred under Energy Secretary's Steven Chu's watch, Dr. Ernest Moniz, during his April 2013 confirmation hearing, while being reminded of the scrutiny surrounding the entire loan guarantee program, was questioned by Senator Flake –– specifically, what he would do to "enhance oversight." Flake also, citing Abengoa as a prime example, asked how Moniz would "protect local contractors."
Moniz responded to Flake, "if confirmed, I will make the monitoring and oversight of the Loan Program's portfolio of loan guarantees a top priority."

Moniz was confirmed in May of 2013, and as documented by The Republic's January 2014 newsflash, "The Energy Department did not respond to several requests for comment on Abengoa." In fact, to add insult to American taxpayers (employees and vendors), the Energy Department has turned a blind eye to the various loan violations committed by Abengoa at the Solana plant. The measly inquiries thus far have accomplished zilch. And who knows what the heck is going on in California and Kansas.

More alarming is that we shouldn't underestimate crony capitalism in America and the fact that Abengoa has some high-powered Democrat lobbyists; current and former politicians and Energy Department insiders; and friends of the president in their corner. In fact you will find this and more in my brand new SPECIAL REPORT "Inside the Obama Administration's Big Green Energy Deals With Abengoa: The cost, the connections and the collusion."
Thus these investigations (ICE and the Labor Department) have the potential to disappear into the abyss, holding no one accountable –– no reprimand, no punishment, no prosecution.

While Marita Noon will, at a later date, be publishing more on this "Abengoa scandal," stay tuned, because this is a developing story that should enrage all who value our country and its laws.

UPDATE: Just after I published this post, our source informed us that they were contacted by ICE, noting that "because of the serious violations at the Solana Project in Arizona, ICE is now diving into the Mojave Project in California."


Wake up folks: this is not a "left" or "right" issue (blue or red) –– this is an American one! 

Signed,
The Green Corruption Blogger
-c

SPECIAL REPORT: Inside the Obama Administration's Big Green Energy Deals With Abengoa: The cost, the connections and the collusion


If you've been following The Green Corruption Files or keeping tabs on the far-reaching and expensive cleantech push by the Obama administration, you'd know that the president's 2009 stimulus bill steered over $100 billion toward renewable energy (more through other programs), of which this "save the planet slush fund" ultimately became "a special-interest feeding frenzy."

Moreover, this massive economic stimulus package, which was signed into law just over five years ago, was marketed as a means to save our economy from the brink of disaster and create American jobs.

Part of the scheme was adding another layer to the Department of Energy's (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program: the 1705 Section, whereas the Obama administration, starting in late 2009, doled out in excess of $16 billion to 26 projects, of which 22 of the loans were rated “Junk" grade due to their poor credit quality. "The remaining ended up on lowest end of the investment grade of categories, giving the DOE’s 1705 loan portfolio an overall average of BB-" –– thus the term "DOE’s junk bond portfolio." This and more can be found in the March 2012 House Oversight and Government Reform committee when they unleashed a damaging report revealing this fact and others.

The Green Corruption Files has exposed many times, how, in the process of doling out $34 billion of taxpayer money –– not only from the 1705, but also the 1703 and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM)  –– at least 90 percent of the recipients have meaningful politically connections (bundlers, members of Obama’s 2008 National Finance Committee, large donors to the Democratic Party, and/or favored green crones) to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– in many cases, to both.

Due to bombshell Intel that we received early this year regarding the Spanish Conglomerate Abengoa's dirty deeds, I've prepared this SPECIAL REPORT


During the summer of 2012, Marita Noon (energy columnist at Townhall.com) and I detailed the Spanish firm Abengoa and the obvious favoritism they received from the Obama administration. This started with the fact that they were one of seven that received “preferential treatment” from the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal land in a no-bid process (meaning that they were approved without adequate vetting).

Considering that they were part of the DOE's "junk bond portfolio," the questions lingered: why did the Energy Department take “excessive risk” in funding this Spanish firm with over $2.8 billion in loans, making them the second largest recipient of the $16 billion doled out through the DOE 1705 Loan Guarantee Program?


Part One –– THE COST

Spanish firm snags at least three billion of U.S. dollars from an array of taxpayer-funded programs under the Obama administration

Abengoa is a Madrid-based conglomerate that operates throughout Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. Through two of its subsidiaries (they have almost 600) that specialize in solar and bioenergy, Abengoa Solar and Abengoa Bioenergy, both have benefited from the renewable energy movements in Spain and in the US.

In fact, its U.S. division [Abengoa Solar] received approximately $2.8 billion in stimulus loans (five times more than Solyndra) for two large solar projects –– one in Arizona and the other in California.

Meanwhile, Abengoa Bioenergy snagged a $132 million DOE loan for a biofuel project in Kansas. Plus, it was reported that Abengoa also received $818 million in treasury grants –– this too is another stimulus-created program known as the 1603 Program, which as of December 2013 has dished out $19.8 billion of free taxpayer money...and counting.

In addition to the $2.8 billion in loans as well as the free taxpayer cash, Abengoa companies received $150 million from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for green jobs overseas and, more recently, $2 million from the SunShot initiative.

As chronicled by PJMedia a while back: Abengoa was "not starved for cash." So why did American taxpayers hand over $3.6 billion to this large foreign firm? PJMedia gives a partial answer, "The firm’s global profitability is due to non-renewable industrial activities; yet Abengoa’s U.S. solar and ethanol projects would not exist without the existence of Obama administration money."

This then leaves another daunting question: Did the Obama administration use billions of American tax dollars to bailout of Spain — and Europe’s — collapsed solar industry? Possibly. Or did the Obama administration help his friends? Maybe both?

I report, you decide.


Abengoa’s Three DOE Stimulus Deals

#1) Abengoa Solar, Inc (the Solana Solar Project in Arizona): Rating BB+ by Fitch; Dec 2010 for $1.45 billion –– jobs: 60/1,700 = $24.2 million per permanent job “created or saved"

On July 3, 2010, the Tucson Sentinel heralded President's Obama's announcement that the "world's largest solar plant" planned near Gila Bend in Arizona will receive a $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee. This announcement coincides with the collusion found inside the "October 2012 Internal DOE Email Dump" that went on behind the scenes in order to approve this loan –– a portion of this green corruption saga that I'll detail in Part Three.

Included in the hoopla, it was reported that Rep. Gabrielle Gifford "worked to secure the loan guarantee from the federal government, which is funded by stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." Adding to the hype was Fred Morse (profiled later), a senior adviser for Abengoa Solar, S.A., whom, along with Gifford and Obama, tagged the project as a "jobs creator for Arizona."

Just before Christmas, 2010, this $1.45 billion DOE stimulus loan was finalized. Meanwhile,
the jobs –– created, saved, direct, indirect, and “touching lives” ––  according to the DOE, “The 250 MW Abengoa Solana Project is located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, AZ, is expected to create 1,700 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs.”

The Arizona $2 billion Abengoa Solar Solana Project became operational in October 2013, reportedly, "on time and on budget" –– with the Spanish firm bragging, "The construction of Solana created more than 2,000 new jobs and over 85 permanent jobs."

#2) Abengoa Solar, Inc (The Mojave Solar Project in CA): Rating BB by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $1.2 billion –– jobs 70/830 = $17.1 million per permanent job “created or saved"

In June 2011, the DOE announced a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, providing Mojave Solar LLC with approximately 77% of the construction funding it needed to build the 250 MW Mojave Solar Project. Despite the low credit rating, this $1.2 billion DOE deal was finalized in September 2011.
It was at that time (September 2011) that the media took notice (well, Fox News anyway), taking aim at President Obama's declaration, "we're accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power –– steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America." 
In their news article, "Federal Loans Fund Big-Ticket Energy Projects at Firms Outside of U.S," Fox points this out....
A case in point is Abengoa Solar, Inc., a Spanish-owned firm that has received more than $2.6 billion in federal loan guarantees from DoE for two power-generating complexes, with the most recent $1.2 billion guarantee closing just this month. Abengoa's press releases tout the thousands of construction and other jobs that will be result from the projects, one in the Mojave Desert in California, the other southwest of Phoenix.

Nonetheless, the DoE's own website reveals that the two projects will permanently employ no more than 130 people after completion.

Abengoa's entire staff worldwide, according to its 2010 annual report, was 526 employees.
Mojave Solar for its solar assembly collection project in San Bernardino County, CA, at the time of the DOE loan approval, "Abengoa signed a power-purchase agreement with PG&E to buy the energy produced by the project for a period of 25 years."

PG&E, the utility giant is a strong Obama and Democrat donor, which is found inside this green energy scheme as well. Not only did they have direct influence over the DOE loans, they are jam-packed with Washington "green cronies" –– a portion of this green corruption saga that I'll detail in Part Two.

This is another Energy Department taxpayer-funded green energy project that forecasts, "830 construction jobs over the project’s anticipated 28-month construction period, and 70 permanent jobs when the plant is fully operational.” –– a project that Abengoa states, "Construction has begun and the Mojave Solar Project will come online in 2014."


#3) Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas LLC: Rating CCC by Fitch; September 2011 for $132 million –– jobs 65/300 = $2 million per permanent job “created or saved"

In addition to the two solar projects listed above, Abengoa also has a biofuel project located in Kansas, and again, despite one of the worst credit ratings in the DOE’s junk bond portfolio, they were awarded $132 million DOE stimulus loan. This was announced on August 19, 2011, and finalized on September 29, 2011. According to the DOE, this project will create approximately 300 construction jobs and 65 permanent jobs, and as stated on Abengoa's website, "The construction of the Hugoton plant began in July 2011 and it is expected to begin operations in June 2013." But, no update?

While I've covered how the Obama administration spent billions of dollars (stimulus and non-stimulus) on 32 "not so shovel-ready" risky biofuel projects, it should be noted that U.S. Department of Energy has been a supporter of Abengoa Bioenergy's efforts to develop new ethanol production technologies since 2003 –– of which, in 2007, Abengoa Bioenergy snagged a DOE grant up to $76 million from the Bush administration.

The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs 

Other than the fact that these three projects were high risk, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee March 2012 Report, took aim the fact that the DOE over invested in Abengoa...

As DOE failed to diversify the portfolio sufficiently across industries, DOE also failed to diversify across award recipients. A single Spanish firm, Abengoa, received an aggregate $2.45 billion in loans and loan guarantees plus $818 million in Treasury cash grants. This reveals excessive risk and subsidies provided to a single firm via multiple subsidiaries. Abengoa has a credit rating of BB, which is considered Junk, thus making this concentration of investment in one company speculative and highly questionable. Exemplifying the risk DOE took in the case of Abengoa, Abengoa managed to obtain a DOE loan commitment for the lowest rated project across the entire DOE Junk portfolio; Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas received an extraordinarily low CCC rating and yet the DOE approved a direct loan to the project.
Abengoa’s prospects look dim due to its investments in Europe, particularly Spain, and suffer the risk of declining subsidies as Spain contends with its own declining credit quality and the potential need for a bailout of its own government in the coming months or years. Now that Germany and Spain cut back solar subsidies, this will undoubtedly harm the European renewable investments of Abengoa. Even if Abengoa investments initially appeared attractive to DOE, overinvestment in this single firm will likely cause substantial harm to the taxpayer. DOE similarly over invested in First Solar, as we describe in Section III; the taxpayer will undoubtedly suffer losses from that investment as well. 
NOTE: We've chronicled the First Solar Swindle, starting in the summer of 2012 and many times since.
Additionally, this single Spanish firm, Abengoa, not only bagged Energy Department loan guarantees totaling $2.8 billion, according to the this March 2012 report (page 17), they were in line for $818 million in Treasury cash grants. While I can't locate whether these funds were already dished out to Abengoa, here are the sources used in the House Oversight report (see 54):

  • CA: Fitch Ratings credit report for Mojave Solar, LLC, dated July 27, 2011, where DOE committed to an $862 million loan and Treasury committed to a $340 million grant;
  • AZ: Fitch Ratings credit report for Abengoa Solar, Inc.’s Solana Generating Station, dated December 2, 2010, where DOE committed to a $1.445 billion loan guarantee and the Treasury committed to a $455 million grant
  • KS: Fitch Ratings credit report for Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, dated August 26, 2011, where DOE committed to a $130 million loan and Treasury committed to a $23 million grant.
More U.S. Taxpayer Money goes to Spanish firm Abengoa

Nevertheless, the three projects above snagged over $3.6 billion, and that's not all, because over at RECOVERY.ORG, while they list the loans, we also know that in December 2013, the DOE awarded Abengoa $2 million for a new R&D project, "to improve manufacturing and assembly of its innovative large aperture parabolic trough collector over the next two years," noted Yahoo Finance. This was part of the SunShot Initiative Program, which is funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) –– another program that the 2009 Recovery Act had awarded $16.8 billion for its programs and initiatives.

Moreover, we find that 1603 stimulus grants, as of the end of 2013, documents that Abengoa Solar Industrial Systems LLC won two small awards for projects located Minnesota: Solar Electricity for $463,493 (February 2011) and Solar Lighting for $6,625 (May 2010).

Last but not least, we have the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), that according to their records, "approved $35.8 billion in total authorizations in FY 2012 – an all-time Ex-Im record." This controversial taxpayer funded bank has its critics, of which the Washington Free Beacon characterizes several groups’ opposition:
The groups, along with several conservative members of Congress, oppose the bank on the grounds that it favors large, politically connected companies and distorts markets.
Appropriately, Heritage Action explains that this Bank is simply a “slush fund for foreign business and domestic cronies” that “uses taxpayer resources to prop up government-favored companies.” –– corporate welfare and crony capitalism run amok. However, this describes only part of the abuse

With key green energy players at the helm to be detailed in Part Two, and a its head, Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg, in line with President Obama's renewable energy agenda (along with a Congressional mandate to support renewable energy, directing 10% of its authorizations to renewable energy and environmentally beneficial transactions), it is also another "green bank" that not only supports renewable energy in other Nations (using American taxpayer money), but quite a number of the president's favored green energy firms: Abengoa, First Solar (Exelon Corp.) and SolarWorld. 

In the case of Abengoa: Ex-Im, on December 18, 2012, released the following press release: "The Bank approved a $78.6 million direct loan to Abengoa (MCE: ABG.B), a company in Seville, Spain, that applies technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors. The Bank also approved a $73.6 million direct loan to Palmatir S.A., a 50 MW wind farm in Cuchilla de Peralta, Uruguay, which is owned by Abengoa."

The two projects:

Uruguay - Palmatir S.A.
"Ex-Im’s loan will support the purchase of 25 wind turbines from Gamesa Technology Corporation (Gamesa) which has its North American headquarters in Trevose, Pa. The loan will also help to finance ancillary services and local costs in Uruguay associated with construction of the wind farm."

Mexico - Abengoa S.A.
"The Bank’s loan to Abengoa S.A. will support the purchase of three GE 7FA gas turbines and two generators for the use in the 642 MW Centro Power Project in Morelos, Mexico. The American exports will be used to help build a power plant for Mexico’s public electric utility. Approximately 350 jobs at GE are supported by the Bank’s financing."

The Bank justifies this $150 million use of taxpayer money by stating, "American-made energy equipment will head to Uruguay and Mexico." They also claim that "approximately 510 American jobs will be supported from these two transactions." Basically, Abengoa used American taxpayer money to purchase American-made energy equipment, but worse, is that it only helps the well-connected Spanish company, Abengoa (both directly and via Gamesa), as well as another big green corruption player, General Electric.

Moreover, it should be noted that both candidate Obama (in 2008), and President Obama (in 2011) toured –– more like campaign rallies –– Gamesa Technology wind turbine manufacturing plant in Fairless Hills Pennsylvania, touting alternative energy and green jobs. However, just over a year later (the summer of 2012), Gamesa laid off 165 workers at two of its Pennsylvania production facilities, one of which Obama had visited. Considering the timeline of the Ex Im loan –– approximately four months later –– one has to wonder if this $73.6 million loan was also a bailout.

Meanwhile, GE –– beneficiary of the $78.6 million Ex Im loan (via GE 7FA gas turbines) in this $150 million deal with Abengoa –– as I've exposed many times, is a heavy donor to both Republicans and Democrats, and its CEO Jeffrey Immelt "plays the role of typical corporate donor who hedges his bets on both sides of the fence."

 Needless to say, in 2008, GE gave the Obama campaign $529,855, marking them as a top Obama donor. And, in early 2009, Immelt was first appointed as a member of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), which later morphed into the president's jobs council, where Immelt served as the Jobs Czar, until it closed down in February 2013.

In 2009, the New York Times recognized GE’s green power, noting, "GE lobbied Congress to help expand the clean-energy subsidy programs, and it now profits from every aspect of the boom in renewable-power plant construction, including hundreds of millions in contracts to sell its turbines to wind plants built with public subsidies."

I've been keeping track of GE's "green tab" since 2012, which at that time exceeded $3 billion in direct (some indirect) taxpayer cash. This tally includes three large stimulus loans from Energy Department's "junk bond portfolio" that were doled out between late 2010 until September 2011 –– one of which we can confirm (via the October 31, 2012 House Oversight emails that included a memorandum as well as Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II) was not only given the "green light" by the White House, but also pressured due to "interest from VP" (that would be Vice President Joe Biden). Now we can add this Ex Im transaction to the billions of green funds that GE has enjoyed since President Obama's reign.


Part Two –– THE CONNECTIONS 

Behind the Abengoa green deals and those that are profiting


Bill Richardson
  • Current Board member at Abengoa's International Advisory Board, since March 2011 
  • Advisory Committee Member at the U.S. Export-Import Bank (date unknown, but either during the 2012 of 2013 selections) 
  • Former (two-term) Democratic New Mexico Governor, from 2003 to 2011 
  • Former Secretary of Energy under the Clinton administration, from 1998 to 2001 
Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, is how Marita Noon starting chasing this whole green energy crony-corruption scandal in the first place, as found in her June 2012 column, revealing how crony capitalism works.

According to Ms. Noon, “Richardson has long been a supporter of solar energy, giving now-defunct Schott Solar $16 million in New Mexican state funds — so it is appropriate that he be involved here, too. Under President Clinton, Richardson served as the Secretary of Energy — leading the DOE — for three years.”

Moreover, President Obama, early on had tapped the political ambitious Mr. Richardson to be his Secretary of Commerce, but "tarnished by scandal," he withdrew his nomination. Ironically, this was a pay-to-play scheme that dragged on for some time until some sort of financial settlement occurred in July 2013 –– "with no criminal charges filed in the alleged scandal, and Richardson and Vanderbilt officials [the other culprit] have denied wrongdoing," reported the Washington Examiner

So, while we missed out on Richardson and all his glory, we've since gained two more green energy cronies as our Commerce Secretary that are tied to billions in green funds: John Bryson, BrightSource Energy's former chairman of the board as well as President Obama's billionaire ally, Penny Pritzker. This brings us to more incestuous connections: Pritzker happens to be an Ex-Im Board Member, ex officio, as does Obama's bundler buddy Michael Froman, who served two roles inside the White House, only to be promoted to Ambassador Froman –– and this was after he came from Citigroup, the Big Bank where we find that a slew of its former executives have, or currently hold key positions inside the Obama White House. 

But here's the kicker: the "Too-Big-to-Fail" Citigroup is BIG player inside this green energy scam, cashing in at the Green Bank of Obama. My February 2013 research found that Citi is tied to at least $16 billion in green energy transactions, the majority from the 2009-Recovery Act (with $100 billion earmarked for renewable energy) –– even in 2012, bragging out their being the "largest market share (28 percent) of the DOE energy 1703/1705 Loan Guarantee program financings."

In fact, Citi's "Alternative Energy" March 2012 report –– under "Notable Transactions" –– is Abengoa, where in 2011, they are listed as a "Strategic Equity Investment by First Reserve" as well as an "Advisor to Abengoa" –– the Spanish green energy conglomerate, which is the focus of this Green Corruption File. And as noted,  in December 2010 and September 2011, they won three of those loans that Citi gloated about, totaling $2.8 billion. It seems, too, that Citi and Abengoa remain tight: in October 2013, they were "appointed as depositary bank for Abengoa," as announced by Yahoo Finance.

But let's go back to Richardson...

Here is where it gets more convoluted (if that's possible), because Richardson, a buddy of Al Gore, whom I'll profile soon, "sits on both the Abengoa International Advisory Board [since March 2011] and was, [as late as January 2013], listed on the Ex-Im bank’s website as a member of the advisory committee that helps guide bank policy," exposed the Washington Free Beacon last year. Interestingly, Richardson was not listed in the Ex-Im Bank’s November announcement of its 2013 Advisory Board members, and nowhere brags about his role there –– not even on is bio.

At some juncture Richardson's appointment to the Advisory Board was made public, yet it is unclear if Richardson joined the Ex-Im Bank’s advisory board before or after the decision to extend Abengoa the $150 million (dated December 2012) –– the transaction that I detailed earlier. Needless to say, as reported by Heritage in January 2013, when this scenario heated up, "Richardson is connected to Diane Farrell, a former Ex-Im Bank director who 'voted to approve a final commitment on an $83 million loan to Abengoa.'”

However, we do know that Abengoa CEO Manuel Sanchez Ortega, felt that Abengoa was “extremely fortunate” to have Richardson’s “extensive knowledge of the renewable energy sector and his background in public policy” join Abengoa’s Advisory Board in March of 2011 — which is reportedly a paid position.

Does this reek "conflict of interest"?


Carol Browner 
  • Founding member of Center for American Progress and currently a Senior Fellow
  • 2013 Member of the Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Headed the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy (AKA "Climate Czar"), from January 2009 until February 2011 
  • Obama-Biden 2008-Transition Team role: Advisory Board Member and Energy Policy Working Groups
  • 2008 Obama Bundler
In early March of this year, I unmasked Carol Browner and Center for American Progress (CAP) as the dark, driving force behind the president’s massive green energy scheme. But what may hit closer to this case is that Browner, an Al Gore acolyte, worked for Gore as far back as 1988 until about 2009.

Browner was also a 2008 Obama bundler and part of the Obama-Biden Transition Team, yet she was later appointed to the president’s 2009 Green Team as the "climate czar." Browner, not only “pushed for billions of dollars for renewable energy in the economic stimulus bill,” she was part of the decision-making process inside the Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program, which at the time of her departure had doled out $34.7 billion of taxpayer money.

In early 2011, Browner abruptly resigned from her climate post, leaving as her legacy the failed cap-and-trade legislation, and then in 2013, she served on the Advisory Committee of the Ex-Im Bank. What's key here is that Browner –– as discovered in the "October 2012 Internal DOE Email Dump" –– was part of a June 1, 2010 meeting, of which Abengoa's Solana Project was one of two key projects discussed. Browner was also part of a June 9, 2010 meeting with an agenda that also included Abengoa's Solana Project and its issues. At that time, the Spanish firm was seeking $1.45 billion DOE stimulus loan, which about a month later, over the Fourth of July weekend, was announced by the president (finalized December 2010) –– an announcement that "Browner's office" approved. 

While the details surrounding these two Browner/Abengoa meetings as well as more emails regarding Abengoa will be divulged in Part Three, for now I'd like to point out that the Abengoa narrative, which came from President Obama July 3, 2010 weekly address, not only included heralding the now-bankrupt Abound Solar and its $400 million loan, but touted the following...
After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America.

NOTE: "October 2012 Internal DOE Email Dump" is in reference to the House Oversight huge document dump that was unleashed on October 31, 2012, which included a Memorandum, Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II. Since November 1, 2012, we've been unleashing these correspondences that basically prove that the president, the White House, Secretary Chu, and certain DOE officials lied about how they handled the green energy loans on various fronts –– which was followed by secrecy, cover-ups and even perjury.


Al Gore & Generation Investment Management

Enter in Bill Richardson’s pal and Carol Browner's former boss –– global warming guru, the former-Vice President Al Gore, whom along with his ultra-rich climate minions, are key operatives inside this green energy scam. As mentioned many times in my posts, both Gore and his pal John Doerr (a Obama supporter and big donor) are partners at a Big Venture Capital firm that I researched last year. In fact, as documented in my January 8, 2013 file, Kleiner Perkin's "greentech portfolio" (at least 50%) and Generation Investment Management (GIM) and their "sustainable investing" secured billions in loans, grants and special tax breaks from the Obama administration.

While this “climate duo," whose combined “carbon footprint” is larger than my entire city, the two firms combined are tied to at least $10 billion from the taxpayer-funded Green Bank of Obama. And while I have yet to do a complete analysis of GIM, the Kleiner Perkins figure is much higher due to the fact that their "customers" raked in $1.3 billion in smart-grid stimulus grants.

A key point here is that the majority of this money came from the 2009-Recovery Act, of which Doerr had helped author. And as mentioned previously, Carol Browner had pushed to include billions of green energy money into the stimulus bill, and was involved in the decision-making process (picking DOE loan winners and losers) from January 2009 until February 2011.

At any rate, more compelling to this Green Corruption File is Generation, which, in 2010, I began to unravel, marking quite a fascinating story. Long story, short: In 2004, Gore formed GIM with former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management David Blood –– even as Goldman Sachs a key "green corruption villain," while Mr. Blood is another Obama bundler. Apparently, Blood is the "wizard behind" GIM, which also includes several former Goldman executives and partners. 

Also, on November 12, 2007, GIM and Kleiner Perkins "created an International Alliance to accelerate global climate solutions." It was at that time that Gore joined Kleiner Perkins as a partner, while Doerr joined Generation's Advisory Board –– of which it's no surprise that Gore's role at Kleiner was marked as "focusing on investments to solve climate change."

About the same time as this partnership developed (yet Gore and Doerr’s friendship dates as far back as the 90′s), Gore’s UK-based GIM bought a stake in Abengoa. although it was reported to be “a small position in Abengoa, which specializes in biofuels.” Still, the Weekly Standard, just after the announcement of the $1.45 billion Energy Department deal with Abengoa, after pointing out two negatives, the author Andrew B. Wilson went on...
Third is Obama’s decision to look to nearly bankrupt Spain for the clean energy jobs of the future. Abengoa Solar, beneficiary of fully $1.45 billion of the “conditional commitment” announced by the president, is based in Seville. Though part of a larger Spanish conglomerate with $6 billion in revenues and 23,000 employees, Abengoa Solar itself had fewer than 400 employees at the end of 2009 and annual revenues of less than $150 million. In the annual report on its website, Abengoa Solar lists the total capacity of its solar plants in operation and under construction around the globe at 493 megawatts. To put that into perspective, 493 megawatts is just 0.03 percent of the electrical generating capacity of Cleveland Public Power, which supplies one medium-sized midwestern city. It’s more than enough to fry an egg, but not nearly enough to begin to create “transformational change.”

It is also worth noting that Nobel Laureate and former vice president Al Gore, who has accumulated a substantial fortune in the course of campaigning against global warming while investing in alternative energy and lecturing on the subject, has lent his name and support to Abengoa Solar and the parent company, Abengoa. The Spanish company’s stock jumped in November 2007 when an investment fund headed by Gore announced it was acquiring a stake in the company. (Abengoa also owns a biofuels business that is aligned in various ventures with BP, “the world’s first green petroleum company,” as it used to boast.)

Nevertheless, Gore has also extolled Abengoa for years, visiting “the largest solar platform in Europe” (operated by Abengoa) in October 2008 and delivering a high-powered speech at the company's Spanish headquarters in October 2010. Adding to this family is GIM Advisory Board Member Mario Molino also serves on Abengoa’s Advisory Committee.

Diane Feinstein and PG&E

Abengoa has connections to California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Admittedly, direct connections are minor: On March 22, 2010, she wrote a letter to the DOI on behalf of Abengoa asking the DOI to speed up the permitting process for accessing private land for DOE loan guarantees. One of Abengoa's projects is in California, so advocating for it would seem reasonable.

This is the Mojave Solar Project that was part of the Department of Interior’s fast-tracked approval process, which included several major solar projects in California and Nevada and caused concern amongst those paying attention –– even with some environmentalists. The Washington Free Beacon reported on the suspect motives...
The speed with which the projects were approved, coupled with the fact that the companies had already received Energy Department loan guarantees with strict timelines attached, has raised questions as to whether Interior’s actions were predetermined.
And they are correct, because here's a bullet point of how some of the key steps went down for Abengoa's Mojave Solar Project in California. 
  • June 14, 2011: Abengoa's Energy Department's $1.2 billion loan guarantee announced, which included praise from Senator Feinstein: "Today's announcement demonstrates the potential for the loan guarantee program to drive private investment for large-scale, clean-energy projects and create hundreds of jobs in California." Yet, this project is projected to create a whopping 70 permanent jobs.
  • July, 2011: Abengoa Solar is approved by the Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar 
  • September 2011: Abengoa's $1.2 billion DOE stimulus loan finalized
  • November, 2011: The California Public Utilities Commission approved Abengoa Solar’s power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric for the electricity to be produced at Abengoa’s Mojave Solar Project
Feinstein, another career politician, is no stranger to conflict of interest when it comes to mixing money and politics. In the summer of 2012, Breitbart News reported, "for at least 15 years, Feinstein has appeared to support government contracts that push federal funds toward companies co-owned or governed by her powerful, billionaire husband, Richard C. Blum." This includes a serious controversy surrounding Amyris Biotechnologies, of which just weeks after her investment into this green company, they mysteriously received a $24 million grant from the Department of Energy.

While Senator Feinstein does not have a direct link to Abengoa, PG&E, the utility giant that is also a strong Obama and Democrat donor, may be the bigger player in this piece of the green corruption saga. As documented by Center for Responsive Politics, PG&E, has been filling Feinstein's campaign coffers since the 2004 election cycle (both PACS and individuals), making their mark as the top campaign contributors to the senator from California, totaling over $500,000.  Coincidental, Feinstein's 2012 election cycle, which coincides with Abengoa's special 2011 DOI and DOE deals, PG& E reached its highest level of giving at $138, 200.

Besides their heavy donor and lobbying presence, "former PG&E employees currently hold, or previously held, high-ranking government positions at the state and federal level, furthering the company’s influence," documented the Washington Free Beacon a while back. The most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government position is Cathy Zoi –– another Al Gore acolyte, whom was a "DOE insider" from 2009 until 2011, which ties her to PG&E as well as other stimulus winners.

We also can confirm via the "October 2012 Internal DOE Email Dump" that during the course of the DOE loan review process, there was plenty of fraternizing going on between DOE advisors and those seeking Energy Department loans. In fact, John Bryson, whom in September 2010, was named Chairman of BrightSource Energy's board of directors (later nominated by President Obama to serve as Commerce Secretary in May 2011 and confirmed to the post in October 2011, until his June 21, 2012 resignation), sometime in March 2011, had dinner with Senator Feinstein.

In fact, Bryson (whose background has varied all the way from advisor during California Governor Brown’s first time in office, to an executive at Southern California Edison) was quite active inside the DOE loan deal making. But according the those internal emails, it was mostly on behalf of the $1.6 billion BrightSource Energy loan. In order to stay out of the weeds here (and there are plenty), due to BrightSource's connection to another senator, details can be found in my November 2013 Green Corruption File entitled, "Underneath Senator Harry Reid’s Clean-Energy Dirt: Career politician directly linked to over $3 billion in green energy stimulus loans."

Why am I hammering away at PG&E?

Well, it turns out that the Mojave Solar project that is located in San Bernardino County, CA, at the time of the $1.2 billion DOE loan approval (September 2011), it was announced that "Abengoa signed a power-purchase agreement with PG&E to buy the energy produced by the project for a period of 25 years" –– a deal that had been percolating years before.

In mid 2012, we also discovered that PG&E had influence over the DOE loans. In an email dated January 4, 2010 from John Woolard (then-president and CEO of BrightSource Energy that 15 months later snagged a $1.6 billion DOE loan, mentioned earlier) to Matt Rogers (Energy Secretary Steven Chu's then senior advisor), states that Peter Darbee, then CEO of PG& E, had himself spoken to President Obama. The email read...
…that Peter Darbee, head of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., “talked directly to Obama about the program’s challenges and the bad situation it puts him in. DOE credibility is thin and I am currently trying to put off [communication] with the Hill until we talk.” Rogers replied that he appreciated the heads-up and was “working it on this end.”
According to the Washington Examiner, “By ‘bad situation,’ Darbee meant that his company needed solar power to comply with California's law to produce 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2017 (later raised to 33 percent by 2020).” This mandate, by the way, in 2009, was moved forward by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger via an executive order. Then in April 2011, it was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown –– another "climate change" player in cahoots with the president and many others, including, but not limited to, PG&E (via officials, politics and campaign donations) as well as the left-wing "green energy pusher" Center for American Progress. This is a piece of the green corruption scheme yet to be unleashed.

Needless to say, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon in 2012, "PG&E has become an aggressive buyer of power supplied by solar, wind, and other renewable sources, in large part due to statutory requirements under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard…”

So, it’s no wonder that this huge energy corporation has an invested interest in seven projects that won Energy Department stimulus loans worth $7.6 billion, including a contract to buy California’s required renewable energy from Abengoa –– all detailed in my April 2013 post, with an overview in my recent Green Corruption File on the left-wing think tank, Center for American Progress.  

Lobbyist & DOE Power 

One last Feinstein/Abengoa link leads to Fred Morse, who is the Senior Advisor of US Operations for Abengoa. This is the same Fred Morse that had hyped up the Solana Solar Project in Arizona in July 2010, when their $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee was made public. 

Keep in mind that Senator Feinstein had been advocating on behalf of Abengoa's solar project in California, more specifically that March 2010 letter to the DOI. We also know that on June 14, 2011, Abengoa's  $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee was announced, which included praise from Feinstein (finalized September 2011). Then a day later, on June 15, 2011, Mr. Morse gave $1000 to “Feinstein for Senate.” Not a lot of cash, but there's more... 

Fred Morse provides a perfect transition to the lobbyists and others tied to Abengoa, which could explain why this Spanish firm was so lucky. Morse has DOE roots, who, as pointed out by the Institute For Energy Research in 2011, is "Abengoa’s most credentialed conduit to policymakers and the scientific community. Morse served in senior-level positions in the DOE under Nixon, Carter, and Reagan working on solar energy. He currently sits on the board of various solar industries groups."

But it's the CEO Santiago Seage and Abengoa's lobbying power that deserve scrutiny here.

Institute For Energy Research goes on...

Beyond reliance on federal loan guarantees [and other US monies], Abengoa Solar also receives government assistance in the form of investment tax credits (ITC). In 2008 CEO Santiago Seage said that the company would start construction on the Solana solar plant in 2009 if Congress extended the ITC.

Say what you will about Seage, he didn’t just rely on the grapevine to get his request up the chain of command. Abengoa hired Cornerstone Government Affairs [tied to Democrat Mark Rokala, who carries his own corrupt baggage] to lobby Congress on the issue. Later that year Congress extended the ITC.

In 2011 CEO Santiago Seage and other leaders of renewables companies sent a letter to Congress asking them to extend DOE loan guarantee funding. Abengoa hired O’Neill, Athy & Casey P.C to lobby the House and Senate on the issue.
As you can see by the chart provided by Center for Responsive Politics, Abengoa's lobby presence began to increase in 2010, and dramatically so in 2011 –– just in time to take advantage of all the American government freebies: over $3.6 billion in federal stimulus loans and grants as well as special tax breaks, $150 million loan from the Ex-Im bank, and more.


Before joining Abengoa, Santiago was a partner with McKinsey & Company –– a global management consulting firm that is also listed as an Obama donor (through PACS and personnel); a firm whose executives not only give to the right Democrat causes (Priorities USA Action), but seem to enjoy easy access to the Obama White House, including the handful that sat on president's Jobs Council when it was in operation from 2009 until early 2013.

While there is a big story here that needs to be flushed out –– McKinsey & Company is all over the place –– including another Democrat moneyman, who was also an Obama donor and a guest at the president's first state dinner. This would be Rajat Gupta, McKinsey & Co.’s former chief executive (also an ex Goldman Sachs director), whom, in 2012, was convicted of Wall Street insider trading.

More relevant here is that Jonathan Silver, the former executive director of the Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program, started his career at McKinsey & Company. The other DOE insider in the mix is Matt Rogers, the former senior adviser to then-Energy Secretary Chu, whom had the "responsibility for managing the Department of Energy's $36 billion in Recovery Act appropriations." Prior to his short DOE stint (January 2009 to September 2010), Rogers a senior partner at McKinsey & Co. –– only to return to the firm at their San Francisco office. 

Making the connections more provocative, we find that Silver’s wife has served as financial director of the Democratic Leadership Council, and that the couple hosted a party to promote Al Gore’s environmental advocacy group, the Alliance for Climate Protection. This party (fundraiser) surrounded Silver's vetting process (September 2009), in which he invited two key DOE officials –– even as the invitation list including the following (provided by the Washington Free Beacon), many of which are also key players inside this green energy scheme that are profiled here in this post and others in previous Green Corruption Files.
The list provided included Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; Larry Summers, Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council; Jeff Zients, Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget; and Congressmen Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), John Dingell (D., Mich.), Ed Markey (D., Mass.), and Jane Harman (D., Calif.). 
Also included on the lists were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Energy Secretary Federico Pena, and U.S. Import-Export Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg.
But that's not all: as head of the Energy Department's loan program, Silver which will be detailed next in Part Three when I unleash the bombshell internal DOE emails that are relevant to the Obama administration's green energy deals with the Spanish conglomerate Abengoa.


Part Three –– THE COLLUSION

Bombshell internal DOE emails prove White House pressure, participation 
and push on Solana solar project


Deception lies & videotape

In case you missed this videotape (YouTube), where just before the 2012 presidential election, when confronted by Colorado news anchor Kyle Clark regarding the stimulus and the politically connected Colorado-based Abound Solar company that snagged $400 million from the Department of Energy’s loan program –– which eventually went bankrupt –– President Obama made these claims...
Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country. And some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction. And that’s good for Colorado and good for the country. And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.
First and foremost: the claim made by President Obama that the "decisions, by the way were made by the Department of Energy and that "they have nothing to do with politics," was an outright lie.

Still, most paying attention sensed that early on –– especially when Solyndra went down in 2011, taking $540 million taxpayer dollars with it, that the president's green energy push screamed corruption. But it was on October 31, 2012, when the bombshell evidence emerged that the entire $34 billion loan program (most likely the majority of the $100 to $150 billion of green energy funds that has been doled out by the Obama administration), was used as political payback.

These shocking emails prove that President Obama and the White House were actively involved in pressuring and approving these loans, totaling over $32.4 billion to date. Throughout these email interactions we find plenty of references to the president, POTUS, the vice president, the "7th floor," and "the Hill." There were even high-level meetings with Valerie Jarret, "rahm," and Carol Browner (in this report). 

This evidence and more came from the "October 2012 Internal DOE Email Dump" –– a treasure trove of Intel that was unleashed by the House Oversight that included a memorandum as well as Appendix I and the 350+ page Appendix II.

In fact, Solyndra and Abound were not the only two to go bust, nor the only politically-connected firms to bag millions if not billions of Obama cash –– as The Green Corruption Files has been exposing since April 2012, chronicling the DOE's "junk bond portfolio" and the cronies attached.

In fact this loan program has fostered big alternative energy losers such as Solyndra, Beacon Power, Abound Solar, Vehicle Production Group, and Fisker Automotive, flushing billions of tax dollars down the toilet –– with billions more still at risk. Yet, the loan program is not the only one place you'll find the president's "cleantech" losers. In January, I released my new study, documenting 32 Obama-backed green energy failures, while tracking the financially troubled, and even those, ironically, having environmental issues as well –– over 30 and counting.

Nothing to do with politics?

It turns out that most of the DOE loans were rushed and approved for political reasons –– visits, speeches, announcements, photo ops, and talking points for the president as well as to help those connected to the companies seeking the loans –– CEO's, investors, and Democrat politicians, which goes beyond subsidizing Nevada companies in order to help Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. win his 2010 reelection campaign.

Moreover, these bombshell emails also expose the cozy relationships DOE Officials had during the loan review process with loan applicants CEO's, lobbyists, and investors, etc. It's no surprise that they had meetings and calls with DOE Officials and Energy Secretary Chu, but there are documented meetings and calls with the president, VP, and WH as well as plenty of "green fraternizing" going on –– bike riding, coffee meetings, sleepovers, "beer summits," Al Gore parties, dinners, Democrat fundraisers, and so on.

On November 1, 2012, Marita Noon and I broke the story on the incriminating emails, which was followed up with our explosive report "Busting Open Obama Energy Department's Den of Deception." As time elapsed, we studied these documents, which have been a central part of exposing this massive green corruption scandal.

In January 2013, I unleashed some of the emails related to Abengoa, which contradicted the president’s claim that the green energy loan decisions were made by Energy Department. For example, there was one with the subject line: Abengoa, Abound, First Wind, and Beacon, which signaled White House intervention.

So, today we’ll stay focused on just the ones that pertain to Abengoa, of which there are many related the Solana project in Arizona (that started in May 2010). This was the  project that President Obama announced on July 3, 2010 –– a $1.45 billion DOE deal that was finalized on December 23, 2010. However, first up is a brief profile on some of the key DOE officials, advisors and others that either authored or were mentioned in these emails, or were part of Abengoa meetings –– in some cases they had multiple roles.

The Abengoa emails

Dr. Steven Chu, Energy Secretary 

Chu served as the Secretary of Energy from January 21, 2009, to April 22, 2013, of which according to Energy.gov, “Dr. Chu was charged with helping implement President Obama's ambitious agenda to invest in clean energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis, and create millions of new jobs.”

Carol Browner, Climate Czar (profiled earlier)


Peter Orszag, OMB Director

Mr. Orszag, who now works for Citigroup, was part of many DOE Loan Program meetings, including Abengoa. According to his bio, “Peter R. Orszag is an American economist serving as Vice Chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup since January of 2011. Prior to Peter Orszag’s current undertakings, he served as the 37th director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Barack Obama from November 2008 through August 2010. Orszag also served as the director of the Congressional Budget Office from January 2007 through November 2008.”


Jeffrey B. Liebman

According his Harvard Kennedy School bio (also from the Clinton administration), "During the first two years of the Obama administration [I'm assuming 2009 to 2011], Liebman worked at OMB, first as Executive Associate Director and Chief Economist and then as Acting Deputy Director." 

James Mcrea, DOE Loan Program Credit Advisor

Jonathan Silver, DOE Loan Program Executive Director

As noted by Barrons Magazine (in 2010), "Silver had been a managing partner at Core Capital Partners [and co-founder] in Washington. Coincidentally, one of his colleagues there was Tom Wheeler, a 2008 Obama bundler." Wheeler was also part of the Obama-Biden Transition Team.
But Silver has political roots as well: "Silver also worked in the Commerce, Interior, and Treasury departments during the Clinton administration."

While Silver is reported to be an Obama bundler, we can confirm (as mentioned earlier), Silver’s wife has served as financial director of the Democratic Leadership Council, and during Silver's DOE vetting, the couple hosted a party (fundraiser) for Al Gore.

Then in November 2009, Silver was appointed as the Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office. Silver's role was to oversee the program and its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM), which included helping then-Energy Secretary to Chu accelerate loan reviews. The November press release announced: "Silver will be responsible for staffing the programs, and leading origination, analysis, and negotiation, as well as managing the full range of the Department's alternative energy investments."

In early October 2011, amidst the "Solyndra half-billion-dollar Saga" even testifying in September 2011 –– Silver resigned, and to became a “distinguished visiting fellow” at Third Way, a D.C. public policy think-tank.

Despite his resignation, Silver has appeared before the House Oversight Committee twice (July 2012 and September 2013), of which at that time there was a slew of emails proving cronyism and corruption that Silver had to answer to. This is where some of the most bombshell details emerged, starting with the fact that in the course of Silver's testimony during the July 18th Oversight hearing, it was revealed that he and other DOE officials and advisors were using their personal email accounts to conduct Energy Department business.

In fact, as documented by the Washington Examiner, prior to the September 2013 hearing that only produced more cover-ups, "The former DOE official didn't want congressional investigators to see the work-related messages that he sent on his private email account." 
“Don’t ever send an e-mail on doe e-mail with private e-mail addresses," Silver wrote to Morgan Wright, DOE's director of strategic initiatives, on Aug. 21, 2011. "That makes them supoenable [sic].” Silver sent the email from his personal account to Wright's personal account.

#1. May 22, 2010 EMAIL exchange between J. Silver, Jeffrey Liebman and James McCrea, where Liebman writes to Silver:
A Chu-Orszag-Browner meeting on Wed or Thurs sounds good. At the very least we should resolve Abengoa and manufacturing solicitation. I will see if my team thinks we are ready to resolve the more recent two...

#2. May 25, 2010 EMAIL exchange between Silver and McCrea with the Subject line: Follow-up questions re: Geothermal projects. This where OMB sends the DOE further questions on Blue Mountain and US Geothermal, and they complain that their questions are “excessive in establishing credit subsidy cost.”

Then Silver writes:
I wonder whether we should put together a package of these and the abengoa questions to share with orszag at the Thursday meeting.
McCrea responds:
...Perhaps we send the questions and responses on these three deals to the 7th floor and tell them that in light of this support from OMB/Treasury, our maximum monthly production will be capped at 3 deals. We simply do not control out destiny…
Silver responds back:
I noticed that they have shrunk the email list. Let’s be sure our abengoa responses and these go to the full list.
McCrea:
I had asked you about that last week and you had said to leave the White House off the Abengoa response. I would be glad to add them.
Silver:
If I did, I changed my mind. 
I have to believe they asked to cut the list because they must have an inkling that’s this is over the top. 
Don’t say I asked you to send it if you’ve already sent, just refine or add a question and send it over saying it's updated. Then send to everyone.

McCrea writes back on last time that day:

I don’t have anything to say. There is another response going out late this evening on Abengoa that will take it from 93% complete to 96 or so percent. I will simply send that to everyone.

#3. May 31, 2010 EMAIL 2:37PM with the Subject line: Principle Meeting 

McCrea writes to Silver:
I fear that you have completely lost control of these meeting. Based on the current slide deck, there are now an OMB meeting with S1. [Secretary Chu].

Also, given what they are focused upon, and how they focus, Abengoa and Blue Mountain are dead.” Abengoa for the 2 suggested solutions, either of which will kill the deal. As an aside, equity already has the first loss position in the case of a haircut and for us to have any shortfall, the inflation of the costs has to be more than 20%, which is inconceivable given out vetting.

This program is hopeless.

Jim

On that same date at 6:27 PM, there was an exchange about the Chu/Orszag meeting that they were preparing for, which was set for June 1, 2010. This meeting was regarding the Abengoa (Solano) and Blue Mountain projects that included an entire outline, of which it seems that both were having issues.

This JUNE 1, 2010 “Principals Meeting” with Abengoa and Blue Mountain on the docket, was with Secretary Chu, Peter Orszag, Carol Browner and I’m assuming DOE officials.

There was also a JUNE 9, 2010 meeting with Peter Orszag, Carol Browner, Rod O'Conner, Jeffrey Liebman, Jonathan Silver and additional staff, which was labeled as a series of “principal meetings” at DOE and OMB to work through issues that come up in the Loan Programs. On that docket were a few DOE projects including Abengoa's Solana Solar project in Arizona, which, from what I gather, at that time, had two remaining issues:
  1. Leverage lease structure 
  2. Dispute between American solar companies and the Spanish government
In dealing with issue number two, the briefing outline, which was prepared by Jonathan Silver, stated.
...Despite this uncertainty, Browner's office has informed us that they would be comfortable with an Abengoa announcement at this time. Should Abengoa be approved by CRB, we will be prepared with talking points to address any criticism or questions that may arise in connection with the announcement of the deal."
Less than a month later, the president announced this $1.45 billion loan guarantee to Abengoa. This was part of his weekly address (President Obama Touts Nearly $2 Billion in New Investments to Help Build a Clean Energy Economy) that occurred on July 03, 2010 –– a deal that was finalized December 2010.

But there's more...


#4. June 10, 2010 EMAIL exchange between McCrea, Steve Isakowitz, and a few others, whereas the subject line: Abengoa –– Final DOE Responses –– OMB and the Recovery Rating

This documentation shows that there were issues with Abengoa's “recovery ratings set by OMB."


#5. June 25, 2010 EMAIL at 1:09 AM (guess loans don't sleep), with the subject line: Abengoa, Abound, First Wind and Beacon Updates, James C McCrea writes to Jonathan Silver and cc's  David Frantz; Susan Richardson...
Jonathan ––
An update on the 4 projects as of this evening. DOE is moving with "the fierce urgency of now," while OMB/Treasury/FFB are moving with "the fierce urgency of…whenever." There has been no sign of life from OMB/FFB/Treasury and no sign that they are responding to WH intervention.
At the end of this email, after going through each of the four projects and their issues, McCrea concludes:
All in all, I do not see how we can deliver, even with significant WH support, on anything other than Abengoa. The sooner we can remove First Wind and Beacon from the accelerated process, the better.
Jim 
Silver responds at 9:35 AM:
Sounds like we can’t do the closing deals but can announce the conditional commitments. Let’s keep pushing on all four, but I will set the stage upstairs.
Silver writes back again at 7:12 PM:
If we can’t close, we can’t close. That said, we shouldn’t not close because we can’t resolve an issue with the applicant or because people have other plans, etc. We should only not close if there are substantive items that will weaken our investment/position in the deal.
#6. June 29, 2010 EMAIL exchange between McCrea and Silver with the subject line: Treasury consultation memo.docx; Treasury Consultation Talking Points.docx.

Again in this interaction, we find more complaining on how the other departments held up the approval of these loans. There was also and interesting note, "Where Treasury determines that there are potential policy concerns (and, to date, they have had concerns on nearly every project), Treasury staff, and often OMB and the NEC get involved.” They give two examples:
  • Abengoa: Treasury debated the use of traditional leveraged lease transaction in spite of confirmation by DOE’s outside counsel that the transaction was standard… 
  • First Wind includes concerns over “double dipping” –– the 48c grant (a tax credit provided after, but only after, a company is profitable)…

#7. On July 1, 2010, there was an EMAIL exchange that transpired between Jonathan Silver and few other DOE officials. The subject line was: "can you help answer?" yet this was those inside the DOE seeking information on the Abengoa’s Solana project for “job creation” to provide for the “president’s speech.” 

Early that morning Brandon Hulbut asks:
Can you help me answer the 2 questions below for the President’s speech?
This question was answered by giving the stats on the amount of clean, green electricity that the Abengoa Solana plant would produce. However, later that afternoon, Ove Westerhem writes:

Further to follow on question from this morning for the Schott receiver plant, the Solana project will employ approximately 200 people for about one year to manufacture the receiver tubes for the Abengoa project.

Jonathon Silver write bank to all at 4:07PM:
This raises more questions than it answers. What happens after that year? The question was about permanent jobs.
Jim McCrea responds at 4:19PM:
The jobs are permanent if the market for the product is there but Abengoa itself is not an on-going market. Blah blah blah… my emphasis 
As mentioned twice now, this coincides with the fact that President Obama, during his July 03, 2010 weekly address, advertised this  $1.45 billion loan guarantee to Abengoa as an American jobs creator –– a deal that was finalized December 2010.

#8. October 30, 2010, there was an EMAIL exchange at 12:33 PM from McCrea to Silver with the subject line: RE: Strategy Question


I am growing increasingly worried about a fast track process imposed on us at the POTUS level based on this chaotic process that we are undergoing. The work to date does not have near enough staff work to be supportable and is totally being done on the fly and is being used by other agencies to impose theological views. We really get little out of fast tracking when you get right down to it and the process that is being designed is pure crap. Further, by legitimizing some of their theological views in the fast tracking screens, we give those views credibility that will be certainly be used against us for non-fast tracked transactions. By designing the fast track process and having it approved at the POTUS level (which is an absolute waste of his time!) it legitimizes every element and it becomes embedded like the 55% recovery rate, which also was imposed by POTUS.

I think that the time has come, given how poorly this process is going, to step back from all of this and to take a deep breath. 

Jim
Silver’s response comes three minutes later at 12:40 PM:
While I might agree with you intellectually, that is not where we are. Let’s finish this process and get back to business. When they don’t fast track something, we’ll complain.

We’ve gotten deals done with the 55% recovery rate; we’ll get deals done this way…

Later that afternoon at 4:49 PM, McCrea writes:

Working away but it is hard to argue that 50% for total subsidy which they are headed for is not reasonable, especially with a decision maker who has no clue. Even if you add 5% for RPS to every transaction, it lets everything through except for BrightSource, US Geothermal, Abengoa and First Wind. On that criteria, even Shepherds Flat and Baldwin get through. 50% simply is not an issue for us if it was the only criteria. The problem is the overlapping criteria which effectively take so many of our transactions out.
Jim

As the story goes: two months later, December 22, 2010 (or there about), the Obama administration finalized Abengoa Solar's $1.45 billion loan guarantee for their $2 billion Solana Project project in Arizona –– which became operational in October 2013, yet what this Spanish conglomerate did after getting this American taxpayer money, will make your head explode!

That's next...

Signed,
The Green Corruption Files
-c