Saturday, October 20, 2012

Green Alert: Tracking President Obama's green energy failures

DECEMBER 2012 UPDATES 


 At the end of September, Marita Noon and I began to expose the various failures of Obama’s green-energy expenditures (mainly from the trillion dollar, 2009-stimulus package where over $90 billion was earmarked for "green") –– projects and firms that have gone bankrupt (confirming 15 with more on our radar). A hot topic that became part of the first presidential debate where after President Obama pressed Mitt Romney for supporting tax cuts for oil companies, Romney reminded Obama that he put $90 billion into failing green companies like Solyndra, Fisker, Tesla, and Ener1. “I had friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers,” Romney cleverly added.

We then we moved on to those that are functioning, but facing difficulties (approximately 20)–– struggling either financially, while some environmentally, and even those that are facing federal probes for various reasons. Still, many are laying off workers, and quite a few are on life support, with a number experiencing a combination of the aforementioned.


Lastly, we addressed the "5 million green jobs that Candidate Obama had promised in 2008," of which
Team Obama is now claiming victory, however, as we noted, the math doesn't add up, nor does the gimmick accounting –– recycled ones; those that already existed –– used by the Obama administration's Labor Department.

While in Marita's Townhall.com columns we placed an * after the project/company’s name to indicate a political connection (
cronyism and corruption), in my subsequent blogs I expanded upon our efforts, and plugged in my research, listing those critical ties. 

In our three-part series, two focused directly on the failures, and our sums were 15 bankruptcies and 20 troubled (a total of 35 with over 65% having
meaningful Democrat political connections –– bundlers, donors, supporters, etc). Yet, considering the rapid speed of these "green" bankruptcies and issues (about 10 that I read about just last week), I'm compiling new totals here, which will include a new and updated list by the Heritage Foundation dated October 18, 2012 –– President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures –– with their total of 36 (updated later with a number of 34). And most listed at The Heritage and ours are very similar, however, they have some we don't and vise versa.


UPDATE: New calculations as of December 1, 2012: despite eliminating AES Energy (which I am still not sure of) from my list and adding ReVolt Technology, the numbers remain the same: 23 bankrupt, 29 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 52.  While billions of "green-energy  taxpayer money is gone, and we know that the majority of the loans (90 percent) were funneled to Obama and high-ranking Democrat cronies, the "troubled list is a moving target." Thus there is no way to give an exact dollar amount what is still at risk, yet we do know that the percentage of cronyism in the failed and troubled list is hoovering around 56% (29 of the 52), until I have time to dig further.



BANKRUPT
  1. Solyndra*: Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011
  2. Abound Solar*: Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. Abound was awarded a $9.2-million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012
  3. Beacon Power*: Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million. Bankrupt: October 2011 

  4. A123 Systems*: Received $390 million, of which $249 million of it was a Recovery Act Grant. Filed for Bankruptcy October 16, 2012, and two companies are seeking to buy A123; Johnson Controls and the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp.
  5. Amonix*: Received $6 million in federal tax credits a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012 
  6. Azure Dynamics*: Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012 ––  HF ADDITION: states $120 million
  7. Babcock & Brown: Received $178 million in the largest federal (1603) stimulus wind grant in December 2009. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009
  8. Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar: Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit. Bankrupt: February 2011.
  9. Ener1*: Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: January 26, 2011.
  10. Evergreen Solar, Inc.*: Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies. Bankrupt: August 15, 2011 
  11. Konarka Technologies Inc.: Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon. Bankrupt: June 4, 2012.
  12. ADDITION Range Fuels*: Range Fuels: $162.25 million in government commitments since 2007, of which $64 million came from a USDA Biofuel loan in 2010 alone, despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA. 
  13. Raser Technologies: Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011. 
  14. SpectraWatt*: Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus. Bankrupt: August 23, 2011
  15. Stirling Energy Systems: Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing September 28, 2011
  16. Thompson River Power LLC: Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603. Bankrupt: July 2, 2012.
  17. HF ADDITION: Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million); in our unconfirmed list
  18. HF ADDITION: Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million); in our unconfirmed list
  19. HF ADDITION: Nordic Windpower* ($16 million)
  20. HF ADDITION: Satcon ($3 million) As reported by the Heritage Foundation October 18, 2012, "A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week." 
  21. HF ADDITION: Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981) ($6 million); in our unconfirmed bankrupt list 
  22. ADDITION, October 23, 2012: Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the Section 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit Program. During Obama's visit to Cardinal Fastener, he took a "green Recovery Act victory lap," and touted it as means for "Made-In-America Jobs" for Ohio. Yet, just two weeks after the Obama visit, Cardinal laid off 12 percent of its staff, and in June 2011, Cardinal Fastener filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lastly, in January 2012, Cardinal Fastener was acquired by Germany’s Wurth Group for just $3.9 Million.
  23. HF ADDITION, December 1, 2012: ReVolt Technology is a Portland-based company, which specialized in developing zinc-air flow battery systems. "ReVolt earned its place in the Graveyard when it declared bankruptcy (October 17, 2012), despite the fact it had been offered a whopping $10 million in funds from federal, state, and local governments. The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy offered a $5 million grant in 2010. Oregon matched the federal government’s promise with $5 million worth of loans." 

Solyndra
UPDATES:


A123 Systems UPDATES:



"Republicans and outside business groups are calling on the Treasury Department to reject the sale of bankrupt battery-maker and stimulus recipient A123 Systems, Inc. to a Chinese firm, arguing the move could put American national security at risk." 

"Chinese firm Wanxiang Group won a bid for A123 System on Sunday, beating out the Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls. A123 Systems, which produced lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, filed for bankruptcy in October after receiving $133 million of a $249 million stimulus grant from the federal government." 



Abound Solar UPDATES



 



 
TROUBLED

  1. Fisker Automotive* –– $528.7 
  2. Tesla Motors* –– $465 million 
  3. AREVA acquired Ausra Inc.* –– $2 billion 
  4. ADDITION November 20, 2012: Georgia Power Company –– $8.33 billion via the 1703 DOE LGP for Plant Vogtle, the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. In July 2012, Bloomberg reported the purchase of The Shaw Group Inc., which is connected to the Vogtle project, noting that Southern Co. is the largest investor in the Vogtle project, and they reported delays and cost overruns. Also, in August 2012, "Plant Vogtle's contractors sue Georgia Power, project's co-owners," yet there is more to this story that I will expose in due time.
  5. BrightSource Energy* –– $1.6 billion 
  6. First Solar* –– $3 billion, plus suspicious Export-Import bank funding 
  7. Nevada Geothermal* –– $78.8 million, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants
  8. NextEra Energy Genesis Solar Project* –– $681.6 million
  9. SunPower Corp.* (California Valley Solar Ranch project bought by NRG Energy*) –– $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee
  10. AltaRock* –– $6 million, $25 million, plus $1.45 million 
  11. Bloom Energy* –– $5 million
  12. CH2M Hill* –– $2 billion 
  13. Chevy Volt* –– $151 million, $105 million, plus other stimulus funds HF ADDITION: GreenVolts ($500,000) - I'm assuming this is the Chevy Volt
  14. ECOtality Inc.* –– $126.2 million  
  15. Johnson Controls –– $299 million
  16. Montana Alberta Tie Line –– $152 million of federal financing (some reports say $161 million) 
  17. National Renewable Energy Lab* –– $200 million
  18. Schneider Electric –– $86 million
  19. Serious Material (Serious Energy)* –– $548,100   
  20. Solar World Industries America –– $4.6 million  
  21. ADDITION: Solar City* –– Got a $275 million conditional guarantee (DOE) that was later rejected. Besides some financial issues, Solar City was subpoenaed in July as part of a federal probe of the Treasury grant program. As reported by The Washington Free Beacon (October 18, 2012), SolarCity, is currently being audited by the Internal Revenue Service and investigated by the Treasury Department’s inspector general amid allegations that the firm misrepresented the value of its investment when applying for stimulus grants. So it looks like Solar City" has applied for approximately $325 million in these stimulus grants, according to the SEC filing." So, loan rejected, but the grant is larger (as are the political ties) –– we'll keep an eye on this story.
  22. Solar World Industries America –– $4.6 million HF UPDATE, November 16, 2012: Solar World ($82 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit). According to the Heritage Foundation, "SolarWorld, which announced a 47% revenue decline in the third quarter, blamed a potential 37 layoffs at its Oregon plant on “illegal” Chinese trade practices." 
  23. HF ADDITION: Vestas ($50 million)
  24. HF ADDITION: LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million, part of the Recovery Act, and millions worth of special state tax breaks based on job creation of all things) LG Chem is another green company that President Obama touted during his visit at the LG Chem battery cell production site in 2010.  This is an amusing story that was recently brought to my attention –– according to Wood TV, Michigan (October 18, 2012), "Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies." Now, their story (more scandalous than what I posted here) is under investigation by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board –– an oversight agency for the federal stimulus program, what I call the RAT Board –– another huge part of this green corruption scandal.
  25. HF ADDITION: Navistar ($10 million) 
  26. HF ADDITION: Mascoma Corp.* ($100 million)
  27. ADDITION, October 22, 2012: MiaSolé*: Received two Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credits totaling $101.8 million from the Obama Administration in January 2010, see my Summer 2010 report on Kleiner Perkins, yet also a VantagePoint investment. This month (October), "struggling" and "desperate" MiaSole has agreed to be sold to China's Hanergy Holding Group for $30 Million, which is considered to be dirt cheap. 
  28. ADDITION, October 23, 2012: Smith Electric Vehicles: Received $32 million in federal grants from the American Recovery Act. Smith Electric Vehicles was another Obama touted green investment, however, since 2009 they have "racked up $128 million in losses." In February 2011, Smith Electric Vehicles announced a potential partnership with Wanxiang Group (one of the largest non-government-owned companies in China that is on a "green USA buying spree" –– Smith Electric, A123 Systems and Ener1), and in September 2012, struggling (and "short on cash") Smith Electric scrapped its IPO to “pursue private financing opportunities.”
  29. HF ADDITION, November 16, 2012: SunTech ($2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit). According to the Heritage Foundation, "SunTech said the U.S. International Trade Commission’s 35.95% tariff on Chinese solar panels was partially responsible for the 50 impending layoffs at its Arizona production facilities."

Telsa and Fisker UPDATES 


"Without the hundreds of millions of dollars Tesla TSLA -1.25% has received from the federal government this year, the electric-car maker’s financials would be gasping for air as 2012 winds down."
"Given the ugly state of Tesla’s finances — and the company’s sky-high valuation: almost $4 billion — it will rank among the top candidates in Silicon Valley for a 2013 stock collapse, unless it receives significantly more cash next year."

NEW INFO on Nissan that received $1.4 billion loan arrangement under the Department of Energy’s ATVM Program (one of five where cronyism and corruption reigned): November 15, 2012, according to The Detroit News, Nissan CEO abandons '12 electric vehicle sales target, which includes the all-electric leaf, and the DOE loan was used for. Do we add them to our "troubled list?"

========================
BEGINNING calculations October 20, 2012: 22 bankrupt, 25 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 47. And so far, at least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money is either gone or still at risk, and the majority was funneled to Obama and Democrat cronies –– I can confirm that over 62% are political connected. 

October 23, 2012 calculation: 23 bankrupt, 27 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 50. At least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money is either gone or still at risk, and the majority was funneled to Obama and Democrat cronies –– percentage of cronyism is hoovering around 60% (29 of the 50).


Please check back, as you can see it changes weekly...

Department of Energy Collateral Damage
  1. Aptera Motors 
  2. Bright Automotive
  3. Solar Trust*
 *Denotes companies/projects with confirmed cronyism and/or corruption.


The is the complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies by The Heritage Foundation, October 18, 2012 (updated later to reflect 34)  –– President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures

The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
  1. Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
  2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
  3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
  4. Beacon Power ($43 million)*
  5. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
  6. SunPower ($1.2 billion)
  7. First Solar ($1.46 billion)
  8. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
  9. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
  10. Amonix ($5.9 million)
  11. Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
  12. Abound Solar ($400 million)*
  13. A123 Systems ($279 million)*
  14. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
  15. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
  16. Schneider Electric ($86 million)
  17. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
  18. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
  19. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
  20. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
  21. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
  22. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
  23. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
  24. Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
  25. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
  26. Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
  27. GreenVolts ($500,000)
  28. Vestas ($50 million)
  29. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
  30. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
  31. Navistar ($39 million)
  32. Satcon ($3 million)*
  33. Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
  34. Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)
*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

HERITAGE CORRECTION:
Figures for four companies have been updated: Beacon Power received $43 million from the U.S. government, not $69 million as originally reported. Azure Dynamics received $5.4 million from the federal government, not $120 million as originally reported. Compact Power Inc. received $151 million as part of the stimulus, not $150 million as originally reported. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group received $700,981 in government funding, not $6 million as originally reported.

The following companies have been removed from the original list: AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy, LSP Energy and Uni-Solar did not receive government-backed loans, based on additional research. The National Renewable Energy Lab did received $200 million in stimulus funding, but it is a government laboratory.

UPDATE December 1, 2012: I am taking off AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage*, yet on August 2, 2010 they did received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment "to support the construction of a 20 megawatt (MW) energy storage system using advanced lithium-ion batteries" –– a project Johnson City, New York, and according to a December 23, 2010  press release by Energy.gov, "DOE Completes $17 Million Loan Guarantee for New York Energy Storage System with Recovery Act Funds." However, AES is not listed as one of the DOE's  Loan Program's Office projects, yet they did go bankrupt: December 31, 2011.

NOTE: My blog reflects the Heritage "corrections," however, I kept in AES and the National Energy Lab –– and we initially had four unconfirmed bankruptcies:
  • LSP Energy
  • Mountain Plaza Inc.
  • Olsen Crop Service/Olsen Mills
  • Willard & Kelsey Solar Group


So far, at least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money is either gone or still at risk, and the majority was funneled to Obama and Democrat cronies 

As you can see tracking President Obama's failed green-energy expenditures is like aiming at a moving target, and calculating the exact dollar amount is even more difficult to pinpoint. This is partly due the fact that companies/projects received multiple green government subsidies that weren't recorded or tracked properly (federal and state loans, grants and special tax credits, and from various programs and agencies). Also, some of these firms were given a loan guarantee, yet didn't have access to the entire amount,  prior to their bankruptcy.  However, as a ballpark figure, I'd say that at least $15 billion that we know of at this time. And here's why...

I had purposely listed the bankrupt and troubled from the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program (DOE LGP) first. Since 2009, the DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion – 46% through the 1705 ($16 billion of which 90% are politically connected), 30% through the 1703 ($10.3 billion—AREVA and Georgia Power), and 14% through the ATVM ($8.4 billion and 3 of the five loans are tied directly to Obama).

Marita and I covered eleven companies from the DOE LGP (Solyndra, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Fisker Auto, Telsa Motors, AREVA, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal, NextEra Energy's Genesis Solar Project, and SunPower/NRG Energy's California Valley Solar Ranch), noting that from that program alone, close to $10 billion of taxpayer money is already gone, while, as you can see, some is still at risk. What's interesting to note is that of the "26 loan guarantees under the 1705 program, of which the DOE doled out in excess of $16 billion, “23 of the loans were rated “Junk grade” due to their poor credit quality, while the other four were rated BBB, which is at the lowest end of the 'investment' grade of categories.”

Meaning that the DOE had already put the majority of that $16 billion into excessively risky investments. And to add insult to taxpayer injury, the driving force behind these decisions weren't based merit as the DOE would have you believe –– obviously it was cronyism and corruption. My April 2012 analysis of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 2012 report confirmed that over 90% have meaningful political ties to President Obama and high ranking Democrats, or both, which gives credence to Congressman Ryan's jab to the so-called "Stimulus Sheriff," Vice President Joe Biden during the VP debate, "$90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups." Ryan went on to call the Obama green-energy expenditures what it is, "crony capitalism and corporate welfare."


In case you missed our Obama Green Energy Failures, Three Part Series:
PS: If anyone cares to add up these failed green-energy expenditures, drop me a line and I'll post it here. Thanks, Christine @calfit32@gmail.com

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  2. Great article, keep us updated!!

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  3. In addition to these I'm concerned with the bio-fuels companies supplying $30 a gallon fuel to the armed services that used to pay $3.50. I looked into some of these companies and of course the first one I looked at was tied to the Administration. We are being so scammed while the campaigner in chief keeps people worked up on Guns, Gay Marriage, Immigration. Feel like they keep us busy and distracted downstairs while they clean out the safe upstairs.

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    Replies
    1. Eric just did Biofuel part one and part two up this week

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