Thursday, May 9, 2013

Americans Bothered By the Way our Government Spends Taxes: Billions Burned on Obama's Green Energy

SPECIAL NOTE: This was first published at as
"On Earth Day, Let's Waste More Money," and at the Heartland Institute on April 24, 2013, by Marita Noon –– my cohort in exposing President Obama's clean- energy dirt. However, considering additional taxpayer-funded green energy issues have emerged, I'll make be some adjustments as well as updates.

Following Ms. Noon's column I'll be amending our 2012 list of taxpayer-funded green energy failures, of which at that time I had documented 52 (23 bankrupt and 29 troubled) ––  at least $15 billion of green taxpayer money either gone or at risk. With additional research, by the summer of 2013, we may hit a new total of 60, marking the billions burned on Obama's green energy agenda as outrageous!

Americans Bothered By the Way the Government Spends Taxes

Every year, April 15 is tax day, and that day has come and gone –– with most Americans feeling the sting. A while ago, the morning’s news shows featured last minute tax tips and other tax-related information. In case you missed the new poll that was discussed... When asked: “Thinking about paying taxes, which one of the following bothers you the most?” Surprisingly, “What you pay” received the lowest response, while the “Way the government spends taxes” was the highest. “Feeling that some don’t pay fair share” was near the top and “Complexity of system and forms” was near the bottom.” So people understand that it takes money to run the government and generally don’t object to paying their taxes. It is what the government does with that money that frustrates us.

When asked about the way government spends taxes, responders were likely thinking of the green-energy crony-corruption spending on flawed ventures like Solyndra and the, now, fifty-plus other green-energy embarrassments that received taxpayer dollars as a result of President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill (as well as other green-energy funds) that poured nearly $100 billion into the pet projects of his donors.

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011. It was just the bellwether; the first of many to come.

A year later Christine Lakatos and I profiled nearly 20 green-energy stimulus-funded companies that had gone bankrupt. The next week, we highlighted the other bookend: “companies/projects that received funding from various loan guarantee programs (LGP), grants, and tax incentives. These are projects that are still functioning, but are facing difficulties.” One of those troubled companies was A123 Systems. One week after our report, A123 filed for bankruptcy. Nearly two months later, A123 was purchased by a large Chinese auto parts maker that has renamed the lithium-ion battery company B456.

Update: A123/B456’s biggest customer is another company on our troubled list: Fisker Automotive—manufacturer of the $100,000+ electric sports car made in Finland—is now facing bankruptcy itself after efforts to find a Chinese investor “stalled.” And we covered the April 24, 2013 Congressional Hearing: Failing Fisker Auto Finally Faces House Oversight Hearing: Chairman Jordan Exposes Another DOE Junk Loan, Declares, "Fisker should have never received taxpayer money”

Wait. In his 2008 campaign, didn’t Obama promise to “create five million new energy jobs over the next decade––jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced”? But our taxpayer dollars created jobs in Finland and have benefited a Chinese company—Obamanomics outsourced. No wonder the “way the government spends taxes” tops the list. And most have no idea that the Obama administration is responsible for steering billions of our tax dollars from the stimulus and other clean energy programs to foreign-owned entities, of which big chunk was doled out in the form of free cash via the 1603 stimulus grant program.

But there’s more—new news the poll respondents probably didn’t even know about.

One day after the poll was taken, CNN Money reports: “China’s Suntech Power has put its largest subsidiary into bankruptcy.” What they don’t mention is that China’s Suntech Power benefited from Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill—receiving a $2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit. (Suntech was included in our 2012 “troubled” list.) In her blog, The Green Corruption Files, Lakatos states: “according to the Heritage Foundation, in November 2012, Suntech shed some employees, claiming that it was the ‘U.S. International Trade Commission’s 35.95% tariff on Chinese solar panels that was partially responsible for the 50 impending layoffs at its Arizona production facilities.’” Suntech was even blamed for the Solyndra debacle. In December 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported: “China’s major solar panel companies—whose low-cost products led some American factories to close, helped create the Solyndra controversy, and spawned talk of a trade war—were bankrolled in the United States by the world’s largest investment banks.” Those “investment banks” include some the same ones we have profiled in our previous reports that have deep ties to the Obama campaign and administration, and many green-energy projects that received loans, grants, and special tax breaks representing billions in stimulus money.

Suntech has more interconnections. Arizona’s Mesquite Solar Project, which received $337 million in taxpayer money despite its non-investment grade rating by Fitch, was to be built with Suntech’s solar panels and the power was to be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric—which has strong political presence in Washington, DC, and connections to billions in stimulus funds. California’s PG&E, a company with “an extensive network of former high-ranking employees holding influential positions in government agencies at the federal and state level, has benefited handsomely from government financing of green energy projects.” The most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government post is Cathy Zoi, a former energy analyst for the company, who we profiled in our report on George Soros.

There is much more that can be found in Lakatos' Suntech report.

Another sparsely reported solar-power embarrassment was covered by Fox News on the same day the aforementioned poll was taken. “SoloPower, which makes thin-film solar panels at a new plant in Portland, OR, opened September 27 with an upbeat ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local and state politicians gushed about the company eventually operating four production lines and creating 450 well-paid green jobs.” After its grand opening just months ago, SoloPower’s power is waning: “The first production line was never completed,” and “in January, the company had a round of layoffs.”

This is not a surprise to those of us who watch the green-energy crony-corruption scandal. SoloPower was one of the worst-rated loans. One month before it received a $197 million loan guarantee to “support the retrofit of an existing building to operate a thin-film solar panel manufacturing facility in Portland, OR,” Standard and Poors (S&P) gave SoloPower a credit rating of CCC+.

As uncovered and exposed by Lakatos on April 1st regarding SoloPower, the March 2012, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report titled “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs” which states: “S&P predicted that SoloPower will fail to meet its debt obligations.” DOE emails, released on October 31, 2012, reveal that James McCrea, Senior Credit Advisor at the Loan Programs Office, called SoloPower “a completely uninspiring project.”

Yet, in addition to the $197 million of US taxpayer money SoloPower was given from the DOE through the 1705 LGP, this European firm also received $40 million from Oregon taxpayers. Then in December 2012, “despite unfulfilled job and production promises and signs the Portland solar panel factory was sliding even further behind,” Oregon officials tripled the “taxpayer’s stake,” said the OregonianBusiness Oregon approved a $20 million tax credit for SoloPower—which SoloPower then exchanged for $13.5 million in cash. After a management shake-up, Fox News reports, SoloPower is “trying to raise money by selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.”

Update: On April 22, the Oregonian’s headline read: “SoloPower moves to power down Portland factory, gut remaining workforce.”

With the bad credit rating, the “uninspiring” label, and poor performance, why did SoloPower receive federal, state, and city funding—ultimately paid by the taxpayers? Because as the Oversight Committee report states: “What SoloPower lacked in economic value, it made up for in political connections.”

Suntech and SoloPower are just two recent stories; part of a long list of bankrupt and/or “troubled” politically connected green-energy projects.

When President Obama released his FY2014 budget, it included new spending of nearly $1 billion “to support deployment and long-term development in the clean energy industries.” Renewable Energy World appears gleeful. “It’s been said before and it bears repeating that Obama has done more for solar than any previous US President.” And: “The support of the federal government has led to an explosion in the amount of solar across America.” Do you think?

In contrast, Tom Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, pointed out that the budget “represents the administration’s desire to double down on bad energy policy.” And, “calls for fast-track permitting for renewables” while never mentioning the Keystone pipeline. Pyle concludes his comments by saying: the President “hopes that the American people will forget the failures of the past four years, higher gasoline prices, skyrocketing electricity rates, bankrupt renewable firms, and billions in wasted taxpayer money on politically connected industries.”

No wonder the “way the government spends taxes” tops the list of taxpayer’s frustrations. Perhaps if “government’s inability to learn from its mistakes” had been on the list, it would have been the number one choice.


Our 2012 Green Alert: taxpayer-funded green energy failures list placed the total at 52 –– 23 bankrupt and 29 troubled, with at least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money either gone or at risk.

Today I will only be updating our green energy taxpayer-backed bankrupt list, and over the summer I'll be evaluating the 29 projects or firms, which I had documented as having issues: financial, project delays, environmental, corruption probes, and otherwise. This will ensure that we give an honest assessment, tally and dollar amount. But at this point in time, while I can remove a few –– some into the bankrupt column, others are doing worse, and some are doing better –– there are more to add.

We can now remove Suntech out of the troubled category and place them in our bankrupt list. Meanwhile we can't officially add SoloPower and Fisker to our bankrupt list, but we've moved them to our new category: "On the Verge of Going Bust and Bailouts," which includes taxpayer-funded companies that were financially struggling to stay alive, and eventually got "bailed out" (the majority by foreign companies).

Then there is the story of how "America's most storied Fortune 500 corporation, Honeywell, "created a mere 10 jobs with a $25 million grant (to be used by Honeywell's UOP subsidiary to build a biofuels technology demonstration plant in Oahu, Hawaii) under President Obama's economic stimulus program in 2010" –– a cost of $2.5 million per job. And why is the DOE "withholding records on a Wyoming carbon-capture project that snagged almost $10 million in economic stimulus grants from the DOE?" It's undergoing a legal investigation. 

Additionally, we can give more data on my list of taxpayer-backed green energy companies that were in distress. One in particular is Bloom Energy, which I had reported received $5 million in taxpayer money, but it was more like $70 million in federal grants and $200 million in funding from the state of California. It turns out that in February of this year, they were "fined for illegally paying employees in pesos."

While GM's Chevy Volt, "the poster child for President Obama's push to electrify America's auto fleet," is still suffering from a poor performance, there is a more positive case to share. This past February, Telsa Motors made an encouraging announcement at an event, "Tesla will pay off our Department of Energy (DOE) loan five years early, twice as fast as required by the original 2010 loan agreement signed by Tesla and the DOE."

This came despite reports that have painted a different scenario and grim future for Telsa. In October 10, 2012: The DOE restructured its loan to Tesla and in December 20, 2012, Market Watch reported, "Tesla will need more loans to stay afloat in 2013." As of late, Forbes noted another key issue; "The problem with putting $465 million of taxpayer money at risk to back Tesla is that producing this particular toy for the rich does absolutely nothing to further the ostensible goals of the program, which are fighting climate change and achieving energy security."

We'll give Telsa the luxury of removing them from our troubled category, but they'll stay on our radar –– after all this is Steve Westly's investment, the Energy Department's buddy, and Obama's "Green bundler with the golden touch." So it shouldn't be too difficult to track.

May 12, 2013 Update: just after I posted this blog, two more taxpayer-funded green firms hit the news: First Solar (with good news) and Vehicle Production Group (VPG). So, our new numbers as of May of 2013 reflect 25 bankrupt, four about to go under, and if we keep those that are having issues the same (at 29), then by the time I complete my new investigative report, the latest taxpayer-funded green energy failure list could hit 60 –– with almost bankrupt.

What a difference six months makes...

Keep in mind that many of these renewable energy projects won't be completed until 2014, and if it wasn't for the GOP busting open the Solyndra scandal, much more money would have been doled out of the Energy Department. Lastly, we know that additional funds are allocated for green energy, and the president is demanding more –– so the billions of taxpayer money burned on Obama's green energy total may not be realized for some time.

If you've been following my blog, The Green Corruption Files, you know that since 2009 I've been tracking President Obama's trillion-dollar stimulus spending spree, of which at least $90 billion was earmarked for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and doled out through various programs and agencies.

While most of my work on the green energy failures is from my time-consuming research, I did steal some from the Heritage Foundation October 2012 Report, President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures, and back then those I couldn't confirm were marked. However, with days of digging, I've fixed many and have produced an extremely comprehensive and up to date list. 

The first three, as well as Fisker, Vehicle Production Group, and SoloPower –– all three on the verge of going under –– are from the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program (Section 1703, the stimulus created Section 1705, and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing), of which I will highlight and have further comments on this program at the end of this report. What's important to note at this time is that of since 2009, the Obama's Energy Department have doled out (more like steered to their green cronies) $34.5 billion of taxpayer money, which have funded 33 projects.

Meanwhile the rest of the taxpayer funds came from various loans, grants and special tax breaks –– federal and state, with the majority paid out from the 2009-Recovery Act. Yet, additional energy funds were allocated for President Obama's expensive and aggressive climate change agenda. Also, the ones marked with an asterisks* are proven to have meaningful political connections (with cronyism proof provided throughout my blog and more specifically for the failures in my Special Report Part One and Part Two: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc.), of which the majority are tied to the president and other high-ranking Democrats with a few Republicans in the mix.

NOTE: "Obama Money" is marked in red and there is a specific reason I am keeping the DOE loans at the beginning of each list, which I will be addressing soon.
  1. Solyndra*: In September 2009 Solyndra received $535 million 1705 DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011
  2. Beacon Power*: In August 2010 they snagged a 1705 DOE loan for $43 million. Additionally, Beacon received at least $25 million in grants from the DOE and the state of Pennsylvania for a 20-megawatt plant in that state, plus $2.2 million from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) –– created in 2007 under the Bush administration, whose funding was increased under the Obama administration. Bankrupt: October 2011 
  3. Abound Solar*: Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and in December 2010 was awarded a $400 million 1705 DOE loan under Obama. Additionally, Abound was awarded a $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012
  4. A123 Systems*: Received $390 million, of which $249 million of it was a 2009-Recovery Act grant. Filed for Bankruptcy October 16, 2012, and in December 2012 was purchased by the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp. (a large auto parts maker), which renamed the lithium-ion battery company B456.
  5. Amonix*: Amonix solar manufacturing plant was subsidized by more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants: 15.6 million grant from the DOE in 2007 for research and development, and in 2010, a $5.9 million investment tax credit from the 2009-Stimulus via the SunShot Initiative. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012
  6. Azure Dynamics*: In March 2011 was awarded $5.4 million from the DOE and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Plus, Azure Dynamics received a four-year contract from the Government Services Administration for about $112 million. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012
  7. Babcock & Brown: The Australian company –– as the project owner –– in December 2009 received $178 million grant for a wind project in Texas, four months after it went bust. This came from the 1603 Grant Program, which was funded through the 2009-Stimulus. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009
  8. Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the Advanced Energy Project Credit (IRC 48C), which was enacted by the 2009-Stimulus. In January 2009, President-elect Obama's toured Cardinal Fastener and used it as a platform to push renewable energy and rush his Recovery Act –– in order to save our planet, our economy and create jobs. Ironically, during this speech, again we find those infamous Obama words, "good jobs that pay well and can't be shipped overseas." However, just two weeks after the Obama visit, Cardinal laid off 12 percent of its staff, and in June 2011, they filed for Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection. In January 2012, Cardinal Fastener was acquired by Germany’s Wurth Group for just $3.9 million.
  9. Ener1*: In August 2009 Ener1 received $118.5 million DOE grant as part of a $2.4 billion stimulus effort to jump-start the electric car industry. This came from the same program (estimated at $5 billion in taxpayer funds that Obama put into the electric-car industry), which gave money to bankrupt companies like A123 and others along the way that have gone under or were having issues. Two and a half years later, on January 26, 2012, Ener1 goes bust.
  10. Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD)/Uni-Solar: Uni-Solar was a maker of thin-film solar products for commercial rooftops. Energy Conversion Devices, the parent company of Uni-Solar, was a solar-laminate supplier. Both represented had hope for the future of Greenville, Michigan. While ECD, in January of 2010, snagged $13.3 million in federal tax credits from the stimulus created Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit, in November 2011 500 hundred employees from that firm were laid off. In February 2012, both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  11. Evergreen Solar, Inc.*: This was one of President Obama's pet projects that received stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies; however, we can't confirm the exact amount nor the dates. Yet we did report on the major connection as well as the date they went BUST, August 15, 2011, and adding to the insult were reports of 800 USA job losses, while moving their "green jobs" and entire company to China.
  12. Konarka Technologies Inc* (cronyism not documented in my previous report, but I just found it: Good Energies): According to their own website, Konarka has secured "$20 million in government agency research grants from the U.S. and Europe," of which I think $10 million came from here in the U.S. However, some reported that they were "allotted some $24 million in loans from the Massachusetts renewable energy trust fund." It turns out that they were awarded $1.5 million grant during Mitt Romney's time as Governor of Massachusetts, of which apparently there is a lot of discrepancy not just over the amount but the timing of that loan decision. Nevertheless, sometime in 2003 Konarka got special attention from Governor Romney. And there is no disputing the fact that Konarka had quite the activity under the Bush administration: in 2004 was selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to receive a contract in excess of $6 million; in 2005 they got $1.6 million US Army contract; and in 2007 $3.6 million from the DOE (via the Solar America Initiative (SAI). Meanwhile in February 2009, they secured $5 million loan for "manufacturing and job creation" from the state of Massachusetts and President Obama included Konarka among 183 clean energy companies that got $2.3 billion in tax credits as part of the 2009-Stimulus. Bankrupt: May 31, 2012.
  13. Mountain Plaza, Inc.: In a convoluted green corruption case, Mountain Plaza –– with it owners long track record of troubles and alleged criminal activity –– was awarded $424,000 in a stimulus fund grant "which was approved (December 2009) by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for the construction of electrical hookups at a truck stop in Dandridge, TN" –– "so that truckers wouldn’t have to burn diesel fuel while resting.” To add insult to taxpayer injury, the TR Auto Truck Plaza in Dandridge (with Mountain as the owner) bankruptcy date was June 3, 2010, with the stimulus money awarded 12 days later.
  14. Nordic WindPower*: In July 2009, Nordic WindPower was offered a conditional commitment for $16 million from the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program (created by the 2009-Recovery Act) in order to support the expansion of its assembly plant in Pocatello, Idaho. However, that loan did not materialize, but according to Idaho state records, sometime before June 2010, they did receive $3 million from DOE / Treasury, Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) –– only to go bust in October 2012. NOTE: This and many other wind stories can be found in my January 2013 post: Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption
  15. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company: In January 2010 (after Olsen went bust a first time in Jan 2009), then-Democratic Senator Herb Kohl announced "stimulus funding" under the USDA's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program." It turns out that $64 million went to 9 rural businesses, of which Olsen's Mills Acquisition Co. LLC and Olsen's Crop Service LLC got "$10 million each from West Pointe Bank." Another intriguing green energy demise story came out in May 200, by AGWeek, with headlines that read, "Two Wisconsin brothers who pioneered ethanol production in the state are left with outstanding debts totaling more than $100 million after their agricultural empire imploded." But it seems that the "Olsen family's" financial troubles started as early as 2009, and according to AGWeek report, "David and Paul Olsen filed separate bankruptcy protection petitions on December 16, 2010, under Chapter 11, but the cases have since been combined because of the commingling of their assets and debts." It turns out that the brothers at that time "owe [d] money to several banks, attorneys, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and their mother." Hmmm
  16. Range Fuels*: Received $162.25 million in government commitments since 2007, of which $64 million came from a USDA Biofuel loan in 2010 alone, whose programs are "authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, and fall into four categories." This loan was awarded despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA. Bankrupt: Sometime in December 2011, and in January 2012, the Range Fuels facility in Soperton, GA, was sold to the New Zealand-based LanzaTech for $5.1 million. 
  17. Raser Technologies: In February 2010 Raser received $33 million (free taxpayer money) from the 1603 Grant Program, which was implemented as part of the 2009-Stimulus and administered by the Treasury Department. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011
  18. ReVolt Technology: In June 2010, Revolt was awarded a $5 million grant from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which was funded by the 2009-Stimulus. Revolt also benefited from Business Energy Tax Credits, while Oregon chipped in with $5 million in taxpayer-backed loans. Revolt, a Portland-based company, which specialized in developing zinc-air flow battery systems, "earned its place in the "Green Graveyard" when it declared bankruptcy on October 17, 2012, despite the fact it had been offered a whopping [at least] $10 million in funds from federal, state, and local governments," noted the Heritage Foundation last November. 
  19. Satcon Technology Corporation: Satcon, also tracked by the Heritage Foundation, is another solar company, which in January 2012 snagged a $3 million grant from the DOE's ARPA-E (program noted above). "Satcon also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at DOE." Then October 17, 2012 they filed for bankruptcy.
  20. SpectraWatt* –– a closely held solar cell manufacturer backed by units of Intel Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group –– in 2009, secured a $500,000 grant from the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the federally funded lab which in 2009, got $300 million in stimulus funds. While the NREL has its own issues and corruption, and I had listed them in my 2012 Green Alert list in the troubled category, SpectraWatt went bankrupt on August 23, 2011. In fact Colorado's –– noting that they are "infamous for top salaries of more than $500,000 a year" and some craziness –– 
    is not sure what goes on at the DOE's NREL, other than spending "$8 billion in taxpayer funding, which the lab has received since 1977."
  21. Stirling Energy Systems: As reported by the Energy Policy Center in late 2011, "One of the major players was Arizona-based Stirling Energy Systems out of Scottsdale, which was to provide the technology for Tessera Solar of Texas to move forward with the massive
    Imperial Valley Solar Project in Imperial County, California." While in October 2010, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was excited to expedite this (fast-track approval) as the first solar energy project on public land; he also announced that it was expected to "secure approximately $638 million through the Recovery Act." And in October 2010, the UT San Diego reported that this project was "getting $273 million in federal stimulus grants in lieu of a 30 percent tax credit, and that it was "also getting federally backed loans." However, there was no DOE loan approved for this project, and most have reported that the Imperial project or Stirling directly received $7 million in federal grants. Yet I found within the 1603 grants (docket #782) that on November 8, 2012 there was a grant given to Imperial Valley Solar Company (IVSC) 1, LLC for $23.7 million. Nevertheless we can confirm that Stirling went bust on September 28, 2011. NOTE: Stirling was also part of another large solar project in California (the Calico Solar Project), and we do and this Imperial Valley project (formerly called SES Solar Two Project but changed to its name to Imperial Valley Solar LLC in February 2010) has been plagued with lawsuits and issues –– both will require more research.
  22. Thompson River Power LLC: According to 1603 Treasury Grant records (a 2009-Stimulus created program), Thompson River received $6.5 million of free taxpayer cash on June 28, 2010 for a biomass project in Montana (docket #4091). Bankrupt: July 2, 2012
  23. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group(cronyism connection not documented in my previous report but I just found it; former Ohio Governor Democrat Ted Strickland): While Willard & Kelsey denied receiving any DOE or stimulus money, Paul Chesser of the National Legal and Policy Center took issue, and like many of these projects, digging is required: "Reports posted at the Web site, which discloses information about funds dispensed out of the 2009 Recovery Act (AKA the “stimulus”), shows a $6 million award to the Ohio Department of Development for its “Energizing Careers” project. Of that, according to a department press release from January 2011, $700,981 went to Willard & Kelsey." Not in dispute is the fact that WK Solar Group, despite money woes since 2009, got a handful of high-powered Democrat endorsement and snagged millions of dollars from Ohio taxpayers.  Since 2009, a total of $15 million were approved in loans, a small $500,000 grant, and they were approved for millions in state tax breaks –– the grant and the $5 million came from Ohio's Department of Development. Bankruptcy: I still can't confirm, however, the most recent report on the situation (which didn't look good in April of 2012) that I found is by the Blade dated November 11, 2012, which paints a dim picture of this company, and the odds Ohio getting its money back are bleak. And um, and it seems that nobody is home...
  24. 2013 NEW/ SunTech*: Received $2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit, and then on March 21, 2013, CNN Money reported: “China’s Suntech Power has put its largest subsidiary into bankruptcy.” Yet I chronicled much more on SunTech due to the fact that they were the  contractor to the Mesquite Solar project in Arizona, which in September 2011, was the recipient of a DOE $337 million "junk loan"  ––  complete with tons of cronyism and more. 
  25. 2013 NEW/ Flagbeg Solar U.S.: Last month, the Washington Free Beacon divulged an interesting solar story: "The American subsidiary of a German mirror manufacturer, Flagbeg Solar produces mirrors for “concentrating solar power projects” and “other solar technologies,” according to its website. It lists two ongoing solar projects, one in California and one in Nevada, as its customers." In August and September of 2011, both projects won large DOE loans from the stimulus-created 1705 Loan Guarantee Program: NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Genesis Solar) for an $852 million partial loan guarantee and SolarReserve, LLC (Crescent Dunes) for $737 million. Flagbeg was awarded nearly $20 million in state and federal tax breaks and grants, of which it seems that $10.2 million of it came in the form of tax credits from the Obama administration (you know via the stimulus created Section 48C). On or around April 3, 2013, Flagbeg filed for bankruptcy, and there is a possibility that this move will have a negative impact (as is the case of A123 and Fisker) on the two solar projects listed here, of which both project spokespersons deny. We'll see about that...
On the Verge of Going Bust and Bailouts as of May 2013 
NOTE: 29 Troubled at the end of 2012: new calculations coming this summer 
  1. SoloPower*: On April 1st I had ranted about SoloPower and its $250 million DOE "junk loan," from the stimulus-created 1705 program. Then on April 22, the Oregonian’s headline read: “SoloPower moves to power down Portland factory, gut remaining workforce.”
  2. Nevada Geothermal Power Company, Inc. (Blue Mountain)*: Received a $98.5 million loan guarantee from the 1705, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants. In October 2012, I noted that last July the Washington Times reported that the power at Nevada Geothermal (NGP) was dimming and may be the next green energy bankruptcy. At the end of September 2012, Bloomberg followed up: NGP "may transfer ownership to a lender after projecting the facility will produce less power than expected." And sure enough NRG's Blue Mountain got another bailout, as their first was from the Energy Department back in 2010 when they approved this $98.5 million loan –– a fact we noted last summer when we covered Senator Harry Reid’s part in green-energy crony-corruption. Just this month financial news reported that Blue Mountain had owed almost $200 million to its private lenders, and that NGP "has completed the sale of the Blue Mountain Geothermal Project to funds managed by EIG Global Energy Partners, LLC, the mezzanine lender for the project, pursuant to an equity and collateral transfer agreement." We'll have to check to see if they will be paying back the taxpayers, but they did get a makeover, and as of April 3, 2013 NGP changed its name to Alternative Earth Resources Inc.
  3. Fisker Automotive*: As noted, we covered the April 24, 2013 Congressional Hearing and their $529 million ATVM loan. Most are declaring that Fisker engines are ready to shut down –– a full report can be found in my post, Failing Fisker Auto Finally Faces House Oversight Hearing: Chairman Jordan Exposes Another DOE Junk Loan, Declares, "Fisker should have never received taxpayer money”  
  4. Vehicle Production Group (VPG)*: I was one of the few that covered VPG's March 2011 $50 million DOE ATVM loan with ties to Obama bundler and "VP Hunter," the infamous Washington fixture, James A. Johnson, whose firm Perseus portfolio lists two more taxpayer-funded bankruptcies: Beacon Power and Evergreen Solar (also listed in this report). Then on May 9, the Hill reported, "A natural-gas van company [VPG] awarded a $50 million Energy Department (DOE) loan has suspended operations and laid off roughly 100 workers, according to press accounts."
  5. MiaSolé*: Received two Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credits totaling $101.8 million from the Obama Administration. In October 2012, the "struggling" and "desperate" MiaSole agreed to be sold to China's Hanergy Holding Group for $30 million, which is considered to be dirt cheap. Not only does this mean that if MiaSolé becomes profitable, it will be at the expense of taxpayers, but worse, this year the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) approved a loan to an Indian developer who wants to buy solar panels from MiaSolé, recorded the Washington Free Beacon. This is contrary to more of President Obama's green energy promises, pledging to compete with the Chinese for markets in green energy technology. In fact, the Beacon points out that "Hanergy’s acquisition of MiaSolé brings it into direct competition with American thin film solar panel manufacturers such as First Solar and SoloPower." Ironic, eh?
  6. SolarWorld*: I had mentioned that the German-owned company SolarWorld, in September 2011 was awarded (that means free money) $4.6 million for a project in Hillsboro Oregon. This was funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the SunShot Initiative, of which we know that the EERE was awarded $16.8 billion from the 2009-Stimulus for programs and initiatives. Worse, they got more than $4 million from taxpayers. According to the Heartland Institute writer, "[Ohio] state officials invited the company [SolarWorld] to apply for up to $100 million in [taxpayer] subsidies and the company accepted at least $27 million in subsidies." But that's not all. Just this past February, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner divulged much favoritism more for SolarWorld...
  • In 2009, the Export-Import Bank, a taxpayer-funded federal agency, approved $61.0 million in loan guarantees for SolarWorld to sell solar panels in South Korea. 
  • Later in 2010 the Obama administration announced SolarWorld was eligible for an $82.2 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. 
  • Just weeks after September 2011 SolarWorld California layoffs, the Obama administration gave the company another hand, the DOE awarded a $2.3 million stimulus grant to SolarWorld to study new manufacturing techniques for solar panels. 
  • Also in September 2011, Ex-Im approved an $18.9 million direct loan, at a low 2.63% rate, to an Indian power company buying SolarWorld panels. 
  • And more...
While I had noted that in June 2012 Solar World's stock price had dropped 75 percent, it turns out that just this month SolarWorld's life is looking grim –– they have laid off Oregon workers and may be filing for bankruptcy.

Denial at the Department of Energy 

Paul Chesser (an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center) recently exposed Obama's Energy Department's denial. “Despite Fisker’s difficulties, our overall loan portfolio of more than 30 projects continues to perform very well, and more than 90 percent of the $10 billion loan loss reserve that Congress set aside for these programs remains intact,” a spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.

Maybe this spokeswoman is referring to the 90 percent rate of cronyism and corruption tucked inside these loans, because in reality, all you have to do is follow the money and connect the dots, which proves that Green Corruption is the largest, most expensive and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.

Created under the trillion-dollar stimulus package, those at the DOE have doled out in excess of $16 billion though the 1705 program 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-, which explains the term DOE's "junk bond" portfolio frequented throughout my work. The DOE’s "junk bond" portfolio is where you’ll discover that 96 percent of the firms representing these projects have meaningful ties (bundlers and donors) to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats; or both –– with five to Senator Harry Reid alone.

Through the ATVM you'll find the "Favored Five" (out of 150 applications), which can be found in my "Cruising Down the Green Cronyism Road" post. Thus far $8.4 billion was steered out of this program, of which three of the five green auto companies have meaningful connections to President Obama. Meanwhile, "both Ford Motor Co. and Nissan were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012-2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications."

Political buddies which primarily comprise of Obama's wealthy campaign backers, bundlers, top donors as well as liberal allies. Adding to the mix are members of the president's fired Job Council; those that helped craft the 2009 economic stimulus package; and at least a dozen inside the Energy Department, and we find a much bigger scandal.

I've proven over and over that Obama's Energy Department is plagued with cronyism and corruption, as "green" taxpayer money was used as political payback. Along the way they have fueled corporate welfare, and contrary to the continuous promises, our "green" –– taxpayer money and jobs –– is being outsourced.

Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program: the real stats 
February 2013: Dust Problems at Ivanpah Solar
Severe dust storm blowing off the Ivanpah Solar construction site |
Photo: Basin and Range Watch

Nevertheless, let's give this DOE spokeswoman her due, because she is correct if she is referring to the Energy Department's Loan Guarantee Program. At the end of 2012, we found that three had gone bust (listed above), and nine to ten at that time were problematic (details can be found in my October 2012 Special Report Part Two: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc.). But that's only if the DOE is only referring to the loan program, because with only three bankruptcies out of 33 DOE funded projects, that would confirm a 90 percent success rate.

Needless to say that stat could change any day, and if Fisker and SoloPower go under, we would move down to an 85 percent success rate for the Energy Department's loan program. However, besides those on the brink of death, we have at least seven more projects that we're watching from my 2013 problematic list. Here is a brief overview and we'll be digging deeper with a full report late this summer.
  1. AREVA* –– $2 billion via the 1703 to support the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility (EREF) in Idaho Falls, ID, which as of December 2012 is still having financial issues. 
  2. Georgia Power Company –– $8.33 billion via the 1703 for Plant Vogtle project, which as of this month are still having financial issues.  
  3. NRG Energy, Inc. (BrightSource)* –– $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the 1705 (for the Ivanpah Solar Project), which is supposed to "enable BrightSource Energy and its partners—NRG and Google — to build the world’s largest solar thermal facility in the Mojave Desert. Many times we exposed the fact that this shady DOE $1.6 billion loan was a bailout, and how it had been plagued with financial issues and problems, including putting endangered desert tortoises at risk of being murdered.
  4. First Solar* is tied to $3 billion in 1705 DOE loans: the Exelon (Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, the NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Desert Sunlight), and the NRG Solar, LLC (Agua Caliente). There is also a very suspicious Export-Import bank funding for First Solar. We gave plenty of data on the First Solar mess as well as cronyism and corruption tied to that firm and the three projects listed here. Some of our work can be found as recent as this year in my Bank of Obama and my Left-wing Billionaire George Soros: Obama’s "Agent of Green" posts.  While we chronicled First Solar's financial woes many times, it seems they are doing better, and on May 6, 2013, CNN Money predicted "Brighter days for First Solar." So we'll probably remove First Solar from our problematic list, however, we'll take a peek at our $3 billion of taxpayer money –– these three projects and whatever other funding they received.
  5. Nevada Geothermal Power Company, Inc. (Blue Mountain)* –– a $98.5 million loan guarantee (from the 1705) for the Blue Mountain project to build a geothermal power plant, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants. April 2013: bailed out as noted above in the about to go bust/bailout category. 
  6. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Genesis Solar)* –– an $852 million partial loan guarantee (from the 1705) to support the development of the Genesis Solar Project, a 250 MW parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. In October 2012, I had documented Genesis' environmental issues, and they have endured massive flood damage. As of late, mentioned earlier, their mirror manufacturer, Flagbeg Solar (another taxpayer subsidized green energy company) went bust. However, clouds still hover over this and other California solar projects –– and that's according to my personal local newspaper, the Desert Sun. But we'll keep and eye on this one, because spokesman for the Genesis project stated just last month, that it is just over 43 percent complete, and the "project will come online in two phases, half at the end of 2013 and the other half in late 2014."
  7. SunPower Corp.* / NRG Solar (California Valley Solar Ranch) –– $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the 1705. Since NRG bought the CA Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo from SunPower, this mess was already documented in my October report, however, the project itself has faced its own environmental issues –– as in the fact that they have taken over the home "to 34 endangered and threatened species, as well as designated core habitat for three animals: the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, San Joaquin kit fox and giant kangaroo rat." We'll dig further into this one and report back.
  8. Fisker Automotive* –– $529 million ATVM loan (already addressed in this report)
  9. Tesla Motors* –– $465 million ATVM loan (already addressed in this report)
  10. Nissan, which in January 2010 received $1.45 billion loan from the ATVM program, and part was to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing facility for assembly of the all-electric LEAF vehicle. On November 15, 2012, the Detroit News reported, "Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn finally admitted the automaker will not meet its sales target for its all-electric Leaf — in another sign of the broad struggle of the electric vehicle industry." But it seems the Leaf is doing better than the Chevy Volt! 

However, the DOE spokespeople also forget to mention other extremely expensive green energy failures, which are also funded by us taxpayers.

1603 Stimulus Grant Program: one out of every four dollars of $16 billion spent on the 1603 grants went to foreign-owned entities 

As emphasized in my Big Wind Story, "A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption," the Energy and Commerce Committee in January of this year released an “in-depth report on its ongoing investigation into the implementation of President Obama’s green-energy stimulus spending.” It states that as of December 5, 2012, nearly $16 billion in federal funds has been awarded under the 1603 Grant Program –– which does not factor in regional or state funding –– “approximately $10.8 billion (68%) of the total amount in Section 1603 grants awarded was for wind and another $3.8 billion (24%) was for solar projects.”

Nevertheless, the most shocking aspect is that "despite skyrocketing debt, and Obama's green and recovery promises, the committee found that approximately one out of every four dollars of $16 billion spent on “Section 1603” Renewable Energy Stimulus Program" went to foreign-owned entities.

Just last month we find out that despite the sequester (which was supposed to cripple folks), "More than $1.2 billion in cash payments was awarded to renewable energy projects by the Department of Energy and the Treasury" –– more free money through the 1603 Grant Program. However, the expensive 1603 is not the only place where we find that the Obama administration has been outsourcing clean-energy stimulus funds, energy money, and green jobs.
NOTE: Much more Green Energy Outsourcing can be found in my April 2013 post: Newly Bankrupt Chinese Solar Producer Suntech, Stimulus Tax Credit Winner and Contractor to Energy Department’s $337 million Junk Loan: a Tiny Fraction of Obama’s “Green Outsourcing"

Green Jobs: promises, manipulation, myths, and 11.25 million per job

Last fall we debunked the president's 5 million energy jobs campaign promise. Worse, the Obama administration has sent green jobs overseas, and from the beginning, the Department of Energy has exaggerated and/or manipulated the number of green jobs created (or saved).

Here are some of our highlights:

On June 6, 2012, at a House Oversight hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) questioned Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Director John Galvin on his agency’s green jobs numbers. Through Galvin’s reluctant responses (he didn’t want to be there), we learned that the Obama administration’s labor department counts oil lobbyists, bus drivers, garbage men, etc., as green jobs—shameful, embarrassing, deceptive.

On June 19, 2012, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings regarding the Energy Department's Loan Guarantee Program gamble. Ms. de Rugy's thorough assessment of the program notes that from the $34.5 billion spent, “some 2,378 permanent jobs were claimed to be created under the program. This works out to a potential cost per job of $6.7 million.”

The June 19, 2012 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “The Federal Green Jobs Agenda,” highlighted the “gimmick” accounting method used by the BLS. Testimony revealed that a multi-billion dollar stimulus program (the 1603 Grant Program, where free taxpayer money is given out for renewable energy) does not even include job creation among its primary objectives — which obviously contradicts the purpose of the 2009 trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package. 

September 2012 report on the “Green Job Myth” from the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which states, “the green-job definition is extremely broad and includes both direct and indirect jobs,” and is a must see for a good laugh. 

Now, April 2013, the Hill reported that "Five GOP leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are pushing the department to give details about apparent discrepancies between the number of advertised and realized jobs created by [the DOE loan program], which provides loans
for some renewable energy projects."

May 8, 2013: A brand new report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) sheds light on the DOE's green jobs reality, "the Department of Energy has spent nearly $26 billion since 2009 on its Section 1703 and 1705 loan programs. However, these two programs only yielded 2,308 permanent jobs — meaning the cost to taxpayers was $11.25 million per job," recorded the Daily Caller.

$5 Billion Home Weatherization program: waste, fraud and abuse 

Before his departure, Obama’s radical green jobs czar, Van Jones, approved a $5 billion home weatherization program that supposedly outfitted homes (mainly for the economically disadvantaged) with the latest green technology in order to reduce energy prices. This was another part of the 2009-Stimulus, which in February 2009, Obama declared: “We're going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we're going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization.”

Three years into the program, all we got was excessive waste, fraud and abuse, plus more cronyism and corruption — no “Americans back to work.” In fact, “evidence gathered (and released in March 2012) by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggested that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program is a stunning example of a management failure which has wasted billions of dollars, done little to achieve energy savings, and may have put people’s lives and homes at risk. While the program may have been a “failure” in terms of the stated goal, Obama’s pals back in Chicago came out winners

Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A hurricane of carnage, cronyism and corruption

Also, my January 2013 post chronicled the Big Wind subsidies and not only the cronyism and corruption, but also the fact that these wind farms are not all cracked up to be what the "green Evangelists" profess.

Here is an excerpt:

John Fund of the National Review Online gives us an astonishing and heartbreaking look at the “carnage inflicted on Mother Nature," quoting Paul Driessen of the Washington Times, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese, and other birds every year in the U.S., along with countless insect-eating bats.”

Sadly, Fund states, “The actual numbers are probably far higher. The turbine blades of the nation’s 39,000 windmills move at 100 to 200 miles per hour and can mow down anything that gets in their path.” “Over the past 25 years, turbines at Altamont Pass, Calif., alone, have killed an estimated 2,300 golden eagles leading to an 80 percent drop in the golden-eagle population of southern California.”

Ironically, when you read the fine print, as exposed by the Manhattan Institute, who calculated “The Real Costs to Taxpayers in Subsidizing Big Wind,” –– federal taxpayers (under former President Bush and now Obama), in effect, are subsidizing the killing of federally protected birds.”

Where are the environmentalists and Rachel Maddow screaming bloody murder? The chirps are light, and prosecution is non-existent because our “federal government looks the other way as wind farms kill birds, but haul oil and gas firms to court.”

But then again, Big Wind, to many like the Telegraph, is the most corrupt industry in the world –– “without the lies it tells as a matter of course and without the cosy stitch-ups it arranges with regulators and politicians at taxpayers' expense, it simply would not exist.”

Furthermore, recently the Telegraph unleashed another study, whereas scientists are saying, "wind turbines will create more greenhouse gases than they save," and Canada Free Press reported on the fact that "an impressive number of health practitioners, researchers and acousticians around the world are voicing their concern about the effects of wind turbines on people’s health."

Final note

If the Obama administration deems this as "clean energy success," I'd hate to see what failure looks like...

Let me be clear, I like clean energy like many of those concerned about our planet, however, using taxpayer money for corrupt political purposes is criminal, while giving billions of our hard earned money to millionaires and billionaires for their green pet projects is despicable. Adding to American insult is the fact that we are sending billions of our tax money overseas, yet we were promised that our government's investment in renewable energy would benefit us. Last but not least, our government is gambling on green with our money, and that's outrageous.

Unfortunately, we have over three more years to keep watch.

Do you care about the way our government spends your tax dollars? Does it bother you that billions are burned on President Obama's green energy agenda? 

I'm perfectly aware that the Department of Energy is not the only government agency whose budgets incorporates cronyism and corruption as well as waste, fraud and abuse, but this case is extremely excessive, and should enrage every American –– especially those of us who pay taxes.

Two Women (one Citizen & one energy Columnist) join forces on One Mission: to expose one chunk of this Green Corruption scandal at a time.

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